Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Naming Characters / Breaking News/ Run TMC / Going West

Naming Characters (the first instalment of many)

I’ve been on the hunt recently for names for secondary characters as THE NOVEL moves into a new frontier. Naming characters in semi-realistic fiction is tricky because you can’t be too outlandish or too overtly symbolic, as this diminishes the sense of (semi-)reality you’re labouring to create.

In the course of other fact-sourcing and fact-checking adventures, I came across this article on Papers Past:
ODD NAMES Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 70, 24 March 1937, Page 18

Even the name "Appendicitis," which Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, of Oklahoma, have bestowed on a newly-arrived daughter, is no more eccentric than some to be found among English gipsies [sic] seventy years ago, says the "Manchester Guardian." Talking to a gipsy woman on Stanmore Common in 1864, Mrs. Brightwen, the naturalist, learned that her name was Trinity Smith and that her family of daughters included Levise, Centina, Cinnaminti, Cinderella, Sibernia, and Leviathan. Asked why the youngest child had been given so weighty a name, she was informed, "Well, ye see, it were the name of the big ship (the Great Eastern was at first named Leviathan), and we thought it such a pretty name that we'd give it to the next boy we got: happened it come a girl, but we thought it didn't matter much, so gave it to her."

Breaking news #1

Victoria University of Wellington study reveals psychopaths prefer commerce degrees.

Hmm. I wonder how VUW feel about its psychology department taking a dump on the university’s cash-cow?

Excuse me while I control+F and delete all occurrences of “Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington” from my CV…

Breaking news #2

Apparently lots of people don’t know about ctrl+f . I struggle to believe the figure is as high as 90%, and I can say for sure that kids in NZ schools are being taught this skill and a bazillion other techie things in the inquiry-based curriculum... but still. Everyone should know ctrl+f! Otherwise you might as well just write everything by hand and read, like, paper!

Paid Work

The full text of my review of the anthology Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories About Work, edited by Richard Ford is now online at The Listener’s website.

Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories of Work

Dream Teams

Geeky-sports moment: If I could choose any two NBA teams from the past to control in a video game they would be:

1. 1990-91 Golden State Warriors, aka Run TMC (Run Tim (Hardaway) Mitch (Richmond) and Chris (Mullin). It’s telling the entire team is summarised by a 3-man moniker, because Tim, Mitch and Chris basically were the Golden State Warrior’s offense for three seasons (they accounted for 70+ points a game, still a record for three team mates) and, like all GSW teams, they played no defense. Mitch Richmond is my favourite NBA player of all-time and I recently brought a vintage 90-91 Richmond #23 jersey to hang on my wall (to go with my Richmond #2 Kings jersey from circa 1995).

This adorns my bedroom wall.
2. 2001-02 Sacramento Kings. I actually had a copy of NBA Live 2002 and played a full season with this squad, but 10 years hindsight and the advances in graphics and gameplay mean this team is still a tantalising proposition. And the chance to right the wrongs of history and trounce the 01-02 Lakers? Priceless. From this approximate era, I have Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic jerseys.
My office, featuring Peja 'Antique pistol for a head' Stojakovic

So, it was with much gasping and desk-slapping that I read about NBA 2K12, which is due for release later this year. It includes 30 classic teams from the past (lots of Celtics and Lakers…) but also, if you preorder, you will get codes to unlock two additional teams: the 1990-91 Warriors and the 2001-02 Kings.

Run TMC baby!

Meta Moment

Anyone ever noticed how I tend to rush up hodge-podge posts shortly after bearing my soul as a writer in order to push said soul-bearing further down the front page? Me neither.

Breaking news #3

Boys don’t read as much as girls.

Okay, that’s not so breaking (except heart-breaking, perhaps?). Actually, I found the article above
from Robert Lipsyte (Sam’s father!) interesting.

Inspired by my outreach events in Sydney, my Next Year’s Resolution (patent pending) is to get out to more schools and juvies and prisons and talk to young people, especially male, and show them that books aren’t all written by old people (or women).

First order of business, donate some copies of A Man Melting and Jesus' Son to Mt Crawford’s library!

Wicky Wicky Wild Wild West
La Rochelle's RoadThe programme for Going West Books and Writers Festival 2011 is now online. I’m appearing in the session ‘Early Days Yet’ with Tanya Moir, author of La Rochelle’s Road (you can read an extract of it here) on the morning of Sunday 11 September.

Not long to go now...

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