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A revelation of sorts

"Hold still, now, aaaaaand... Zap!"
Today, in writing a review of the completely brilliant Breece D'J Pancake's only published collection of stories, I had a minor revelation. Not only am I getting older, with less hair and so it would seem less brain matter (the punishment for youthful excess - and occasional middle-aged excess), but I am also accruing excuses, reasons why not today but maybe tomorrow. I can't look for a new job, I'm too tired to play football, I'll just have that last biscuit and work it off tomorrow, I'll write when I have something to write about. 

The last one has been bothering me for a while. I am not one of those compulsive writers that must write or expire from the pent up frustration. I am not one of those seized by genius and with a desire to show the world something new and amazing. I am one of those who writes because he is a little lonesome, a little bored, and is lacking in self-belief and needs the affirmation of strangers. Yeah, that cock. 

But what, I pondered, if I could let all of that go, and simply tell a story? 
What story? I countered. 
Shut the hell up, me.

What if I did just forget about me and write freed of fear that I would be met with ridicule? That would surely be liberating. What if, instead of simply writing regardless of the fear, I actively embraced it? Writing in full view of the public? Will Self did it (or at least I believe he did, writing onto an acetate slide projected on the wall of an art gallery - I thought the Tate but can't seem to find the evidence). How could that not be an excellent challenge to take on? How to facilitate this?

The answer, as you will have guessed, is always in front of you. 

@WorkingTitled is my new project which you can follow over on the right there, or on my Live Journal account, where every entry is being logged. Writing in 140 character bursts, live and on the web, to anyone who will listen, completely open and honest. No deletions, no back-tracking on my promise to myself, no bullshit. Damn it but this is terrifying. 



So there you have it. No other activity will cease to make way, I will just be writing, 140 characters of new novel, hopefully every day, or at least as often as possible. They say when you've hit around 6000 tweets you already sufficient words for a novella. Let's see if it's true.

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Selected Holiday Reading - The In-Betweeners Abroad

I always try to travel light, a goal, something with which those among you with bookish leanings will empathise, that is challenging for someone intending to do as much reading as they can whilst ignoring as much culture and scenery as is possible. So huzzah and indeed hurrah for the generic e-book reader and its market competitors. Ten years ago I would likely have suffered a paroxysm of disgust for any apologist of the hated technology. Now, it seems, I must take one everywhere I go for more than one night.



The trip to which I am coming, an August sojourn by ferry to Santander and then by VW through Calabria, the Basque country, and north through Aquitaine, Poitou-Charente, Pays de la Loire and Bretagne, was a chance to get some serious reading under the belt. Twelve days of driving, drinking, books and beaches. The only 'real' books that made the trip were The Vagabond's Breakfast, of which more anon, and All The Days And Nights which, as I was on a deadline, I quickly …

Under The Dust by Jordi Coca

So, wheel of fortune, count to 29, pin the tail, freebies off of peeps on Twitter etc. etc. Whatever the methods sometimes employed to pick the next book in my intertextual experience, the one that brought me to Jordi Coca brought me to a whopping great slice of nostalgia. Before I'd even opened it, it brought to mind Richard Gwyn, himself a published poet, author, biographer, translator and course director of the MA Creative Writing course at Cardiff University, who I recall for some odd reason gently encouraging me to read this novel, and by whose own work I was quietly impressed at the time. He was also an advocate of Roberto Bolaño, another writer in whose work I can immerse myself but from which I emerge drained, as mentioned previously. Before that, though, there is this sticker on the front, declaring 'Signed by the Author at Waterstone's'. It is indeed signed by Jordi Coca, not adding any particular intrinsic value to the book, not for me anyway, but more impor…

The One from the Other by Philip Kerr

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Hannah Green And Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith

I was sold this book by Simon at the Big Green Bookshop in return for the money it cost plus a small donation towards operating costs and postage. 

In truth, I'd forgotten it was on its way, and it was a fucking lovely surprise when it arrived at my desk in work, my letterbox at the time being a tad short on width and breadth and unlikely to admit a hardback plus packaging. I recall very much enjoying reading Michael Marshall Smith, and I also enjoyed re-reading him, recently, and I documented this here, here and here. This was a book for which I hadn't realised I'd been waiting for a long time. 

However, had I not the history and warm, cosy feelings safely tucked up in the nostalgia bank, I would probably not have picked this up, going solely on the cover. There's a clock, the silhouette of a small girl, and leaves, along with a colour contrast and meandering font which brought to mind something cringe-worthily reminiscent of Alexander McCall-Smith*, or the covers of Sc…