Jacob Ross is running a three-part master class in writing the short story, the novel and genre fiction for the wonderful TLC (without whose wise criticism I doubt Speaking of Love would ever have found a publisher). The short story part was on 23 March, but the others are still to come and, should writing fiction be your thing, I heartily recommend them. Ross is a brilliantly inventive (as well as down-to-earth) course leader, and a delight to learn from and discuss with.
And one of the things I would like to have been, in a parallel life where all things are possible, is a campanologist (both making and ringing). When I was thinking about what the thing I would love to have made would be this month, an image of a large cast iron bell filled my mind and I thought of Iris Murdoch‘s The Bell, that strange story of the sunken bell (can’t you just hear it booming beneath the water?) which is, eventually, hauled up on to dry land. I also thought about how, when I heard church bells ringing in London one cold evening last week, I was immediately transported to a tiny English village where my mother used to live, and then to a friend’s wedding many many years ago, and then to my father’s Thanksgiving Service … so church bells have, even in my without-an-organised-religious-faith life, heralded important moments; and our world would be the poorer without them (just as it was during the Second World War, when so many church bells remained silent). See here for a history of bell-ringing in these islands.