Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Book heaven

Today I took a trip up to the special collections section of the university library; surrounded by the comforting smell of old, loved books, I was privileged enough to hold in my hands some real treasures. 

I won't lie, I was petrified I would sneeze on them.

But there was something familiar, almost reassuring about handling a book with crisp paper pages, stained with age, and a hard-back, robust cover protecting the story within...

A 1611(!) edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen.
A 1st edition(!) of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
A 2nd edition Shakespeare folio(!), undoubtedly the king of the room!

And the illustrations! Perhaps as a result of it being the title page to The Faerie Queen it had more of an effect on me, but I felt utterly transported and in awe - the drawings were intricate, alluring, and dominated the page in a way that book illustrations rarely do nowadays.

Everyone, I beseech you, if you can, hold an old, valuable book in your hands and experience what I have experienced, because it is a beautiful, inspiring feeling, and I cannot do it justice here!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A letter from the other side of the world

I received such a lovely surprise in the post last week - a card from Tahlia, of Diamonds and Toads! (Sorry it has taken so long to post my thank you!)

The card was thanking me for the donation I made towards start up costs for a new fairy and folktale magazine...a donation that wasn't a lot, that I thought wouldn't make a difference. But I suppose it still meant something - it meant enough to send a card and not an email - and that's what counts. 

It takes so little effort to do something for someone else, that could maybe make their day; a 'good morning', a smile, a hand getting a buggy on a bus...a small donation to a good cause, and definitely, definitely, a card through the letterbox from the other side of the world!


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rejection is progress

Remember I was talking about a story I submitted to two magazines? I was discussing a moral dilemma about it here.

Well, I can now reveal that my story was...not accepted by the magazine that truly endeared me to them, but surprisingly my first reaction wasn't disappointment, as it has been up until now. In fact I found myself smiling when I received the email...

I've been on an emotional roller coaster ride with this story, I'll be honest, but somewhere along the way I realised that this time last year my writing would have been rejected straight away. Without a shadow of a doubt.

During the year I have progressed, getting to the 'honourable mention' stage of a competition, winning a small prize in a competition, winning second place in a competition, and now, being considered in the final round of publication for a magazine.  No, I haven't had a short story published without it being through a competition, and no, this wasn't my lucky break.

But looking back, I can see that if I keep working, keep learning, and keep putting myself out there, it won't be long until I've jumped over that hurdle as well.