Thursday, 8 April 2010


Finalamente, the old blog has died. You wouldn't know it to look at it, but believe me, it has died. It has to do with passwords to Google accounts, and therefore to the blogger account linked to said other. It has to do with changing passwords in the middle of the night, in Buenos Aires, worried about hacking, and forgetting I was jet-lagged. Forgetting said password, which was only remembered by Firefox...Thank you Firefox. Until I updated said browser, and zap. Gone.
So welcome to the new blog. And it allows a few changes. For a start, it allows me not to list 'followers'. So - if you wish to follow said blog, feel free. But your piccie will not appear alongside.
It allows a think about what blogs are for. Recent activity on my old one, inspired by another, was great, a discussion on cultural tourism. HERE, complete with elephant traps and a bit of flagellation.
So this blog will be for that, mostly. Interspersed with a bit of news.

Cultural Tourism and Writing Other:
I am not writing at the moment. Nor rewriting, although I can see that coming back soon. I am reading, when I can. In the last few days I have read Philip Pullman's 'Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ', and re-read most of 'Freedom', an anthology of short stories inspired by the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have read, among others, 'The Wife', a short story by A S Patric, in Etchings, the rather good Australian Journal of fiction, poetry and artworks. And I have read Maggie Gee's memoir, 'My Animal Life', for the second time.
What strikes me about the first works here, is that they are all examples of writing 'other', in one way or another. Pullman inhabits two characters, Jesus and his twin brother Christ, in this rather disappointing retelling of the old Bible stories. His imagination allows him to leap two millennia and half the world. The publishers, Canongate, heading off some of the predictable (but all the same a marketeer's-dream) controversy, wrap the book in a cover that says 'THIS IS A STORY' in vast gold Bible-similar lettering, on the back. Well yes. Indeed.
I love 'Freedom', and the many stories within, written by such names as Ali Smith, nadine Gordimer, Joyce Carol Oates, Yann Martel, A L Kennedy, Petina Gappah, among others. I also love their ability to inhabit 'others'.
Ali Smith writes first person as Cameroonian male main character.
Marine Lewyke writes first person as a mid-European pimp involved in the white slave trade.
Yann Martel creates a Somali main character, and has him do some rather strange things in Canadian ski resort.... (best story here).
Nadine Gordimer creates a black main character.
Joyce Carol Oates creates Cesar Diaz, a challenging and damaged lad who has been 'turned in' by his own mother, and his lawyer, Zwilich, a man with his own issues.

It strikes me that their ability to cross boundaries, genders, colours, religions, is one of the reasons why these writers were asked to contribute to this anthology. Go for it, writers, but be aware of the elephants!


  1. Hello Vanessa's new blog which seems to have a lot of black space to my right. I fear a scary hand will come out and get me like the one on Ms Gebbie's website. Please do not add scary grabby hands. Rather put a window there. You need a bit of light.

  2. Hello.... big scary hand here... wooo oooo

  3. Some great observations here and good luck with the new blog!

  4. Thanks for dropping by Petina - It's all good food for thought!