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

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bath in Bath

Well, it was a bit of an underestimate that the "copyedits" for Troubadour would take a "bit of time". It was a second full=scale edit, more extensive than the one two months ago and arriving three weeks before Christmas, with a two-week deadline! And that six months after submission!

I was so angry and poor City of Ships had to go n ice but, by dint of cancelling all social engagements and working every hour including weekends that wasn't already committed, I have done it. And feel a real sense of achievement, even though it's only got me back to square one.

We had a hugely useful meeting at Frances Lincoln on the big book I'm doing with Ros Asquith. And then a team from Coventry education authority came to film me answering questions from children. The cameraman fell in love with the cats and sent lots of pictures to me.

And we had a wonderful visit to the mosaicist Robert Field in Dorset. And I bought far too much of his work, not in terms of regret (since they are all lovely) but space, since we are running out of walls!

This week I've spent useful time in the Bodleian and taylorian libraries - what wonderful resources! I feel lucky to live near Oxford.

I saw Otello in Oxford but felt all the time how inferior it was to Shakespeare's.It seemed to me that Verdi had taken a tragedy and turned it into a melodrama. And the singer who layed the title role was so short and tubby it was hard to believe in him; Desdemona was lovely though.

We also saw a new play "Carthage must be Destroyed" back in Bath (can't keep away). It was about real subjects like political power and war as a way of manipulating markets and public opinion and took place in Rome. The violence in the second half was hard to take and I don't think it was a total success but it was always interesting and intelligent. The first half was set in a bath-house and all four actors - one old, one middle-aged, two young - got naked at some point. And one of the young ones was very beautiful.

We watched the last omnibus edition of Little Dorrit last night and thought Andrew Davies had been very muddly about the denouement; it didn't help that much of the exposition was given to Andy Serkis' incomprehensible Rigaud. It is much clearer in the book!I'd better make it the next thing I read.

I finished The Well of Lost Plots and read Twilight by Stephenie [sic] Meyer, to see what all the fuss was about.I found it surprisingly accomplished though I don't want to read any more of them.Good on her for coming up with a really strong USP and then delivering on it.

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