On the Road with Maggie Scratch, Arcata, California

arcata forest

“We pursued our destination one night with our thumbs jabbing at the headlights of a ’62 Chevy.

The driver slowed down and told us to get in. I started to hop in the front seat. Horace opened the back door for me.

“I’ll sit in front,” he said.

“Suit yourself,” the driver grinned, looking at me in his rear view mirror. “Where ya headed?” He released his foot from the brake and carefully moved it over to the accelerator pedal.

“We’re on our way to Arcata,” I said from the back. “Ever hear of it?”

The driver offered me a cigarette and I took one. Horace said he didn’t smoke. The car moved along the dark highway for a minute before the driver spoke again.

Maggie Scratch

This is Helen! By Maggie Scratch

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Helen Gosch

A Poet? A Potter? A Candlestick Maker?

She’s busy everywhere!

She’ll be there if you need her,

that’s what a friend is for.

Helen, today you are the

“coy mistress.”

I quote from a poem you wrote,

Pulled into the World.

“I can imagine the awe felt

In the hands of all that is warm and beautiful.”

I can imagine it too.

 

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The written word for you is not enough.

You love to get your hands in all kinds of stuff.

You pulled this woman into the world—

you created her on a tray!

Helen of Tray!

The coy mistress…

This must be you!

 

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Maggie Scratch Pays Homage to Friend and Rebel Writer, John Howlett

JohnJohn, I’m glad I knew you. Writer to writer, you knew me too. You said it took guts. You said to keep working, you said, that’s all we can do. I’m still here doing it and I wish you were too. I had seen your screenplay come alive with If… when I was twenty. That film tweaked my rebellious spirit, and I never forgot it, then I met the likes of you and understood, so this is what a writer can do.

I thank The Guardian, and your brother, Peter, for your write-up on April 8, 2019.

“His admiration of the rebel and actor James Dean and his research for the 1975 TV documentary James Dean: The First American Teenager led him to write a biography of the actor the same year and subsequently a West End musical, Dean, which had notable success in Japan – though less so in London.

Screenplays followed for his own Murder of a Moderate Man (1985), then a serial adaptation of Len Deighton’s Game, Set and Match (1988) for Granada TV, as well as several original radio plays for the BBC. He also co-wrote an outline story for a film, Crusaders, which became the basis of Lindsay Anderson’s award-winning 1968 hit, If…

From the mid-1970s John published a series of novels – mainly thrillers focusing on contemporary issues such as nuclear power, air safety, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the origins of the Aids crisis. His leftwing sympathies and distrust of the establishment characterised these novels as well as much of his other work in the 80s and 90s.

John’s interest in the first world war, sparked by his teenage conversations with veterans of that conflict, allied to the meticulous research that characterised all of his work, provided the basis for Love of an Unknown Soldier (2010), which became the first of a six-volume saga set against the background of the political turmoil of the first half of the 20th century, covering the rise of fascism, the Spanish civil war and the second world war.

John was born in Leeds to Rex Howlett, a senior civil servant, and his wife, Leila (nee Cagna), who was born and raised in Milan. His early writing work was rooted in his experience as a rebellious student at Tonbridge school in Kent and then Jesus College, Oxford, where he studied history. It was with fellow Tonbridgean David Sherwin that he wrote Crusaders, which satirised public school life.

Later in his career, never having been comfortable with the commercial world of publishing, John found new creative stimulus and freedom through self-publishing and re-issuing his work online.

Living in Stone-in-Oxney, Kent, and then in Rye, East Sussex, with his Italian wife, Ada (nee Finocchiaro), whom he married in 1967, he was an active member of his local communities, renowned for his warm hospitality and strong opinions.”

He is survived by Ada, Isabel and Suzanne, five grandchildren, and his brother, Peter.

 

Valentina True Through and Through by Maggie Scratch

Fascinating, intriguing, I’m hooked from the start.

She’s not a Dervish

She’s herself.

She could whirl around the world.

That’s the energy

the training

the spirit

inside.

Valentina the Brave

She’s one of a kind.

“Wherever whirling is, there is also a quiet centre. Without that peace, emptiness, that zero point – the whole movement would not be possible… Spinning is the archetype of the movement, of dance itself. ..one travels towards the primordial sound of creation. Sema, among other meanings, is the act of listening. It inspired me to listen to the music with my whole body, skin, breath and movement.”

Valentina Lacmanovic

 

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“…real artists are usually discreet, absorbed in their art somewhere far from media over exposure. One of these artists is dancer and performer Valentina Lacmanović, who for years has balanced on the border of her artistic and geographic existence.”

NEVA LUKIĆ

KONTURA ART MAGAZIN number 121 (Croatia), August 2013,

Whirling as an instrument of communication

 

Photography : Ludvine Allegue © 2016 Allegue / Lacmanovic