Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just came home from the ALF where I attended Sebastian Peake's talk about his father, Mervyn Peake, and the work of this prolific artist and writer.

I had to think of this thing someone on a mailing list said about how our experiences shape our writing. Sebastian Peake spoke of how his father's work was influenced a great deal by the childhood years that he'd spent in China. Mervyn Peake's father was a missionary doctor, the first western doctor in China, and Mervyn Peake was born there. It was an amazing and inspiring insight into the life of this man whose work is only now achieving the recognition it so deserves.

I couldn't help but be moved by the stories Sebastian told. It's certainly given me an insight into how children perceive parents who are engaged in art and the pursuit of art.

How amazing to hear that Mervyn Peake would sometimes only be paid 5 pounds or 10 pounds for a commissioned drawing. That isn't much, is it? He made a rough estimate of 100,000 drawings in his lifetime. Submitted about 600 drawings to his publisher for the first book, Titus Groan, of which only 12 were recovered. When he died, Tate Gallery bought his body of work from Sebastian's mom for the sum of 1,500 pounds. Today, a single drawing/painting by this great man is worth something like 600-1200 pounds a piece. Think about that.

I'd go get me some art, if my babysitting fortune wasn't being swallowed up by all the enticing books you lovely people are bringing out. I have a wishlist, but each time I check one book off the list, another one comes on.

Came home to discover that has finally delivered. Phew. What a wait! I now hold in my hands a copy of Bino Realuyo's award winning work . It certainly is worth the wait though. Oh you lucky, lucky people. Not only is The Gods we worship live Next Door readily available , you also get to hear the poet read aloud in person.

How a live reading adds a new dimension to the work: I still hear Valerie Mason-John's astounding voice each time I open the first chapter of Borrowed Body. And each time I read a scottish sounding tale, I can't help hearing Neil Cocker's voice like a memory tape rewound by my inner ear.


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