Thursday, 22 December 2011

Rev./The shortest day

My sister-in-law went to church on Sunday for the first time in years - because she's started watching Rev.  the BBC2 comedy about an inner city vicar.  As a fan of the show myself, I'm not surprised - I just hope she found someone in the pulpit at least half as honest as the show's Adam Smallbone. He's so full of doubts and fears, he's endearing because he struggles, and he's got an almost impossible task: how on earth to be relevant to and meet the needs of the community his church supposedly serves. Adam has a vast and dilapidated church which attracts a small and marginalised congregation.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A princess for my daughter

My daughter met three princesses this year. Their names are Tough, Ordinary and Paper Bag.

The Tough Princess has great swinging fists that slay monsters and beat up fairies, sometimes good ones, accidentally. My daughter discovered a copy of The Tough Princess - in a rather battered condition - after a swimming lesson, towards the bottom of the book box in the spectators' area. This princess has parents who are stuck in the past and who are pretty useless really; she has to take her fate into her own hands. She helps my daughter (and me) remember that girls can be strong and fit and are perfectly capable of taking control of their own destiny.

Another day we were in our local teashop, which has an entire wall of china teapots. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Oedipus/Hazel Motes

 Today's post comes from the talented Dawna Kemper who is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. Her short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Santa Monica Review, The Idaho Review and other literary journals. She recently completed a short story collection and is working on her first novel.

Lately, because I’ve been reading Michael Wood’s The Road to Delphi, I’ve been thinking about oracles, and the desire to have the future spelled out at the same time that we really don’t want to hear what’s coming. (Climate change deniers, take note.) Naturally, I think of Sophocles’ Oedipus, about which Wood writes eloquently, comparing versions ancient and modern.

I was thinking about these comparisons when

Monday, 5 December 2011


I've been preparing to teach a life writing class in which I'm going to introduce some of the basic elements of myth as a way of getting people to write about their own lives. So I've been reading a lot of myths and a lot about them.

As I've done so, I realise