Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Percolated History of Infamous Stars
I have been busy turning my back catalogue into ebooks. Twelve years after it first appeared as a paperback, my first published novel THE PERCOLATED STARS has just been released as an ebook. Candidly I regard this novel as one of the best, if not the best, thing I have ever done. It has become a cult book since it was first issued. It's partly about what happens when the vacuum of outer space turns into espresso coffee and galaxies become the swirl of cream on top...
Also just released is the ebook edition of my most successful book, A NEW UNIVERSAL HISTORY OF INFAMY, published in hardback in the USA in 2004 by Night Shade Books with a foreword by John Clute, and subsequently translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Greek thanks to the mighty efforts of Luis Garcia Prado, Pedro Piedade Marques and Achilleas Kyriakidis. This book is a tribute to the genius of Borges.
Friday, July 03, 2015
I was recently interviewed about my work by a Finnish journalist for the speculative fiction website Risingshadow. The interview has just gone up and here it is.
I have been interviewed many times in the past 15 years or so. When it comes to talking about my favourite writers, I find that nothing much has changed in a long time... Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, Flann O'Brien, Boris Vian and a few others remain my favourites.
Nonetheless I enjoyed answering the questions that were put to me by the interviewer.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Brothel Creeper Ebook
The original contents list included a story entitled 'Casimir the Converter', an unusual tropical vampire tale. This story is now included in my recent collection from Hippocampus Press, Bone Idle in the Charnel House.
I have therefore removed that particular story from this ebook edition and replaced it with a story that was featured as a bonus in the limited edition hardback edition. This story is 'Cracking Nuts with Jan Hammer'.
I am extremely proud of some of the stories to be found in this book. In particular, 'The Cuckoos of Bliss', 'One's a Crowd', 'Southbound Satin' and many others, especially the final story, 'The Quims of Itapetinga'.
This is a collection of twenty speculative dark fantasy stories that received some tremendous reviews when it was first published. For instance, this one.
The title of this book refers to three linked stories inside the collection, namely 'One Man's Meat'. 'Mah Jong Breath' and 'The Small Miracle', all of them part of the same story-cycle.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
There's a saying -- that I just invented -- which goes "don't put all your salsa ladies into one basket." This will only make sense to someone who knows what a 'basket turn' is. It's the turn that is here being demonstrated with the magnificent Tseng Lan Hui.
I am wondering if the heyday of the blog is coming to an end? People seem to interact with each other using social media much more than through blogs, although links to blogs are often posted on Facebook and other such sites.
Here is a new review of my most recent book that has just appeared in Starburst magazine. This year my writing output has dropped again but it doesn't really bother me. Literary activity goes in waves. The final wave will be to wave farewell but I'm not there yet...
I am in the process of putting together two new collections that will hopefully appear next year. And I really really really need to get back to some half-completed longer projects that have been hanging around far too long.
Sunday, June 07, 2015
Two PDF files.
"Love can't be bottled but it might arrive in a bottle... Love is a game like chess but with smiles, winks, laughs and kisses for pieces... Love is a problem. Is there a solution? Join the woman who has no need for romance and the sailor from another age as they simultaneously attempt to accept and avoid the designs of destiny."
In the same spirit, my one and only poetry collection THE GLOOMY SEAHORSE is available as a PDF for anyone who wants it. A donation of one euro for this book is also suggested. It was published early last year. Just ask if you want one. I don't write poetry very often these days but I did when I was younger and most of the poems in this book are more than 20 years old.
"A book of poetry by Rhys Hughes with more than seventy poems selected from the past twenty years of his writing career and divided into four approximate categories: absurdism, mystical, science fiction and lovey-dovey, followed by an afterword."
Contact me here or at the following email address if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or make a donation using the Paypal button below:
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
I had a diversity of views in return. Some people liked it and some didn't. The shoes were almost universally popular, but not the jacket and shirt. However, the writer Samuel Delany gave a positive response to the full attire. "It looks dashing," he said. Delany is one of my favourite ever authors. I am currently reading his Stars in my Pockets like Grains of Sand and enjoying it immensely. If Delany approves, then that settles the matter as far as I'm concerned.
One curious thing: my friend Joy is African and all my African friends liked the colours. But my Western friends were less convinced. I lack enough data to make any kind of theory from this, but it's interesting anyway.
Friday, May 22, 2015
I am also extremely pleased that Michael Bishop and John Clute have already received their copies and hope to review it in the near future.
