Seven months later …

GolesworthyswindowSpent spring and summer on the hill and many hot afternoons in the ‘van catching up with friends and family. Also caught Lorrie Moore and Joshua Ferris reading at the Hay Festival which was brilliant!

This time here (our third summer) I’ve read a LOT: Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams; Richard Ford, Canada; Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud; Paul Theroux on The Old Patagonian Express; Bruce Chatwin On The Black Hill; Robert MacFarlane’s The Old Ways; Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories; Kyle Minor, In The Devil’s Territory; Don DeLillo – Americana; Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector.

Currently reading (bad habit but yes, I do read several simultaneously): Lee Rourke’s Vulgar Things (captivating read in caravan!); Sarah Hilary’s debut crime novel Someone Else’s Skin (and my first crime novel); Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist; Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki; Joshua Ferris’s Man Booker shortlisted novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour; Kelly Link’s collection Pretty Monsters – and after I’ve been to the library tomorrow, the J. Robert Lennon collection, Pieces of the Left Hand.

Writing? Had a year of writing/drafting only – no editing no rewriting no submissions – to work out (again) what sort of a writer I am. It was scary to step back and not submit, and there were times when I nearly waded back in, but the year I spent working this out, will I hope, be worth it.

[Photo: Golesworthy’s window. 2014. Diane Becker]

Review: Goodnight Nobody by Ethel Rohan

GoodnightNobodyEthelRohancover“As soon as she’s organised, she walks onto the glass bridge and through the warm blue sky, her arms stretched out from her sides. People stare, and some throw her cranky looks because of all the space she’s taking up, but she doesn’t care. She twirls above the rush of water and inside the cool of clouds, gravity as good as gone.”

Extract from Ethel Rohan‘s second collection, Goodnight Nobody. Reviewed here (by me) for The Short Review.

Tiny things 2012

I don’t make resolutions that involve deprivation. No point, I have zero will-power when it comes to roll-ups, cake or coffee, but because I don’t drink alcohol (at all), gave up chocolate last July, and just happen not to like biscuits, I don’t see any harm indulging in these (few) oral pleasures. It all balances out (My Rules).

One thing I like about living in the north is that people talk to each other – they say hello in shops, in the street, as you pass on the pavement. They chat on buses, in the doctor’s surgery, while waiting for trains. Not everyone, obviously – that would be mad, but enough to make you feel as though you live on a planet that has other living breathing humans on it. And I do like that. And no, you don’t get that down south – especially not in cities, especially not in London.

One thing I made a point of last year was saying hello and / or smiling at people I didn’t know. Especially old people, in particular grumpy-looking old people. Even weird people, the sort you’d probably cross the road to avoid. The challenge was to get them to smile, nod or say hello back, and mostly they did. It doesn’t bother me if they don’t but it gives me a lot of pleasure when they do. It’s only a little thing I know but we’re all in this sometimes-big-heap-of-shit called life together. Why can’t we be nicer, kinder to each other?

So my tiny resolution is to continue doing the same thing this year. That and writing more tiny things. I wrote a 63 word story the other day, one of the best things I’ve written so I’m beginning to think tiny things are the way to go. How about you?

About loose wiring …

Loose Wiring is a collaborative and experimental (very) short fiction and drawing project that I’m working on with artist Mark Clements. The first few posts are over on my my new blog (here) and he’ll be posting them on his blog too.

Matthew Pitt Attention Please Now: review

Matthew Pitt’s debut collection Attention Please Now (Autumn House Press) is reviewed (by me) in the October 2011 issue of The Short Review.

Bristol Short Story Prize 2011: longlist

A massive congrats to all 40 writers on this year’s BSSP longlist!
2093 entries from the UK, Ireland, US and Canada, Slovenia, Morocco, Australia and NZ. Phew. Shortlist announced 1 June. Good luck to everyone 🙂