FiftyFourth Time

April 25, 2010 at 7:16 am (Uncategorized)

This has been a good week, for reasons that I’d never even thought about when I started this whole writing lark. It’s also been a bad week for entirely predictable reasons…

Let’s get the bad done first. My sciatica is still bad, thanks for asking, and now I’ve got some kind of weird chest infection thing that’s making me wheeze like my lungs are full of dust and slime. I can’t cough because it hurts my back, and when I walk I tend to hunch over slightly and shuffle. All in all, I look like an old man, or possibly an asthmatic pervert. Still, could be worse… Two rejections this week (well, technically, one rejection and one competition fail). The rejection wasn’t really a surprise – I’d submitted an older story that has been rejected from a couple of other places, so I think I’m going to have to accept that, good as I think the story is, it’s just not doing it for other people and needs retiring. I’ve sent something else, so we’ll see. The competition fail was something I’d submitted to the Campaign For Real Fear, and I genuinely didn’t think I’d have a chance, so not getting into the final ten isn’t a shock. That’s my real reaction, incidentally, and not my ‘bluff to cover the disappointment’ reaction – I only decided to submit at the last minute, and the story I wrote was knocked together in 20 minutes. Essentially, I was hoping to rip off Steve Tem’s masterful ‘2.00pm: The Real Estate Agent Arrives’ (a story in about 80 words), and I didn’t manage it. However, there’s something good in the story I came up with, I think, so I’m going to keep playing with it…

Onto the good news. This week, I started reading Rob Shearman’s Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, and it’s (as expected) brilliant, but even it’s brilliance was eclipsed by my discovery that Rob has named me in the acknowledgements! I have no idea why, or what I did, but it’s there in black and white! Result! Then my new copy of Black Static (fine magazine!) arrived, and Lo!, Stephen Volk in his column Electric Darkness names me as one of the “brilliant writers” he’s met by being part of the BFS (join now and meet brilliant writers, folks!). Result #2! What’s nice about these mentions is that I didn’t solicit them, but they seem to show my writing (and, I suppose, my approach to life in the sense of I try to be a nice guy, and friendly, and supportive of people) is making me friends. I never really expected to be anything more than someone who wrote the odd story, so all this other stuff is hugely gratifying and makes me feel good about myself. Cheers, fellahs! Lost Places continues to bring in good feedback – no formal reviews yet that I know of, but people telling me they love it. Can’t get better than that!

This week, I was also involved in an online interview at www.bittenbybooks.com about Gaslight Grotesque, which was great fun (GG picked up a review in Black Static, by the way, which is very complimentary about my story), and I read another couple of reviews of Black Static #15 which were extremely complimentary about my story ‘The Knitted Child’. Result #3!

So, a good week, and it’s shame that I have to finish this blog on a bit of a sour note: my beard and I have parted company. Much like my experiences with an earlier publisher, I felt my beard wasn’t trying hard enough and was too busy doing its own thing in opposition to my wishes, and it felt that I wasn’t giving it the credit it deserved. It argued that I was only able to work out important story details because it had allowed me to stroke it whilst looking thoughtful – if it hadn’t been there, I’d have been stroking a bald chin, which wouldn’t make me look thoughtful so much as weird. The practical upshot of this is that the beard has gone its own way – I fully expect it to have its own fan page on facebook soon, and wish it nothing but the best for its future endeavours. For my part, me and my bald chin have about 4 story commissions to do, and a novel to write, so we’re getting on as well.

That’s your lot, Lords and Ladies; back to your own life now, if you please. Move along, there’s nothing more to see here.

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