Now what…

Lucky Portbraddon is finished! It is done and it is published by KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) on Amazon. I’ve had five days of doing other writing, blogging mostly, but a few bits and pieces of other stuff too, while I consider what next. It’s a bit of a relief, to be honest, to launch this novel, which has been with me for nearly a dozen years, and as I wave it cheerio I remember some of the things I should have put in its luggage – or taken out, and realise that some of its clothes need a little more attention than I gave them… I guess it must always be the way – I’ve heard it said about painting that it’s important to know when to stop. There is the scene in the film ‘Mr Turner’ about the artist, when a work by him is hung in a gallery, and he strides through, between the crowd, paintbrush in hand, and adds a tiny dot of red to the picture – but Turner was a genius!

So what to do next… possible ideas…

  • despite what I just said, should I go back to Lucky Portbraddon and have one more last go at the manuscript while my thoughts of omissions and unnecessary additions are fresh in my head… I can upload the edited version very simply (the great thing about KDP)
  • complete my next Radwinter novel, ‘Earthquake’ which is about 4/5 finished
  • pull together some of the ideas and do some research for the Radwinter novel after that, maybe called ‘The Cunning Man’
  • work on a small book I’ve written called ‘So you want to write‘ – my ideas and observations on starting writing; I wrote this for my students when I was teaching, I’ve used it in my creative writing groups… should I pull it together and publish it?
  • finish the last few chapters of my old novel ‘The Story of Frederico Milan’ and get it off my virtual writing shelf? I began to write it about ten years ago, like Lucky Portbraddon… and it really does need finishing and publishing… it’s about a man whose wife vanished three years before the story starts and his father-in-law is convinced he murdered her…
  • begin to seriously think about how I could tell the story of my great-grandparents; he was a strict Jew from a very wealthy family, she was the daughter of a middle-class basket making factory owner – and not Jewish
  • I have an idea to write my own history – but not as a conventional biography, but through remembered items we had at home, items which no longer exist like the serrated tomato knife with the red handle… maybe I should start this as a series of blogs…
  • I’m not going to think about my ‘Dancing in the Road’ story which is only about 30,000 words so far, or my ‘Hamazasb and the Missing Shoe’ which only has a couple of chapters, or ‘A Strong Hand From Above’ which needs a complete rewrite – i.e. starting all over again and writing it from the beginning…

Hmmm… I’ll do a bit of mulling, and let you know!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read Lucky Portbraddon, here’s a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1474103793&sr=1-3&keywords=lois+elsden

Hamazasb and the missing shoe

Ages ago, inspired by some beautiful carousel horses I saw, I began a story about one called Hamazasb and his friends. At night they leave the carousel and fly, but once a nail fell from Hamazasb’s shoe, and he lost his shoe and he too fell to earth. It was a whimsical story, I don’t quite know where it came from or where it was going, and it was quite unlike anything I normally write. I hadn’t written very much, Hamazasb had ended up on a carnival float, and his friends, the other carousel horses spent each night searching for him. I expect I will return to it and finish it one day.

I love carousel horses, I always have done from being a child when the fair came to town, it was always my favourite ride. I did learn to ride real horses, not very well, and somehow a real horse wasn’t as exciting or as magical as a carousel one,, gloriously painted and covered in little mirrors. The horse ride was always called Jollity Farm for some reason although the hoses and other splendid creatures weren’t much like farm animals! I am sure there are specific traditions attached to the decoration of these horses and other beasts, I guess the different patterns and designs have meaning – sometimes they seem like astrological signs or symbols, sometimes other and quite bizarre things… I must investigate… and I must also think again about Hamazasb and his missing shoe!

 

Hamazasb

 

 

DSCF2189Some time I started a story about a flying horse… I must go back to it and finish it, I think!

At night  Hamazasb leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds. He is not the fastest, he is not the strongest, but he is the most courageous! His shoes are shod in gold, his armour is lapis lazuli, studded with garnets amethysts, topaz and tourmalines  His mane is dyed with woad and plaited with fibres of gold, his saddle is burnished copper.

