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WINTERSTRIKE has reached this point:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
29,000 / 120,000
(24.2%)


Thus far, it is a tale of spies, missing sisters, mysterious aerial dreadnaughts, dead alien huntresses and centipede queens. Most of it is on Mars so far but I will be turning my attention back to Earth shortly.

Meanwhile, I've been editing a short story for its appearance in STRANGE HORIZONS. It's called THE HIDE and is set here on the Somerset Levels. Should be coming out very soon.

At the moment, I'm in the shop. Madness is unfolding at home, as our place is being used for a maypole ritual this evening and about 25 people are due to descend, including a possible Tibetan lama. (His appearance is possible, I mean: not that Khenpo Rinpoche is an imposter). I am therefore agog to get home and find out whether we have a lama in residence.

Arvon

Feb. 16th, 2007 11:01 am
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I have been up in Hebden Bridge ("Valley of the rosehips") over the last day or so, giving a reading to a young writers' group. Arrived late on Wednesday afternoon, which was very clear and cold, and took a taxi up to Hepstonstall, one of those Yorkshire mill villages that is a scatter of cobbled streets and low black houses. The Arvon centre itself, Lumb Bank, is just over the brow of a hill and down a steep rutted track. Beech woods and running streams, and a lovely snowdrop edged terrace looking out over the town and the old mill chimneys. It's a low, rambling building, probably dating back to the early 1800s but possibly earlier: stone floors and exposed beams. In the night, there were owls.

Details are here: http://www.arvonfoundation.org/pages/about_arvon/arvon_centres.asp?PageID=7

- if anyone is interested in undertaking an Arvon foundation writing course. It's one of the most prestigious writing programmes in this country and has now been running for 40 years, under the aegis of poet Ted Hughes and others. Hughes had a great deal to do with Arvon (a name chosen at random from the Mabinogion) and with Lumb Bank itself. When he died, a black cat appeared and was promptly named after him, although she is a female. This led to some odd conversations ("I think Ted Hughes wants to go out"). Still, less tactless than calling her Sylvia, I suppose.

The group I spoke to ranged from about 13 - 18 and they were delightful. They asked intelligent, penetrating questions and spent the rest of the evening playing poker, downloading bits of the Goon Show, and writing. They've restored my faith in teenagers and I bet we'll be hearing from some of them in the future.

Next morning, I got down to the station to find about 100 disconsolate commuters and a broken rail on the Manchester line. However, after some scrambling, the right train did finally leave and I got down to London by lunchtime, to meet T and subsequently the folks from Macmillan for lunch, which was lovely as always. Also saw [livejournal.com profile] saxonb, which is always a pleasure, too. I hope we didn't distract you for too long! Then T and I wandered into Soho for cake at Valerie's and dinner in a Chinese place, thence home.

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