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Ten favourite sentences (in no particular order)

A long time ago now, editors at the American Scholar selected the Ten Best Sentences in literature. Their list included prose from James Joyce, Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway and others. They even included a bonus sentence from Truman Capote. The folks over at Book Riot also joined the party. Reading these lists back…

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foregroundmusic: Hotel Neon

Been doing a lot of editing of what appears to be coalescing into a collection of weird/eerie/uncanny short stories* which appear to be whacking about in woods haunted by the themes of death, doubles, time and after-lives. As ever, my writing and editing has been sound tracked by a variety of ambient and dronecore pieces,…

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Edge Hill Prize announces all female longlist

The Edge Hill University Short Story Prize is the only UK based award to recognise excellence in a single authored short story collection. As such it is a tremendously important feature of the writing landscape for anyone who enjoys reading short fiction, as well as anyone engaged in writing short fiction. As someone who sits…

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Don’t panic – reality is just a redraft

Spent a chunk of this morning wrangling with the themes that define the work of Philip K. Dick. My entry point today was the remarkable lecture he delivered in September 1977 at the 4eme Festival de la Science Fiction in Metz, France: ‘If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others.’…

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Explaining my shelf

I stumbled across Explain Your Shelf recently. It’s a neat little blog with a simple premise: authors take photos of their bookshelves and write something about their contents. Some great posts up there from great writers, including Nuala O’Connor (back when she was publishing as Nuala Ní Chonchúir) and Alex Cox. Unfortunately, it seems that…

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We’ll see how it goes.

Posting this has highlighted to me just how long it has been since I posted anything on this blog. Over the last year, I have been nestled deep within my PhD research and, when able to come up for breath, I’ve neglected this blog. More recently, you can add the demands of lockdown to the…

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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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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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