Fairy folk, writing advice, and no borders!

by Marie Marshall

My publishers recently had a couple of little display stands at the Fairy Folk Market in Murray Street, Pretoria, SA. The hawk-eyed among you will spot my first novel, Lupa, featured on the shelves.

fairy folk 1

fairy folk 2

I must confess I keep forgetting it’s summer down in South Africa!


I recently came across this piece of writing advice from Ernest Hemingway. It’s good advice, and I find that unconsciously I have already been following it…

The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time. Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work. The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along.


Something else I came across recently was this art ‘installation’ by Indian artist Shilpa Gupta. Basically she has created rolls of ‘incident tape’ on which the words ‘THERE IS NO BORDER HERE’ are repeated. The tape can be brought into use anywhere – anywhere the public can see it – wrapped around and along fences, suspending a miniature globe, in short stretches almost as a single slogan. But the main installation at art galleries is in the form of a paragraph of what can be fairly called concrete poetry, in the shape of a flag. Gupta is drawing our attention to the arbitrariness of lines on a map, to things that divide one human being from another.


The exhibition in which Shilpa Gupta’s work is displayed is currently in Scotland, and I would like to get along to see it. (I’m grateful to Paul at Bookseeker Agency for the photograph, taken at Glasgow, I believe.)