Friday, October 27, 2006

Reno Balloon Race 2006

Something pretty for the weekend...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wrapped up

- two shorts that I had to edit yesterday. At least, I got to the point where all the words were swimming and I couldn't tweak anymore.

And then got to do what I'd really wanted to do all day - start on my punky bondage Strawberry Switchbladesque story.

I swear, it's like channeling. Sit to write, do a paragraph (nine o'clock, still not even been to the supermarket. Boyfriend is saying stuff to me, speaking in my ear. I'm thinking - will the bus work as a location? What is she wearing?). Finally get dragged out to buy supplies. Pissing rain. Yes, I think, it's raining in the story too. Wet clothes. Ribbons.

I'm here but I'm not here, I'm in a parellel universe, a forty year old man remembering his punk-soaked youth and the girl who caught his eye on a rainy night...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The internet is cool and terrible.

The internet is cool because - I wrote that post about some of my favourite books down there, and this morning had a comment from one of the authors - Tod Goldberg - author of the fabulous Living Dead Girl. How cool is that?

I read the book a couple of years ago and remember most the atmosphere of it; dark and golden. I don't have a copy, but I know it must have had a certain quality to it, because only That Kind of Book makes it onto my favourites list. The quality is - hard to define or explain, it's oblique and slanted, off centre and fresh. There's some fantastic books I wouldn't put on my list because they miss that quality - The shipping news, for example, is incredible, the writing's beautiful. But there's a kind of slant that particularly moves me that isn't there - the plot is somehow whole and complete, and I prefer things damaged and skewed, just so much.

Proulx's short stories have it, oh god, that woman writes so heartstoppingly well. In fact, short stories more often have it than novels. And poems often hit the right angle. It's a kind of careless grace, an ease of writing. Barbara Kingsolver's short stories, but not 'The Poisonwood Bible', though it's an incredible book.

I still can't explain the elusive Quality. Author's first books rarely have it - more often when they're older and have a thick back catalogue to lean against - when they throw out the little rough-hewn stories that are spare and beautiful and not fully explicable. When they've burned off the hunger and the words just fall out of them, like an outbreath. (Or seem to). When it comes to quantifying them, I've been trying to pin down the unpinnable for years now.

And this is why the internet is terrible - I had a friend who went to live in Japan who understood the Quality and we communicated daily for years. Long rambling wonderful letters, about love and books and islands that I would love to read again. Only they weren't letters, they were emails, and when my PC died they were lost forever.

Little miracles flare up in the ethernet and burn out quickly.

Friday, October 20, 2006

1001 books

So there's a new list of 1001 books you must read before you die. I downloaded the list, and started reading through it, ticking off titles I've read.

Then I realised that reading isn't a competitive sport. I remembered that half the books I've been told I 'must' read have left me cold. Half the big phenomenon books don't live up to the hype - I don't know that many books could live up to the ecstatic, foam-at-the-mouth ravings you find on the back covers.

And also - reading takes a varied, forking, tangential path. I don't think I like the idea of moving steadily through a list, nodding along with every other reader in the Western world, accepting the 'greats' and discarding all the other oblique, strange, off-list books that never make it for some reason. What about the 'withdrawn' library books that have never been borrowed but turn out to be phenomenal, unpopular revelations? I think all we can do is write our own lists.

Sod the official list. Here's mine, in no particular order, of some books I've loved and loved:

The Saddest Pleasure, by Moritz Thomsen
Living's the Strange Thing, by Carmen Martin Gaite
Snow is Silent, by Benjamin Prado
Chekhov's shorts
A confederate general from big sur - Richard Brautigan
Toward the end of time - John Updike
Norwegian wood - Haruki Murakami
The Unbearable lightness of being - Milan Kundera
Herzog by Saul Bellow
Old man and the Sea - Hemingway
Unless - Carol Shields
Living Dead girl - tod goldberg
Enormous changes at the last minute - Grace Paley
Things you should know - AM Homes
My life in heavy metal - Steve Almond
Janet Evanovich's Plum books which point I give up and wander off to read something new, lists losing interest after a few minutes or so.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

In the wrong job.

Thanks to Madelynne Ellis for this lovely little bit of time-wasting fun.

You Should Be A Poet

You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.
And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery...
Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.
You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.

(Yes, but I have bills to pay!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Barrelling along...

If you've got a spare half hour or so - drop into Barrelhouse's community story project and add your twist to their story in progress.

(I'm still thinking of what to write about oatmeal and Johnny Cash...)

It's a great site, anyway, and worth a visit.

Meanwhile, the back went into another spasm last night while I was um, talking to my boyf. I have to ration my time spent sitting at the computer, which may be no bad thing. And have a day's bed rest too, with no funny business.

God, they never warn you about this in the safe sex classes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Glasgow gets colourful.

A friend worked on this ad.

I wish they'd do it all over the city....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Strawberry switchblade research

- A brief flash in the Glasgow poppy-punk movement of the eighties. I started researching the band last night and got sucked in. So much for revision - research is much more fun.

There's this fabulous site that has recorded lengthy interviews and collected all the clips and pictures they could. (I'd never even heard of them til yesterday, but last night I learned all about the rise and fall of the polka-dot duo.) It's a perfect little story...

Now all I need is for some old Glasgow punk to drop by and arrange a hook-up with the guitarist and I will be in obscure research heaven. (And the story that started me off on this wild goose chase will never get written, because as ever real life trumps fiction.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Time out

I'm sure there's a mathematical equation somewhere that goes: Inspiration expressed as 'X' increases in directly proportion to the length of time 't' spent pottering and dossing, pissing around and faffing.

If you don't believe me, try taking a whole day off - spend it in bed or in the park or in the bath or in the pub. Forget all your usual oughts and musts and shoulds and just let yourself slide down the slope of self indulgence. Please yourself - in every way you can think of... ; )

I bet you wake up the next day with a sudden flash of something - a fresh idea, a revelation, a nice warm taste in your mouth.

I spent yesterday cleaning the house, knitting and eating. Yes I am an old lady, and yes these things give me immense pleasure. Today I feel stoked up enough to revise a couple of stories and work on another two. (We'll see how far I get...)

Time is elastic in my head.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wisdom of the ages...

I just got this email from my mother. I think she's trying to cheer me up as I get older. Thought I had to share some of the quotes with you...

Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened.
-Cora Harvey Armstrong-

Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut the bitch up with cookies.
- (Unknown) -

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being -- hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
-Erma Bombeck-

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.
-Maryon Pearson-

If you can' t be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Nikki xx

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Take two.

...And in classic ditz fashion, I appear to have lost my manuscript.

There will be no four-under-a-blanket snippet, as it is lost on my defunct hard drive and only available in some of the few remaining print copies of the book. Hurry, kids, while stocks last!

Instead, I've put up the 'Pepper's Ghost' scene - one of Julia's dance routines with the circus. Later I may add more. After I've had a stiff drink and wept a little, because I really have lost two thirds of my manuscript...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The new buzz...

Starting round about now, I'll be doing some blogging and writing over at - looking forward to the reviews very much...

Join me for Adventures in The Land of Sex Toys!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I'm 30, that's it. End of the twenties. I'm wearing new boots and panties, and I've got a shit hot camera to play with.

Also, got my first sales report for Circus Excite today - somehow I forgot that people would actually buy it. And they have! Thanks to all of you, you've made my birthday very happy.

Now I'm off for cake ...

xxx Nikki