LGBT History Month reading at Richmond Library


It’s taken me a while to get round to posting this, as there’s been other things on my mind.

Here I am reading at Richmond Library in February, complete with interventions from planes on flight path to Heathrow!:

mosaic glyphArachne’s Daughters (with Alix Adams) from Mosaic of Air

 

 

 

9781909208018A Place of Departures from Stations

 

 

 

cover _for_52 lovesNeutral Ground from 52 :Loves

LGBT History month – LoSoCo


LoSoCo is what I’ve always known as Lewisham College.

I did a reading there on Thursday for LGBT History Month. Here are a couple of snippets. (Apologies for the background noise – it’s the air-conditioning.)

Holiday Romance, in which Melanie goes on holiday with her mother and allows her imagination to run riot.

Baby Pink/ Electric Blue, in which Marlene can’t cope with a wedding.

both from Mosaic of Air.

Thanks to Mary Fudge for organising, and to the students and staff for coming along and asking interesting questions.

LGBT History Month: Crofton Park Eco-Community Library


This is about as local as you can get for me, the library is a twelve-minute walk from my house, so I was very pleased to be invited to read. A small audience but a generous one, they bought more books than the other LGBT history month events put together, and most of us ended up at Mr Lawrence’s for a drink after, so a lovely evening! Once again Alix joined in, reading the voice of Rowan in Rowan’s version, with me reading Maggie/Peggy; and the archivist in Arachne’s Daughters with me reading the spider – both from Mosaic of Air.

Rowan’s Version

Arachne’s Daughters (the only duplicate so far this month – we enjoy reading it too much to only do it once)

Neither of the other stories are published… yet…

Blood Will Tell

The Dowry Blade

You can catch the video from Queer Tales at The Story Sessions over on the Arachne Press site

Thanks to Nicky and Lira for organising!

I’m doing ONE more LGBT History event open to the public, Wednesday 26th February 7pm Rainbow Readings at The Cafe of Good Hope, Hither Green Lane SE13. This is a ticketed event £3 (proceeds to the Jimmy Mizzen Foundation).

And I’m doing a reading and workshop at Lewisham College (now known as LeSoCo) on Thursday 27th, but you can only come to that if you study or work there…

LGBT History month: reading at North Kensington Library – video


This week I did two readings from Mosaic of Air for LGBT History Month, the first at North Kensington Library.

(note about the videos: my website randomly allocates different formats to video, not all of which work with internet explorer: they all work with Mozilla Firefox so try that of you can’t see them!)

Here I read from Ladies Pleasure, which is set in an old people’s home.

And a new piece Clock: most of the action takes place at the top of a thirteenth century clock tower in a north european town, although the action is set in the late nineteenth century.

And the story which gave Arachne Press its name: Arachne’s Daughters, in which a  spider gives a lecture (introduced and interjected into by Alix, playing ‘the archivist’)

and finally, Penelope is No Longer Waiting, my first ever published story, in which the Odyssey gets a different ending.

The plan is to read different stories at each event, so watch this space for more video or audio recordings, or come along to the last three events: The Story Sessions Queer Tales on 19th February, Crofton Park Library on 21st, and Cafe of Good Hope Rainbow Readings on the 26th.

Oh, and I’m going to be on the RADIO, on Out in South London on Resonance FM on Tuesday 18th February at some point between 6.30 and 7.30, repeated Sunday at 10am, talking about LGBT History Month.

New Review of Mosaic of Air


An absolutely lovely review from Sabotage!

High points

‘Mosaic of Air’ is an interesting parable featuring a proto-post-feminist lead, a computer programmer whose programme becomes sentient which surprisingly encases an abortion debate.

If you read nothing else in this book you must read ‘Arachne’s Daughters’; this takes apart a myth about Arachne (a human) challenging Athene (the goddess): ‘”Now, can you believe anyone would be so stupid?” ‘.  It’s set as a speech given at a women-only meeting with a clever twist on why so many women shouldn’t fear spiders despite the extra legs and pincers ‘ “Forgot something though didn’t they?…[Men]… How many Cancers and Scorpios are in the audience?” ‘.

Inspirations – Russian Fairytales, illustrations and London Bridge


Two stories came from the same picture, which I have been completely unable to trace. I think it is from an edition of The Snow Queen, and the illustrator might have been Kay Neilsen or Edmund Dulac or possibly Arthur Rackham, but as I’ve been unable to track it down I can’t confirm; maybe, like the rest of the story, I dreamt it.

The Bone Box (Mosaic of Air) definitely owes something to Kay Neilsen, whose illustration of the North Wind for East of the Sun, West of the Moon (a book I haven’t read!) influenced the design of the story and the language too. I had a reproduction of this picture on my pin board for about eight years. Neilsen’s North Wind is a solid, rather Art Deco god. This lent simplicity to the language I used, while my heroine, Adamanta, got her stubbornness from the frowning wind, and her good sense from the girl in the lost picture, in her voluminous coat. If this was a real fairytale its origins would be in Siberia, despite the lack of snow.

Another girl in an oversized coat features in All Hallows, (Tales Told Before Cockcrow) where she embodies my objections to TS Eliot’s claim that London Bridge is swarming with ghosts – ghosts don’t go anywhere, I remember thinking, and started wondering about the everyday ghosts, the homeless, with nowhere to go, and I imagined this ghost rooted to the spot, in all the surging humanity that is London and the more I thought about her the further back in time she went. This could have been really long, but I reused some scenes for the beginning of another novel, and this remains what it started as: concerned with what it is that keeps a ghost rooted to a place through time and how they might be set free by the right intervention.

Inspirations – Dancing in the Darkroom


Getting a book ready for publication (Typesetting, proofreading) even second time round and twenty years later, does send me back to the roots of the stories, and with so many of the stories in Mosaic of Air I can remember exactly where and when the idea first stuck its claws into me.

Ladies Pleasure, the cover story for Mosaic of Air this time round, came from a session in the darkroom. I like the radio on when I’m printing up photographs, and normally that would be radio 3 or 4, but in this case there was nothing I wanted to listen to, so I spun the dial and got Radio 2.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I’ve listened to R2 (apart from the folk music programmes). It was an afternoon, midweek in about 1984 and Michael Aspell was talking to elderly women living in a care home.

All I remember about the programme was one woman saying how difficult it was to get a male partner for  dancing, and how it wasn’t the same dancing with a woman. I laughed quoted Alix Dobkin to myself and got on with what I was doing,  but the seed was sown.  What if like me, that woman had prefered dancing with women? What if she had always wanted to dance with women, or what if due to circumstances, women and dancing had always gone together? And there she was, Grace Carew-Petrullo, a minor character in one of those movies about brave gels on the home front, a bit player in a book from sixty years earlier, given her own voice, her unspoken jealousy of, and desire for, the glorious Jessica Markham still fresh after a lifetime of experience.

Mosaic of Air by Cherry Potts (cover Melina Traub)

Grace and Jessica confront each other on the cover of Mosaic of Air by Cherry Potts (cover Melina Traub)