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Michael Marett-Crosby
Jersey and the north Highlands of Scotland
A writer of novels and short stories, a reader, sometimes even a thinker, who loves walking and listening and living lightly on the Earth
Interests: Fiction of all kinds, Favourite authors from Candia McWilliam and Jeanette Winterson to Roberto Bolano and Mervyn Peake with Trollope for sheer pleasure, Astronomy, Science Writing, Pretty Much Anything that Inspires
Recent Activity
Until we reach the planets in orbit around other stars, this will surely remain the most beautiful sight in space. It is the ringed planet Saturn, captured here by the Hubble Space Telescope. We have become used to Saturn – just a few clicks and it makes a journey of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
I am writing this on an unlikely, uncertain stretch of railway. It is bounded on all sides by water. The single track runs on a raised spit. The train is watched by bleary gulls and a single, stretch-winged cormorant. Making the simple point, that water dominates the Earth. Here, what... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
I am going to tell the story of Menocchio. It has been done before, and better than I can, by Carlo Ginzburg in The Cheese and The Worms. I read this book as an undergraduate, loved it, lost it, remembered fragments and finally bought another copy not long ago. It... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
There is something about the heron, poised above the water, beautiful and still, intent on killing. A little place called Loch Dam near where I am at the moment almost always has one - this one, in fact - waiting among the reeds. I like to watch it. Here is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
News on yesterday’s BBC website brings us closer to a pivotal moment in human history. We are going to leave home. There have of course been many homes, and so many departures. This one will be less obvious than many others. When Sputnik broadcast its beeps from above the atmosphere... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Familiar with this word? It is not in daily use. In case it helps, it might be one or maybe two words – its creator was unsure and wrote it two different ways. It is in fact a very important word. It is neither doggerel nor cantrip but the announcement... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
After all the rain, the sun comes out and off we go to do that basic thing, to watch the water. I guess people have always stared into and got lost within fire and water. Here are some glimpses of the smashed light made by sun-fire and water. He goes... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Michael Marett-Crosby is now following GBPHuddlestone
Apr 22, 2012
I spent a while this afternoon watching a field of lambs, tremulous and bandy-legged, embarking upon their world. So did some crows and so, therefore, did the farmer – he had a gun in his landrover. I, meanwhile, tried to map the ways the lambs explored what was around them.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
A codicil to my BBC talks on science and imagination comes by way of rereading, after a gap of many years, the thrust and parry of CP Snow and FR Leavis on ‘The Two Cultures.’ It is all a question of jam. The original debate is now a period piece... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
The last of my five BBC broadcasts is a short reflection on the most perplexing of all the astronomical phenomena known to pre-modern observers, the appearing of new stars. What do they mean? How can new stars be possible? Through answering these questions, astronomers were establishing how 'far away', as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Here are two more of my short BBC talks on Science and Imagination. They both relate to Galileo and the role of art and imagination in the discoveries he made. In the first, I compare two pioneers of telescopes, wondering why Galileo and Thomas Harriott saw such very different Moons.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
I have recently broadcast a series of short reflections on BBC Radio Jersey. They have had a general theme of the interplay between scientific discovery and imagination. The first audio piece is about Mars and why it moves backwards through the sky. Many elaborate theories were created to explain this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Balzac is a master of the real, an acute observer of details that, taken together, reveal more than the sum total of their parts. Take the description of the Maison Vauquer that opens Père Goriot, which through the amassing of the miniscule creates a picture of the whole that locates... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Thank you for visiting my blog To find out about my novel Two Thirds Man, and to read extracts from it, click here. I love writing short stories. To have a look at them, click here. I used to work in the prison service and still write about it, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
This is the sea of light and dream / sea of salt and tongue and sun: / the waters are massive and unearthly, / as horizons curve into the distance / like blue myth: the white flight / of seabirds is hieratic, / a prophecy of light and sky: /... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
There are two quotations that preface my novel Two Thirds Man. One is from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, which I have written about before. The other text I hope to use comes from Candia McWilliam’s extraordinary novel A Case of Knives. It is a simple line but it captures... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
‘Heavens make a Star of him,’ is the prayer offered by Pericles at the end of Shakespeare’s play when Thaisa declares that her father is dead. He is hoping that the illustrious soul will become a new star in the firmament of heaven. Now, of course, everyone is a star.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
One of the most perplexing experiences for anyone who works or visits prison is the inmate who says, quite honestly, that he or she is happy there. This can manifest itself in many ways. There might be a certain homeliness to a cell or a reluctance to take the final... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
I recently finished reading a deceptive and beautiful novella, which I’d like to recommend. Beautifully produced by the Pereinne Press, Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Freidrich Christian Delius is, in its way, one of the best studies of a soul at war I know. (There are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
Undertaking what I hope is the final – I have said that before – edit of Two Thirds Man, I pick up echoes in my text of books I have read and remembered in the margins of my writing. Sometimes they amount to allusions, but usually they are more private... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
If the Earth is to be saved from the ultimate threat of destruction, it maybe by the knight-errant Don Quixote. The threat is from impact, the Hollywood-beloved nightmare of a Near-Earth asteroid on an orbital path that will lead to a collision with the planet. It has happened before. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
From a walk along the North Sea near Golspie. In the grey time after the light has come and before the sun has risen, the Row seems to hang suspended out of time in a silvery light. ...It is a time of great peace, a deserted time, a little era... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
The space between a writer’s environment and his work is his dreamland. Here's one of mine - dawn on Wednesday 1st February. Prisoners and people in hospital call it the sky. (Lucas in Candia McWilliam, A case of knives p226) This is the season - ...the weight of the dark... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales
When do patterns of thinking change? There are rarely moments when it can be said unequivocally that a pattern of thought and set of assumptions is abandoned forever. But one such moment was November 12th, 1783. On this day, the last piece of the ancient understanding of the basic elements... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2012 at Planet Prison and Other Tales