Friday, September 19, 2008

Spotted in the wild


morning / re-reading
Originally uploaded by mf delgado
Several thoughts contend. I hope the text hasn't put the reader off that marvellous-looking coffee. (One of the stories is set in a coffee house.) I was very lucky to have the art of Stratos on the cover. And a sort of wonderment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still smiling

Your roving reporter met Bobby's Girl (broken link) Julie Rayne at Litcamp, and I'm glad to report she's still smiling. (That's one of those records that was always on the radio back in the day, I think, or some version of it.) I also bought a copy of Down the Angel and read her memoir of 1960's London with interest.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The New Writer's Handbook, Volume 2: Books for Writers: Scarletta Press



I have an article in this. Just got my free copy today. (Amazon/Willesden Herald partner link)

The intro by Ted Koooser is interesting. He was US Poet Laureate for a while. He talks about writing "from life" and the comparative poverty of writing from imagination. In one example he says that when describing the scene at a birthday party, it's the lace that's coming away from the edge of a table cloth, or the bent tine on a fork that will evoke it, and not the candles flickering on top of the birthday cake. In other words, he claims that imagination will tend to the cliched. He makes a strong case, but I'm not sure he didn't imagine that lace himself just then, if you see what I mean. It's worth getting hold of the book just to read his intro, really, but there are loads of other interesting articles as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Literary day out

Litcamp

I particularly enjoyed Jay Barnard's (link) poetry reading and Courtia Newland's story, which I'd already read somewhere. It is going to be on BBC4 Afternoon Story next week. There was a very funny story from Gavin Inglis, as well as lots of other delights, some from people listed in my links over there ->.

I offered to provide "post-it note critiques" for short stories, simulating the conditions of reading for a short story competition. About twenty or so landed on my table in the reading room. One thing that occurred to me was that this was a very good way to make enemies and fail to influence people. I felt that I should have worn full Venetian masquerade get-up, like Salieri in the film Amadeus: it was I who needed anonymity, not the writers.

Anyway, I really like reading this way and commenting, though I'm completely unqualified. I wrote on large post-it notes, mostly having to write on the reverse as well, and also marked up the text. There were one or two I'd seen before, amazingly enough.

I left some copies of this competition flyer (A4 version) on the books table there. Here is a version for Letter paper size. Please feel free to pass them on, copy, republish, etc.