Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mrs Thompson gave me a bear

I've started writing Troubadour! Only the Prologue and half of chapter one but it's good to have got going. Eerily, i wrote in the prologue about Peter of Castelnau's murder - which sparked the Albigensian Crusade - and was doing it EXACTLY 800 years after it happened - 15th January 1208.

I saw Notes on a Scandal (on DVD) having missed it in the cinema. Two very strong central performances but I kept thinking "why isn't the boy prettier?" So I read Zoe Heller's novel, on which it was based. And she said that the boy wasn't all that attractive; the teacher's desire for him was based on his pursuit of her (she hadn't been pursued by anyone for years) plus a sort of animal response to his young body.

I also read Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus, which was pretty good. A few mistakes, lke "flaunt" for "flout" in one of Savonarola's sermons. She's coming to talk to Writers in Oxford next month.

I saw both Torchwood and `ER as well as the final episode of Sense and Sensibility. It's a problem having both my favourite shows back at the same time. I heard The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter CD by The Incredible String Band; it will take a long time till I know it as well as the 5,000 Spirits. I looked them up on the Internet and found they had both become Scientologists!

Jess thinks they were on acid when they wrote their songs but I still find their lyrics and their voices do something that no other group can. They can conjure up being a small child or a sexy teenager in a phrase.


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