“I like you sir. You’re shit or bust, you are.” – Keith Douglas’ batman, to Keith Douglas. I was twenty three when I discovered the work of the Second World War poet Keith Douglas. I’d just completed an English degree and was worn out with novels, so for a year I read only comics and poetry. Good comics were easy to find, but good poetry was a rarer substance. It seemed to me that you had to read twenty impenetrable poems for every one that spoke to you, but I was fortunate enough to have time on my side. I flitted my way … Read More
Enough now. There you have it. There are one hundred stories from almost forty years of my life contained in my collected stories. They contain half the damning truths I suspected at midnight, and half of the saving truths I re-found next noon. If anything is taught here, it is simply the charting of the life of someone who started out to somewhere—and went. I have not so much thought my way through life as done things and found what it was and who I was after the doing. Each tale was a way of finding selves. Each self found … Read More
The book industry’s an odd one. About three weeks ago I finished handwriting the first draft of my third novel, which I’ve since been typing up to see what I’ve got on my hands. In the meantime my second book, The Man who Rained, is at the printers being turned into something glossy and pretty and ready, come January, to go out into the big wide world. Always as a writer you’re working on something a step ahead of where it appears you are now. I was writing The Man who Rained when The Girl with Glass Feet came out, … Read More
In the last couple of years I’ve waited until the end of the year to put together a list of things I’ve loved from the preceding twelve months. I probably shan’t be doing that this year, because I’ll have a new book out in January and lots to say about it. So, in the meantime I have a few things I’m itching to recommend to you, things I’ve recently enjoyed that I hope might tickle your fancy too. I discovered Nobrow Press after a trip to the fabulous Gosh Comics in London. I’d just been to see the Afghanistan exhibition … Read More
Just wanted to share with you the good news that my hero of 2009, William Elliott Whitmore, has a new record coming out this month. Check it out here. I also wanted to share a little teaser of something I’m hoping to post next week. A new project for this blog. If you can guess the link between saints, dogs, otters, salmon, lambs and Tartary, then you know what it is already.