Wednesday 18 May 2016

Shane Irwin

A piece by my university tutor, Shane Irwin. Performed thirteen years ago at The Space, London, as part of Fleshmirror. Created in memory of his father. You can find out more about Shane, his art, performances and poetry on his website.

The floor is your friend

Thursday 12 May 2016

Creepy 70

What happened? I know, right.

I should have reached this point a couple of weeks back, but I got knocked off kilter.

Quite a bit's been happening. I wandered into a job interview with a publishing start-up, which was really interesting, but required writing a detailed marketing report. Everything was going really well, we were starting to talk terms, when it became apparent that a move to Berlin was non-negotiable.

I had to do a bit of soul searching, but, at the end of the day, I'm not ready to leave Africa. My life, my home, my friends - it's all good here at the moment. 

Then I hit a general author flump, wondering about my direction - as in, do I have any? 

Spent a week straight working my way through two seasons of Suits and then The Wire. Days of back-to-back distraction, complimented with beer and cigarettes. Sometimes that can be good for you. Every now and then your mind needs to switch off, watch something cathartic.

In amongst all of that, I lost the thread. Writers amongst my readers will know, it's bloody difficult to pick up the pen again after you've dropped it.

I have a friend arriving from the UK on Saturday morning. He's here for three weeks, and I've been madly booking gorilla permits and catching up with friends to work out fun things we might be able to go and do.

I know that I won't be able to write whilst he's here. Hermit writer, that's me. I need an entire empty house to be able to drop into other worlds. So, as of today, I'm on vacation until early June. Going to go do some of that living that people keep telling me about. Get out of the house. Go see stuff. Gather new material.

I just wanted to knock off a round number before closing the lid on my laptop. 70,000 words. That's 55,000 words since March. Pretty good going for me, so the 10k a week routine has paid off. But now I need a break. I'm stressing because I still don't feel like I've broken the back of this one. I can't see how to move it along in a timely fashion. A little time hanging by Lake Kivu and out in bars should do the trick.

So, signing off on the writing front for a bit.


Tuesday 10 May 2016

Ray Caesar: Hardcover

I've mentioned before how much I like Ray Caesar's art. Thrilled to have just won this at auction. Sadly, as it's dispatched to the UK and I'm in Africa, it'll be a while before I get to lick the pages. But it's always a lovely feeling to acquire a book of such beauty.

Monday 9 May 2016

Sound of Memories

A piece of flash fiction I wrote for a visual writing prompt as part of Short Story Day Africa

Sounds are like memories, they fade so fast.

A sharp, clear note you feel you will remember all your life, leaves you lost come morning, reaching for the threads of a tune you once knew so well.

That was all she left me: a yellow rose on the piano.

A rose, my favourite flower. Yellow, my least favourite colour.

She was telling me that she loved me, but she was saying ‘let me go.’ Reminding me that beneath all of that beauty rested a sense of disgust. You could never wash those petals clean, their silk was stained with salt and sweat, their thorns de-barbed.

I placed my finger on the lowest key and pressed. Ivory white offered no resistance as it swallowed the silence with thick, resonant guilt.

As the sound faded, I closed my eyes but couldn’t breathe.

She was gone.

If I smashed my fist against the notes, would my memories break?

No. My memories were no longer made, they were contained.

Opening my mouth, I willed them to rise, to strip the back of my throat as I vomited sound.

Let all of my thoughts fly, let them fade, and let them be forgotten.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Wuthering Ink

I really want to shout about this for two reasons. Firstly, it's a project involving Bem Le Hunte. The reason that caught my attention is because her novel The Seduction of Silence is, and probably always be, my favourite novel of all time. You can now get the e-book for AUD 2.99 on their website.

Secondly, Wuthering Ink is about fair trade publishing. Paying authors fairly for their work, and championing experimental and exploratory fiction. My own publisher Ghostwoods Books has a similar ethos, splitting profits 50/50 with authors, and I really hope this is the way of the future.

As Stephen Sewell says on the Wuthering Ink website:

We have been suckered into the idea that what the internet is useful for is flogging stuff, and so we have forgotten its truly liberating promises. Like the actors, directors and writers who established the United Artists studio to wrest creative control back from the executives and moneymen, we wish to reclaim the book for the people whose hearts and souls go into them, and for the readers who cherish them. Our readers will be offered the challenge of engaging in what we used to call literature. The time is ripe, the stakes are high and the old world is dead, but the light that is shining through the crack of the future is blinding, and we know it's time to act.

Readers, please help support these brave new initiatives. It isn't right that years of work result in royalties as low as 12.5% on a paperback or, as Le Hunte quoted, 25% on ebooks. Publishing is a collaborative undertaking, and each contributor deserves fair pay. 

To really get a sense of the problem, read Wuthering Ink's About page.

Thursday 5 May 2016

Ping Engines

At the risk of slipping into sleazy marketing territory, here's a little tip for fellow authors who run blogs.

When you update your blog, let ping engines know.

A ping engine notifies all the little ping bots - programmes that update search engines - that there's new content on your blog. These programmes head on over, examine the content and catalogue it. Over time, this helps search engines to direct traffic to your site.

Here's two to be getting on with. The first two you can update any time you like. The last one you can only tell once every three days. If you update your blog regularly, make it a habit to notify the ping engines once a week.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Go Book Yourself Giveaway

Fancy the chance to win a paperback or audio copy of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran? Hop on over to Go Book Yourself where I've written a guest blog about why I quit my job, and why language matters. The competition is open until 16 May 2016.

As well as winning my latest release, you can also pick up a copy of Georg[i]e for free on Smashwords until 2 June 2016. Head for the Smashwords page and use the code LP43N during checkout.