Sunday, 16 August 2009


Yes, chaps, I have discovered Photo Booth on my laptop. Yes… I know… I am always late finding these things. As I am a Gemini I thought the above two-headed monster was rather appropriate.

Writing news
Not much to report. Ploddeth on. Maybe it has to do with younger son taking his driving test this week, coupled with the imminent arrival of his AS levels. Maybe it has to do with having a party here for a few thousand on Friday night and a Saturday morning headache... or the husband having toothache for the first time in his life. Or the cat keeping me awake fighting underneath the bedroom window. Or, far more likely, my own lack of motivation, and needing a holiday. In the end we may blame everyone else and the cat, but there’s only one person who can write our stuff. Us. Me.

Book news
Short Circuit, the Salt Guide to the Art of the Short Story, is in line for typesetting at the publisher’s. And marketing plans are being mulled over. The file has also gone to the head of CW at a regional university, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for an endorsement quote.

Teaching news
Plans for the Bridport festival workshop are now finalised. I needed to create something that would be suitable for all comers.
As follows:
Kick-Start your Creativity
The question ‘Where do stories come from?’ is finally answered. ‘Everywhere!’
A buzzy, busy participative workshop designed to open up creativity and liberate the imagination. Come prepared to have fun, to share and to write. Start your very own story seed-bank.

Ursula le Guin’s book news
I bought a copy of Ursula le Guin’s book ‘Steering the Craft’. For a writer like me it is superb - we seem to think the same. Lots of excellent advice, exercises. Like talking to a friend. WHY didnt I know about this one?

The ‘plagiarism’ debate
It rolls on. Paul Auster’s New York agent has been in contact with Jane Smith (she of the laudable and rather brilliant How Publishing Really Works, where the whole sorry saga unrolled itself recently), and have expressed their displeasure.

Off to Cornwall for two weeks, on Friday 20th. the first week with friends, the second with family. Then off to Ireland on Monday 7th Sept, to Anam Cara. Escaping to write for a whole fortnight, or just over.

Fiction Workhouse
I have not yet been informed of the name change, but as far as I’m concerned, my Fiction Workhouse has closed. I have had a few sweet messages from writers who valued the place for however long. Had this comment here,
Thank you for having set it up in the first place, and for running it with such vast reserves of energy and commitment.
I have made friends for life, whose feedback I value extremely highly, from the brief spell at FW. Not to mention writing, getting critted and rewriting a story in a day which earned me a grand. That wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for FW.

Thank you Susannah Rickards. I cant tell you what it meant to read that. (She won the Conan Doyle Award with that story. A tidy grand. Congrats again.)

Almost finally 'Good poets steal' - T S Eliot
This from the website of Nancy Prager, Counsellor and Attorney at Law, who researched the meaning of the above. The whole article is excellent.
The actual quotation is taken from T.S. Eliot’s critical essay on the playwright Philip Massinger, and his works.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

I loved the trees in Yosemite, growing out of cracks in granite, their roots finding what they need somehow, against all the odds. That gives me comfort at the moment, because I see being a writer like those trees. Sometimes it is hard to carry on. Sometimes we get 'blocked'or life brings bad times. But if those trees can do what they do despite the odds, so can we.

Finally finally
I have a new blog. One In Half A Million. HERE It's self-explanatory.

1 comment:

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

I got a shock at the picture of the tree, I have an almost exact picture of a very simlar tree that was taken on top of the Tswapong Hills in the eastern part of Botswana. I thought you snuck into Botswana without checking on me!

Your holiday plans sound lovely.