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Monthly Archives: August 2015

the day job

I used to teach English part-time, mainly young people with learning difficulties, or behavioural problems. Last year though, I quit the day job and spent a few months flitting through temporary work, just to get a fresh feel for things.

That’s settling down now; I got a job in a college which is fine, it gives me more time to myself and there’s not half the bureaucracy to get through (though what there is is chaotic). After a year of running to stand still, I’m finally getting organised.

There are people I need to get in touch with, things to do, books to read, and write, music to hear and to play.

That’s my real day job. Living.

The thing I do from eight ’til four, that just pays the rent.

Sean Daly

I love Sean Daly’s work. If Andrew Wyeth or Edward Hopper had tried writing instead of painting, I think they’d have written like Sean.

Click here for an interview with him:

no gatekeeper

A great thing about the net as that it removes gatekeepers. Traditionally, entry into the media was controlled by people who decided whether or not you would be given a shot. Gatekeepers. On the plus side, it meant that there was some degree of quality control, but on the other hand the gatekeepers were the arbiters, and if you didn’t fit their perception of what constituted quality, you didn’t get it.

The net allows everyone in, and it can be chaos, but good stuff tends to meet good stuff, and centrifugal forces develop, people link up, like-minded folk meet and develop ideas, whole movements generate from a single post. Most wither within days, but some grow and grow. For me that’s awesome. Most of what I watch onscreen is on my laptop, I never watch TV and don’t go to the cinema that often. Most of what I read is on my kindle or online.

The range of material available can vary between awful and fantastic, but I get to choose what I consume. Good or bad, it’s me deciding what I read and what I watch, not some self-defining arbiter whose values and tastes mean nothing to me.

As a writer, I’m getting more and more out on a limb, structure-wise. I’m growing more comfortable with my natural inclinations toward what my pal Ernie would have described as ‘deconstructed’ storytelling. And I don’t mind. I welcome it. Every day I write, I discover new places and I create new things, and I get to ignore every literary rule that I want to ignore. I have no publisher to please, no agent to feed, and I get to follow my own path. I just do it.

A couple of weeks ago, Cambridge University Press asked me if they could use one of my short stories and I just said Yes. There was no middle-man, no strategy, no conflict. No money either, but the day job sorts out that side of life.

satire

It’s years since I read Fight Club but I still think it’s great satire on consumerism and contemporary life in general, and despite the title it has very little to do with the business of fighting. It’s one of those books that might be just edged by the movie adaptation (but that’s probably to do with a great director and at least three great performances) but if you haven’t read it, do so.

jack

excerpt

From Stateless a conversation between Babe Walker and April Speed:

He waited a while, then said ‘And?’
‘You blanked me,’ she said, her voice dropping to a whisper, almost a hiss, ‘You just disappeared. Complete communication silence. Not a word. Not a letter, not an email, not a text, not even a postcard saying ‘bet you’re glad you’re not here with me’ or something; or anything.’ This time she did whisper, ‘Just nothing.’
She shook her head, in disbelief. ‘What they call ghosting, I suppose.’ She smiled suddenly at some thought, some internal dialogue, like things were becoming clear. ‘Of all the things you did. All those things, all those terrible things, and the worst, to me, was you ghosted me.’
‘I ghosted myself.’
She stared at him for a few moments then. ‘You really can’t get away with that you know, turning things back onto yourself like that. It doesn’t make you sound windswept and interesting. It doesn’t make your behavior all deep and meaningful.’

He took a long slow breath. Nodded.
She studied him. ‘The worst worst thing though? And maybe this will tell you how shallow I am, how desperate and needy I am, or I was at least, and Christ knows I’ve barely changed these last few years, but the worst thing you did? Of all your crimes? You used the L word. You told me you loved me. And then you left.’
‘That’s not why I left.’
Her eyes glittered, ‘Don’t you see the damage you caused?’

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Stateless
Due out October 2015

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All this mindfulness seems to be kicking in, I’m writing again, first time in months, and even the anti-migraine drugs aren’t stopping me.

Meanwhile, nocturnal-techie Lucas is working on a youtube ad for one of my books.

mindful

In an attempt to deal with my chronic migraines in a way that doesn’t involve strong medication, I started meditating again the last couple of weeks, in particular practicing mindfulness. And it’s great; really clears the head. However, it’s also led to serious lucid dreaming, to the point where my dreams are, to all intents, ‘real’ – in my dreams it really feels like I’m awake. Only the lack of logic and/or continuity of what I’m experiencing lets me know I’m dreaming, and then I just let go and I wake up.

Except one time I woke, but I was still dreaming.

Anyhow last night I was out walking through the park to the beach doing my ‘mindfulness’ as a walked, when somehow, the mindfulness began to merge with my dream-state and it began to feel like I was actually dreaming, but I wasn’t. But how could I be sure? So I tracked through the events of the day and yes, I could account for the entire journey of my day, and no nothing strange had happened, so I wasn’t dreaming, but it was hard ot shake the feeling.

Freaky.

And the migraines? They’ve got worse.

lavvy