The first of the ebb

If taking fictive inspiration from the lives of friends and acquaintances is ethically dubious, then drawing from a death is probably even more questionable. Most of the details in ‘The Memorialists’ – featured in issue 299:1 of North American Review – are heavily altered: names, geographies, timings and relationships all imagined rather than real, though in trying to describe an emotional truth, one or two genuine details may have slipped through. I couldn’t ask for permission, so I hope the story succeeds enough that there’s no need to ask for forgiveness.

You with your visions and dreams

I started writing this story the day Ingmar Bergman died. Outside my former place of work there was a bus stop for the shuttle to Legoland theme park in Windsor, and that was the first thing I saw when I left that the evening and began thinking about the story. Such is the nature of inspiration, both arbitrary and banal. I hope the story isn’t, but you can judge for yourself: it’s called ‘Sweet Bergmanesque‘ and is available in PDF & Print at Ellipsis Journal.

This story with Richard, not Judy

I couldn’t have written this story without Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. It came about because I had decided to try and win a competition they were running to write a short story for children, back in the days when they had an early-evening show on Channel 4. Obviously I didn’t win, a failure I put down to an inability on my part to distinguish the difference between a story for children, and a story with a child in it. And yes, the title is stolen from John Fante for absolutely no reason at all, other than my story has a dog in it, and I read Ask the Dust at an impressionable age. So without further ado, you can find ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ in Issue 8 of Structo Magazine, which I have to say is a far more beautifully put-together journal than my story really deserves.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

I’m about two weeks too late to benefit from the superstition, but I’ve been hard at work writing m’novel. As a result, I’ve not really been paying attention to much else, and missed the fact that one of my stories is now in print at Petrichor Machine. It’s called ‘Love Hanged Like Bunting in Hyde Park’, and it’s about infatuation and vermin. You can order a copy by clicking on the image below, if you so desire.


Another story, and some additional words

Quite a long time ago I wrote a story about a girl called Krystal. Well, actually, it wasn’t so much a story as a series of facts about her life, and the lives of the people she knows. Sounds fairly obnoxious when put like that. Fortunately, I’m not really one for overt literary experimentation, except when self-doubt is especially clutching, in which case, like anyone else, I can become seized by the belief that what the world needs is an English David Foster Wallace, so please be generous with your understanding.

Anyway, the story, called ‘The Combine’, has been published by Burnt Bridge in their annual Gridiron issue (yes, the story deals tangentially with American Football, as well as facial symmetry and anal fissures, so I wasn’t even trying to be an English DFW with this one). You can buy the print edition here or the kindle edition here.

I travelled to the Shetlands recently, with the intention of knuckling down to work on my novel, but unfortunately the place was so beautiful, I got very little done. With that in mind, I should probably knuckle down now.