See you at The Tin Heart Gold Mine book launch!

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Reading, Storytelling, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

This invitation to "The Tin Heart Gold Mine" official book launch is illustrated by the book cover which shows a tin heart nailed to a tree with the book title in gold across it

“The Tin Heart Gold Mine” by Ruth Hartley. Cover design by Terry Compton Design

Excitement is building for The Tin Heart Gold Mine official book launch, to be held at the Café du Centre, Maubourguet, at 19:00 on 24th March 2017.

I’m looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine and some snacks with interested readers and friends.

As well as reading some excerpts from the book, I will answer questions about it and about the process of writing and publishing as an independent writer.

The official invitation went out on Friday 3rd March. If you missed the email, but want to be there, please click [RSVP to Book Launch] to email me so I know you are coming.

RSVP to Book Launch

 

Reminder: The Café du Centre are doing an evening menu that includes Fish & Chips, so reserve your table direct with Melany on +33 5 62 96 31 88 if you would like to stay on afterward.
Why not make an evening of it? We will!

A migratory species — wandering, wondering and warlike

Ruth HartleyFamily, Migration, War2 Comments

A very faded sepia photograph shows 5 mounted soldiers of the Imperial Yeomanry in Pretoria during the Anglo-Boer war

5 horsemen of the Imperial Yeomanry taken in Pretoria. Among them are two Hartley brothers.

Going back to the past

There is no going back to the past. The past has no memory. It is another place but one that has vanished. As L P Hartley wrote in The Go-Between, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” I’m sad that L P Hartley is not a relation of mine.

Barriers and boundaries

We wander about, wondering about our place in the world. We explore and we tour. Only in our heads can we ever go back to the past. The Rhodesia I was born in exists only on the shelves of the Zimbabwe National Archives. Everywhere in the world boundaries and borders are as fluid and migratory as humans are. Walls and fences go up to mark them but turn out to be as breakable as Humpty-Dumpty. Fences can offer only temporary safety, for we humans are brilliant at overcoming barriers and breaking boundaries.

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Tomorrow Mountain and the writing of Today’s Stories

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Education, Politics, The Tin Heart Gold Mine21 Comments

Tomorrow Mountain today

A black and white photo taken from among trees across a wide valley towards distant mountains

The view from the top of Wedza Mountain towards the Bvumba and Chimanimani Mountains 1960 taken by Ruth Hartley

There were debts to be paid. I knew that. I hope that I’ve made a small repayment in The Tin Heart Gold Mine.

When I was a girl of 16 I lived with my mother and stepfather one day’s walk from Tomorrow Mountain. It stood out against the sky, a long shape humped at both ends like a sleeping lion with its head between its paws facing away from the Sabi Valley.

This red painting shows a lioness reating under a tree with her head on her paws. There is a hut in the background.

Lion, detail from mixed media painting titled ‘Exile’ by Ruth Hartley 1994

In the ChiShona language of Zimbabwe the mountain was called Wedza – the place you could get to tomorrow at dawn. I loved Wedza and the farm with all the passion of a romantic teenager.

My stepfather’s farm was called Eldoret – the little place of Gold. It was a small farm and its golden tobacco leaves did not make his fortune.

There were only 80 arable acres and my stepfather owed the Land Bank a huge sum of money. He wouldn’t be able to pay it off tomorrow or ever.

There were 2 roads to the farm from the nearby town, Marondera. One was the long high road along the watershed. The second shorter route crossed two river valleys that flooded when it rained.

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Paris, Africa and Otto Dix’s war paintings

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Graphic novel, The Tin Heart Gold Mine4 Comments

One of Otto Dix's war paintings: An armless soldier uses his foot to play cards with two soldiers who have lost their legs. All three men have very damaged faces—one has a rubber tube to near his ear, another has a metal plate covering his lower jaw.

Painting by Otto Dix of WW1 survivors playing cards1

I have just returned from two nights in Paris where I visited a museum exhibition about Africa, saw paintings, and was reminded of Otto Dix’s war paintings — and his paintings of war injuries in particular.

We travelled there by train, which gave me many lovely hours of dozily dreaming and reading. It was a foggy, misty day so staring out at the landscape provided only patchy views of the landscape.

African artists and Trade

From the Gare de Montparnasse we rushed to the fantastic Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.

I wanted to see ‘L’Afrique des Routes’, an exhibition that turns European perspectives about the African continent upside-down.

All humans originate from Sub-Saharan Africa. From Africa, humans have spread around the world. We are all one people, one humankind.

Africans were the first travellers, explorers, traders, adventurers and artists in our world and this exhibition is about that trade and those routes.

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Writing and Art – Therapy and Resistance

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Corpus, Creativity, Therapy, Writing, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

Corpus

8 drawings are arranged on the gallery wall they show a woman with 5 arms, 5 breasts each containing a drawing of a child. She has wings but is rooted to the earth. Her head is that of Medusa and she holds scissors, a gun, a thread and a lead attached to a dog who is biting her thigh.

Charcoal and mixed media drawings on cotton rag paper titled “The ‘true’ History of my Body” by Ruth Hartley

“Corpus”, my art installation was shown at Peleyre in September 2016. Its theme may be summed up as the search for the spirit in the flesh.

It was well received which pleased me no end as my work is sometimes regarded as challenging and unconventional. I always hope that my art will be the start of a conversation between me and those who come to see it and even if they don’t like it very much I’m normally relaxed about that. As a writer and artist I am used to rejections though never indifferent to them but there was one response to the exhibition that rocked me back on my heels. It was from someone who runs a gallery with a great deal of sophistication and expertise.

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