Ciaran Carson and Davy Graham

Ciaran Carson, the Belfast poet, died earlier this week. I knew him a little bit, and admired him immensely. The one time I went to dinner at his house, he was editing The Yellow Nib, a literary magazine. As we ate, we talked about music. He was a professional – could pick up a penny whistle […]

Writing and Shit – part 13 – Exactly how not to begin your short story

Most of the examples I have given so far have been quite straightforward, unsubtle. The idea of the runaway bride, although something you might be happy to gossip about, may be the kind of on-the-surface, twisty story that you would never allow yourself to write. But I think that the idea of Story-Time, and of […]

Writing and Shit – part 12 – The Epic Flipchart of Will It? Won’t it?

I’d like to move on from my two definitions of a story, but do keep your marked up story-start because we’ll be going back to it. I have tried very hard to find another way to talk about this next bit that avoids the phrase ‘Story-Time’. It has associations – not bad associations – of […]

Patience, and some useful quotations about it and other subjects (for writers and readers)

For a long while, Patience was going to have an epigraph – on the first page of the novel; before ‘1979’ and ‘Please be patient with me’. But I cut it. It was this Franz Kafka aphorism: There are two cardinal human sins from which all others derive: impatience and indolence. Because of impatience they […]