Mostly these days I don’t have time for live writers. (n.b. *humour alert*) like Fiona Johnson, Alasdair McPherson and/or many others who grace (is grace the most appropriate word?) this site. Only, let me point out, because my working day and my leisure time and most of my sleeping time, is taken up with DEAD WRITERS who I find are much more accommodating and don’t require two way communication (in the way that as soon as you write to or about another live writer – you get into, the deil take us, a conversation – and on blogs that can turn into a comment box stooshie – or let us say more genteely, a debate) but the past couple of days I broke my own rules, in an attempt to ‘contribute’ more to McVoices since it’s just such a pure dead brilliant idea.
Anyway, as soon as you scratch the surface of cyberspace blogland, you get sucked in again. All I can do is make this brief foray into a positive experience. So. What I have learned today and yesterday(Apart from that I’ll be working all weekend to catch up with me dead writers copy editing to make up for the time I’ve spent here!)
Well, first I’ve ‘met’ McDroll. She has a penchant (I believe) for dark and sinister things. I don’t really. But I checked out some of her work – and the title Kick it with Conviction was intriguing enough for me to download it for 77p. Come on. 77p. Can’t complain for that price can you? No I can’t. The seven short stories filled my brief lunchbreak yesterday. I particularly liked two of them. I’d have paid 77p for these alone. Even if I might have had the opportunity to read them on McStorytellers for free – I haven’t checked. But anyway. I’m not saying ‘two stories were GOOD’ or even ‘THE BEST STORY WAS…’ or anything like that, I’m just saying that two of the stories spoke to me more than the others, and I enjoyed them most. (They were Saying Goodbye and Frozen in Time if you're interested and why would you be?) And I’m sure there will be more writing from McDroll that I like – even if I dare not stray into the bigger and more sinister world of Thriller Johnson. Which all just goes to prove that taking a chance on a writer is worth it. One can usually (if not always) find something either enjoyable or enlightening in the work of another writer. And often not what one is expecting.
I should end the blog here? But Oh no, I’m going on at length now. I shall save an actual ‘review’ of the short story collection for another time – and integrate it with another couple of writers I’m just discovering. From Fiona’s 2nd LIST of Scottish writers I dutifully scrolled down (I didn’t know of all these, most of her 1st list I was all too if not overly familiar with – and many of them really like!) and came across Gary Marshall. A quick surf to his site alerted me to COFFIN DODGERS Title that made me want to know more... I’ve read the sample and will download it NOT TODAY I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO READ LIVE WRITERS EVEN ABOUT OLD PEOPLE TODAY. And I’ll be reading that soon. So Thanks Fiona! This sharing is a great thing eh?
And while I was still on the McVoices ‘surf’ I came across Alasdair McPherson – and his WICKED blogpost about the war (don’t mention the war) and then looked at his bio page and here, I find myself quoted – out of context Alasdair I’m sure – to his own self deprecation. He quotes me as saying 'Even Cally Phillips damned me with faint praise: 'You could do worse than read Alasdair McPherson'. Ah, the man is a comic genius! I have to say though Alasdair, faint praise is never something I’ve been accused of before (though most other things in the world have been laid at my door!) For the reader with the sense of humour bypass out there (there a few in existence) I’ll just say that this is Alasdair being funny! I’m sure I may have said such a thing but he’ll have missed out the line where I point out it’s BECAUSE he’s so pure dead brilliant AND in case you don’t believe me – just read no further than his blogpost here. Then get yourself over to McStorytellers… where I am NOT GOING TODAY BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO READ MORE LIVE WRITERS TODAY. (Are you getting the theme?)
I must get back to the DEAD writer I’m reading about at the moment. One George Gissing. I know. He’s not even Scottish. I shouldn’t be mentioning him at all. BUT I got put onto him by a live writer Dennis Hamley (not Scottish either oops) and have learned lots of interesting things about 19th century publishing in the process. Including finding James Payn – another forgotten man – and I’d thoroughly recommend the FREE download of his work SOME PRIVATE VIEWS especially the chapters on ‘sham admiration in literature’ and ‘the literary calling and its future’ I only hope ma ‘bahookie’ blog isn’t accused of plagiarism by any who read Payn’s comments. Though I suspect in our post post modern world it will be possible to read these chapters and form a diametrically opposed conclusion to the one I did. That’s life, folks. We are all different, we all see everything differently BUT for me, the greatness of this is that if we open our eyes and our minds to each other (and read each other’s works) we can find new ways of communicating and new understandings of our fellow men (and women obviously!) Which is a lot nicer than arguing the toss now isn’t it?
Not brief then eh? Obviously I’ve spent too much time with my dead writers who get paid by the thousand word. Brevity is less important under such circumstances. I forget, I’m doing this for free. Sigh. Have a good weekend everyone. I hope you all have more time for reading than I’m going to get now!
p.s. Brendan - this is beginning to feel like a community service order. Have I paid back my debt to society yet?