Pages, Patricia and the Past

No Complaints #146

Hello and welcome back to another newsletter. I am deep into the final writing stage of my book now, and I’m trying hard to restrict the time I spend randomly looking at the internet. Luckily for you, I’m failing quite drastically at this.

Things to read

“And yet again Lewis chooses a girl as his viewpoint character. We see Narnia through Jill’s eyes, and she has common sense, courage, obstinacy and what is now called ‘attitude’. (Yes, she pushes Eustace off a cliff – but anyone might do that.) Jill and Eustace indulge in similar amounts of bad-tempered bickering, and their relationship — friendship with a touch of rivalry — is more realistic than any in the previous books.  It’s all very even-handed. Jill is afraid of tight spaces, but Eustace is afraid of heights. Jill doesn’t fight the serpent, but she can tack up big, nervous horses and ride them without fear. It’s Jill who fools the giants by putting on a comedy performance of Shirley Temple-style cuteness.”

On re-reading C S Lewis’s The Silver Chair, and discovering its origins in medieval romances. Email to Pocket.

“She had a butt like a silken princess and I wanted to marry her.”

This is what I got when I plugged my name into this handy “how a male author would describe you” generator. Have fun finding yours. (Inspired by this great Twitter thread.) Email to Pocket.

“The single best way to give the morning back to myself is to open a real book as I drink my first cup of coffee. I’m not sure why real books are best. I think the pages remind me that I have fingerprints. I think I like to see what I have read lying sweetly by the side of what I’m about to read, like a wife.”

I am quite partial to a bit of Patricia Lockwood, and she’s on excellent form here giving her “writing advice”. Email to Pocket.

“The nuns decided to take matters into their own hands. Establishing their base in the nearby church of St. Hilary, the princesses scrounged up a diverse cast of mercenaries that, according to Gregory, included ‘murderers, sorcerers, adulterers, run­away slaves and men guilty of all other crimes’. Their little army's first task was to beat up the party sent to formally excommunicate the women. Then they turned their attention to the convent itself, seizing its lands before finally attempting to abduct Leubovera herself. At first, they accidentally carried off the prioress Justina instead (also Gregory's niece, which might explain his later hostility towards the women), but they succeeded in nabbing Leubovera on their second try. Basina herself took on guarding the abbess to ensure she wouldn't escape.”

These sixth century Merovingian princess were not messing around. Email to Pocket.

“How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it? Erasing history is a dangerous road when it comes to art — change is essential, but so, too, is remembering the past, in all of its transgression and barbarism, so that we may properly gauge how far we have come, and also how far we still need to go.”

This article by Molly Ringwald, in which she critically reappraises the films she made with John Hughes and finds many of their attitudes, especially towards young women, wanting was very widely shared in my social media sphere. Perhaps you’ve all read it already. Perhaps you haven’t, but will now. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

I’ve been getting through a lot of episodes of Flash Forward recently, a brilliant podcast made by Rose Everleth in which, under her guidance, experts imagine a different possible future for the world every week. You can start anywhere, but I like this one: “You’ve Got Brainmail!”, about telepathy.

+A reminder: you can get a podcast playlist from me in your inbox every Sunday if you become a paying subscriber to my podcast newsletter.

Things to watch

She’s got it.

I’m dizzy.

Handy primer.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Me, reading the news .

The guest gif

See ya.
(Gif source.)