Take it away, George…

I’ve started two or three lengthy blog pieces in the last week or so and have gotten nowhere. Well, I’ve written a heap of words but haven’t been able to wrangle them into something readable…

So, today, instead of trying and failing again, here’s one of my favourite writers George Saunders elucidating upon the subject of writing.

Even if you’ve seen it many times before, like I have, you’ll still find something to enjoy, I think.

My Daaaark Place

This has just been sitting on my computer for too long and I can’t think of a witty title.

But, yeah, Garth Marenghi is right. Things aren’t ideal and yet…

Also, they should totally release Garth Marenghi books. I desperately want to read Black Fang…

Just popped over to Goodreads and he actually has a profile. With one book, Slicer, which clocks in at 666 pages.

I’ve always loved the great tragedies, King Lear, The Poseidon Adventure, Superman 2.

– Garth Marenghi
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

In-Sentence Suspense

This is from the first exercise Matt Bell has posted on his “Writing Exercises” emails about creating an “in-sentence” suspension.

To briefly, and poorly, explain it’s about creating a simple sentence and then delaying the ending by using prepositions but you can also use a whole slew of other techniques. I realise I’m not explaining this well but…

Matt explains it much, MUCH better in his exercise emails which you can sign up for here.

My sentence was originally –

I have seen many places, but none of them like this, and I smile.

I liked what came out after about twenty minutes of writing, even though I didn’t really stick perfectly to the instructions given. Anyway, here it is in case anyone would like to read a very long sentence.

I have seen many places, from the safety of my head, beneath the twilight of an ocean sky, bouncing past deserts inside a broken and comically packed van where bad breath and B.O. reigned supreme, or ferried over water with sunburned skin alive and itching, accompanied by the monologue within, that spoke at length about things I don’t remember, with friends, lovers, companions, coworkers, guides, people I hardly knew at all or ever would again who spoke in languages and cadences once readily understood but now simply forgotten, steered to view the world from someone else’s vantage because the view was better or they told you that’s how it’s supposed to be seen, where obligingly you might capture the tired eyes and shining teeth of strangers, through variations of heat and darkness, constricted by limits of vision, or a willingness to witness (often, but not always, one and the same), from such great heights where cities look like galaxies or deep caverns where stalactites look like the distant skyscrapers on an absurd, forgotten, rusted planet, and the thought of a familiar blanket was not far away, but none of them like this, like you, and I smile. 

It’s the little things…

A few things that have been making this quarantine/work-from-home time that much easier for myself have been…

The Devin Townsend Podcast

An entirely new podcast from Devin Townsend (one of my favourite musicians ever) where he does a deep dive into his creative process and personal life that resulted in his albums.

He really takes his time getting into these things and speaks over an ongoing ambient guitar soundtrack sooo it’s been a very soothing listen for me while out on my runs or driving about for groceries.

It’s also cool to hear in real-time someone come to honest conclusions about how and why they make art. Definitely has influenced some decisions I’ve made in relation to my own current work.

Also available on Spotify.

Oh and he’s doing Quarantine Concerts now

Bosch | Technicolor

Bosch

Don’t know why it took a global pandemic but I finally got into Amazon Prime’s Bosch (where Titus plays titular character) and it’s just great.

I’ve thought Titus Welliver was the coolest mofo since last Autumn when I got hella into Deadwood and desperately wanted more Titus on screen.

Sadly, he’s only in that show sporadically but every time I thought he was brilliant. I wanted more scenes of him with everyone, especially Timothy Olyphant (clench-jawed brilliance) and Ian McShane (foulmouthed brilliance).

I’m almost finished the very last season now and very sad it’s nearly over BUT I highly recommend. Season 2 in particular was my favourite ’cause it has that updated 1940’s LA noir feel.

If you enjoy well-written cop TV with a pitch-perfect lead actor and some great, well-rounded supporting characters watch, watch, watch.

And lastly…

Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020 [Part 3] April 7th on Netflix ...

Terrace House 2019-2020

This may be the most niche thing on the list but I love Terrace House.

I moved to Japan in 2013 and lived there for four wonderful years. Watching Terrace House was invaluable at times for learning more about the language and the culture I was living in.

Now I’ve been back in Ireland nearly as long as I was away and my Japanese language-culture skills are not what they used to be however watching this in the evenings has been a fantastic way to wind down the evenings.

Yes, it’s a mindless reality TV show BUT if you’re not familiar with Japanese culture it may just surprise and entertain you in ways I don’t think you’d have guessed.

For example, how everyone on the show is obsessed with goals and life goals and working towards those goals at all times and what have you done for your goals today? It’ll seriously make you rethink how much effort you’re putting in in life… and who doesn’t like to be reminded of their failings while watching an escapist TV show?… Right?

Some lovely words about “Mouths Filled with Seawater”

Last week (on my birthday, no less) my friend Kev Harrison let me know of this interview over on Writers, After Dark.

Mercedes M. Yardley, the editor of Arterial Bloom, said some lovely things about my first ever published story “Mouths Filled with Seawater”.

“It is dreamy and obsessive and terrifying and beautiful.”

Mercedes M. Yardley

On top of that, I was in the top three stories she chose from the anthology!

Needless to say, I was levitating for the rest of the day.

It’s a great interview and packed with interesting bits about publishing, writing, and submitting to anthologies.

You can listen to the full thing here