Wednesday, 5 September 2012

New Publications.

A much delayed update:

If blogs were cats then mine would have ran away to some kindly neighbour's house by now, tail in the air with ne'er a backward glance, seeking out somebody who'll actually feed it and give it some fuss..  If they be plants, we'll, then they be dead.

I haven't actually blogged much as I've been busy novel-plotting, slushing and working, but not much else, and while there were still billions of writing-related things that I could have used as blog fodder, somehow I slipped into the summer holiday langour and couldn't quite pull myself out. Until now!

So, writing news:

The first National Flash Fiction Day was held on May 16th, and 1000words is a site that started in response to it, and is now dedicated to fiction that is, well, 1000 words, or shorter.  You pick a photo prompt from one of the many images on their Pinterest page, here, and get scribbling.

I chose this one, and followed an usually literal path: "ooh, flying laptops = Arabian Nights...with computers!" 
Not the most avant garde thought process, I must admit, but for a writer, the figure of Scheherazade, from Arabian Nights, who clung to her life day by day, just by telling stories, is a potent metaphor, and one that I was happy to explore her.  Telling stories is also part of the whole social networking culture, where illusion often trumps reality; where 'off the cuff' remarks and ready, obscure quotes have been researched for hours; where people sit in the pub bored stiff, but pose for Facebook photographs like they're having the most exhilarating, fantastic night out that one could possibly experience, ever, and that's all before we even get to the realms of romance, where some degree of deception is perhaps the only way that anybody would ever get a date, ever ("Me? I'm mental, mate.  You should speak to my ex...")

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May- John William Waterhouse, 1908

This was published by Flash Fiction Online, which was an 'easy' write for me, as it's Victorian and dark and I can always find some passion for those things.   

The title is adapted from the poem 'To the Virgins, to make much of Time' by Robert Herrick, and from the opening lines: 

'GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may, 
  Old Time is still a-flying: 
And this same flower that smiles to-day 
  To-morrow will be dying.'

As in within many Metaphysical poems, the Carpe Diem motif here is inextricably aligned with fading female beauty -life is beautiful, short and fleeting, now get your knickers off, before you're a hag- so I wanted to couple this with all the socio-economic pressures and the onus on 'wifely' behaviour, and notions of being an 'angel in the house' that defined a great deal of Victorian discourse, and do a kind of Pride and Prejudice with...pistons, which has left me itching to write a great deal more 'Steampunk' type stuff.

Tennyson. Because he looks cool and has a fine beard.
This is another title that I stole from a poem, Tennyson's In Memoriam A.H.H:
'Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed.'

The poem is concerned with faith, loss of belief, death, religion, science, evolution, nature versus culture and the irreconcilability of the two, and this quote is often used to symbolise the essence of Natural Selection, and Darwin's theory of evolution, but I wanted to explore it an a smaller scale, and 'survival' as adjunct from good or bad, where there's much ambiguity about whether the protagonist/'survivalist' is both, neither, or one or the other.

This piece was a 'landmark' one, in that the editors required an author interview for the site, which I found a little bizarre, and completely exciting (when I wasn't thinking, "I bet I'll sound like a knob.")

Right, that's that for now.  The Writing MA starts again in a couple of weeks, and as this is a reading module there should be lots of book reviews up soon, so, until then....