Books have been a bit of a theme of what I’ve been thinking about today. It’s the 25th of May, which is Towel Day and also the Glorious 25th of May. I started rereading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy last night as a result; I don’t need to reread Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch, I’ve read it about six times already, it’s one of my favourites, but I haven’t read Hitchhiker’s Guide since I first picked it up a decade or so ago.
Another book I’ve been thinking about today I also read about a decade ago. While Hitchhiker’s Guide is mostly gone from my memory in that time, with the exception of the main characters’ names and towels and the improbability drive, the other book I’ve been thinking about is one I have never forgotten because it is a very powerful, well written book. That book is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – a book which Education Secretary Michael Gove “dislikes” and has removed from the GCSE English literature syllabus on the basis that it was written by an author who wasn’t British (apparently British students can only learn lessons from British books, or something – which doesn’t bode well for our language teaching; I wonder if Latin will only be taught from inscriptions and documents written in Britain on the same basis).
For any readers who are not British, Michael Gove is on the podium for the most hated British politician, and possibly even at the top of it. By all accounts, he is an ideologue with no understanding of the teaching profession, the goals of education, or the realities of comprehensive schools (he was privately educated). This move of his to remove key texts from the English literature curriculum on the basis of not being British is incredibly unpopular. To Kill a Mockingbird is also affected.
I have thus purchased both Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird in protest over Gove’s meddling. It is my hope that if enough people in the UK do the same thing these books will shoot up the bestseller lists and thus send a clear message to Gove that his latest changes to British education are even less popular than the last – and to David Cameron that his Education Secretary is making him look bad. Well, worse.
Anyway, this has distracted me quite long enough – not just posting about this here but also reading threads on Reddit and tweets and things. I fear that getting into the right mood for writing after letting myself get worked up about how much of a colossal twat Gove is will be tricky. I mean, seriously, I know British politics are broken (don’t even get me started) but when Gove is one of the most unpopular people in Britain right now but we have no means to do jack shit about his stupid unpopular arbitrary ideas it is just so frustrating.
Okay, calm. Writing time.
Tonight’s music is I giorni from Einaudi. Again.
Thoughts and Plans:
With the scene essentially finished yesterday, now it’s time to move on. Fiarra meets up with Siril and Deego and they go looking for Teyt and Corun, at last. I need to be careful here that I don’t let things settle or slow, as would be all to easy now I’ve passed the big confrontation (which ended up being less big and less confrontational than I anticipated).
One of the key things I need to get into this scene is that Fiarra is no longer comfortable in Deego’s presence. She hasn’t dealt with her shock and indeed revulsion that he was involved in the murder of the dead guard, and she continues to not deal with it. I need to convey that she’s not really interacting with him or engaging with him without spelling it out, since Fiarra is the narrator and she’s not really aware of this reaction on a conscious level. She will be vague when responding to things he says, without looking directly at him, and never address him directly or by name, but rather speak to Siril as well when it is really Deego she is talking to, and ignore him when she is deliberately talking directly to Siril.
I also need to get in a bit of the island’s history. This is a festival of storytelling, so a few snippets of well-told history would not go amiss. Overheard stories as they move around the festival looking out for their friends.
Starting writing at 22:06.
Finishing 22:26 with 591 words. Quite a lot for such a short session, but it’s late. My body clock is still on work hours, even though I’m three days into a four day weekend, and I struggle to stay awake late even when I get a lie in. I got into the festival, with a little Fiarra ignoring Deego and a touch of history. More of the same tomorrow.