You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Your Messages’ tag.

By fluke, I’ll be teaching, judging and reading at the Folkestone Literary Festival tomorrow — when all I really want to do is hole up with Doritoes and wine and watch election returns. Sheesh! How unfair is life!

Rarely does anything literary have any effect on me other than ‘thank goodness it exists’. However, I do wish for once I could put stuff off by one day…

Which makes me think: any current affairs ideas for story exercises tomorrow? Go on, don’t be shy…

*

And OH MY GOD I forgot to say that Your Messages is at it again! Yes, it is! Go check it out. A little bit of a different format, more possibilities…signed books as prizes…but you must, you really must go for it.

I will.

As soon as the election’s over!

Advertisements

A burst of these, and I am multi-coloured with longing for one of my very own. Really, really COOL. In every sense of the word. Check out me sidebar if you don’t believe me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these the last few days. For a number of reasons. It’s just that there are so many different types. And I seem to be awash in them, with them. The acceptance of a gift brings responsibility. And openness. The giving of one, in the best world, means letting go. And a sort of hope.

There must be a small but determined fleet of these gift bubbles — I can’t help but see them as such, blown from one of those plastic child bottles, in surprising and joyful profusion — taking to the air over our double-glazed lives. This morning there’s a hard frost, but the urge to strike out and join them is almost overwhelming.

First there was Your Messages. Now there is Disraeli Avenue, by Caroline Smailes. I met Caroline at the Your Messages launch. But sort of knew her already, as she’d kindly reviewed Losing You.

She was lovely. I liked her piece. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read her novel In Search of Adam yet (because I’m not the best in the world at doing exactly what I want when I want, believe it or not; hand on heart though it is actually right at the top of my list).

Disraeli Avenue coverAbout Disraeli Avenue: a novella by Caroline, downloadable, by donation. In support of adult victims of sexual abuse. Remember openness? Remember hope? Some days that’s all there is. When the bubbles disintegrate, we’ve got to make sure there are decent landings. Get this book. And give generously.

Okay, the truth can now come out: the night of my last post was the actual launch of Messages and Your Messages…only I couldn’t say it because the event was mega-oversubscribed and even one more person would have popped the place like the fabled ‘wafer thin mint’ (it would have).

What a night. Buzzy from start to finish, and the work was top notch: hilarious, thoughtful and moving by turns. Thank goodness I wear waterproof mascara, let me put it that way. I was particularly struck by the pieces read by Oz Hardick, Caroline Smailes, Bob (erroneously Bill!) Merckel, Clare Grant, Mary Rose Rawlinson, Gina Benson, Ken Elkes — and of course Alex Johnson (of shedworking)’s final Your Messages riff. And actually, now that I look at the book, I know there were others I thoroughly enjoyed, and many more fine examples held in the pages. Once again, well done to Lynne and Sarah. A hugely successful and generous project, a catalyst for so many.

Gina Benson had come all the way from TEXAS for the occasion. It was her first published piece and by common consensus, a doozie. She and her friend were wonderful, as was Bob M, another American…We exchanged home thoughts, raining-in-Britain observations etc, and, as always happens in these situations, my all-time favourite Texas bumper sticker spread itself across the backwall of my brain, like some kind of flypost. I saw it the last time I landed in Houston, on the freeway back to Beaumont:

Texas bumper sticker

As a native Texan, my heart thrills to this. It encapsulates everything but everything about that simultaneously overblown and self-deprecating state. Love it.

I like things with a certain…symmetry? weight? Presence. I like things that come into the world already artefacts.Messages cover Messages and Your Messages are two such things. The original Messages project, between Lynne Rees and Sarah Salway, grew out of a collaboration, just an idea that both of them stuck to. The result is hugely neat and satisfying: 300 pieces of 300 words each. Deep sigh.Your Message cover

Now it’s launching into a smaller format, along with the culmination of the Your Messages project, another brilliantly conceived and executed collaborative project. Lynne and Sarah collated the work, choosing at least one piece for each day of the month, and bluechrome have produced an anthology from it: all proceeds to charity. Talk about art. Yes, let’s talk about it: art as in making from materials, where process is valued as much as product. Where something emerges which moves the eye, the mind and the heart, fully occupying its own space.

Longer term readers of this blog will remember the fun I had doing my first one, on 8 November. It’s the one in Your Messages. Which I can’t wait to get my hands on.

I HAVE MOVED

From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning

COPYRIGHT

All material is copyrighted. Please request permission to use via Contact.

Who am I?


A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.