Words into pictures

Well, the eclipse in all its cloudy, non-glory has been and gone. The world is still standing. The moon did not (as I sort of briefly fantasised) get comfy in that spot right in front of the sun, so there’s no kind of UK-based, winter-forever, the-shadow-has-fallen apocalypse going on. (Yes, I know there’s a load of scientific reasons why that wouldn’t happen, but for a little while it was more exciting in my head than the reality of an entirely grey sky and twitter making jokes.) So I guess I’ve got no excuse but to sit and write a slightly overdue blog entry.

Life ticks on. Tomorrow I start my next batch of driving lessons and, unusually, I’m not too nervous. I’ve been cycling the roads around where I live enough that they aren’t an unknown quantity in the manner that being traffic on a London road was. Also, crucially, these roads are nowhere near as busy and terrifying as London roads. I’ve got some faith in myself being able to remember what I learned two years ago during the intensive course that nearly broke me. Unfortunately the driving lesson means I’m missing the first half of the day of Newcastle Poetry Festival on Saturday, including George Szirtes’ reading. But much as I’d love to forgo all else in the world and live on words alone, practically speaking I need the driving to get to more of the lovely words, so driving wins. I’ve got my theory test booked as well.

Encouragingly, I had my first proper bike crash last week – well, not proper, I suppose, because it involved nothing but my own dreadful judgement on a turn, going a bit too fast, and a badly placed bit of kerb. I have some beautiful sunset bruises on my legs and my left hand, as well as a couple of holes in the index finger of my left hand that should leave some pretty scars. The bike is fine. I am being a bit more careful with my cycling.

Life ticks on. I’m writing this in a Starbucks when I should be at the Newcastle Poetry Festival already today, but I arrived late for the first event of the day, so here I am. I’ll be going along later, looking forward to it. In the meantime I’ve got a book of poetry in my bag borrowed from the library, which I’ve joined, edited by Kei Miller, so I’ll settle down and read that. Or write something that’s not this. I’ve discovered that soy milk in a chai latte tastes better than normal milk, so that’s something.

Life ticks on. My little story-I-love, ‘Fimbulwinter‘ is up and available to read with a host of other really good stories/essays/interviews on the Litro Magazine site. It’s had a nice reception. Every reading/interview I’ve ever been to, writers say it’s lovely to hear from readers and know that their story was enjoyed, and it turns out it is. It really is. A couple of people have been in touch, loving Mara as much I love her. I’ve had a couple of nice tweets. The best response by far, though, was someone I worked with way back when getting in touch to say she’d loved the story and that she’d drawn an illustration based on it. That was just brilliant – someone liking my writing enough that it made them want to draw. Rachel is a myths&legends geek like me, so the story struck a chord.

"If Jo’s stare is ice, Mara’s is the threat of burning ships. Jo steps back."
“If Jo’s stare is ice, Mara’s is the threat of burning ships. Jo steps back.”


What I love about this picture is not just that she got Mara’s defiant face just right, but that in the background, there are Huginn and Munnin in the tree, which represents Yggdrasil, and if you look carefully has Odin’s face in the bark pattern, watching the confrontation.

After she sent me this I asked Rachel if I could a) put it on this blog and show it off and b) if she had a portfolio to link to or something because she’s a very good artist (I actually have a painted canvas by her at home) and I know she’s looking for freelance work. So if you want to see more of her stuff (and she is continuing to add to the portfolio, so keep revisiting it), please head over to Behance and check it out.

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