Did he once lose a shoe? Did a gold nail catch against the canopy of the carousel as he flew into the night, did the shoe work loose and fall to earth, for some innocent child to pick up as a pretty thing? Who knows!

1.

One dawn, as the first light of the not yet risen sun streaked the sky with the palest blue and apricot, the horses returned… except for  Hamazasb…  as he flew into the night a gold nail from his golden shoe caught against the canopy of the carousel. Anxious to fly into the clouds and near the stars he did not notice the shoe becoming loose, and when, glancing down he saw something falling in a shower of golden sparks, he thought it was a shooting star… it was his golden shoe, and without it he could not find his way back to the carousel.

DSCF2189This is Pangolin; his name means scaly ant-eater. He was teased about his beautiful enamel plaques on his criniere and croupiere and on his flanchard, and called pangolin, ant-eater… but he thought it a pretty name, and as a horse with the best sense of humour on the carousel, he adopted it, and bears it with pride.

DSCF2190This is Kakhaberi, his name is mysterious and comes from the east. He is the strongest of the horses, and the quietest; he is brave and fearless and loves his companions.

DSCF2187When Hamazasb did not return as the sun painted the land with light, Kakhaberi was anxious and uneasy; sometimes it had happened before that one of the horses had strayed too far, but this time, Kakhaberi felt something was wrong. Hamazasb was not foolish, or over-excitable, he would have returned, if he could, something was wrong…

2.

The sun came up, heaved itself above the horizon and sent its rivers of light across the land, catching the tiled rooftops and golden cockerels standing as proud weather-vanes on the church spires, spread floods of gold across the marshes and pastures and over the hills and snow-capped mountains. The horses on the carousel waited, waited for Hamazasb to return, and gradually they began to share Kakhaberi’s fears that something bad had happened.

It sometimes happened that one of their number disappeared for a while but would return with smart new paint, or mended saddle, or even a fine collar like Bialias did.

DSCF2191

The horses were uneasy, there was a space now between them, a gap in their ranks, empty except for a miasma of worry, worry for where Hamazasb was, and what had happened to him. The music started, the children came, but so too did black clouds, and soon the light had gone from the sky and the day was gloomy and dull.

2006_1113Carnival060045Hamazasb was lost, he had flown further than the others thinking they were behind him, but turning and looking down he could see nothing to guide his way back. He circled round, calling for his friends, but the wind took his voice and tossed it among the clouds. There was the faintest gleam of gold in the east, night was fleeing and Hamazasb must find somewhere to rest. There was a sudden flare of light below and a below of men’s laughter, then the darkness returned; but in that brief flash Hamazasb had glimpsed the colours of the fairground. This was not where his carousel was, but maybe there were friends here, other horses, and he descended. There were strange shapes and figures, figures of horses and he delicately slipped between them as the sun tipped over the horizon.

Where was he? Not a carousel but a carnival wagon, and he was among figures of warriors and foreign and frightening horses, bigger and more fearsome looking even than  might Darkus, the biggest horse on the carousel. Hamazasb, stilled his fears and arched his neck, and waited among the strangers

Hamazasb is missing

The sun came up, heaved itself above the horizon and sent its rivers of light across the land, catching the tiled rooftops and golden cockerels standing as proud weather-vanes on the church spires, spread floods of gold across the marshes and pastures and over the hills and snow-capped mountains. The horses on the carousel waited, waited for Hamazasb to return, and gradually they began to share Kakhaberi’s fears that something bad had happened.

It sometimes happened that one of their number disappeared for a while but would return with smart new paint, or mended saddle, or even a fine collar like Bialias came back wearing.

DSCF2191

The horses were uneasy, there was a space now between them, a gap in their ranks, empty except for a miasma of worry, worry for where Hamazasb was, and what had happened to him. The music started, the children came, but so too did black clouds, and soon the light had gone from the sky and the day was gloomy and dull.

