Even more stuff and things

Thought I ought to have a title for my NaNo *project* (not even going to call it a novel), so decided to revive an idea I had earlier this year and use *it* both as the title of my project and a blog which I set up, then neglected to pursue – and have now re-set-up here.

We Shall Have Rain was (and if you scroll down to the bottom of the blog you can see a photo of it) the name of a shop in Preston that sold umbrellas. It’s not there any more, but I always loved its name. Says so much about the place and the weather – and I like writing about weather and I’ve come to terms with it – if I want to write about it (can you tell I’m in feisty mode), then I will!

Original post (March 2010) re: We Shall Have Rain here.

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NaNoWriMo 2010: Countdown

Two days to go. Already lots of discussion about NaNo on Twitter (#nanowrimo hashtag if you’re interested); to plan or not to plan; are nails the optimum length for typing; are friends/family geared up for the degree of separation that will prevent us from being sociable/putting food on the table.

I’ve only a couple of thoughts to contribute to NaNo prep. One, don’t over-think it in advance. Second, once it starts, type like fuck.

On remembering Richard Brautigan

Doug Coupland and Richard Brautigan. Two of my favourite writers. Except I’d forgotten (horror) about Richard Brautigan until I read the Bookmunch review of Coupland’s new novel Player One, this morning in which – I should add – Coupland’s Generation X is deemed ‘up there’ alongside Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America.

I bought Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar when I was a student – a long time ago. Before I sold/gave away my 15-packing-case collection of dearly loved books when it became impossible to house or move said books during my turbulent-moving-several-times-a-year phase in the early 90s. But one good thing about now is rediscovering authors and books I had forgotten and heading over to Amazon (other good online bookstores are available) to see if I can still buy them.

I have a thing about book covers, so was pleased to find Trout Fishing in America clothed in a version of the original that matched the one in my memory (left). Slightly appalled to discover that the paperback City Limits edition (which I bought on a visit to Montreal in 1975) was still available – for just under £40. Hahaha. Glad I’m not motivated by nostalgia.

However I am interested in rediscovering book/s that may have shaped the writer I am today. I can’t remember Trout Fishing in America, but I remember loving it and I want to re-read it to find out why.

More information on Richard Brautigan here.

Poems by Richard Brautigan here.

Too Many Magpies by Elizabeth Baines

I finished Too Many Magpies in three bedtime reads (something I rarely do!). Mesmerised from start to finish. As a reader I identified with it to a (sometimes) uncomfortable degree – loved the prose and the way the elements and characters were mirrored/entwined. A unique experience, seldom read anything by a UK writer that has had so marked an effect!

Read this and other reviews of Too Many Magpies here

Latest news from Elizabeth Baines

James Turrell at the Gagosian Gallery

One of my favourite artists, James Turrell, has a new exhibition which opened at the Gagosian Gallery (London) yesterday.

If I could use only six words to describe his approach, I’d say: Turrell uses light to construct art.

He says: I have an interest in the invisible light, the light perceptible only in the mind… I want to address the light that we see in dreams…

The work exhibited at the Gagosian is (comparatively) small scale using wood, (computerised) neon and glass.

To see how he manipulates natural light on a grand scale, check out this clip (with Alan Yentob) on the Roden Crater project here – or (what I did) visit the permanent Turrell Skyscape at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

[Above: Sustaining Light, 2007]

Exhibition at Gagosian Gallery:
October 13 – December 10, 2010
6-24 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JD
T. 44.207.841.9960 F. 44.207.841.9961
Hours: Tue-Sat 10-6

#StorySunday

If you’ve been looking for new short stories to read and you have a Twitter account, join us for #StorySunday where anyone and everyone can contribute a link (or links) to a short story you can read online. Brainchild of Tania Hershman – the only rule (I think) is that you can’t use it to plug your own stories. Which is fair enough. My recommendation for today is/was Jack Swenson’s Aurora Borealis which I found in the Istanbul Literary Review. For more information about #StorySunday and how to take part, check out Tania’s blog post here.

Updates: Bugged, BS4 and Lydia Davis

A few updates:

Firstly the Bugged creative eavesdropping project (that I talked about here) launch their book next week. For more info on launch events in Manchester and Birmingham with readings, check out the Bugged website here. Looks terrific!

More opportunities for UK short story writers, the excellent Bristol Short Story Prize team announced 2011 competition. Entries by post or online. Prize money has been increased with next year’s winner receiving £1000 and £150 voucher to spend in Waterstones. Details here.

Finally, the October issue of The Short Review is online now and includes a (syndicated) review of AM Hurley’s The Unusual Death of Julie Christie and other stories (written by me) plus a wonderful review of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Tania Hershman and interview with the author. I’ve read or rather, listened to, some of Lydia Davis’ stories before but after reading Tania’s review … had to go online (Abe Books) and order it!