Stories at Neon Magazine


                          (Image from Neon Magazine issue 23)

When Matt died I somewhat inevitably found myself writing about grief. Not as straightforward reportage, rather I wrote tiny, odd flashes of misery and loss. Three pieces in particular seem to belong together despite their differences. I call them Grief Triptych and am pleased to have found a good home for them at Neon Magazine ( a place that states it looks for “…the new, the experimental and the strange.”)

My second story at Neon is called “Inside VS. Out” and ostensibly has nothing to do with Matt at all. However, it was using his words “evenings of ordinary sand” and “moon worms” as prompts that was my inspiration. He wanted us to collaborate and write together and I hope that he’s cool with what I did.

Matt was very supportive of my writing and had an especial fondness for my concise flashes. Anyone who knew him knows from his music, artworks and humour that the weird, surreal and grotesque appealed to him. I hope he would approve of these fictions. I think he would.

The main thing I would like to say if any of his friends or family read them is that I wrote and published them in memory of Matt, but they are not about Matt. Rather, they are about me.

Matt Kinnison

It is two years today since Matt died. Crummy kinda day. I send love out to Matt’s friends and family. 
I have a few flash fictions forthcoming in Neon Magazine that I have written in memory of Matt and I had hoped that some magic would come into play and they would be published in time for this ghastly anniversary. They haven’t, and really I’m at a loss for anything new to say. I miss Matt and time passing merely highlights to me how rare and true a friend he was. 

Matt’s small list of impossible things : cheese bow ties, stinging nettles with fingerprints, someone posting Jupiter through your letterbox, 50 year old babies, November being knighted, pudding before main course, tying a knot in tap water etc etc etc.

Letters of Ted Hughes selected and edited by Christopher Reid (thoughts while reading)

I have a cold. Poor me. It is just a cold so I am able to struggle on. It’s been a busy week, uncommonly sociable actually, which has made me realise how unsociable I usually am. I’ve been in to Brighton and up to London and have sat on trains for quite a few hours so I had extra time to read “Letters of Ted Hughes”, and wow, I am enjoying it so very much, it’s a delicious treat.
So much of what he writes in letters to Plath and other writers is incredibly relevant and familiar. He writes about things that affect me, and consequently fills me with a strange confidence. Ah, I can think to myself, it was the same even for Ted. (Yeah, we’re *that* familiar I can call him Ted.)
On not being able to write: “At present I am doing nothing – I sit for hours like a statue of a man writing, no different, except during the 3rd or 4th hour a bead of sweat moves on my temple. I have never known it so hard to write.”
On discovering he had won a prize to have his first book of poetry published: “My first reaction was a horrible feeling of guilt at what I had committed, and I went to read the poems over to see if they were really as dull as I dreded (sic) they were. I immediately saw fifty things I wanted to change and I’m appalled that I let most of the poems out in such an unfinished state.”
On rejections: “Don’t be taken back by those rejections, but don’t send them straight out…If you can keep up your writing you will see, after a few weeks, where you can improve the rejected ones, or whether they are better let lie.”
I am finding it liberating and inspirational and it seems to be feeding me creatively, to the point where I have just finished writing the first draft of one new story, am editing two other stories, and had a great idea of what to do with an old story that I like but which doesn’t quite work as is. I’m not sure what the magic of it is, but hey, it’s good!
One other thing: I always said that Matt wrote the best emails and letters ever. His were funny, clever, sarcastic, witty, intelligent and thoughtful. He had an authoritative voice which made statements; sometimes hilariously, wicked statements. Ted Hughes writes in the same way, it’s really uncanny. It’s not Matt’s voice, but they definitely shared a similar style. Matt really disliked Hughes, he was a Plath fan who blamed Hughes for her suicide. I am amused to note just how similar TH and MK seem, and would love to be able to tease Matt about it.
Anyway, available at Waterstone’s bookshops or online at at the bargain price of £7.49

Matt Kinnison and the perfect coffee

Today is the first anniversary of Matt’s death. I was reading through our live journal looking for something and noticed that all of Matt’s cartoons have been removed. I suppose his photobucket account was wiped or something. It sucks to have lost them all. Anyway, I miss him like crazy, it hurts not having him in my life, and I send love out into the world to all his friends and family.

Thought it would be cool to share Matt’s perfect coffee (written in his own inimitable style) with you.

Here is a recipe for a most delicious Turkish Coffee:
Take four heaped table spoons of very finely ground coffee….whichever one you like can be any type at all, with the possible exception of Kenyan, which may become overly acidic made in this way. A fuller bodied coffee, such as Mysore, Brazilian or Guatemalan works very well.
Add these to a small milk pan of cold water, so that there is slighty over three times as much water as there is coffee. Open three cardamum pods, checking that the seeds inside are black and podgy….the lighter, thinner ones are a bit like mouthwash and will spoil the taste. Add these and if you like sugar, add some now.
Bring this mixture to the boil VERY SLOWLY…just simmer really….bring to the boil three times, letting the mixture relax and simmer again between boilings. It should be on the heat for about ten minutes in total. A soft foam will have developed, and you should skim a bit off and put it in a pre warmed cup. After the third boil, pour the mixture in to the cup and leave to stand….there is an ungodly sludge that will need to settle, and you should remember not to drain your cup completely when you drink or you’ll get a faceful. This sludge, i am informed, can be used to tell the future, but i’m afraid i don’t know how.
This coffee is best served with something uncommonly sweet, such as Turkish Delight, A Danish Pastry or those Indian sweets that look like radioactive worms.

Technological gubbins

Thanks so much to Matt Bell for helping me open the .DBX files. As I’d hoped, there were over a 100 emails from Matt. I have been rereading them, laughing and crying, and just so glad that I weirdly backed them up.

To avoid any such future calamity, on Friday I bought a My Book external hard drive, and today I have been backing up my beloved Mac. The hard drive came without an instruction booklet (it says there’s one, there is not.) So, I have plugged and clicked and hoped. It seems to be doing things, tho’ as soon as it turned on Time Machine asked me if I wanted to back up, so I said yeah, imagining the 2 things were happening in tandem. Apparently not. Time machine has finished and My Book has only just begun.

I also bought a cooling tray for the mac, in the hope that if I treat it well and keep it cool it will reward me.

Yesterday was spent trying to get my mother’s Sony reader operational, and download a book for her birthday. That was in-between the trying to open the .DBX files and googling hopefully. The reader should have been easy, but unfortunately wasn’t, as the Digital Editions I had installed didn’t work, and I had to re-install.

My printer has gone wrong and sends me on a cycle of “Check the ink” “Check the paper” – they are both fine, but it still won’t work.

My paper shredder has ceased functioning properly. It will only shred paper if I reverse first, and then quickly wedge the paper in. It’ll only do that once, then I have to reveres again. I have spent ages poking at it, unclogging it, revving it. Bah!

Anyway, this is all by way of saying aaaaargggghhhh, I love my shiny techy things, but I do not have the noggin to understand them. They have been taking up too much time, but hopefully it’ll all be done by tomorrow, and I can get back to some focussed writing.