- Recent goings on.
Hello. It’s February 2021. As I type this the rain is beating on the conservatory roof. Nearly all the paths around where I live are thick mud. Other words for mud, incidentally, include slobber, slabber, slutch, and lutulence, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
An unpleasant new variant of COVID, first detected near where I live in Kent, is making life harder for everyone. I lost a beloved Aunt to the virus a few days ago. She was a doctor and devoted a great deal of her life to looking after others, including me. The grief ebbs and flows.
2. For the day dreamers.
I’m personally always in the market for a bit of writing advice. I think the ultimate for me was Ray Bradbury. “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.”
3. For the Misfortune fans
I submitted the sequel to “Cape Misfortune” to Solstice Publishing and am thrilled to say they have just accepted it! The books is called “Cape Misfortune II: Agata’s Story.” The strange piece of headland on the Southern Oregon Coast, a fault line between worlds, keeps calling to me.
Some of the action is in pioneer times. I enjoyed reading contemporary diaries while researching the novel. It was fun writing a fantasy set in that period.
4. Local Writer
I recently found out that an author grew up in the same Kentish village as me. Her name was Catherine Crowe. She wrote mainly about the supernatural, introducing the terms “poltergeist” and “doppelgänger” into English usage.
Her 1848 book “The Night-Side of Nature,” went through many editions, and is often considered the first serious study of the supernatural written in the English-speaking world. It deals with stories of fetches, dopplegangers, wraiths, phantom lights, haunted houses, stigmata, and many other phenomena.
The book was phenomenally. popular in Victorian times. Charles Dickens called it “one of the most extraordinary collections of ‘Ghost Stories’ that has ever been published”, declaring that Crowe “can never be read without pleasure and profit, and can never write otherwise than sensibly and well.”
The mix of stories and anecdotes would now be considered folklore. What I like about reading the book in 2021 is that the hauntings take place in the everyday world, often in daylight. The invisible world is “interfused” amongst us.
She is almost forgotten now, and most biographies dwell on a psychotic breakdown (from which she recovered) later on in her life.
A modern reader may not share all of Catherine Crowe’s beliefs. What animates her writing is tolerance and open-mindedness, and spirit of investigation.
So spare her a thought if you ever drive through Borough Green!