My summer reading: http://philipwomack.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/summer-reading-2014.html
After Many A Summer by Aldous Huxley: a remarkable book about the quest for immortality set against the bright new world of Los Angeles and its pulullating wealth. America is bright and flashy and new - and empty; England is old, wizened, wise and cruel. Beautifully captured in the persons of the ageing US billionaire Stoyte, and the 5th Earl of Gonister, whose remarkable appearance at the end of the novel must rank as one of the most striking of the time.
Sharp little collection of Scott Fitzgerald stories, including the scissory-smart Bernice Bobs Her Hair.
I filed my tax ‘13-‘14 tax return a few weeks ago. Given the day-to-day management of a writing career is interesting to some people (esp. other writers), I thought this might interest some of you - how my income broke down for that tax year.
1: Editing. 2: Speaking. 3: Nonfiction: Journalism, essays, reviews. 4: Fiction: advances, royalties, sales of rights.
There’s not much I can offer in the way of commentary apart from the fact that slice 4 includes some oddities such as royalties for secondary broadcast of the BBC Radio adaptation of COWF which were too fiddly to separate out, but which don’t amount to much in the overall scheme of things. Also normally there’d be a slice for teaching but, by a quirk of fate, I didn’t do any for that tax year.
Following on from Will Wiles at http://whiskypapawhisky.tumblr.com/, I’ve made this pie chart for those interested in what a writer’s income spread might look like. This year it’s been mostly editing, teaching and journalism. “Misc” includes a one off job I did for someone, and an emolument for judging a prize. Workshops I separated out from speaking but in theory they could be the same. “Charity” is the charity work I do.
This amazing effigy was done from Henry VII’s death mask - he looks almost alive. Here is an edited extract describing his funeral, taken from Tudor: The Family Story.
For two weeks after his death Henry VII’s body remained at Richmond Palace. The coffin was then placed on a chariot beneath his effigy ‘crowned and richly appareled in his parliament robe, bearing in his right hand a sceptre and in his left a ball of gold’. Seven great horses, trapped in black velvet bearing the royal arms, drew the chariot through the streets towards St Paul’s. It was a vast procession with torchbearers and prelates singing the office for the dead; the household officers, servants and other mourners took the numbers upwards to 2000 men. These numbers swelled as the procession reached St George’s Fields near Southwark where an enormous group of civic dignitaries and religious fraternities joined the procession, as did representatives from Portugal, Spain, France, Venice and Florence. St Paul’s was the great church where Henry VII had placed his banners after Bosworth and his mother, Margaret Beaufort’s former confessor, John Fisher, had been chosen to deliver the obituary sermon here. If the King were still alive and suffering, ‘many a one that is here present now would pretend a great pity and tenderness’, the Bishop noted, and urged them to be faithful servants still, to aid the King’s soul on its journey from purgatory to heaven, by praying for his soul. Fisher claimed Henry had asked for 10,000 masses to aid his journey. In fact, in accordance with French and Breton tradition, Henry VII’s will had instituted far more than that, with money lavished on daily masses in perpetuity, as well as gifts for churches and charitable works. At last, the procession moved on to Westminster Abbey where the coffin was taken to the Lady Chapel. There, massive twelve hundred pounds weight of wax tapers were burning as Henry was lowered into his tomb to rest alongside his beloved wife, so ‘pretty, chaste and fruitful’. As the coffin disappeared the choir was singing, ‘libera me’:
Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
…when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire…