Writing, blogging and Stephen Fry

'Stephen Fry's Planet Word' was a BBC programme that ended  a week or two ago, but I only managed to settle down to watch the final episode last night, so apologies for the slight delay.

It was a really great series, and I thought this episode was the best, and would be the most interesting to share, as it talks about writing in all its incarnations, including Twitter and blogs (skip forward to around 46:00 for talk of blogging and Wikipedia).

Do you agree with their predictions for the future of books and blogging?


'I am a Literary Sensationalist!'

Or so it would seem: have you read 'The Woman in White'? Of course, you have, but I've only just got to it. Not to rave or anything, but I totally want to rave about it. It was like a shot in the arm - that plot arc! those coincidences! Marian's upper lip! Wow.


Yes, I'm Crazy: Nanowrimo 2011

Yes, I'm crazy, but I'm going to do Nanowrimo this year. I know lots of other people are going to be doing it too (250,000, or something like that) and they're not crazy (necessarily); the thing that's tipping me over the edge into 'crazy' is that I'm going to write 50,000 words ON TOP OF all the other things I have to do.

And therein lies the reason for doing it. I can't prioritise writing my novel at the moment because I'm just so damn busy, but when I look back at the month just gone, I think busy doing what? Sure, I earn some money and socialise a bit and see a few films and play with the cat every half hour or so, but time just seems to pass unmarked in everyday life without some teeny, tiny accomplishment of my long-term goals. And my long-term goal is to write.


Some Great Advice from Charles Bukowski

This will either fire you up massively, or make you want to die. Either way, enjoy.

So You Want To be A Writer by Charles Bukowski

'if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.' 


A Hundred Seas Rising

So today I did something a bit different...

I received an email yesterday asking me if I wanted to take part in a slightly different kind of Dickens tribute for the bicentenary, based around an artist's exploration of the idea, featured in Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities', that literature might be 'implicated in the imagination or trajectories of revolutions'. Of course I said yes (how interesting does that sound?!), and went along this afternoon.


A Review: Midnight in Paris

On Saturday night, I went to see 'Midnight in Paris' at my local cinema, and, I have to say, I loved it (and if you read blogs like my one, you probably will too).


Dickens from the Start, No. 2 - Pickwick's Prefaces

The start of Dickens has been strong - I'm not 20 pages in and I've found something I want to talk about! The prefaces and dedications of Pickwick Papers are damn right intriguing and not just a little bit hilarious.

The first one in this edition is the Dedication to the Original Edition from 1837, which seemed to be a masterclass in the subversive and sarcastic comment, until I looked up the person involved (one 'Serjeant Talfourd') and found out that it was true! Sincere! An honest dedication to a friend! See if you agree with me that times have somewhat changed:


An Open Letter to All Writers of Books

Dear writers,

Hello, how are you? I hope your days are productive, your verbs are appropriate and your advances are suitably high. I do not wish to fall out, as I love and respoect what you do. Really. It's just I have a small bone to pick with you.

Your chapters are too long. Yes, I said it. A pertinent issue it might not be, in these times of no money or hope, but your chapters are rambling and often irregular, making it difficult to tell whether I am better off starting another one or finishing where I am, without flicking forward to find the next break and inadvertantly seeing the precise word on the page that gives everything away. It's a type of K-Complex I think, like hearing your name in far off conversations. I can't help but see 'yes', she sighed', 'she surrendered' or 'she died'. It leaps at me when I'm looking for the chapter break, so I don't like to go looking.


My Life in Poetry, on National Poetry Day

Yesterday, Thursday 6th October,  was National Poetry Day, which got me thinking about which are my favourite poems and which are the most prominent 'flags' for phases of my life.

I've made a little list:


In My Mailbox, No. 2

Welcome to my second In My Mailbox, a Story Siren meme where I list all the books in my immediate vicinity, so even if I don't blog about them you know they're there, patiently waiting near the top of my TBR pile, about to leap into (or out of) my hand. 

Bit of an eclectic one this month:

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