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Newsletter Dated: 7/31/2007 12:12:24 PM
Subject: July 2007
Some big news this month. I had an interview at the University of Salford and I have been offered a post there. I am so pleased, because it means that I shall be working in a way which is part of my writing and which supports my writing. It is exactly what I wanted. It seems a very pleasant campus.
We had the Great Writing conference at Bangor the last weekend in June, first in July. There was a good range of papers and readings. It was held up at CAST this time, which is a very interesting space. Itís quite odd being surrounded by state of the art technology and looking out through the huge picture windows at the mountains and the sheep. But somehow, very appropriate for Creative Writing. We had a fabulous dinner in Powys Hall, preceded by a performance by creative studies students form NIECI. Extraordinarily apt, and quite beautiful in the quadrangle in the pouring rain.
The university year gradually wound down at the beginning of July. We had the final meeting of Intermind before breaking for the summer, though we might meet up for a drink next week. We gave a small present to Rachel, an American friend who returned to Chicago the first weekend in July. She has had an impact on the group in her own special way. At Intermind we had the usual debate about whether we are predetermined or if there is free will, and whether it actually matters. It looked as if it might be a bit depressing, though it was interesting to try and understand the brain a little better. However, none of us actually believe it even thought the evidence points that way.
Graduation happened on the 16th. Well, anyway, Iíve now left Bangor. I did my three weeksí Welsh course. I didnít really enjoy it all that much Ė though I was fortunate in having the best teacher for the first two weeks. Itís more to do with me than anything wrong with the course. And I did enjoy some bits. Itís just that Iíve got used to the solitary life of the writer. I need my space and I need my solitude. Knowing so much a bout language learning theory also got in the way. But it did the trick. Now my Welsh is at a stage where I wonít forget it.
Now the work on the anthology at Tile Hill Wood School is finsihed. We launched the book on the 12th July. It was a lovely occasion and the book has come out really well. They sold quite well on the evening, as well.
I shall miss my mountains. But in some ways it is good to be back. I enjoyed going to London on Monday. I had my photo taken for Guest invest. Iím the only woman so far to have invested in a hotel room. It will be great for using after Society of Authorsí evenings and book launches in London. Iíve usually ahd to use really seedy hotels. Owners get 52 free nights there you see. Well, we writers have to make a living, donít we? Theyíve sent me the most wonderful big bouquet of flowers.
Iíve spent much of this week finishing off the chapter for the book my Ph D supervisor is editing. I suppose I shouldnít call him that any more. The German term, Doktorvater, works better I think. Heíll always be my Doktorvater, even if I only see him occasionally. All birds have to leave the nest eventually.
Actually, I dreamt about flying a couple of days before my viva. I was soaring and swooping, and felt at home doing that, and was enjoying it. But I was being attacked by two ordinary looking birds. Plenty of Symbolism there, I guess.
The end of July has been dominated by Harry Potter. My husband and I went to see the fifth film The Order of the Phoenix on Saturday. By far the best film so far. And actually the weakest of the books. Interestingly, the parts which were emphasised in the film Ė and they certainly canít contain everything Ė have a lot of connection with book seven Ė Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Iíve now finished reading book seven. At some point Iíll read them end to end. I donít think J.K. is the best writer but my goodness sheís got a good plot and sheís obviously a very clever lady. So many references to so many oterh things. The white doe takes Harry to the sword Ė one of the Deathly Hallows. Resurrection stones. But I was right about Snape all along, and about the true nature of the relationship between Harry and Voldemort. Does it have my seven traits of the YA novel?
Cross-genre? Doesn't she contain every genre?
Face-paced? At the end if not at the beginning.
Emotional engagement? That has been there form the beginning, since we know Harry so well.
Pushes boundaries? The amount of symbolism.
Content in readerís hands? Yes, indeed.
Bildungsroman? Power of love?
Itís not a bad match.