Today the British Museum are hosting a livestream where various actors and scholars are reading The Iliad in its entirety. In case you don’t know, I studied Classics as an undergrad so I’m basically a fangirl for Homeric epithets and epic journeys, especially when they’re read out by your old lecturer, the excellently bearded Simon Goldhill. A handful of people suggested it would be fun to write something in the Homeric style, perhaps even with a YA theme. I’ve only had one coffee today, but since bits of my novel are shamelessly inspired by things I studied at uni, I’ll give it a shot. Brace yourselves.
I was chatting to the other 26 folk about the 26 Under A Northern Sky project, themed round Nick Drake songs, and it got me thinking about my own relationship with music. It also helped that Kieron Gillen’s latest instalment of music-themed fantasy Phonogram, Immaterial Girl, is out in the summer, and he’s spoken about writing and playlists in The Wicked And The Divine. So brace yourselves for a ramble of my own.
Oh god, I’ve punned too early today. Sorry about that. I’ve been in an odd mood the past few days, mainly due to politics making me sad. I fixed this with bingeing on Spitting Image- something still far too topical- and rewriting the fanfic my husband randomly did for me. At the bottom he’d written ‘this scene setting is harder than I thought’. Guh, tell me about it. Well, in the interests of not being about politics and containing magical talking creatures, here’s a sort of prologue I knocked up in the middle of a hangover, barely edited and probably too florid. Enjoy.
The more I poked the novel with a pointy stick, the more I appreciated that creatures of Celtic myth and legend aren’t as widespread as they should be. To fix this, I highly recommend starting somewhere like Scotland’s Stories, whose beautiful illustrations remind me of Betty Swanwick who’s best known for the Selling England By The Pound cover. The wonderful tales at Orkneyjar are also worth your time.
Today I want to talk about the selkie.
A friend sent me some textbooks she used on her MA course; they’re super-useful and I wish I’d had them before I started the novel. (On the other hand, NaNos are not meant to be perfect on November 30th, and there are many rants about poor publishers being lumped with godawful manuscripts on December 1st. Don’t be that writer.)