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Walter Benjamin’s Rules for Writing

I’m a bit of a sucker for writing rules, even though I know that there really are no rules. I suppose what I really like is what they tell me about another writer’s process. This list of thirteen rules from the desk of Walter Benjamin is new to me. Particularly the awareness of a need…

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grey is the colour

I knew there was a reason my favourite colour is grey, beyond the level of intuitive preference. Apparently, according to this paint company, grey is the colour of cyberspace. What’s more, they have a whole range of networked greys. So yeah, cyberspace, grey is the colour.   (via Bruce Sterling)

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new_novel.doc (OST)

Put the finishing touches to the latest edit of my novel this morning. Just hit send to my agent and hoping that the changes hit the spot and this baby can start making its way out into the world. For those of you wondering what the novel is all about, here’s a Spotify playlist of…

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foregroundmusic: New Space Music

Discovered (via the magnificent Warren Ellis) that there was an edition of Brian Eno’s Neroli with an extra track called New Space Music. Neroli has long been a go to piece of writing music for me, so the fact that someone has slapped it on YouTube has made my morning. What this means is, today…

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foregroundmusic: every right to be Angry

The one silver lining of nearly a decade of bollarding austerity? The only positive that seems to be emerging from the cluster frustration that is Brexit? Britain seems to have a barrage of bands emerging that are angry because they have every right to be. These have been seeing heavy rotation in my ears: Squid…

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‘a tissue of significances’

More thoughts on something read in pursuit of my PhD thesis. (The verb ‘pursuit’ seems apt and amusing here, like I am chasing this thing down, the thing itself always within sight but out of reach). This, from ‘Understanding Fiction’, made my insides chime and resonate: ‘…a piece of fiction is a tissue of significances,…

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it’s no use worrying about Time

Both in the novel edits I am neck deep in and in the short stories I have been both studying and writing myself, I have been worrying a lot about time lately. Which probably explains some of why I love this particular reading of Frank O’Hara’s poem ‘Animals’ right now: Zadie Smith recorded on voice…

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Helvetica for the 21st century

As a bit of a typeface geek, the release of a new Helvetica for today’s devices is something I had to note here. From the press release: ‘Every letter, number, punctuation mark and symbol in the family—nearly 40,000 in all—has been redrawn, analyzed and tested for improved legibility and performance. The result is a better…

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Black hole, son!*

This week saw the first image of a black hole being shared with the world. Image: BBC NEWS Tickles me that, as this image was powering across the the news and social media, I was busy listening to William Basinski’s On Time Out of Time, ‘50 minutes of drone atmospherics that uses exclusive source recordings…

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When It’s Human Instead of When It’s Dog

Amy Hempel’s work holds a special place in my personal canon of short story authors. I first discovered her stories when beginning to write my own. This was back in 2009 and I was grabbing up every recommendation of quality short stories that I could. I forget how I first heard of Amy Hempel, but…

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Mist

This has been fuelling my writing sessions lately. Haunting and transporting. Just one of many from Thom Brennan; much of his discog is worth a look if ambient for reading/writing is your thing.

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Your mother

Last month was Women’s History month and I was thrilled to see that a poem from last year’s First Story anthology by the excellent Judgemeadow Community College was shared across social media. ‘Your mother’ is a great example of the creativity and soul of the students who produced ‘I right Inglish more goodlyer then u.’…

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Trouble Come Down

The sad news of the passing of Shawn Smith found me today. This track from his Satchel days has lived with me since my Uni days (the first time). ‘Who’s gonna show the fortitude?’ And this, from a little later, has always stirred me. ‘You never know until you stop…just carry on.’ Much will be…

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The more things change

Currently reading all round the topic of the short story to fill in the gaps of knowledge lingering in my noggin. Aspects including but not limited to: defining the short story, aspects of craft, historic development of the form, and structural theory. Bliss Perry devotes a chapter to the short story in A Study of…

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The End of the Beginning

The end of my first year as a full-time PhD student in Creative Writing passed in a blur. It was a landmark in my studies that seemed double-weighted given the focus of my research-led creative project: the endings of short stories. Depending on when you are reading this, I am fast approaching or have battered…

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2018 in Books

A little later than usual, here’s my reading of 2018. Might appear a little thin on the ground but in part that is due to the chunk of reading undertaken for my PhD and the fact that, due to my slackness in adding to this post through the year, I have been working from memory…

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Writing goodlyer Inglish

For much of the last year, I have been working as a First Story writer-in-residence at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester. This has involved delivering 16 workshops over the last eight months or so, along with a visit to the First Story Young writers’ Festival in Oxford. The staff and students have been an absolute…

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My Granddad knows

I am thrilled to be able to share that a poem by one of the brilliant young writers from my First Story residency group at Judgemeadow Community College is featured on this week’s Friday Story here.   Raasmiya’s poem was written during one of my workshops earlier this year, in response to Malika Booker’s poem…

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Hive Young Writers Festival

This coming Saturday, April 14, I will be delivering a short story writing workshop and takin part in a discussion panel as part of Hive Young Writers Festival in Rotherham. From the website: ‘The festival is a chance to network, hear from professional writers, meet like-minded young writers, perform & of course, write! Everyone is…

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