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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Transfiguration and taxes

We went to my sister's Big Birthday party in London and ran into no problems. It was a grand reunion as our youngest daughter was just back from Japan and Australia.

London again for a successful meeting with twelve YLG librarians about Stravaganza. Bloomsbury had decorated the boardroom with posters and postcards. It was a very hot day but we had the windows open on to Soho Square.

On 26th the Times published the interview I did with Amanda Craig before leaving for Florence. It was a very flattering piece and a nice photo but the sub-editor had given it the headline "Veteran in her Prime"! I can only think this was revenge for my having asked them not to use Tales of Hoffman yet again. If you read it on line, there is no such backhanded compliment:

Then we had to spend all Saturday afternoon doing my tax. It was just dreadful but at least it's done.

We had to spend all Sunday having fun in order to make up for it.

I heard Messaien's Transfiguration at the Prom on Sunday. Some people left after only five sections - no stamina! But I think it's a bad idea to follow the text; you should
really read it and then just close your eyes and listen. Because the pace is VERY expansive. But wonderful gongs.

In a traffic jam on the way up we also heard on Radio 3 Joe Cutler's Music for Cello and Strings which was very good. Must follow him up.

I saw two episodes of Can't Read, Can't Write. It's compelling stuff though I don't admire the teacher. It is so clear that phonics just doesn't work - you notice Kelly had to phone up to find out what "touched" was - because you can't make "ch" by blending "c" and "h" and the strategy they'd learned for vowel digraphs - "When two vowels go out walking the first one does the talking and says its name" simply doesn't fit so many words.

I also saw the John Barrowman edition of The Making of Me, about his homosexuality. I liked his dry, English partner and loved the way he became Scottish every time he talked to his parents.

Tried The Culture Show on BBC2 because they had advertised a piece on the Vasari corridor. That wasn't there but we got Cy Twombly's exhibition - ghastly- and Paul Weller, who couldn't be separated from his shades or beer bottle. He played a very ordinary though not unpleasant song with one idea in the lyric and perhaps two and a half in the melody.

The piece with theatre director Katie Mitchell (Traces of Her) was quite interesting, because she seemed really intelligent but the whole presentation of the programme was SO puerile that it did make me despair if that was BBC2's idea of culture.(the Corridor next week, I am promised).

I finished reading Un Italiano in America and have started Racconti della Resistenza.I've been working on my workshops for the CWIG conference and the teaching week |I'm doing at Ty Newydd with Celia Rees. She came over for lunch and we had a brainstorm (sorry - "thoughtshower").Must get on with my next novel really but am so trying to have an easy summer.


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