Thursday, March 27, 2008
Climbing the Cake!
I sometimes ask myself: "What's the most successful story I've ever written?" The answer is probably 'The Old House Under the Snow...' It was my first story to be translated into a foreign language (Serbian) and was my first story to feature as a magazine cover (Postscripts #2). Also it is due to be reprinted in English in Mike Ashley's forthcoming Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy and it has just appeared in French translation as 'La vieille maison sous la neige' in Fiction #7. The story concerns explorers who venture into a house buried under snow. Completely unlike the above photograph, which shows explorers climbing a chocolate cake!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I'm playing with a technique B.S. Johnson used, namely anticipating the reactions of potential reviewers and pre-empting their criticisms in the text itself. In other words the text is not only a work of fiction but a criticial commentary on itself. The trick is to make these two aspects work together positively, the plot and its justification reinforcing each other. This might be seen as a rather smug and/or defensive way to write but hopefully the vibrancy of the story itself will be the dominant factor of the work.
It's going to be a highly metafictional novel, featuring author intrusion, the reader as a character, an awareness by the fictional protagonists that they are unreal, etc... People who don't like metafiction will never be charmed by it, but I'm totally at odds with the notion that chronic self-referentiality or acute self-awareness necessarily lessens any emotional impact. On the contrary, metafiction can create a stronger connectivity with the real world (and thus with real emotions) than ordinary fiction for a number of reasons, including the simple fact that standard fiction exists entirely in an hermetically sealed world that only parallels reality while claiming to be real, whereas metafiction is openly aware of our reality, our timeframe. Fiction is a game: one of the rules of the game is that you must never acknowledge this fact. Metafiction plays games with those rules. It's more honest and more clever: a disturbing combination!
I could babble on about metafiction all day... I won't. Different topic: I might be travelling to Portugal at the end of April to give a reading at a conference themed around ‘Writers and Travel’. The conference is taking place in Matosinhos, a town near Porto. I'm really looking forward to going back! Here in Swansea I haven't done much of interest. I went to Three Cliffs Bay with Filiz on Thursday: it was nice but windy! Living with Turkish people means constantly delicious food and incomprehensible soap operas on satellite television. I'm happy! Another good thing: Stuart Ross has started blogging again after too many months of silence.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Apes and Japes
My next book, The Less Lonely Planet, is due to be launched on April 26th in London. This is one my most whimsical books and one of my favourites and fairly representative of what I do. Because I was too lazy to proofread The Crystal Cosmos properly when I had the chance, some typographical errors cropped up in the published text. I’ve been far more careful with The Less Lonely Planet. A big dose of gratitude to the excellent Canadian who edited the book, Ian Alexander Martin. He’s also an actor.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Hell of a Boy!
Friday, March 07, 2008
A Blight on Blighty!
The moment I landed in Gatwick I wanted to go straight back to Spain. Walking down a street in London I was stopped by the police, who insisted on questioning me in connection with the 'terrorism act' -- because I had stopped to rummage in my rucksack. A nice paranoid welcome from a country that has lost all sense of proportion!
Terrorism is an exaggerated problem: terrorists kill very few people. Cars cause the main carnage. Bad drivers and chavs are the real dangers faced by the people of Britain. Plus the psychological stress caused by stupidly high prices for low quality goods and services.
Now I'm back in Wales and looking forward to seeing my friends again. I have to find a job to pay for my return to Spain. I plan to move to Spain permanently, I don't know exactly when but certainly by 2010. I need to make money first. And learn Spanish properly.
Monday, March 03, 2008
The Return of the King
Had a good final week in España. Went to see Cibelle play in a Madrid club, a truly excellent gig, a fusion of experimental, lounge and bossanova.
Went to Aranjuez, one of my favourite cities in Spain, also to Chinchon, another wonderfully preserved old village.
Saw some great films, ate tasty food. Did other stuff.
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