2006_1113Carnival060045Hamazasb was lost, he had flown further than the others thinking they were behind him, but turning and looking down he could see nothing to guide his way back. He circled round, calling for his friends, but the wind took his voice and tossed it among the clouds. There was the faintest gleam of gold in the east, night was fleeing and Hamazasb must find somewhere to rest. There was a sudden flare of light below and a below of men’s laughter, then the darkness returned; but in that brief flash Hamazasb had glimpsed the colours of the fairground. This was not where his carousel was, but maybe there were friends here, other horses, and he descended. There were strange shapes and figures, figures of horses and he delicately slipped between them as the sun tipped over the horizon.

Where was he? Not a carousel but a carnival wagon, and he was among figures of warriors and foreign and frightening horses, bigger and more fearsome looking even than  might Darkus, the biggest horse on the carousel. Hamazasb, stilled his fears and arched his neck, and waited among the strangers

Where is Hamazasb?

At night Hamazasb leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds.

https://loiselden.com/2013/01/07/flying-horse/

One dawn, as the first light of the not yet risen sun streaked the sky with the palest blue and apricot, the horses returned… except for  Hamazasb…  as he flew into the night a gold nail from his golden shoe caught against the canopy of the carousel. Anxious to fly into the clouds and near the stars he did not notice the shoe becoming loose, and when, glancing down he saw something falling in a shower of golden sparks, he thought it was a shooting star… it was his golden shoe, and without it he could not find his way back to the carousel.

DSCF2189This is Pangolin; his name means scaly ant-eater. He was teased about his beautiful enamel plaques on his criniere and croupiere and on his flanchard, and called pangolin, ant-eater… but he thought it a pretty name, and as a horse with the best sense of humour on the carousel, he adopted it, and bears it with pride.

DSCF2190This is Kakhaberi, his name is mysterious and comes from the east. He is the strongest of the horses, and the quietest; he is brave and fearless and loves his companions.

DSCF2187When Hamazasb did not return as the sun painted the land with light, Kakhaberi was anxious and uneasy; sometimes it had happened before that one of the horses had strayed too far, but this time, Kakhaberi felt something was wrong. Hamazasb was not foolish, or over-excitable, he would have returned, if he could, something was wrong…

Flying horse

DSCF2189I wonder what his name is? Something exotic and mysterious I think, Kakhaberi maybe or Hamazasb… or Bahandur? At night he leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds. he is not the fastest, he is not the strongest, but he is the most courageous! His shoes are shod in gold, his armour is lapis lazuli, studded with garnets amethysts, topaz and tourmalines  His mane is dyed with woad and plaited with fibres of gold, his saddle is burnished copper.

Did he once lose a shoe? Did a gold nail catch against the canopy of the carousel as he flew into the night, did the shoe work loose and fall to earth, for some innocent child to pick up as a pretty thing? Who knows!

Flying horse

Seeing the carousel last week with the beautiful horses brought back memories of the fair on Midsummer Common in Cambridge – historically the annual fair was on Stourbridge Common in Cambridge. It happened every year when I was a child, and I guess it still does. When we were at junior school, we were taught history, starting with local history, so the history of Cambridge which had grown up round the bridge over what was then the Granta – and Grantabridge or  Grantebrycge gradually became Cambridge over the river Cam. The Granta still exists, it is one of the Cam’s tributaries… how many times have I swum and boated on the Cam and the Granta… but that’s another story, back to the Midsummer Fair.

The original fair wass medieval, dating back at least a thousand years, and along Newmarket Road there are streets which bear the name of what was the old rows of stalls selling particular produce such as garlic Row, Mercers Row and Oyster Row… and others which have disappeared and I have forgotten. It probably started in the late 1100’s to raise money for the Leper Chapel – leprosy was a dreaded disease brought back by the crusaders.

The fair was a big event when I was little, it seemed so exciting and all the rides and stalls… I remember my sister Andy once won five goldfish by getting ping-pong balls into empty goldfish bowls… the stall holder wasn’t pleased!

But Always loved Jollity Farm, which did not just have horses but had a wonderful selection of other beasts. The horses were my favourite and I love them still

I have a fancy to write a children’s story about a carousel horse which escapes!