It takes a certain kind of person to tackle a novel in verse, and if you combine Robert Paul Weston’s Zorgamazoo and Prince Puggly, Rob’s written over five hundred pages of rhyme. Even more extraordinary, Rob’s skills extend beyond couplets into YA fantasy, picture books and general literary fiction (his short stories have been nominated for the Journey Prize).
Some fun facts about Rob: his father was an immigration officer at the Dover-to-Calais hoverport, he’s worked as a trampolinist and as dub-script writer for imported Japanese cartoons, in high school he was a competitive swimmer, and he excels at Ticket To Ride, German edition. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and his newest picture book Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms came out this spring with Tundra Books.
He lives in London, England with his wife, the phenomenally talented Machiko Weston. We’re thrilled to welcome him to The Oddments Tray.
He met his wife at a public aquarium.
“I’m a miniaturist,” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“I make maquettes,” she told him. A shiver of carpet sharks passed above them, splashing her face with light. “For theatre, for the stage.”
Later, he had to look up maquette in a dictionary.
She converted their second bedroom into a studio.
They had no desire for children. He didn’t mind. Despite having no role in their production, he thought of her miniatures as their offspring.
Each commission was a perfect replica of some famous stage—the London Palladium, the New Amsterdam, La Fenice, the Seebühne on Lake Constance—each with its own mise en scène, pristine in every detail. Cities, meadows, steamship decks, log cabins, moonscapes.“
The actors are the hardest,” she said. “They’re the only parts that move.”
Solitude was part of the process. She could only bring them to life in private. When her studio’s door was shut, he learned not to enter, and never to knock.
On the day of the accident, she was working on a musical called Strum! The story concerned a pair of elderly sisters who fall for a handsome and mercurial busker.
At the hospital, the doctors told him she could wake at any moment. What surprised him most was how loudly he wept.
At home, the studio door was shut.
It was two weeks before he knocked, two months before he twisted the knob.
The maquette was on her desk, just as she left it: A city street with its tiny musician, singing without a sound. In the apartment above, two old crones bickered in silence.
He watched the drama in its entirety. When it ended, the figures bowed, resumed their positions, and began again.
One day the busker’s lips stopped moving. The tiny hands still plucked the guitar, but there were no words.
The sisters’ apartment was empty.
The following morning, the busker too had vanished. There was only the model, abandoned and hollow.
Years later, through the window of a slow moving train, he thought he saw them, the sisters. They were in the grass near the tracks, in the front room of a newspaper house, still bickering.
It may have been them, or perhaps not.
Before he could be certain, the train rolled on.
(written by Robert Paul Weston, read by Chioke I'Anson)
That rad music you hear at the end is by Tigerrosa. Buy their debut album here
Train sound effect from: http://www.freesfx.co.uk
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