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It’s difficult…

It’s difficult…

My first online blogging was done via LiveJournal way back whenever. I had a small group of readers whose LJ’s I also read. We commented on each other’s posts and it all felt cosy and fun. I was a little wary about being discovered so I used a pseudonym and fake names for all the folk I wrote about, but otherwise it was truth all the way. Then I set up “A Salted”, a blog in which I discussed working in a big bookshop and writing and reading. It was less gossipy than LJ, but still it was definitely a personal blog. Then came this one. I have way more publications to my name and I wanted to feature them and promote my writing. I also review books. Sometimes I interview other writers, beginning the Smash Lits interviews because I get so incredibly bored by all the writer blog tours. I prefer to read blogs that make me feel I am reading about a person. I hate twitter accounts that are repeated links to someone’s writing and RT’s of praise and fake reviews. (Five *****’s to Sara Crowley’s extraordinary story!) Facebook pages full of dry self promotion. Blogs that drone on. Who cares?

I have become so cautious about what I say, I don’t tell the truth about my life to anyone really. I am fake and polite and careful at all times. What would happen if I told the truth? Oh my goodness, people might know how I feel and what’s going on, and then what? How…exposing.

We live at a time when I can watch “Reality” TV shows in which young people will have sex, get drunk, show their entire bodies, but never reveal themselves. It’s a curious honesty. Big Brother contestants sleep together unabashed, yet refuse to discuss whether or not they might date as if suggesting they might want a relationship opens them up to a potential embarrassment far greater than showing their genitalia to the cameras. It feels as if having sex with someone is fine, but wanting the hand-holding, chatty bit of a partnership is too much.

Random thoughts:

It’s six months since dad died and it very much feels like my life has divided into before he died and after. After has been miserable as hell. I look at pictures or think of things and go, ah, yeah, that was before dad died. That was before I lost the weird innocence I didn’t know I had.

My new job is great. It’s the one bright spot in an otherwise terrible year.

There are so many things I don’t talk about. I keep secrets and lock away so much sadness that I may explode.

People say you find out who your friends are in times of crisis. What if you find out you don’t have any?

At my dad’s funeral the church was full. He was such a friendly, popular guy many people wanted to pay their respects. I don’t know who would come to mine; not so many, that’s for sure. I went to a neighbour’s funeral last week. Her husband died 25 years ago and they didn’t have children. After all her struggles, her endurance, her keeping on with a smile and joke, life ended. That’s what it does. She was 96 and she had told me all her friends were dead, even the younger ones.

We get through our lives however we do, and it ends. That’s a certainty. I will die. You will die. Everyone we love will die. And in the meantime I’m alive, I’m sad, I’m pissed off, I’m increasingly afraid my life will end before I have written my fucking novel, I’m fat, flawed, exasperated, but I do my best to put some good out into the world, to be a decent person, to keep on keeping on even though the ground has turned out not to be solid and it all feels so bloody hard.

My most used saying of 2016 so far is, “It’s difficult…”

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Gavin Emsworth at The Pygmy Giant

My brother sent me an email about a twunty colleague of his and I liked some of his lines so much I took ’em and turned them into a flash which the lovely folk at The Pygmy Giant have just published. It was fun to try and write in my brother’s voice and shape it into a wee story; I just hope his workmate doesn’t happen upon it and recognise himself.

The Art of Pain at PANK

The mighty PANK  magazine has published my story “The Art of Pain” – so, obviously, I am pretty damn chuffed. Thank you, PANKY people.

 

Back This Way at FRiGG Magazine

I’m delighted that FRiGG Magazine have published what is (at least for now) my favourite story – “Back This Way”.

Massive thanks to FRiGG’s editor, Ellen Parker, for just getting it. She made a few suggestions for edits which so improved the story that if I were given three wishes my first would be that Ellen Parker would read everything I ever write and perform the same magic. (My second and third would be, y’know, world peace and all that.)

The Fall issue looks ace. I’ve already checked out some really good words by Chris Garson and an intriguing story by Kevin Spaide, and am looking forward to reading more.

A short fiction of mine up at Cease, Cows

Cease, Cows looks to be a pretty nifty new journal. My ace writing pal, Tania Hershman, encouraged me to send a piece their way, and they published Cara last week. They’ve done a wonderful job finding an accompanying image. It’s a bit different to my usual fiction, maybe even a little sci-fi-esque.


New flash up at The Ilanot Review

I like the Editor‘s note for The Ilanot Review’s summer edition. They asked for submissions for a “hybrid” issue and wanted something different – work that “rejected labels.” The journal is packed with good words from super smart writers like Elaine Chiew, Sarah Hilary, Jonathan Pinnock, Angela Readman and Nuala Ni Chonchuir. It’s pretty damn cool to be appearing in a journal alongside them. I’m pleased with my piece, Immalore. At the risk of sounding like a twat, it’s kinda personal, but ambiguous too, and probably the closest I get to poetry.


Everything is not ok…

I can’t tell you how much I love this image. It was in the weekly brain pickings (You do subscribe to brain pickings, right? It’s wonderful – always full of chewy, interesting things.)

Anyway, everything is not ok but some things will be, so this seems pertinent right now. My life is not how I’d wish it to be. It is not how I ever imagined it. I am not ok. But, ya know, I will be. Probably.