Monday 2 November 2015

Holiday reads

There are two main points for me on holiday: getting away from the Internet a little and reading.
Reading has always been important for me on holiday. Even as a child I would save my pocket money to buy books to take away with me. What a delight if we happened to find a second-hand bookshop. Of course now I avoid them; I want the writer and publisher to get their full dues. I can forgive them, though. I’ve been introduced to several writers when I first bought their work in a second-hand bookshop. Thereafter I’ve been willing to buy the hardback as soon as it comes out.

It’s partly escapism, I guess. But it’s also partly reassessment, confirmation of life. I always include a few heavier literary texts, some in other languages and some non-fiction.

What was it this year? Some autobiographical work by Alan Bennett, Claire Tomalin’s  biography of  Dickens, a  couple of young adult books featuring vampires, one of them in French, and a handful of Crooked Cat titles. I’m published by the latter and I’m pleased to say that all of the books they publish are engaging. 

Most writers need to read a lot. We sort of “catch” our craft from what we read. So, it’s good being on holiday.  I’m actually “working” even though I’m really indulging in my default activity. 

We’re now approaching what I call the story time of year. Those long evenings and cold days when you want to stay in by the fire. Holidays are coming – half term for some in the UK, and Thanksgiving and Christmas not far behind.  I expect a lot of reading will get done.         

Sunday 1 November 2015

Newsletter 1 November 2015

At work this month and much of last month I’ve been involved with two colleagues in getting a lot of paperwork ready for a review of our programmes. In my case Drama and Creative Writing and English and Drama. This process is called PPRR – Periodic Programme Review and Reapproval. It’s been a lot of work and I’ve done quite a bit at weekends – that’s the only time I’ve found the brain space.

There have been three really positive sides to this however:
  1. We’ve been able to scrutinize our programmes closely and we’ve brought in several changes as part of the process. Changes that we think will make to our programmes even stronger.
  2. One of our strengths we’ve always believed has been how well our programmes integrate. As we go through this process, we’re become even more convinced.
  3. I’ve been able to work really closely with my two colleagues whose programmes are going through the same process.
The down side of it has been that I’ve got less writing done than usual. Today I get back to it.  But eh oh: look what I’m actually writing about ….