Friday, 29 June 2018

Psychogeography – understanding and awareness of place/people for setting a story. by Gabino Iglesias

I wonder if perhaps writing is about obscuring self? Stepping away. Inhabiting other people, other places without bring your own mores, sensibilities or agenda and if possible erasing personal experience to re-imagine.
Have been reading David Joy an Appalachian writer and the almost visceral experience of his part of the world which he brings to his stories and characters in Where All Light Tends to Go and The Weight of this World is inspiring and humbling.  

Sunday, 18 March 2018


Nice weekend - my poem about the seasons here in Cyprus, In Exile, was published in the wonderful Cabinet of Heed. Just spent the morning reading the rest of the issue. So many astounding pieces, especially by Alicia Bakewell, Sophie Flynn, and Carrie Danaher Hoyt.

The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 06 Cover St Patrick's day

Also got an acceptance for my highly commended piece at Word Factory last summer, albeit with a little reworking, and that will be published online in July at Fictive Dream.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Come the Apocalypse

In these uncertain days, some stockpile batteries and candles, some food and water, me, I'm stockpiling books new, current and old. We will need the words.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Ballad of Everyday Life.

E iti noa ana, nā te aroha - although the gift is small, it is given with love.

I found this draft which I failed to publish, written back in 2009

My first day in Paris, I walked from Notre Dame to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. It was a long walk through accidental streets and interesting corners. On the way I bought the obligatory baguette and bottle of water for half the price the vendors were selling them around Notre Dame. The streets I crossed were less Belle Paris and more Paris Ordinaire, with a definite increasing ethnic presence from Africa and North Africa. At last I reached the cemetery, which was quiet and had a steady small straggle of visitors.
It was obvious, like me, most were seeking out the grave of Jim Morrison. Middle-aged couples, younger couples, groups of solitary young men in black T-shirts and a slightly wild feel to them, and teenagers, pimply and in their own minds, probably dangerous. We oldies know that feeling and know how quickly it passes. There are graves of many great and good authors, artists and musicians spread throughout the vast cemetery, but unfortunately Jim’s grave is probably closer to the entrance so unless a visitor has a definite agenda these immortals get ignored. I confess I did the same because I was hot and tired and my camera battery was about to give out. Next time.
Despite a plan at the entrance, Jim’s grave was difficult to find, everyone went in different directions. I found myself a shady step at the feet of Faure to eat my baguette, drink my water and to smoke a leisurely cigarette. Refreshed I wandered off to find the grave of my hero during my intense teenage years, many moons ago. Along the way there were some lovely mausoleums, many dilapidated, others pristine.
Family tombs from an age when life was so much more serious and worthy. Inspiration for their architecture varied as did the influences for the tone of decoration. Greek classicism featured heavily. Some of the statuary was striking – overblown or sombre in turn.

After much ambling and back tracking I found Morrison’s grave. It was virtually hidden, tucked behind other graves almost out of sight. I happened upon it accidentally. Spookily, just when I was sure I wouldn’t find it and could not face a trek back to the master plan, I heard the briefest snatch of the opening chords of Light My Fire. It was enough to convince me I was close. Was it Jim letting me know or merely some other fans nearby who were playing the song in tribute? The oddity was that it was so brief. I had heard that it was a bit of a circus around his grave, with graffiti and tokens left by enamoured pilgrims, but it seems the authorities had had enough and cleaned it up. What interested me most was the Greek inscription which I had never heard or read being mentioned before. It reads KATA TON DAEMONA EAYTOY - which roughly translates as ‘against his own demons’. I wonder who chose it.

James Joyce

A few days ago, I chanced on readings  of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Half-length portrait of a fortyish man wearing distinctive Windsor (circular-lens) glasses with black Zylo-covered frames, short and slicked-down brown hair, a small mustache, light tan jacket and brown tie. His mouth is turned down in a slightly truculent expression
In Paris, 1924. Portrait by Patrick Tuohy.

Of course, who hasn't heard of Joyce and his canon of work, but like many, I'd not read  more than a few what seemed to me obscure lines. The closest to Joyce I ever came was reading Dylan Thomas's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.
The readings - wonderfully read by Andrew Scott - although abridged into ten 15 minute readings, the writing, the language, the content are quite astonishing (yes, I know, I am very late to this party), and I am captivated. I immediately ordered hard copy of the book as well as Ulysses, and The Dubliners (which hasn't arrived yet).

Last year I read Eimear McBride's astounding novel
Eimear McBride: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: On BBC R4 Bookclub

Something about these two writers resonated; their use of stream of consciousness and interior monologues and references the the character's 'psychic reality rather than his external surroundings'. Inspired is probably too grandiose term but I can feel their energy eating away at me, deep inside, and if that sounds a little dramatic, tough, because it is exactly how I feel. After years of corralling my writing into a style (not that I have found 'a style') which I was convinced was correct or commercial (it's definitely not) or readable, more clever (to me only) or accessible, I am on the edge of understanding the truth in the sagest writing advice, that a writer should be true to his/herself, not mold their words to the accepted norms, because there are an awful lot of accepted norms out there. Why bother if you can't bring another way of looking, feeling, writing?
But, to be free takes effort and even if it is shit, it will be my shit. I feel like those animals kept captive and caged who have the door swung open and they hesitate, unable to rush out into the light.

Watch the link below and check from about 50 seconds in - this is me.