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Melbourne is very cold at the moment so I’m sitting propped in bed, ‘working’. And as usual I have a bunch of pages open in my Mozilla browser.

I’m always envious of anybody who has gotten to see The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. I know I’ll get there, and I’ve known about it since it opened. I loved the book, I love his writing (most of it), especially his writing about families and the Turkish way of life. Here’s a blog post from someone who did a writing residency in Istanbul and wrote about discovering the museum:

Pamuk’s Istanbul and my Garage of Memories

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I love reading about animals and this article is about a wolf called Twenty-one, a legend who never killed a vanquished rival:

Twenty-one was the perfect wolf

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EB White on why he wrote Charlotte’s Web.

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If I should ever cease to be amazed and enraptured by the magic of clouds, I should wish myself dead.

This next article is particularly relevant to me at the moment, because I’ve been noticing the skies in Melbourne, especially the clouds, around 4 – 5pm. And on facebook, friends living across the world, and their friends, are all talking about the sunsets, the clouds, being different. My daughter and I were walking about a month ago and it was windy but warm, and she said ‘It feels like the type of atmosphere where things happen.’ ‘What do you mean?’ I said, knowing that I too felt something strange, but wanting her to explain. ‘I mean that it feels like ghosts are nearby, or this is the time when we are closer to spirits. Or something.’ We walked, and I took photos of the sky, and we passed the graveyard which throws a gothic outline up against the purple-grey-pink clouds. And so it was, day after day, that I had the feeling that the other side (what does that mean?) was close. Several times over the years I’ve looked up the meaning of ‘liminal’ and I can never hold it in my brain. So again, I looked it up, and it described the feeling. That we were somehow travelling close to the line between this world and something else. The feeling on these walks was accompanied by a series of things being difficult, going wrong, a series of ‘fails’ as my daughter said. Small things, and not of the communication or technological variety (as in a mercury retrograde). No, these were things like getting to the pool and having no money on the card; not being able to operate the locker system despite being pretty clued in to how lockers usually work; the dog doing two poos on a walk and having to carry two bags. Of poo. That sort of thing. Just occasions where the days didn’t pass as smoothly as they could have, and for no other reason than something weirdly atmospheric.

From Brainpickings, an article on clouds and their classification.

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This might be of interest to early-career writers, it’s an immersion and cultural program for writers, check it out, submission closes end of this month.

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The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing… a special, indispensable form of talking to myself. – OLIVER SACKS

Again from Brainpickings, an article on Oliver Sacks and his processes, with particular attention paid to his note-taking and the formation of a commonplace book. Fascinating.

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What is a commonplace book? Here, I didn’t know either. So interesting.

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The Age of Creepiness, wrt John Travolta and other creepy types.

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And now to scandals and intrigue and the question: will you read the book that might destroy your feelings about a much-loved classic or will you not?

Here is the first chapter of Harper Lee’s book Go Set a Watchman (no, I don’t know what the title means either.) It sets up what will presumably be a story about a grown-up Scout’s (called Jean Louise Finch, now) return to her home-town of Maycomb to see her elderly father, Atticus, but with flashbacks to her childhood. Be warned, there is an unpleasant and sad spoiler even in this first chapter. If you want to preserve all your beliefs and love for To Kill a Mockingbird, best not to read it. People are declaring they won’t read it, and there is a lot of material about on the Internet, about why many people don’t want to read it. Some people don’t understand the origins of this work, and don’t understand how and where it fits chronologically with Mockingbird. The story goes that it was a rejected first draft of Mockingbird but I don’t think that accurately describes what it really is. It’s a different story altogether, and Lee wrote Mockingbird after the editor suggested she retell the story, but from the child’s point of view. How much overlap there is, will be interesting. Also, how masterfully this is written, or not. The other thing is the issue of consent to publish (Lee is 89 years old and deaf and almost blind, and it’s been stated she’ll ‘sign anything put in front of her’ but also people have said she is aware, has her wits and is proud that the book is being released.) And then, over the weekend, two Target stores in Adelaide broke the worldwide embargo and started selling the book, or putting it on their shelves. Bigwigs in the UK were seriously pissed off, but it’s not clear whether it was deliberate or unintended. It all makes for terrific marketing, the creation of a story behind the publication. The book goes on shelves tomorrow, 9am AEST, and I have a copy on order, which will arrive this week I hope, and also I hope with a tote bag. I do like a bookish tote bag. I’ll be reading it, will you?

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