Archive for the ‘links’ Category

Fleetwood + Preston Bus Station

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Unicycle Emptiness (‘an irregular guide to the North West and more) is one of my new favourite blogs. Just look at these pictures of Fleetwood, Pilling and Knot End. Fleetwood is where A Kind of Intimacy is set. It couldn’t possibly be anywhere else. I’ve still never been to an eerier place. A place that still provokes such curiosity in me that I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime soon I write about it again.

While I’m here, fellow Fleetwood lovers should make sure they check out Julia McKoen and Jayne Steele’s film, Frozen, a suitably eerie film set in the town. In Frozen, Fleetwood itself is as much of a character as the actors. The thing I loved best about this film was the ambiguity of it. Never sure if it was a ghost story, an allegory, a psychodrama, a thriller, all of them at once, or something else entirely. Like the town itself, Frozen prompts imaginings and is silent enough to hold the space you need to scare yourself with wondering.

My current work in progress (I actually have a title for it now, but don’t feel like telling just yet) is set in a very different place. Mainly Chorley, with little parts in Utah. Chorley is still close to home, for me, but the first one of my novels not to contain, in some way, the seaside, beach, shoreline. Sometimes I wonder if it is harder to capture and evoke the feel of a place that’s very familiar to you – that the uniqueness of a place that you know well can become invisible. So maybe Fleetwood and Preston and now Chorley are not strange, uncanny sort of places. But they have become that way, for me, because I have written about them and in writing about them I need to make them familiar and not familiar to myself at the same time.

I missed, while I was away, this strange Guardian CIF article about Preston Bus Station and (oddly) J. K. Rowling. Preston Bus Station (or a building based on it) features in Cold Light and for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet, is one of the main stars in the Cold Light book trailer. I’m not nearly famous enough to do the job, but if anyone did feel like getting a writer in residence for the good ol bus station, I’d be first in line to apply for it. And I’d be dead cheap on travel, as I can near enough see the thing from my house.

So many people think it’s an ugly, unnecessary, pee-smelling sort of place. I think it is a beautiful building and I could quite happily spend days in there, collecting and writing stories.

The photograph is (with permission) from Unicycle Emptiness, taken by Matthew Jones who’s flickr stream is here.

Blogs I Like

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Keith Moon. A drum roll and a half.

Perhaps because my own blog is so untidy, riddled with contradictions and, frankly, embarassingly variable in its quality, I’ve developed a liking for to-the-point blogs or blogs that limit themselves in some way.

It’s okay not to go on forever. (Do as I say, not as I do, obviously.)

Apparently, I’m wrong about this. Blogs that limit themselves to one subject are out. Out. It’s all about the personality these days. You can blog about as disparate a set of subjects as you like and as long as, twitter-style, people like the sound of your voice, you’re golden.

Friends, I hope you’re interested in writing, ruminations about writing and the teaching of it because other than this, I have little else to offer. Blogs with similarly one-tracked-minds that I’ve found and liked recently include…

*drum roll*

*dancing girls*

*swish, swish*

Vanessa Gebbie’s The Coward’s Journey. Vanessa has started to blog interestingly and candidly about the journey of her novel in the making – The Coward’s Tale – which recently sold to Bloomsbury and will be out soon. As a piece of promotion it works because it isn’t just a one note broadcast of what is available when and where you can buy it – it offers information, insight and experience in spades – there’s plenty that’s useful here.

Alexandra O’Toole is blogging about her experience of taking a distance learning MA in Creative Writing. I love MA blogs, and this one in particular because the writing-notwriting-despairing-about-writing-nothavingtimetowrite-can’tbebotheredwriting-scaredaboutnotwriting-readingsomethingbrilliant-writing-wordcount-notwriting cycle is disturbingly and reassuringly familiar as well as elegantly and wittily written.

That’s all. I need to empty out my feedreader of blogs I have lost interest in, so recommend me new fodder. Please.

Christmas Zombie Links of Love

Monday, December 13th, 2010

This is why my friend Rob is my friend Rob.

And see, actually, I think I could kill my nearest and dearest at a moment’s notice.


Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Recently I took part in the judging panel of the Rainy City Stories / Creative Tourist short story competition, Rain Never Stops Play.

Lydia Unsworth is a worthy winner with her short story The City is Leaving Me If you like that, there’s plenty more where that came from – on her blog Getting Over the Moon.

I want to think more about the experience of judging things before I write about it here. The last time I was a judge was at last year’s Manchester Blog Awards – an event close to my heart because the earlier incarnation of Every Day I Lie a Little won the Best Writing on a Blog Category back in 2008. Last year Emily at My Shitty Twenties took the ceremony by storm and won two categories.

I wonder who it will be this year? I know there are a lot of Preston based bloggers who read these posts – so as a reminder, seeing as we’re in commuting distance of Manchester, we’re eligible to nominate ourselves too… there were two Preston nominees last year – Just Testing and I Thought I Told You To Wait in the Car and it would be great to see some more Preston bloggers get a bit of extra publicity for their writing this year.*

What can I say? I am a mad Preston Patriot. Get in.

*this isn’t a thinly veiled plea for you to nominate me. I’m fairly sure ex-winners aren’t eligible any more.

