The excellent folks over at the excellent Metazen have just published another brand new story of mine. It contains hamsters, Barbie dolls, and a funeral and you can read it by clicking here. I do hope you like it.
As I’m sure most of you will know, Doris Lessing passed away yesterday which is, of course sad news.
I’ll be honest I’ve not read any of her books (yet). This, in fact, is the only thing of hers I’ve read and I love it. And if that doesn’t make me want to read her books then I don’t know what will.
There’s a brand new story of mine over at the brill Pygmy Giant today. It’s called Liar and you can read it here. Hope you like it.
(And, contrary to what I said the other day, the other story will be published next Thursday. I clearly am not very good at reading calendars.)
So I’ve quite a busy week ahead, which is nice.
On Tuesday I’ll be on Beartown Radio, from 7pm until 8pm, talking books and stories and music.
On Wednesday the fabulous Metazen will publish a brand new story of mine, Goodnight Barbie.
And on Thursday another brand new story, Liar, will be up at The Pygmy Giant. I’ll post links and things at the time, but it should be fun. And it’ll certainly be a good thing to have a few more bits out there after a fair old while where I’ve published virtually nothing other than books. I hope you like them.
But ‘like’ is really the wrong. I love it. It’s special. It’s magic. It’s one of those albums – and there are very few – where every single one of its songs is wonderful, and where every one of them could easily be a single. It’s that good.
There’s a beautiful depth throughout, the words feel right and considered and true (Miss You breaks the heart in exactly the right way, and Machines is simply majestic). There’s texture and colour and some out and out get me on the dance floor moments (you, not me – I’m a terrible dancer) and, everything fits together the way it should. It’s not simply a collection of really terrific, affecting, wonderfully written, produced and performed songs (it’s that too, of course) – it’s a wonderful whole. It’s early days yet, but it might even be as close to a perfect album as you’re likely to get. A great, great album and, without doubt, my album of the year. The sort of album, in fact, that makes you go the long way to places, just so you can squeeze in an extra couple of songs. I’ll be honest, I’ve been talking my iPod out with me, even for the two minute walk to the shop. I give it 5 stars. I’d give it 6 if I could.
Here’s the first single from it, Cocoon, out this week. Go, have a listen. (And keep your eyes peeled here – there should be a little more Polly goodness very soon… In the meantime, here’s me chatting with her a couple of years ago.)
And, in other, far less exciting, news writing has been happening here at Perring Towers, and that’s always a nice thing.
…when one of its best writers, the wonderful Alice Munro, receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Here’s hoping the extra exposure this wonderful form of writing gets as a result will encourage at least a few more people to give the short story a try. A lot, I’d imagine, would probably like it very much.
Well this is a bit special, isn’t it? Well known, and often brilliant, songs stripped of everything but the lead vocal track.
I especially loved Fleetwood Mac
and the Radiohead one
and This Charming Man is delightful too
There are plenty more to listen to if you have yourselves a click here.
And in other news, I’m an uncle again. That makes me very happy.
Seven years ago, my first book was published. (Happy birthday, book!)
This post was going to be one about what’s changed, for me about writing, in those seven years but now I come to think about it the answer is: mot much. It’s still fun and it’s still hard. Very hard. If anything writing now, with three books behind me and a bunch of short stories out there, is harder than it was before. There’s more pressure for one and, as (luckily!) people have mostly liked the things I’ve done there are things to live up to.
One thing I have noticed over the past couple of years – and I think this is because I mostly write magic realism, is that it’s quite easy to write something that can easily be read as a parody of a Nik Perring story, and that’s a very dangerous thing. Stories need to feel fresh. They need to feel new. They need to read as though they’re saying something that either hasn’t been said before, or haven’t been said that way before. And I think that the more you write the more difficult being fresh becomes. There’s no point in repeating yourself.
And I think, as well, that my own standards are higher, which is no bad thing, although it does make my output less prolific.
Not that I’m unhappy with my output. I’ve been writing a lot (I don’t really tend to stop for too often) and I’ve got a whole bunch of stories I’m really pleased with which, as I mentioned in a post a little while ago, I’m starting to send out to places again (after becoming a little lazy with submissions).
So there you have it. With writing, in my experience, nothing really changes, other than the stories.
And as it’s a book’s birthday how’s about a little competition. Leave a comment (here or on facebook) and I’ll drop you into a hat. The winner receives a signed copy of one of my books. (I’ll make the draw at the end of the week.)
Hello. Yes, I am still here and alive. Apologies for the lack of action here of late, September seems to have been and gone without me noticing.
So, what have I been up to? Well, the usual, to be honest (so no real excuse). Mostly writing, editing, teaching, and reading. Enjoying watching the summer slip into autumn and the trees shedding their leaves. And celebrating my sister’s birthday. She’s 30 now, which is scary.
Back to matters at hand – in case you might be interested, there are still a few days left to take advantage of my back to school offer on the online short fiction course I run (£85 if you sign up before the end of the month – see previous post). May your autumns be fruitful ones.
And here’s a song.
Well it’s that time of year, all right. I hope all uniforms are named and labelled and that new pencil cases have been bought.
As you’ll probably know, I run a six part online short fiction course. Well, a couple of places have become free and I thought that, as it’s back to school month, I’d do a little offer for any lovely readers of this little blog who might want to do it. So, if you sign up before the end of September, then you’ll not pay a penny more than £85 (it’s usually £111). Details here.