31.1.11

How Pathetic is your Fallacy?

     Pathetic fallacy is a somewhat clich├ęd device, most often seen when a distressed person walks around in the rain or a happy couple frolic in the sun, but something I like to do as a reader is create my own i.e. read books in locations that reflect their content, location or tone to enhance my enjoyment of them.

     I spent the last week in a tiny Austrian village near Salzburg and it was as you might picture it – epic mountains, rustic detailing, piles and piles of snow. You might think of this is the ideal place to splash out on winter sports kit and go play in the snow, but seeing as I definitely do not ski, and everyone else in the party does, for me it is the perfect place to read. So, rather than packing skis and helmets, I packed my snow boots, a notebook and oodles and oodles of books.


28.1.11

Book Quote Friday: Captain Corelli's Many Voices

Captain Corelli's MandolinOne thing that never struck me until I thought of choosing a quote from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' for this Book Quote article was the sheer number of voices and viewpoints that Louis de Bernieres employs in its telling. 

It took me a little by surprise as I adore this book and have read it on many occasions and tend to employ a vaguely critical eye so I can learn and write articles such as this. I mean, it's clear that the story zooms in an out on various people and places, as if the reader were watching through a camera, but when you look at it properly it's mind-blowing, and, to be honest, doesn't tally with a lot of writing advice that suggests choosing one viewpoint and sticking to it throughout. I guess it goes to show that if you have enough skill, you can do anything you want... :)

24.1.11

The Ten Commandments of Reading, Writing and Publishing

       Back in the dark depths of last year (well, November) Vintage Books ran a competition on Twitter that asked their followers to define the 10 commandments of reading, writing and publishing, and there'd be a prize (books, obv.) for the suggestions that made the final cut. A surprisingly hard thing to do, as it turns out, especially when combined with the obligatory 140 character limit that is the Twitter standard. I came up with numbers 1, 3, 5 and 10 at the time, but have been musing on the others since then. So, here we go (still sticking to the 140 character limit):


21.1.11

Flash Fiction: Snow

Dizzying snow fell in helixes from the black, catching on thick white branches and roofs, and then drifting, with grace, onto the glistening ground. Akiko's half-shadow, cast through the window, was haloed across the snow within a rectangle of yellowing light. The television was off behind her, allowing her to appreciate the quiet poetry of the falling snow, but without it the silence was large. She watched, through the glass, as her footprints slowly disappeared beneath the mounting white.

Snow rendered her ambivalent: how could she fail to revere the beauty of it, a timeless beauty that fell and lifted with the audacity of love? It was treacherous though, and fleeting, and inevitably became sullied with the movement and trampling of life. She'd be seduced by its purity and forget that it was actually cold, drifting and thick with secrets.
  
She'd told Kosuke this one evening in Tokyo whilst lounging on cushions and drinking in wine, so he'd brought her here deliberately, smiling at her cynicism, telling her that she'd love the light. Admittedly, she had, and had painted the blues and pinks of it on the clear days whilst he traversed the ski fields, and then had revelled with him beneath the lacquer black night. On days it snowed and the view was obliterated behind the clouds, she had lain beneath the kotatsu heater watching classic films and game show repeats, blowing happy cigarette shapes against the two-tone window backdrop of white. They'd found warmth there, and the dove sky fascinated her. Icicles became ice pops, snowflakes were kisses and their lodge became an island in a sea of ice. He'd bought her a lipstick in the supermarket and presented it in paper, so she might throw her art outward, he'd said, and cast bright red against the pale outdoors. She'd been dazzled by the brightness and forgot to fear how easily the snow might make her slip. Kisses were currency and everything was free. Too soon though, their paint pots and cigarette packs were empty, signalling that it was time to return to life. Happier than they'd been, they vowed to return again soon. The purchasing of a little Akita pup had stated the intent in life.
  
Now she was there again, alone, pale on the tatami, next to the dog that was now grown. The light during the daytime had been the same sakura pink and cornflower blue as in her paintings, but the night now felt different: empty, cavernous and without stars. He was not there.

17.1.11

Who Needs Books, Anyway?

     Well, more specifically who needs access to them? Perhaps, for free, even, in this austere economic climate?

      Not the UK apparently, according to the government's plan to close somewhere in the region of 1,000 libraries to save money and help balance the state books. We all know times are hard and sacrifices are necessary, but hitting libraries is the wrong thing to do, I think. Here's why:




14.1.11

Book Quote Friday: 'Shanghai Baby'

      Asian writers inspire so much - there's something about the simplicity of their prose and the striking, relaxed, coolness (for want of a better word) of their imagery that just blows me away. There's always a facet of loneliness too: the stories are often first person, are usually an individual expression rather than the description of a group experience or dynamic and are often so random or surreal (a la Murakami) that they'd make no sense if explained or reflected back onto a second or third person. It's much more about what that one person experiences in that moment, no matter how personal, funny or outlandish that might be. 


10.1.11

My Resolutions for 2011


  • To write, write and write.
  • To make contacts – I heart Twitter.
  • To rebrand and relaunch this blog (this may happen sooner than you think).
  •  

6.1.11

Screw January, Stay In and Write

    Dear writers, look outside. It's grey, isn't it? Raining and miserable and the last place you'd want to go? I'm also guessing that no-one wants to go out and play because everyone's sick of small talk and spending their money, and that you're secretly feeling like a bit of a chubster? I know, it sucks. It's January, it always does. So, what is one to do with all this extra time on the sofa? Watch new Glee and eat novelty fudge? Sure, but that's only Monday. How about picking up a pen, finding a fresh page in your pad and, as Kingsley Amis put it, 'applying the seat of one's trousers to the seat of one's chair'?




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