Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More about Westfall

If you'd like to know more about this incredible young woman (riding bareback and bridleless in the video below), log on to her website: She's in her early twenties, pretty as a picture, full of beans, and one of the most amazing riders you will ever see. One of the things I really like about discovering people like Stacy is that she is living proof that writers like me who depict adventurous, courageous, strong and highly-skilled girl-heros are not just creating fantasy! We are depicting what young women can be and are.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stacy Westfall: Amaze-on

Writing away here, late at night, and had to do some quick research on riding bareback. (When you read People of the Great Journey one day you'll know why.) Look what I found. A thing of great beauty and magic. Keep watching. It really is amazing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Addicted to Asimov's Foundation

I remember reading Isaac Asimov's I, Robot at university but I wasn't a fan, no doubt due to his attitudes towards women (positively Neanderthal). I've never accepted the "culture at the time" excuse as there have been enlightened men in every era who were capable of overcoming the standard misogynistic prejudices of their peers, e.g. Pericles of Athens, the Prophet Mohammed, and JS Mill to name but a few. Anyhoo, I stumbled across a copy of Asimov's Foundation in a hostel in Glasgow and since I was dying to read something, I devoured it that evening. Would you believe, there isn't a single female character in the entire book? No wait, there's one - the nagging wife of a minor king. Astonishing to find such a limited mind set in such a great mind. Hilarious, too, all the future space men smoking cigarettes. Ah, the Fifties. Nonetheless, it was compulsive reading and I've been badgering my library since to locate the other books in the series. Someone must have complained about the women at some point as the later books begin to include major female characters, though most of them are still nauseatingly presented. I suspect I would have found the man himself insufferable. Still waiting to read the two prequels and the final Foundation and Earth, but I won't bother with the spin-offs by other sci fi writers. This genre is due a revival, methinks. It's been moribund for some time now.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sheep Shearing in Scotland

Not long back from a great adventure in one of my favourite countries - Scotland. I spent a week on the island of Erraid (will discuss its literary aspect over on my Book Blog). It's a private island which the Findhorn Foundation has been asked to caretake. A small community runs a farm and garden there and invites people to come for work visits. Here's their website: I was in heaven as I took part in a sheep round-up - wandering all over the beautiful landscape of hills, bays and rocky cliffs - which ended with dosing and shearing. John did the big job of shearing all the sheep assisted by two other men while the women rolled up the fleeces and tied them in a big knot before storing them away in a plastic skip for shipping to Glasgow. We also swept away the excess wool from around John to keep his work space clear. We didn't finish till 8:30 pm but it was still light and the kitchen kept supper for us, hurrah! Being someone who played with toy farms instead of dolls as a child, I declare this the best day of my stay, but there were also wonderful times in the garden, around a bonfire, sharing delicious meals, and having the craic with my roomies, Heike and Gillian. More photos to come!