Yep ... as well as lurching from day to day without actually knowing what day it is, I’ve spent the last six weeks brushing up on my French.
It’s a concerted effort to keep ahead of the nine year old, but I’m also secretly pleased at how much I’ve retained – even if I am now addicted to reaching the top of the Duolingo leader-board.
It’s also made me appreciate, all over again, the immense skill of those authors writing – and writing fiction – in a second language. I work regularly with people whose first language is Italian, Dutch, Norwegian and Turkish, and they flip effortlessly between countries, whilst I’m struggling to write a daily 2 line ‘lockdown diary’ entry en Francais – the challenge said 9 year old has set me. (His revenge for my ‘home-schooling’!)
Books, in any language, must be one of the top three pleasures of being at home; reading them or writing them. I’ve meandered along doing some of each, and even have one random story published in The Cabinet of Heed https://cabinetofheed.com/category/issue-21/ (If you have a minute, do open one of the drawers, as you never know what delights you’ll find).
As ever, I’ve had the privilege of working with several authors this month, whose very different works have all come into being. This time, they’ve all gone for self-publishing, and I’d highly recommend all three.
For anyone interested in the history of the so-called ‘Edinburgh Seven’, the story of Sophia Jex-Blake and the first women to study medicine at any UK university, John Francis Hart has written a fictional account of their lives. Called The Burton Sisters, it draws on the events of the time and is a great short novel. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Burton-Sisters-John-Francis-Hart/dp/1672809258/
Helen Edwards, already known for her novelettes and her ‘Archie’ non-fiction, has tackled practicalities head on and written Self-Publishing on a Budget. Part how-to guide and part a reflection on her journey, Helen’s book has made even me believe that self-publishing might not be so impossible after all… https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Self-Publish-Budget-Self-Publishing-Journey-ebook/dp/B087D7GQBH/ (and as I write, the Kindle edition is free!)
And in a response to the current pandemic and social isolation, Megan Kingsbury has put together a lovely resource for children, as Mhairi McFluff and the Big Bad Bug. Megan, who studies theatre and film at QMU, says: ‘Due to my health conditions I wasn't able to help much with the fight against coronavirus so I decided to channel my passion for writing into helping children's understanding of the current epidemic. I was inspired by a family friend whose 7 year old autistic son was struggling to comprehend why we had to stay at home’. Mhairi McFluff (and Megan) are raising money for the NHS through sales of the book. Buy it on https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/802824607/mhairi-mcfluff-and-the-big-bad-bug?ref=shop_home_active_1
Or support the NHS via JustGiving: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mmatbbb-megan-kingsbury-fundraising-nhs
As they probably don’t say in French – reste calme et continue à lire