Out on a Limb: the launch

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Finally, the Out on a Limb website is here. Hooray! If you click here you’ll be taken by the magical power of the interwebs to a web of stories about the Wirral – the fruit of a project I worked on at the beginning of this year. The website is beautiful (that map was HAND DRAWN by Elaine) and if you click through to the participants’ blogs you’ll be able to comment on their stories, ask them questions about their writing process or anything else you can think of (they are looking forward to taking questions / compliments through their comment forms, so don’t be shy to weigh in with feedback for them) and see how the stories link together through images, themes, characters and settings.

I think the most rewarding part of this project, for me, was working with a small group of beginner writers and bloggers to create a permanent record of their memories, thoughts and experiences. Some of the stories are autobiographical or started out that way – and all of them capture authentic Wirral voices that, in some cases, we are publishing for the first time. If you like the stories, I’d also recommend you dig about in the blogs that all the participants kept as a record of the evolution of their story. The dead-ends, rejected ideas, eureka-moments, frustrations, abandoned drafts and alternative endings are a fascinating record of what it is like to invent a story and work on a collaborative project like this.

Now the ‘behind the scenes’ bit of the project is over, the site is also accepting new stories / poems and photography set in the Wirral. You don’t need to live there or work there to submit – but your story does need to be set there. We are hoping that over time the site will evolve into an on-line library of tales that will put a little-written about area on the map. Since I started tweeting about the stories last week (what you mean you don’t follow me on twitter?) I’ve already had a few submissions. Top Banana!

You can submit via the site, or you can email me about it. Stories will go up in batches and I’ll be tweeting lines from them over the coming weeks to generate some traffic. Your story should be under 1500 words, although we’re not going to be super strict about that – and it should stand on its own two feet, although if you want to link it to any of the original stories written by our first set of project participants (if you click on the links within my story you’ll see what I mean by this) then we’d hop with glee.

Wirral Stories

Monday, July 5th, 2010

a map plotting the 'routes' described in our overlapping stories

During the Spring and right up until the last week of this month, I’ve been working on a project with Elaine Speight and the Liverpool Biennial (for more about work, click here)

You can read my own account of writing a story for the project at my other blog Through the Tunnel. Linked from there are the blogs, story drafts, photographs and research from the other workshop participants – many of them totally new to blogging and starting from scratch for this project. I think they’d like it if you read their draft stories and commented on their process.

The outcome of this project – a website that displays all the stories, plus one from me that acts as a kind of chorus and links everyone else’s narratives together – plus a map with photographs, sound, and lots of links back to the original blogs so readers can look at the ‘behind the scenes’ work of both running the project and writing the stories, will be up at the end of July. I’m less involved in the design and delivery of this bit of the project than I was with the workshop-blogging-story-writing side, so its going to be a pleasant surprise for me to see it all come together.

And for writers inside and outside The Wirral, there’s a chance to get involved. If you have a poem, flash fiction, short story, film or photograph that takes place somewhere in Rock Ferry, Seacombe, Tranmere or Birkenhead, past present or future, autobiographical or completely made-up, then get in touch. You can contact me and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able to.

#18 / 100

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Alison Moore’s story chapbook, when the door closed, it was dark published by Nightjar Press.

I bought this, along with the rest of the Nightjar titles when Nicholas Royle came to Preston to read at the last Word Soup – all the titles had been recommended to me by Sarah Hymas, who knows the sort of thing I like.

This story was word-perfect, creepily heavy, not a word extra and had an atmosphere that started making me feel sick from the first page. It’s a story that needs rereading, which I did, the second I finished it the first time, and again today. I have the rest of the titles from Nightjar, and I’ll be taking my time over them. Need to space them out, as I’ve been seething with jealousy over the way Alison Moore puts her words together all day. I like feeling like that too. I’ve had a blue week and this dark, nasty story has jolted me out of it.

I don’t know why uneasy, elliptical stories like this make me happy, but they do.

This one did.

This isn’t a review, but a recommendation. Still, you should know that I don’t know Alison, and I did not get this book for free either. Does that make my opinion count more? I have no idea.


Monday, April 19th, 2010

Here’s an interview I did at Arts And Things Magazine

Here’s a guest post I did about my diary writing, among other things, over at This Writer’s Life.

Here’s the blog I am writing for my Wirral Writing Project – we’re calling it Out on A Limb and it’s about on-line story telling. I’m really enjoying it.

Here’s Jo Bell, writing a little bit about our first gig with Too Much Information at the Kendal Brewery Arts

Expect a catch-up post with my weekend 100 Days photographs on it later today. I’m tired of not having proper weekends I’m not going on my computer on Saturdays or Sundays anymore.

Completely Novel Blog Awards

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Just found out that my lovely publisher Arcadia have nominated Every Day I Lie A Little (what you are reading as we speak) for the Completely Novel Author blog awards.

Here’s a little bit more about the awards from the Completely Novel website:

The Author Blog Awards aim to honour the best blogs by both published and unpublished writers. They will recognise the writers who use their blogs to connect with readers in the most imaginative, engaging and inspiring ways. At the same time we hope to attract new audiences to these blogs and help readers find out more about the authors they love, and new authors too.

If you like, you can nominate me too. Or another blog of a published or unpublished author of your choice. That would be very nice. And if you don’t feel like doing that, you should read and submit to The Rejection Digest – a new on-line lit mag edited by my friend Socrates.

That is all for now.


Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Here’s a link to another very kind review of A Kind of Intimacy over at Dirty Sparkle by Jacqueline Christodoulou – who was quick off the mark and won a book in the giant blog-give-away extravaganza.

Beware – there aren’t spoilers, but she does mention more about the ending than I’ve seen on-line before.

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