Friday, November 30, 2007
Finca I'll Pack it in...
Ah well, we live and learn! Now I'm back in Madrid and debating what to do next, apart from writing stories, of course. I always write stories, wherever I am and whatever else I'm doing! I've started a new cycle of absurdist tales involving a character called 'Don Cosquillas', using ideas that came to me in the mountains, and I'm very pleased with the results so far, but it's only light whimsical stuff before I get down to more serious projects.
I'm not used to getting paid for stories on the web. But I got paid for this. A pleasant surprise! Money is the eternal question... Rosa and I have been debating the possibility of briefly going to Africa for a few weeks in January, probably to Algeria or Senegal. I'm very keen, but need to earn more money to make such a trip feasible. So: more stories and more sales! I've sold plenty of work to anthologies recently and need to continue doing so!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Finca, therefore I am!
I have a quaint wooden casita to sleep in (a shed) and it’s cold at night. It’s cold during the day too, and rather damp, but when the sky does clear the view is lovely. In the day: forested mountains in late autumn. At night: amazingly bright stars. Last night I watched Orion rise over one of the peaks while the farm was bathed in soft moonlight. My chief companions here are Sebastian from Ecuador and Hector from Segovia. Both are friendly and interesting people. Yesterday I chased a calf from the porch of my casita. It was stamping on the boards for no obvious reason (see picture). Rabbits run around everywhere.
I have a free day on Saturday, so I’m going back to Madrid to see Rosa. I may even laze around a bit!
Friday, November 16, 2007
It's too Farm Fetched!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Wanderlust Bridge
The reason I mention this is because I have written a story concerning the Puente de Toledo and what happens when it gets lonely and goes in search of a girlfriend (i.e. a female bridge). Tomorrow the excellent Tartarus Press publish their new Strange Tales anthology and my story, ‘The Concise Picaresque Adventures of the Wanderlust Bridge’, is included therein. This is the third such Tartarus anthology and I’m happy to report I’ve been included in all three. Tartarus produce amazing books and I’m sure this one will be no less luxuriant and fabulous!
Friday, November 09, 2007
The Blabber of Seville
"Seville is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women."
-- Lord Byron
"I ain't so well known." -- A typical orange from Seville
The first time I went to Seville was two years ago, on my way back from Morocco. It's a very beautiful city, almost dreamily 'Spanish', and I was pleased to go again for Hispacon this year because I realised there was much I hadn't yet seen. As it turns out there is still much I haven't seen, partly because Seville is a tangle of narrow alleys and one might live there for years without exploring every fascinating nook and curious cranny.
My publisher, Luís Prado, paid for my journey, and thanks to the Hispacon organisers I stayed for free in a very comfortable 4 star hotel in the Barrio Macarena, near the old city walls. On my first night I went for a walk and encountered a religious procession somewhere near the church of San Marcos, with lots of incense, drumming and a huge image of the Virgin carried by sweating costaleros dressed in archaic garb. The atmosphere was very special.
Hispacon itself was held on the south side of the river, in the former pavilion erected by the Moroccan government during Expo 92. Now renamed the Fundación Tres Culturas, it's an incredible venue for a conference. Sadly, many of the presentations and talks I couldn't understand because they were in Spanish. My own presentation was conducted with the aid of translators and headphones, a system that worked surprisingly smoothly. I had worried that I might blabber instead of speak coherently, but everything went extremely well.
Some photos of the event can be viewed here. Because my own flickr account has filled up more rapidly than expected, I've started a new one. When I returned to Madrid, I had to make a decision about when to return to Wales. Originally I was going to fly back today (November 10) but now I prefer to postpone my return for a month or two. I am currently looking for more farm work: and I think I might have found some.
Finally, here's a quick plug for a person by the name of Zoe Chandler...
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