Friday, 14 August 2009


Re my previous post, I have just gone through my bookmarks and deleted my links to the culture/literature pages of the daily papers.

It was liberating and depressing in equal measure. Depressing, because it reminded me of just how low these sections had sunk (and just how few of them there were in any case). Liberating, because if I want to go and wade in the sewerage, I will have to make a bit more of an effort - one that will give me time to reflect on what I am actually doing and thus turn aside. After a couple of weeks, the habit will be broken completely.

The last straw?

Time and space given to discussing the autobiography of a talentless air-head who isn't old enough to warrant an autobiography.

This is time and space that could have been given over to a talented but less well known writer, someone with something to say and the skill to say it.

Liberating because now, every time I get the urge to see what is happening in the arts in general and in literature in particular, I will employ my time more sensibly by (a) creating a bit of my own and (b) continuing my search for that mythical website/forum where talented and off-beat writers are reviewed, discussed, and given a bit of the exposure they deserve.

It will be a long quest.

I may be gone some time.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


I've been very busy over the last few months (and more). Writing. So I've not had a great deal of time to write about writing.

This morning, however, while doing my weekly major back-up, I did what I usually do - trawl through the book sections of the websites of the more respectable UK newspapers. I do it once a week and, to be honest, I don't know why I bother any more.

Quite aside from the monotonous exchanges in the forums (same old people saying the same old things and never actually 'listening' to or thinking about what anyone else has to say), the content of the book sections is so depressing it makes me weep.

Because the content matches those self-same commentators. It is the same old stuff (which, presumably, people are paid disproportionate sums to create). Reviews, on the whole, are dull; and the books that are reviewed are, on the whole, 'safe'. Articles are often poorly researched and make huge assumptions about the world of books that could only be made by those comfortably off and living in the literary ghetto. Opinion pieces... well, you hear more interesting stuff from that slightly grubby drunk that is propped up by the end of the bar.

I have tried looking elsewhere, but haven't had the time of late to spend on an extended search. But where, oh where, are all the lively, open (and polite) forums that present and allow discussion of good writing? Places that welcome outsiders, places that are truly interested in stretching the boundaries of writing and can manage to do this without mentioning: the Booker (or any other prize), Kindle (or any other e-reader), Twilight, The Wire; or any of those other topics that people feel the need to throw in and which demonstrate a paucity of imagination and unwillingness to engage with things beyond the mainstream. Is there such a place? Is there a place where people don't care about genre because they understand it is mostly a marketing convention that makes it easier for people to find the kind of story they like and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of writing? Is there a place where people are happy to admit they enjoy the Beano just as much as they enjoy Beckett; where it's not a crime to admit to reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and William Burroughs; where good craft is the key?

I hope there is. And if anyone out there knows of such a place, I do hope they will let me know.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Waiting for...

Hmm. Sounds like that might be a title worth developing.

Living in limbo just now. Waiting for this. Waiting for that. Everything placed in the hands of other people who then decide your fate.

But never mind. I am still writing, so I am remaining relatively sane.

That's it, really.

Enthralling stuff, eh?