Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm about to crash, but...

Okay, so I need to finish THE NOVEL some time next month. To do this I'm going to have to "crash" in the Kazuo Ishiguro sense.

“He [Ishiguro] takes a lot of time to prepare a novel, just thinking about it, and then he draws a line through his diary for three or four weeks. He just writes for 10 hours a day, and at the end he has a novel.”
Well, my crash isn't quite like that. I mean, I've already written 85,000 words. But I need a couple more in places, a couple less in others. I need to make one character appear in an earlier chapter because I've said he was there in a later one. And once I've got everything "in", I have to make it sound not sound like writing. 

So in a week or two I'm going to stop blogging until THE NOVEL is put to bed.

But before I hit 'snooze', I've got to post my thoughts on the two Jim Shepard short story collections I've read (once I've written those reflections, of course).

And I just bought the new poetry collections from Geoff Cochrane and James Brown, and Jenny Pattrick's new novel Skylark.

I'm excited about all three, but nothing can quite compare to the excitement of having a new volume of Geoff Cochrane in your hands.

The closest thing I can compare it to is when I was in my early teens and I'd just brought a new CD and you can't do anything until you've listened to it. We didn't have a CD player in our car, so sometimes I had to make do with reading the liner notes on the way home. Some times, OK Computer for example, the art and the lyrics were a good place to start. Other times, something by The Stone Temple Pilots say, reading the lyrics let a little of the air out of an album.

So when I jumped on the bus today after spending all my allowance on books, I just had to start reading The Bengal Engine's Mango Afterglow.

It's good. How can it not be? But I'm going to take my time, read it alongside Warm Auditorium and then post something thoughtful when I return from my crash.

Until then, you can pass the time by reading my take on Cochrane's previous collection, The Worm in the Tequila. (NB: I totally picked that 'The Lich-gate' would make it into Best NZ Poems 2010)

While I'm posting photos of books on the spare bed in my office, here's my copy of The Warwick Review's NZ issue which arrived in the mail about ten days ago.

It features cover boy Vincent O'Sullivan, Fiona Kidman, Elizabeth Smither, Greg O'Brien, CK Stead, Chris Price, Diana Bridge, Patrick Evans and my short story, 'The Cuddies', which begins the night before Valentine's Day:
In the last few hours before sunrise, Dave Cuddie took the opportunity to visit old friends. He walked along the rows, directing his flashlight at the plaques and nodding his greeting to Hot Chocolate, Dusky Dancer, Racy Lady -- names that had lost their humorous tingle in this his seventh year patrolling Mrs Bonaventure's rose garden.
If you want to read the whole story and you're not in the UK (or can't wrangle a copy of WR), you'll just have to wait until a kind publisher lets me release another collection of short fiction (and hope 'The Cuddies' makes the cut). So, 2021 maybe?

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