Sunday, August 10, 2014

Full moon medley

 Frome Writers Collective, launched this summer to stimulate writers in every genre, held a Flash Fiction contest in the Merlin foyer on Sunday. We heard 14 short tales with a twist, and winners by public vote were local writers Alison Clink and Tim Luther. A well-organised and entertaining event from team FWC~ and thanks also to Mary Macarthur whose gentle interview with me as the 'Bard of Frome' is currently featured on their homepage. I'm never sure what to say when asked for advice to the unconfident, so I hope it doesn't sound perverse to suggest "Do it the way you would do it if you could do it..." 
Playwright David Greig was asked for advice for a BBC Writers Room feature: his response is great, and all the better for referencing PG Wodehouse's maxim to 'apply the seat of the trousers to the surface of the chair'.
"The main thing is to get to the end. Don’t worry about the quality moment by moment but regard what you are writing as placeholders until you find out what you are doing and then improve it later. The creative stuff happens with the improving, honing, cutting, observing and chipping away. The simple act of getting through it is a huge, huge thing. The second thing is to always remember that your subconscious mind knows better than your conscious mind. Trust a bit of writing because it came to you by surprise and follow the byways of your subconcious rather than sticking rigidly to the dictates of your boring, conscious mind. We pay to hear things that surprise us." 
David Greig's latest play The Events had rave reviews but I missed it in London so this picture is from Midsummer, his sweet, clever, funny play from four years ago. I saw it, bought the script and saw it again and ~ because it's not plagiarism it's craft ~ used one of his techniques in my own play Muffin Man which won me the title Bard of Frome, tying in nicely with the opening of this post.

Words at the Black Swan writing group reconvened to interrogate Tristan Steven's esoteric & fascinating exhibition FIFTHWALL ~ here's a sample of the installations, and an image from a very different summer exhibition in La Strada where Paul Newman is showing his exquistite pencil drawings. Tristan invites viewers to 'Come and play in the sacred sand pit of life!' while Paul's images evoke a sense of elemental connection the awe and mystery of nature that's also in its own way child-like.

To complete this disparate batch of points to ponder, how about this: Whatever you think about amazon they appear to be working in your interests in one thing. A long email they sent out to all Kindle publishers yesterday reminds us that paperback technology was initially rejected by bookshops and writers alike ~ including even George Orwell ~ as destroying literary culture. Subsequent history, they claim, is pertinent. "Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.  Just as paperbacks did not devalue or destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books."  They might undermine charity shop sales, though...

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