Amanda Cockrell

Selected Works

Young Adult Novel
Saints and soldiers and the Untied Church of Dog
The Hollywood blacklist and a delayed funeral
Historical novel of a Roman legion in Britain
The Horse Catchers trilogy
Mythological novel of the coming of the horse to the American Southwest
Volume 2 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
The Deer Dancers trilogy
Mythological novel of the beginning of art
Volume 2 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Children's books
By my mother, Marian Cockrell, the story of an enchanted castle on the edge of Fairyland

What We Keep

That Old Academic Feeling

April 10, 2014

Tags: writing and not writing

Spring is here, the daffodils are up, and my college class is having its 45th reunion next month. So naturally I am re-reading Gaudy Night in preparation.

One of my favorite books about the joys (and occasional ghastliness) of the academic life, itís set at a womenís college in Oxford and is the only one of Dorothy Sayersí mystery novels that doesnít have a corpse. Instead it has a seriously creepy somebody with a grudge against women dons. Or maybe a woman don herself. Thatís the trick, because itís not that easy to figure out.

Itís an excellent book for those pondering whether you can have a life of the heart and a life of the mind. To write well must one be an alcoholic/drug addicted male with serial wives or a depressed female with head in the oven? Or is it possible to balance, if only precariously, on that angelic pinhead and have both work that matters and a love life that matters, without one being the servant of the other?

An awful lot of people have said no, or otherwise proven its impossibility through bad behavior, neuroses, psychoses, depression, and generally going up in flames. And it may be that one has less to write about, or make art from, lacking the flaming rows and institutionalizations of the notorious. But Gaudy Night is such a sensible and convincing blueprint, and Sayers herself was reputed to have achieved it.


  1. May 6, 2015 7:02 PM EDT
    Of the works of Ms. Cockrell I've read, my favorite by far is Legions of the Mist.

    Not holding my breath, I keep hoping a sequel to it will be published.

    When my house, one of 488, was destroyed by the Black Forest fire of 2013 it took with it a copy of Legions, a copy I'd bought in a decades ago closed bookshop in Colorado Springs, but I recently purchased another copy of it from a book-seller in Texas.

    Upon rereading most of it so far, I've discovered my money spent for it was well spent--both times.

    Dave Livingston
    Lieutenant, 1st Infantry Division, Viet-Nam, 1966-7
    Captain, 101st Airborne Division, Viet-Nam, 1969-70
    WIA during a firefight with North Viet Infantry 22 Jan. 1970 I was evacuated from the battlefield on a stretcher & eventually, Nov., 1970, invalid out of the Army. A Catholic, this morning I once again thanked our Lord for this amazing extended lease on life he's granted me. Indeed, this morning I went to Mass largely to express my thanks to him for these extra 45 years of life.

    Many people speak casually of death, but I who've seen my share of it, don't think it's funny.
    - Anonymous
  2. May 6, 2015 7:40 PM EDT
    Thank you for that post. You really made my day, and it is much appreciated.
    - Amanda Cockrell

Chocolate novios for Day of the Dead

Noon Whistle at the Lizard Works

Back yard bottle tree

The last hurrah

Delia Sherman and Ruth Sanderson, summer Children's Lit faculty

Children's Lit faculty Brian Attebery and Ellen Kushner at the end-of-term party