28 November 2011

A squabble of bats – In honour of 'Nora Munro's Belfry


A corroboree of witches
squabbles in the trees;
they'd knee each other
but they don't
have knees.

They're not polite and
they never say please.
Their eyes are limpid
but their tactics —

Never trust a fruit bat when
there's something sweet to eat.
If your toes are lickable
she'll leave you
sans feet.

Her loveliness is stunning
her fur a soft delight -
but when the blossoms
blossom, she only speaks
to fight.

Like a beauty on a sale day
just DON'T get in her way.
Between her and her
desire, there's only room to

This line of Nora's is hanging here, begging to be limericked.

So please do (knit it into a limerick, that is)
or, taking the line as is or mincing if you please (and though some might eeew it, you'll earn kudos for adding suet), commit your very own bob and wheel, rhupunt, or sneadhbhairdne;
or Carrollify, Seussate, or Yeats it to your taste.
You can even season with pepper spray.
Whatever, but serve it forth, forthwith!
Poems Poems Poems!

27 November 2011

from and to a writer who gets form-letter rejections

"You want me to go in there? Why don't you sniff, for a change?"

The biggest problem many 'new writers' have is assaying — which piece of invaluable advice is treasure, and which, something better left for experts: a bomb squad or a team in biohazard suits. The following is from a nw who has written some wonderfully crisp and tangy stories, but. My answer follows, but since your advice might be the opposite, perhaps you'd like to toss your advice in for nw's to pick up.
"Most of my rejections are the generic kind with no story-specific comments, so I'm always left scratching my head wondering what the turn off was.

I think every writer has to get the hack stories out of their system.
You know--the God vs. Devil story, the time travel story, the AI story, the robot story, the nanobot story, the dragon, vampire, zombie and werewolf stories ... I have a few stories left that I know are going to be panned (the help line story, the talking sword story) but maybe if I work a little harder to find the offbeat part of each one, they might be salvageable. If not, there's always the bottom drawer. No story is ever dead."
My answer to your hack-story line is, whall, no. There is no reason to be for a hack story that exists because it is derivative, in my opinion. Being a writer isn't like being a potter, which must build on imitation, and for many successful potters, never progresses from there. Writing that is rewarding is the communication of something. It may play with recognisable elements, but that is beside the point. A story worth stealing a reader's time and brain is itself something that has its own life, its own taxonomic category, and one that is worth fierce fights over as to which species the damn thing is—a fight that is ultimately, unresolvable unless it is awarded its own kingdom.

Anyway, that's my opinion. I think that by looking at stories as you are, you are wasting your own capacities and ignoring what has made you what you are today: a thinking person who is highly reflective, but who isn't trusting your own take on the world to be more valid than those who suck their 'works' from the canned goods of others.

What do YOU think?

"Against prevailing dogmas"
Of course, all writers and indeed, all people creating something, even new theories about disease, must learn to constantly assess and assay, as some recent Nobel laureates have learned.

The worst advice can come from the very sources we are supposed to trust the most. Many writers have fretted over their feet not fitting into the footwear of the moment, but shoved them in anyway, just because of a shallow faddish youshouldwrite delivered irresponsibly by a someone in the trade, a someone who's not there when you're ready to dance in those stupid glitsy shoes.

There are sites that bristle with famous rejection notes, but think what would have happened to this soul if he had listened when he should have in those tender formative years, well before he was even a grub of a nw.

"He has the most distorted ideas about wit and humour."
- Arthur Herman Gilkes, headmaster, Dulwich [seriously],
writing to the parents of P. G. Wodehouse

Finds from the Proscriptozoic Era

Bottom drawer -
Blockbuster drafts

Actual form letter -
on recreated desk of the time

(translation: "We're sorry to say that this manuscript is not right for us,
in spite of its evident merit.")

20 November 2011

Fairy penguin observations

This Eudyptula minor commonly known as a Fairy Penguin (but authorities today prefer, if we insist on being common, "Little Blue Penguin") was on the beach south of Ulladulla early this morning, rigor mortis not quite set in. I couldn't find any injury, so won't speculate on why it died.

Its oily feathers smelt remarkably unfishy—and even more surprisingly, as if it had bathed with Sunlight soap. Why a penguin would smell like a sheep beats me, and the comparison makes me cringe to have stated it, so if anyone can shed light on the composition of its fats, I would appreciate learning.

16 November 2011

Tips for ending writer's block

It's the season again! Aye, November, and this year the feral NaNoWriMos have spread to everywhere in Australia. So that they don't invade my tree, I've come out of it to give some advice that always works for me.

Think of limericks with amplexus.

Observation is so rewarding.

13 November 2011

"Picking Blueberries" now an infinity plus single

New ebook singles from infinity plus:
The Life Business — John Grant
The Bone Flute — Lisa Tuttle
The Death of Cassandra Quebec — Eric Brown
Playmate — Kit Reed
Picking Blueberries — Anna Tambour
("Picking Blueberries" is one of the stories in my collection, Monterra's Deliciosa & Other Tales &, reissued by infinity plus earlier this year in a new expanded edition.)

02 November 2011

Oh hah hah! Irresistible "Tales from the Secret Shop" by Marc Laidlaw and Jim Murray

His face! and what curls from his bag! and shllp indeed!

This is everything that a comic should be, and I'd love to plaster the pages in this blog as well as all over my wall. Besides, I'm a sucker for shopkeeper stories, as well as beasts of overburden.

Written by the inimitable Marc Laidlaw. Painted to perfexselection by Jim Murray.

Tales from the Secret Shop
a new serial comic beginning today with
"Are We Heroes Yet?"

Warning: If you die laughing, that's your problem.