Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good housekeeping

Research experiment No. 452:

If one tips single cream at an angle of 120 degrees from a height of around 4 feet, what will be the resulting splash pattern when said cream hits, say, a melon shaped object raised to the level of what would be hip-height were a man kneeling on the floor doggy style?

Hm. Interesting.

I feel like Sarah Lucas, only with a much smaller budget. Particularly when I find vegetables like these in the bottom of the bag:

Right, onto next experiment. No 453: aerodynamic swing of soggy teatowel when stretched to a torque of approximately five with horizontal momentum. Oh my!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jigsaws with missing pieces

Sometimes when I try to do some 'filing' and topple the rickety piles of crap that accumulate round my office, aka the sitting room, I uncover old long forgotten stories. Half-stories, to be exact. They sit in strata, from the very old scraps I wrote at school to the tiny flash pieces I wrote on the back of club fliers when I was bored to the point of rigor mortis in my first job, to the very bizarre shit I wrote on the island, to more recent efforts, to three-word ideas scribbled on receipts that I spose may be future stories. There's stacks and reams of them, all those illegible words and half-thought out ideas.

If I'm in a good mood it's like archaeology, so many abandoned but possibly fertile seams to be explored.

Some days, though, I just think what an awful waste of paper.

At which point its best to do the laundry, make soup, clean the windows and start all over again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lots and lots of commas

That blue dot that is my novel is slooooowly stretching into an oblong. The words are flowing at the speed of glaciers.

As it's Friday, here's a funny little film I found when I was, um, faffing about...(perfect for anyone who should be doing something else right now)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Everything that rises...

- pretty, isn't it? (Poster from 'I'm a Cyborg, but that's okay' - the pretty man is called Rain. I don't know who the girl is, but I would like to be her for a day.*)

Lately, I've been noticing little things more. Small pleasures rise up:

Polka dots on a silk scarf, how family members can insult each other but its an act of love. Scones with jam and cream. Vitamin B. Watching the daily saga of the fruit shop outside my window. Freckles. Gestures. Finally, after a year and a half, learning the name of the woman who sells me a newspaper every day. My best friend passing her driving test (on the 8th attempt).

Life is good, little tiger. Various and good.

As for writing - watch the blue dot on the wordmeter on the sidebar as it grows infinitesimally bigger day by day...I'm starting to think that writing is not about knowing all the answers in advance but that the writer changes with the writing. That work can change you like dreams can change you, subtly, over time, in ways you couldn't imagine.

With luck.

*And no, not just because she's floating about in a padded room. She has cool hair.

Good Fortune by PJ Harvey

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I want, I want, I want

First, I want to point you in the direction of the winners of Desdmona's Sixties competition - always a good place to find beautiful erotica and writing of the very highest standard. This time round, the winning stories include Plaster Caster by Alana Noel Voth, one of the most exciting, honest, thoughtful and hard working writers I have the pleasure of knowing. Brava, Madame. Elazarus Wills took second place, and I love his writing too.

Meanwhile: I want to write a heroine who sweats and spits and is a real live farting and fucking human being but despite some hints that this kind of thing is encouraged I have a sneaking suspiction it won't wash. I won't say anymore about my novel, sex-by-numbers and the Reluctant Porn Machine right now because I am So Professional (watch me) and I need the money.

Then I want to do a supermarket sweep of a good bookshop or find some old lady with the best library in Glasgow who will employ me to dust the books, page by page, very slowly, line by line, word by word. She will have Tristam Shandy and the Pop up Karma Sutra and Bukowski and Proust and the latest Murakami and Corey Mesler (who took third prize in Desdmona's comp) and Rabelais and - oh, she'll have all the writers I so desperately want to read but don't know who they are yet. Her library will be full of scented geraniums and cameo portraits and pretty cats and I'll make us tea in a samovar and it will rain and rain and rain for hours, so there'll be nothing to do but read (I mean, dust) each book and occasionally glance up into the green and quiet garden.

Also I want a car. So there.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Today's post brought you the letters E and F

E is for Exotic and F is for Fetish, edited by Alison Tyler, published by Cleis Press

I'm all behind with the alphabet books. Our postman took an inordinately long time to deliver them, (it must be tricky riding a bicycle in a kilt with a heavy post-bag over one shoulder) but now I have E and F in my hands, and they're just as gorgeous as I thought they'd be!

Weird, too, how once a story's in print it looks totally different. Re-reading, I kept muttering 'I didn't write that,' and checking the original and realising that yes, I did write exactly that. This is a cool thing, because sometimes reading your own work it's like reading someone else's. And you can notice things that stick out, like how much I love the word 'cleave'. Cleave. Obviously, subconsciously my favourite word.

I'm rambling. What I meant to say was - get hold of the alphabet books at Amazon, and check out Alison Tyler's blog for more snips, or lust bites for yet more. If you're wondering which one to get - better just buy the whole alphabet. My stories are in stellar company, rubbing shoulders with gems from Shanna Germain, Jeremy Edwards, Kristina Lloyd, Madelynne Ellis, Mathilde Madden, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Thomas S Roche...and more and more. (And of course, every book contains one of Alison Tyler's delicious stories too). Wowee zowee. I'm truly honoured.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Life at 150 decibels

As I sit and try to write while outside the boomboxes of the boy racers rattle the windows and the car horns cascade along the street and the teething baby next door complains in the only way it can - I listen to my half-deaf neighbour downstairs tootling away on his electric organ, and I'm reminded of one of my favourite short-short stories:

The Scarlatti Tilt

by Richard Brautigan

‘It's very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who's learning to play the violin.’ That's what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.