A leader to inspire

A leader to inspire

Image result for macron

In these surreal days when ‘The Donald’ is sitting on the throne in the USA and poor Theresa is melting to a gooey, formless mess before our very eyes (with  Andrea Leadsom ready to step into her Russell and Bromley kitten heels at any moment), it’s hard to think of a politician without raising an eyebrow in disbelief so high that my hairline disappears halfway down the back of my head.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I heard a story about Macron on the radio just now that made me laugh with joy. Not derision.

That’s why I’d like to share it with you.

When he was at school and he didn’t get the part in the play that he’d auditioned for, (no. He didn’t make a play for the drama teacher. Not then),he went off (and this shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about it) and (yes, you know what’s coming) started his own drama group (see) so that he could perform the part that way.

Genius.

So it might not seem much on the surface of it. I accept that. But a man who doesn’t see obstacles only solutions, well that’s something to celebrate. But even better is the fact that the solutions, when made, seem so obvious. So easy.  But no one else came up with them. They still plugged away, trying to jump through the hoops, little thinking that it might be time for some new hoops.

And that’s what he’s done with En Marche.

Macron. At last. A politician to inspire. Achieving the seemingly impossible and making it seem oh so simple.

And the man can recite Molière.

http://digg.com/video/emmanuel-macron-le-misanthrope

http://digg.com/video/emmanuel-macron-le-misanthrope

What’s not to love?

 

Promoting a Novel

How not to Promote a Novel     by Kerry Postle

How to promote a novel? Don’t ask me! I’m on Twitter but have no followers, I have Facebook but rarely post on it, and the thought of sending a message asking friends to spread the word seems presumptuous to say the least.

In the mean time I retweet the suggestively scandalous shareables (that’s what the racy soundbites are called in the world of book promotion) to my non-existent followers.

This one’s a corker –

The Artist’s Muse by Kerry Postle

Available from  https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008254391/the-artists-muse

Now all I need are some followers…

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The Artist’s Muse

The Artist’s Muse

I nearly forgot to say. Kerry Postle, one of our writers, has written a novel.

‘It’s now finished, and although it may not be the novel I’d intended, it’s been a delight to write. Inspired by a joint Tracey Emin-Egon Schiele exhibition at the Leopold Museum in Vienna 2 years ago, it’s based on a true story.

What follows is the original synopsis, and although I’ve made many changes to the manuscript, the basic story has stayed pretty much the same.

It’s set in the early 20th century in Vienna and has as its ‘heroine’ the artist’s model, Wally Neuzil. Wally was model to Klimt when very young, and at 16 he gave her to Egon Schiele with whom she had a relationship. Her changing fortunes force her to look at herself  and examine the time in which she lives.

Her initial opportunity comes with the death of her father, an event which thrusts her family into poverty, and into the city. The values she’s been brought up with are on trial. Limited opportunities dictate that she  become an artist’s model bringing her face to face with her own prejudices (and so us with ours) towards a certain class of woman considered to be no better than a prostitute. Sexual mores are questioned as is the accepted exploitation of poor young women by an educated class.

Wally is on a journey of self-discovery. Accepting and rejecting then growing. Her role is to highlight her own plight but also that of all women with no voice. Her interactions with educated, middle-class women are channelled through their judgement of what she does to earn money. Emilie Flöge’s treatment of Wally is little better than Klimt’s (she’s his posh totty) and in some ways worse as it constitutes a betrayal. Emilie and her sisters espouse ideals and hopes which Wally foolishly believes to be applicable to all women. She reaches out to them in a spirit of solidarity only to be judged and vilified by them. She experiences a cruel kind of prejudice at their gloved hands and even when all classes of women come together at the end – to help with the war effort in the city, a sense of change (with the future of suffrage) heavy in the air – the social class distinctions still cut in.

Meanwhile Wally develops and illustrates that modelling is a performance art in itself. And she shows us that it is not only the artist who suffers for his art : Wally herself is sacrificed many times over. The raw talent of Egon Schiele cuts Wally up in his work, dissecting and reducing her. Similarly in the years they spend together he drags her to the depths, but they stay together which allows their relationship to deepen. This is down to her. She endures much, standing by him through accusations of sexual deviancy and imprisonment.

As the pair mature Wally dares to hope that they can make a future together and Egon  comes to love her. Yet when they get to know the Harms sisters, who live across the road, the weight of society’s judgement falls down, not upon Egon’s head as the artist, but, on Wally’s head as the model. More disturbing still is that Egon turns against her in hypocritical judgement. He rejects her savagely in favour of the socially acceptable Miss Harms.

But how does it all end? I hope I’ve not revealed too much already.

To get your copy go to

https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008254391/the-artists-muse

and to find out more about the paintings featured in The Artist’s Muse and the inspiration behind the novel go to https://theartistsmuseblog.wordpress.com/

If you enjoy reading it half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, then you are going to love it.

Thank you for all your support,

Kerry Postle’

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How long does it take to write a historical novel?

How long does it take to write a historical novel?

I tell myself it’s a slow, meandering process, historical novel writing. A coffee here, research, a little bit of novel reading there (for inspiration purposes), research, a bit of wandering round the house (self-imposed isolation is a must), research, some food(you’ve got to have a break), research, some more food, research, perhaps a spot of Netflix, and, if there’s time, more research.

Moliere – always an inspiration
Proust – I owe all my best writing to him
coffee – 1 of many

And that’s on a good day.

So where’s the writing? Where, indeed.

I have now written a novel. A historical novel. And how I ever got round to finishing it is still a mystery when I take a look at my working methods.

I’m not exactly prolific. One novel. Second started. Dread to tell you how long I’ve taken.

I read that Ian Rankin (yes, I know he’s not a historical novelist) can take as little as 27 days to get a first draft down. The bitter failed writer in me sneers when I read that he has a house he can disappear in, cut himself off from all distractions, and just get on with it. Oh, if we all had our own hideaway in the middle of nowhere we’d all be able to do that.

Really?

As I can’t even get to the end of a paragraph (and sometimes it’s far less than that) without rewarding myself with a coffee, another, better part of myself, knows that I’m delusional. Fooling myself.

Especially when I’ve committed myself to self-imposed purda and stopped seeing people just so that I too am distraction-free.

The coffees just keep on coming but the word count crawls along as slowly as ever.

I hate to tell you that getting on with it is not that easy.

memento mori

I read somewhere that many artists and writers like to work with a memento mori to give themselves a kick up the backside – a reminder that life is short and there’s no time to waste.  And so, not to be left out, I considered tracking down a skull for myself in the hope that evidence of my mortality might serve to get me working a little faster.  Unsurprisingly the hunt for a skull took up many useful writing hours.

Then there are the inspirational articles, the how-to books, the courses, following writers on twitter (that took me a while to work out I can tell you). I’ve even adopted the habits of highly successful authors. Many at the same time.  And guess what? Yes. I’ve passed many a happy hour achieving nothing in particular.

And so I just have to face it – I have no choice but to commit words to the page.  One after the other.

That’s going to be my next move. Try writing. Build it up.  Word by word. Sentence by sentence. Paragraph by paragraph. Until I’ve got a chapter. Then another one.  Who knows, as long as I don’t get distracted I might even end up with a book.

Will it be any good?

Now that’s quite a different story.