Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 989)

Work in progress: third draft: beta readers

The current work in progress (a middle-grade novel, roughly 40,000 words) nears completion of its third draft. Some of you have agreed to read over the draft and make comments. I have a list of people I can remember discussing this with, but I'm not sure it's complete. Therefore, please comment and let me know if you would be interested in reading, and what your preferred format would be (PDF, HTML, various e-reader formats).

I am asking for a turnaround of three weeks after I send it to you. If you're not done reading in three weeks, tell me what you think of what you have read.

Thank you all!

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/265582.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-27 20:58:50 from Monument

The Centipede

by A. P. Herbert
(Published in Punch, September 1920)

The centipede is not quite nice;
He lives in idleness and vice;
He has a hundred legs;
He also has a hundred wives,
And each of these, if she survives,
Has just a hundred eggs;
And that's the reason if you pick
Up any boulder, stone or brick
You nearly always find
A swarm of centipedes concealed;
They scatter far across the field,
But _one_ remains behind.
And you may reckon then, my son,
That not alone that luckless one
Lies pitiful and torn,
But millions more of either sex--
100 multiplied by x--
Will never now be born.
I daresay it will make you sick,
But so does all Arithmetic.

The gardener says, I ought to add,
The centipede is not so bad;
He rather LIKES the brutes.
The millipede is what he loathes;
He uses fierce bucolic oaths
Because it eats his roots;
And every gardener is agreed
That, if you see a centipede
Conversing with a milli--,
On one of them you drop a stone,
The other one you leave alone--
I think that's rather silly.
They may be right, but what I say
Is, "Can one stand about all day
And COUNT the creature's legs?"
It has too many, anyway,
And any moment it may lay
Another hundred eggs;
So if I see a thing like this (1)
I murmur, "Without prejudice,"
And knock it on the head;
And if I see a thing like that (2)
I take a brick and squash it flat;
In either case it's dead.

(1) and (2). There ought to be two pictures here, one with a hundred legs and the other with about a thousand. I have tried several artists, but most of them couldn't even get a hundred on to the page, and those who did always had more legs on one side than the other, which is quite wrong. So I have had to dispense with the pictures.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/265320.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-25 19:34:09 from Monument

Pile of books

There is a large pile of books beside my desk. These are the books that I was looking at but haven't got around to putting away. It currently contains:

"This Woman" (a poetry chapbook); "Comparative Linguistics"; "1066"; "The Seven Storey Mountain"; "If on a winter's night a traveller"; "Finding my voice" by Jonathan Veira; "The Elements of New Testament Greek"; "Pride and Prejudice"; "God is alive, magic is afoot"; "28 Sonnets Later"; an NIV Bible (the copy I carry around with me); "The Hobbit"; "Archer's Goon"; a Vulgate; the "Alice" stories; "Flying Under Bridges"; something about academic dress; "Tell me how you live" by Agatha Christie; "Fifty Walks in Surrey"; "The BBC Micro"; "Easy Cooking"; the Faber Book of Parodies; "The Casebook of the Black Widowers"; "Studies in Words" by C S Lewis; "Her Thinks" by Mary Jones; "English in 100 Words" by David Crystal; "Who is Ozymandias?"; "The Pastoral Care of the Mentally Ill".

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/265185.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-25 05:26:47 from Monument

January's Pop Up Poetry

Here's me reading at January's Pop Up Poetry at the Bar des Arts in Guildford.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/263822.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-19 20:59:18 from Monument

"Horatius" by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Me, reciting "Horatius" by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Feedback welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/262147.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-14 23:26:11 from Monument

The Great Millipede

The millipedes tell one another a story of the Great Millipede. She has a body with segments that go on for ever, so she can be in all places; she has feelers that go on for ever, so she can hear all things; and when she laid the eggs that made the world, she created millipedes in her own image, for she loves them best. I did not venture to disagree.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/262050.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-13 12:02:24 from Monument

Hymn to the Great Green Arkleseizure

(Tune: Abbot's Leigh)

Lo, the Great Green Arkleseizure
Forms the world from what is not! [*]
To the stars that from each nostril
Flew to their appointed spot
Still must every Jatravartid
Sing the songs of their belief
From the sneeze until the coming
Of the Great White Handkerchief.

[*] This line may have been mistranscribed

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/260250.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2012-12-21 06:22:50 from Monument

First world problems are problems

There's a Ralph McTell song called Streets of London where the chorus goes:

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind.
Read that again carefully. You may think you're sad, but there are people living on the streets of London who are worse off than you are, so you're actually mistaken about being sad.

I'm not in any way trying to minimise the terrible problem of homelessness. Go to Shelter now and give them some money, OK? But the trouble with the song's argument is that it's bollocks.

Firstly: trying to police another person's feelings is a fool's game. Everyone who's suffered from depression has had some patronising bastard come up to them and tell them that everything would be all right if they just got a sense of perspective. Don't be that person. The last thing we need is Ralph McTell singing about it to warmed-over Pachelbel.

Secondly: suppose the song's argument was valid: you can't be sad, because there are people on the streets who have it worse than you do. Well, is there a human situation worse than living on the streets of London? Maybe being tortured in Libya is worse? Well then, we should be able to go round all the homeless people in London telling them all that they're not allowed to be unhappy because they're not being tortured in Libya. Eventually you find the person who's having a worse time than everyone else in the world, and you tell them that they're allowed to be sad, and nobody else is. This isn't the Depression Olympics.

You often see this argument in the guise of "first world problems". Sometimes, yes, people do have to get a sense of perspective. But often this is just a derailing technique. Criticism of almost anything can be belittled this way. And you know what? Maslow's hierarchy is a hierarchy. It has more than one level in it.

OK, end of rant.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/259944.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2012-12-19 13:36:43 from Monument


A year ago last Thursday I was looking for some gold, when I met a dwarf who thought he knew the best, for the map I'd made said northwards was the way back to the house, but he followed me insisting it was west. So I turned off to the west, but straight away it all went dark, and I stood a moment thinking what to do, when all at once a hollow booming voice beside my ear said in a sort of whisper: "I'm a grue."

Syndicated 2012-12-11 19:15:56 from Monument


“Fools!” said the man, stamping his foot with rage. “That is the sort of talk that brought me to Toronto, and I’d better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams—dreams, do you understand—come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.”

Coat-wearing monkey found wondering around Toronto Ikea

Syndicated 2012-12-10 02:46:37 from Monument

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