Sunday, 23 March 2014

NEW BLOG

PLEASE NOTE:

This blog has moved to:

http://stargleam.wordpress.com/home/pippa-roberts-stargleam-blog/

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brief update and News of Nomination for Award

Hi everyone,

I have been going through a lot of sadness in my personal life and so have not posted much in recent weeks. Fear not though. Plans are bubbling away beneath the surface, and I have been closely following some interesting scientists, with a view to collaboration. I am collecting a long list of people who definitely want to commission me, but currently don't have the funds. I think that's good. :/

In the realm of achievements: the Hull University project (for which I wrote a children's play and book) is being nominated for the Guardian Excellence in Widening Participation Award. Credit to Mark Lorch, who set the whole project up, advised me on the science, then went into schools and did the experiments with the children.

See you all again soon, I hope.

Pippa :)



Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pippa Roberts: About Fabien Oefner - Projects that Bring Together Art and Science

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry that I have been gone for a while. I've been writing - but travelling a lot. I'm now paying Gill to type my scripts and stories, as I've suddenly realised that the brake on my work is actually the amount of time it takes me to type something. (I'm only a self taught typist, and could be much faster.) I also have Pauline, managing my admin, and work is coming in quite steadily. I think I'm the sort of person who works well as part of a team, so these arrangements suit me.

As I'm writing plays and stories with real science in them I am naturally very interested in any other projects that bring together art and science. A new TED talk has been posted today, that brings them together in the most stunning way. Photographer, Fabien Oefner, takes photos of crystals interacting with sound waves; paint mixing with magnetic liquid, and whisky catching fire - though he stops after one demo as he says a lot of people would argue he should be drinking the whisky. He's fun. :D The video is well worth watching. Have a look at:

http://on.ted.com/oefner

Now, I'd better get back to work, or maybe some serious relaxation. I had an incredibly long day yesterday - and the day before (6.30am to 8.30pm) travelling around on public transport, chasing poetry events in little villages and towns. :D) They've been a great couple of days, but I have to admit to being slightly tired!

See you all again soon,

Pippa x

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Mark Lorch's Periodic Table - A Map of the Underground for Chemists :)

Hi everyone,

You may have discovered the Guardian's excellent science blogs. They cover all sorts of weird and wonderful subjects. Today the blog post was written by Mark Lorch, the scientist who worked with me on the play and novel, 'Investigation: Haunted House'.

This is the link:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/03/underground-map-elements-periodic-table

It was devised for Mark's son, Sebastian, who is mad on trains - so it is not too complicated or 'clever' - and there is a jargon buster, to explain any difficult vocabulary.

I've tried to upload the image, but failed miserably. Do have a look at it. If there are any students of chemistry reading this - it may even help you to remember relationships and symbols.

Good luck! :)

Pippa

Friday, 30 August 2013

Canyon Found Under Greenland Ice Sheet - and thoughts of Robert Peary by Pippa Roberts



Hi everyone,

I have just seen this news from NASA:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/icebridge/index.html#.UiEJNhukqop

It's interesting that we are still mapping the surface of our planet. I have a particular interest in Greenland and the Polar regions, as I am working on plays set in them, and I have just - virtually - finished the OU course, 'The Frozen Planet', as background for these. (just my TMA - (final paper) - still to go). I've read a huge number of books about Robert Peary's journeys in Greenland, and the exploration of this ice sheet. I wonder what he would have thought of this news? He hoped that Greenland would turn out to be a larger landmass which would allow him to trek straight to the Pole, and he even convinced himself that he could see hills in the distance.

There is so much more to this story that I am dying to tell. Look out for the play, which should be finished some time this year.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My writing workshops at the National Star College, Ullenwood Manor, Cheltenham

Hello again,

I've actually had a wonderful week, in spite of the sleep deprivation on - um - Monday? I led some writing workshops at the National Star College, at Ullenwood, Cheltenham. I'd been there before, so I was beginning to know the staff and to have an idea what to expect. The first time I went was back in December, when I was asked to do workshops around the theme of winter. I uploaded some videos of ice hotels and freezing weather onto their interactive whiteboard (which was a new skill for me), and then I guided the students through the process of writing stories, using all their senses to make the descriptions more vivid. They produced some lovely work, and I think we all enjoyed it. I didn't want to stop at the end because one student was dictating such a moving story.

The workshops this week were equally lovely. I find the whole atmosphere there very conducive to creativity. Staff have a relaxed and gentle approach. No one is ever rushed (even me :D) and the students also seem exceptional and very open to new ideas. We began with a music video on a summer theme (Bryan Adams), then went out into the beautiful gardens. I read some summer poetry to them, including one by Spike Milligan, and then they had a go at writing their own. I always feel slightly awed by this process. Every student writes something so different, and yet every one is good. I wish I'd asked for photocopies of the poems to take away, so I could have put them here. Next time I will.

Yesterday I took some time out to go shopping, but today I have been working steadily on my robot play, which I want to finish and send out. (I'm just making minor amendments after the staged reading last year, but I have a long version and a short version and am trying to untangle the bits I want to keep. Quite a task.) Tonight I finished reading the scripts of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches'. I've had this horrible fear that it might be a bit like my Hag of Horra and her cat, Humphrey, but, to my relief it's about mice and witches, not cats and witches. A boy cowers under the table at one point, and in mine the cat cowers under a table, but all similarities stop there, and all of the rest is totally different. Phew. Of course I knew this would be the case, but I was almost afraid to read it in case Roald Dahl had had the same idea. :D

I've finished a lot of books lately, but I've already written a lot about them on goodreads. I loved Oliver Sacks's 'Hallucinations' - and was fascinated to learn that hallucinations can be associated with all sorts of things, including visual problems. I remember seeing little people rather like the seven dwarfs when I'd been hitchhiking with my boyfriend in hot weather, and never knew it was a typical hallucination (though I knew it was one).

I've also read a couple of very good books on forensic techniques and anthropology. (Dead Men Do Tell Tales and Forensic Clues to Murder). Have a look at my reviews if any of this interests you, and do get in touch.

love to all,

Pippa x

PS. A gorgeous golden moth has just settled beside me. Never seen anything like it! :)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Watcha folks,

I'm back. Still a bit unsure about my posts and whether they're going to disappear again, but there's now a copy of my blog on the Fractal website, and I'm aiming to keep duplicates there. I've been having a lazy day today - catching up on reading, and sleeping a fair bit. I went to Oxford, to give a workshop on Thursday and I've been working long hours on the Fractal website, which I've moved to wordpress, as it kept disappearing - usually when I'd just applied for a job and really wanted to impress someone. :D

I've been having a bit of an administrative week altogether actually. I've acquired an author page on goodreads, and have been trying to work out how to add books to my author page (turns out I can't because I've used different names. :() They say they'll be addressing this problem soon, so I hope they do.

I've started a new children's story, about Kitch and Kitcholla, who are rather special characters. I'll post some here when I start typing it. I'm actually getting a very strong urge to try to do illustrations as well. That would be fun... (I just might, if I can work out how. Watch this space. :))

Apart from that I've just been doing restaurant reviews. I went to the Courtfield Arms on the Ross Rd a few days ago. It has a new manager, and she is doing it up, with a lovely sense of style. It's a wonderful spot, looking out over the Wye, so worth a visit.

I must go now. I want to finish a book on forensic techniques before I go to bed. :D

Good night,

Pippa :)