Sunday, 26 September 2010

Current Read



For some unfathomable reason, I have been unable to get into The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble, either my mind isn’t really in the right place for it or it’s simply a slow starter. Maybe it’s not might kind of book. Along with my Bolano book which may take forever to read I have picked up Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna. I’ve enjoyed her ThePoisonwood Bible and Pigs in Heaven, so I can only hope that I shall enjoy this one.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A New Begining


So, I am indeed a married woman now, and I have chosen to take my husband's name, it was an easy yet a difficult decision as I had been rather attached to my Mustafa for a good 25 years. I had always dreamt of publishing as Mustafa, as my sister is an artist and we were going to be the well known Mustafa sisters! But alas, I do love my husband and the name is about unity, for I will always be a Mustafa, one can not shed a name entirely. We all fulfil many roles and go by numerous guises. So I’m easing into my new Cranmer skin, bringing along a lot of crazy Mustafa madness.

So, today I change the blog’s name, I hope you are all just as receptive to Zehra Cranmer as you were to Zehra Mustafa, it’s an entirely new phase and adventure, please do join me.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Are you sure you can carry those books back?


"Lets go to this Charity shop," Mr Cranmer beckoned,

“Very well, I replied,” and followed him in.

“I found something,” I hold up my book.

“It’s big,” he looks at my book, he’s holding a small Agatha Christie

“Don’t worry, I’ll carry it,” I ignore the fact that we have to cycle back, he’s already going to have to carry my bag of rocks and pebbles that I had brought back from the seaside at Eastbourne along with 2 pairs of my shoes and two mobiles made out of rock and sea shells.

10 bookshops or so later……

I have bought 4 books, 2 of them quite heavy.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to carry them,” Mr Cranmer looks at me sceptically knowing he has difficulty watching me struggle, but we pack them away and a back ache (mine) later they make it home. It served Mr Cranmer right, if he insisted on taking me to every single charity shop in Hailsham, Eastbourne and Lewes, this was bound to happen.

My acquisitions included The Book and the Brotherhood by Iris Murdoch, a nice addition to my ever growing Murdoch collection. Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam, Margaret Forster's Hidden Lives an autobiography and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Muakami because I love a scary thrill.

In the meanwhile, my book buying continues as I return to Bolano’s 2666 and I’m editing my novel in time for an October deadline. It’s all go. I do plan to do a write up about our jaunts and escapades in Sussex, but I ought to leave that to one of these evenings.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Courtesy of the Cottage


Courtesty of the cottage we're staying in; I found it on the shelf above the microwave, something I wouldn't usually pick up, but I thought, why not!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Current Read- The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble


I absolutely loved Greenery Street,  I couldn't put the book down or stop laughing, I will write up a review as soon as I get the chance. The most annoying thing happened after I finished however- I didn't know what to read next.

I was in a very strange mood, as I prowled my shelves, walking in squares around my living room. The place was full of books, but the way that I walked and stalked those shelves, they may as well have been empty. I desperately wanted something set in the countryside, I wanted to be away from the noises and obligations from the city, and I didn't want to read a classic. I was being difficult!

I thought, ah, lets see what's on my bed side table, there I found Doris Lessing's The Good Terrorist and Iris Mudoch's The Sea The Sea  I read a few pages of each and still couldn't decide. I gave up, sighed a lot, and begged peter to make a suggestion and howled "I am not to buy any more books" and the long story cut short, I decided on Margaret Drabble's The Sea Lady which I acquired a week or so ago! I hope the next find is not so difficulty. I'm simply not ready to return to Bolano, it interferes too much with my dreams.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Article Fifty-Eight - Writers' Room


Writers’ Room: Zehra Mustafa
(published in "Avrupa" newspaper)

What does it mean to me a writer? To be the person who sits for many hours in a trusty chair, at an oak table pressed up against a wall or looking out on a busy street, or a canopy of trees, hoping that their blood, sweat and hours of solitude may be reduced to those pages that we so love to read. Interest has always been placed on the way in which an artist or writer lives, the Guardian back in 2007 did a long series on the Writers’ room which can be viewed online, allowing us to indulge and gawk at the images before us, we can even see where Jane Austen sat and wrote, along with Charles Darwin and Roald Dahl. This obsession with wanting to know where the magic takes place has been on my mind recently, as I too gawk at the images before me, forcing me to take a look at my very own situation.

I sit at my father’s bureau as I write this, I have it on loan, but knowing the way that fathers are, he will probably allow me to keep it as I’ve grown terribly attached to it. He sat at this very desk as he studied law, and now where his space filled, mine has replaced. He packed away two fountain pens for me in an old olive green felt Parker case, possibly anticipating the failure of my Waterman nib due to excessive use and undue pressure placed upon it.

Upon this trusty desk sits an extra compartment that I had made by my sister, in it and upon it I’ve placed photos, one of Arthur Rimbaud, known as the original enfant terrible, an incredible poet and visionary. I have a photo of my typewriter and Virginia Woolf amongst flowers which I always insist on having near me. I have a penchant for looking after Orchids and Begonias’, so they are always with me. The painting by my desk was done by my father, I brought it back from Cyprus as I fell in love with it, it goes everywhere with me. This hardy desk rests against the wall, a corner in my living room which has been taken over by my books and shelves piled up upon one another, threatening to take over the entire room.

There is a window to the right of me looking out onto a quiet street, the slow flow of traffic and pounding of footsteps along the pavement keep me company. Ideally I’d be facing the window as I did in my previous study, and I’d rather have had it idyllically looking out on some form of green, but that view is not mine yet. I’ve often dreamt of acquiring a writing lodge like Virginia Woolf’s, looking over the South Downs. For Woolf, interruptions to her writing were the Church Bells next door and school children, in my world, it’s less romantic; it’s the blare of football from next door and some odd form of soul music from across the road, I do enjoy listening to an opera singer who lives further down, it’s just unfortunate that she doesn’t live opposite me.

The writer or artist appears to be a lonely character, one that is somewhat detached from the world, yet that is entirely impossible as it is the world from which one draws from. It is the pounding of feet outside the window, it is children laughing as they chase one another with the parent screaming “stop, get back here!” it is the annoying yells and thumps from enjoying the football and the post man’s stagger as her braves the rain. The artists’ world is no different to anyone else’s but it’s their duty to use it, and that’s why they desk or writing nook becomes they’re little world.
©Zehra Mustafa

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