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katebrown
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Thanks, Martha and Jane. Glad you enjoyed the interview!
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Thanks, Tania. I'm sure that living in Jerusalem for so long must have had a pretty powerful impact on the way you look at life and death. I lived alone for quite a long time too, and, then, it seemed like the natural thing to do. Now, I can still see its attractions, but... yes, those purple stickers. I think it's made worse by having two elderly parents and knowing that, sooner or later, one of them will end up alone. I feel like a helpless kid again.
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Gosh, you never know what's going on, do you. The elderly are so vulnerable. And there is this sense of the clock going round, rather than just forwards. The frailty of being a baby coming back again.
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Thanks, Claire. I think it's going to be really interesting. You're right, it is a great feeling when you can say 'yes' to a story you like.
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You're right, Martha. Without the people around us it would be pretty irrelevant whether we had the right space. Missing my fox at the moment - hasn't come home for the last few days. Almost a part of the family...
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2012 on Room With A View? at Postcards from a Flat Land
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Thanks for your comment, Mina. It's interesting. I hadn't really thought about the different ways I perceive reading something in different languages when it's just that - reading. I'm not sure what bit of me digests a story written in Dutch, whether it's different to the bit of me that does the same thing in English. It might well be. But how to turn intimacy in one language into intimacy in another, definitely requires a different approach to the one I use writing in my mother tongue.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2012 on On Translating Sex at Postcards from a Flat Land
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Thanks, Marcus! I will blog about the translating, I think it'll be a useful way for me to mull over what it does for my writing. I've translated screenplays before but this is the first novel. A lot of words...
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2012 on Latest Writing News at Postcards from a Flat Land
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'The vomit' is great isn't it? Nice to have that one up there with poetic notions such as 'the flow'. Still, that flowing feeling is when the writing process feels special, you're right. I love those moments too, when planning, or researching, when I get an idea, something that seems to have sidled up beside me, nudged me to say 'I'm here'. It mostly happens when walking round the park after a day's work.
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Thanks, Susan. I hope the North Star keeps guiding you. It's a lovely image, even if you'd prefer a compass at times. I think that, for me at least, so much of writing is about gut instinct, that following the urge is the only way. Sometimes I worry a little, though, that I'll discover halfway that I've made such a serious error in relation to some aspect or other of research, that I'll have to start all over again. But for now I shall just cross my fingers...
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Thanks for this response, Marcus, it's really interesting. I'm actually planning on traversing more than one country and tongue, so my research may end up being in French, Dutch and German - but that's okay. I've always wanted to write a picaresque novel, but I'm trying to keep to places I know well. Berlin (and Potsdam) may end up being the one I know least well, but I live here, so I can go out and look at it all. I think you're absolutely right that the kind of trees growing in a place, the kind of soil, these things are there to be found now and help you create a place that breathes. Another thing you said that I think is interesting is about character incarceration. Good to let them out, but temporarily keeping them pent up is no bad thing. It's sometimes very good to hold back until you really think you'll go pop. But that's quite different to over researching. Anyway, if you want to swap more detailed notes, you know where I am. Can always mull over a coffee.
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I think it's very much a publisher's event and pertaining mainly to the German industry. A bit above my head at the moment. Next year maybe a few of us should meet there. A sense of purpose would help...
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There's a lot going on in the English speaking world of books in Berlin as far as events are concerned. As to writer's groups, though, I'm not sure. I was invited to one when I first arrived, but only attended one session simply because I wasn't writing anything short at the time and didn't feel I could contribute much. There's also this group: http://cwg-berlin.com/. They're bilingual, though, and although my German is improving rapidly, I'm not sure I could honestly give good criticism on German texts yet. I went to a good group a few years ago in Amsterdam, but found it worked best for short stories. With a novel I want to find out if the overall narrative arc is working and that asks readers to give a lot of time - and as you say, they need to be able to reflect if their feedback is going to be really useful. I find if people just read a few chapters I end up concentrating on the words too soon, when there are still likely to be structural/ story issues.
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2011 on Buddies and Readers at Postcards from a Flat Land
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They're satellite dishes! I must go back and take some close ups. There was one with a kind of Arabian Prince and a shark. All sorts...
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Thank you, both! I didn't know there was a Shakespeare and Company in New York. There's a bookshop with the same name just around the corner from where I live in Berlin, but I don't think there's any connection. It seems to be very much a German bookshop.
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Bridget, Erich Fried's poem is called 'What it Is'. This is a link to an English translation. http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/114738.Erich_Fried It was a very simple exercise. Basically the teacher took out all the 'madness, love, reason, pride, foolish, caution' and so forth, jumbled them up at the bottom of the page (we knew we needed to use 'love' three times) and asked us to put them in the order we thought was appropriate. That she'd given us the words isn't clear in my post, I realise. Most people came far closer to the original than I did. I realised afterwards that I'd bypassed the knowledge that it was a love poem - which we had been told - and I think that's why my version was different.
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Thanks, Sam. I really did feel rather sick looking all that way down...
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I would be very interested in a copy of 'The Hare with Amber Eyes', please.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2011 on A winner and another draw at Cornflower Books
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And it was the boy who hadn't wanted to come to a 'girl's' birthday party, who had the biggest grin on his face.
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Thanks, Claire. The woman was a bit pointy...
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Happy Christmas, Marisa. With virtual sausages and mustard :)
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Thanks, Aliefka. I really appreciate your comment. Some of the pieces are still pending publication and the others are always available for republication (one of them is about to go out on its third run), so self-publishing them isn't really an option at the moment. Four of them are together at Fictionaut, and I must post a link to a new one that was published last week. An Amsterdam story, actually. I was thinking about making a tiny e-book of the ones published online in the New Year. Not sure if I'll actually get round to it, though. I know what you mean about the passing of time. Wrestling with re-writing my opening chapters and this is one of the problems. And it's a lot of time... It's starting to look better, though.
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2010 on This (Writing) Life at Postcards from a Flat Land
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Thanks for your comments, Claire and Marisa. I think your idea, Claire, of moving backwards from a goal is really interesting. I also know only too well what Maris means about blanket notions like 'Want to easily support myself writing'. Musing on your comments, I've realised that probably one of the reasons I reached my publications target was that it was a very specific task. If I can be that specific in all my different areas of writing, film-making, earning, maybe it will help. At the moment I'm thinking 'But I want to do it all', but if I think about the specific things I want to do in each area, I might have more chance of managing it. Only time will tell...
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2010 on This (Writing) Life at Postcards from a Flat Land
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And you're absolutely right, Marisa. There's no point in deciding to write a novel in November just because that's what everyone else is doing. A friend of mine did it last year and she said she didn't hold to one linear idea, just the word count and got some interesting material for future use out of it. I can see the attraction of that.
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2010 on NaNoWriMo at Postcards from a Flat Land
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Yep, 70,000 to 80,000 would be better, but I don't think it's going to happen. Ah well, I'm just going to have to make sure it's fantastic!
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2010 on NaNoWriMo at Postcards from a Flat Land
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A friend of mine who has diplomat parents and spoke more than one language as a child has definitely found choosing a mother tongue hard. But, I think, she did in the end feel an emotional need to have a linguistic 'home'. Maybe our kids will be so used to it though that they'll feel equally comfortable in more than one. Not sure.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2010 on It's All Greek to Me at Postcards from a Flat Land
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