Visual Verse is a journal with a wonderful premise – every edition, they post a picture as a writing prompt, always something rich with possibility. They publish every story that comes in, and share links on social media with a snippet of insight. I highly recommend going to check them out and perhaps write your own response – it’s a great way of overcoming a block.
This is the first time I’ve written anything for them, and I’m pretty happy with the piece. It really does focus the attention, to write in the submission box, to know it will go up. You can find the story here. See links at the top on how to submit and where to read other pieces on the site.
The Goodreads giveaway for On the Edges of Vision is going strong – currently standing at 320 entries and open until Wednesday. And it is touching to see people adding my book to their want-to-read list – I hope that some of those will go seek the book out if they do not win. To have your words shared and read is to have them come to life. It’s wonderful to see that happening, and to be a part of it myself as a reader (I’m thinking ahead to a best reads of the year list, which I might do come late December).
– is now live!
There are three copies to win.
And please share the link around!
I wrote a poem – first one in a long time. It sort of sneaked up on me in the guise of a flash fiction (some flash fictions I have written before have also flickered loose of narrative and into poems). Here’s a little:
In the house on the rock by the lake. I was told, if you need to tell someone, tell the sea. If you are far from the sea, a river will do: the words will make their way downstream eventually. If there’s no river, not even a stream, at hand, go to the mountain. Don’t ever tell the lake. Don’t. But I drank whisky and I sat by the lake and I told.
Read the rest…
I have an essay up on Gulf Coast! It’s a comparison of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns, two novels quite dissimilar in style, if not in certain motifs. A snippet:
Yet for all the sense of being invited in to a rarefied girlish world, with the vivid evocations of place, the nostalgic setting, there is more than a shade of the ephrastic about I Capture the Castle – even the title seems fit for a painting, and you can almost see it, stripped of irony, an oil landscape in nineteenth century gothic revival style, all soaring towers and red-haired maidens leaning out of windows, as in the distance a river banked with willows wends its way across a dappled countryside.
This is advance notice that I’ll be giving away ~three~ copies of On the Edges of Vision through Goodreads – starting this Wednesday and ending a week from then.
If you have a Goodreads account, it’s a very straightforward process to enter. Simply provide your postage details (which are only shared with me if you win, so I can send you a copy).
I’ll post again soon with links to the giveaway when it opens. Until then, if you are intrigued by the book, you can read stories from On the Edges of Vision here, published in places such as The Toast, Litro, and Vol. 1. Brooklyn.
I had a trip down to Bristol to be on the lineup for Novel Night’s special Short Story evening – and everything should have gone smoothly EXCEPT that Easyjet’s plane was three hours late. I managed to scramble to the venue, catch the very end of Tania Hershman’s Q&A, and almost fell into the chair to read ‘Coral-Red‘ from On the Edges of Vision. Just a little chance after to talk with people who had come out. What a shame to miss so much of what looked like a wonderful night!
Luckily I had a few days to enjoy the city after that. Though comparable in size to Edinburgh, it’s a different world entirely. South-western climate, so warm and a little balmy, even this late into September. There’s the ravine above, a silty river. There are goats on the cliffs too, but they were all hiding. My friend G, who was putting me up, took me on a long walk through the town, by the pastel houses and the Avon where it runs wide and chocolate-coloured.
This was the last of the planned trips for bookish business for a while. I hope to go to London soonish, though nothing has been arranged yet. Places beyond might be trickier, since I rely on sofas to sleep on, and cheap, decent (or normally decent!) travel connections. I’m glad for the break – it’s hard to be away from D so often, and I relish the time to get back to writing the novel(la) and a new project of flash fictions based on tv and films. And reading. Up here, the Autumn is well under way. A time for spare time, for sitting and reading, looking out at the rain. Perhaps a time to reassess the year, but not quite yet. We’ll see what comes in the next few weeks before that.
Last night I read in a charming bookshop called Golden Hare Books, down in cobbly, curving Stockbridge. You can see a little picture of me there over here! Thanks to everyone who came and to bookseller Ian in particular for making the event happen. There are still copies for sale on the website and in the shop – do go down and check them out if you live in Edinburgh.
On Thursday I head to Bristol for Novel Night’s special Short Story edition, featuring the excellent Tania Hershman. This will be the first time I meet her in person, having known her a while on Twitter. Really looking forward to hearing her in action. Are you near Bristol? Come on out! Details through that link, but it’s 8-10pm on the 17th.
Also today – I wrote a short piece for If My Book, a series on the legendary Monkeybicycle wherein writers pick a metaphor for describing their book:
So what is a flash fiction but a liquid sort of prose that induces, at its best, bright shudders of infinite variety. The shudder of a tree as the lightning strikes it. The shudder of a small, hidden animal running through long grass. The bodily tremor when skin brushes against skin—contact perhaps wanted, perhaps unexpected, but a disruption, not destruction.
Have you picked up a copy yet? It would mean a lot to me if you did.