Then Jen told me that the story 'Compass and Torch' (which appears in my collection Balancing) is to be included in an anthology and accompanying DVD for GCSE students - the second school book in which it is to appear. Mind you, from some of the comments by schoolkids clearly forced by teachers to read it on the East of the Web site where this story first appeared, I'm wondering if it's a double-edged thing. And if I'm remembering rightly, when Vulpes Libris had a week devoted to short stories, some of the negative comments about short stories as a form were from people who had clearly been put off them by studying them at school! But then it's not just short stories, is it, that people get put off by school study, and not everyone gets put off, do they: when I mentioned my worry to my visitor Ben, who was staying on Friday, he said, 'Oh no, I really loved the stuff I studied for English at school - and all my Art School friends, did too!' - which reassured me a little.
Finally, I got an absolutely wonderful review for Balancing on the Shelf Life blog. Here are a couple of extracts:.
Balancing on the Edge of the World is a slim volume, but what it lacks in heft it makes up for in emotional power...
Every story is meticulously crafted, and I loved how the stories are told with such a compact grace. Baines takes life's mundane moments and invests them with meaning, power, and a sort of magic. I also loved how the stories all made me feel something. I am not someone who cries while reading, but I definitely wiped away a few tears while reading some of these stories. There is an emotional honesty to them that is really raw and intense, and I found them very affecting.
I was really impressed with Baines, and how she gets to the heart of the matter. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
Oh, and on the non-writing front: I bust my sewing machine and thought that would have to be an end to my hobby of buying charity-shop clothes and altering them, but then was told it could be repaired and be good as new! A great birthday present from the man in the nice old-fashioned sewing machine shop in Eccles!