This photo shows me reading a copy of MIRRORS IN THE DELUGE while standing in front of a MIRRORS IN THE DELUGE poster and drinking coffee from a MIRRORS IN THE DELUGE mug while wearing a MIRRORS IN THE DELUGE shirt... All courtesy of the excellent Elsewhen Press... The image has been mirrored.
With luck there will be a small event in Cosmo restauarant on Sunday evening to mark the publication of this book. If you happen to be in the Swansea area drop me a line and come along! The stories in this book are the kind I most enjoy writing. Therefore the existence of this book is especially thrilling to me.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Reflections in the Rain
Review copies have been sent out and have reached most of the reviewers. I have high hopes for this collection, but of course what I like isn't always what the reading public like. In fact it is frequently at odds. No matter. I write the kinds of books I most enjoy reading and ultimately that's all that really matters.
Ordering information will be provided very soon. I have just added this title to my Aardvark Caesar blog here.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Green Mirrored Mansions
My amazing publishers at Elsewhen Press just sent me a box of coffee mugs emblazoned with the cover of my next book. These guys have treated me very well indeed and I hope my book is successful because I want them to take another book of mine for next year. The paperback is due to be published early next month, but in the meantime the ebook edition is available from Amazon and other online booksellers. For example, in the UK it can be obtained here.
Mirrors in the Deluge is one of my personal favourites of all my collections. It contains 32 stories in which I tried to explore various lateral directions in developing ideas and concepts. In this sense it is akin to an earlier collection of mine, The Just Not So Stories, but I feel that the guys at Elsewhen Press are more serious and professional about promoting their authors and books. I have been impressed with everything they have done so far. A book launch is currently being arranged.
Friday, May 01, 2015
The Permissive Path
A brief hiking trip was cut short because it was simply too cold the first night to tolerate the idea of spending subsequent nights under canvas. Am I becoming soft in my old age? I don't think so.
I am seriously planning to walk the GR20 this year, from one side of Corsica to another over the mountains in the middle; something I have been thinking about doing for many years.
Brief writing news: I am extremely pleased to say that the story I wrote for the forthcoming anthology of 'Jack the Ripper' tales has just been accepted by the editor Maxim Jakubowski. This is a story I carried in my head as an idea for a long time but left until the last moment to actually put down on paper. In fact I spent the entire night before the deadline day writing it, finally submitting it at 11.55 am the following morning. The deadline was noon, so I made it with five minutes to spare! The anthology will be published by Little, Brown in the UK, who publish J.K. Rowling among many others (one of those many others, somewhat bizarrely, is the funkmaster Nile Rodgers).
There is lots of other writing news, but I have become wary about announcing things prematurely. I have acquired this wariness through the experience that comes with the passing years. After all, I am no spring chicken. I am a summer pterodactyl.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
David Rix of Eibonvale always creates great books and he is getting better and better in terms of design and artwork. His volumes are unique and carefully created artefacts and it is always a pleasure and honour to be published by him. The editor of this anthology was Allen Ashley.
It can be purchased from the usual places or directly from the publisher here. I always recommend that readers purchase directly from publishers, but they rarely do, of course.
Eibonvale will soon be bringing out the second (and expanded) edition of my story collection Sangria in the Sangraal.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Drums in the Night
Climbing achieves this state for me. So does running and dancing. Drumming also, at least after the initial self-conscious phase has passed. Then it becomes a form of active meditation, a trance condition where it seems that the drums are playing the player, or at least playing themselves.
This picture shows me drumming with my good friend, the always excellent Tseng Lan Hui. Although bongo fury is fun, I soon think it will be time for a darbuka and belly dancers...
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Ice Cream Interlude
I will therefore instead simply report that I finally got back into climbing a few days ago after too long a break. I also went for my first ice cream of the year. More importantly, I am dating an extremely nice lady and that seems to be going well. My writing is also going well, albeit slowly. I have just finished my 763rd story, which was written specifically for a 'Mammoth Book' anthology. The deadline was today, so I wrote it overnight and submitted it about half an hour ago. If I was more efficient, it would have been written months ago, because it has been in my head for ages.
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Naked Tree Climb
My first attempt at night with lanterns yielded generally unsatisfactory results (of which this photo is only one of many).
However, I learned a couple of useful things: (a) it is possible to climb a tree naked even at night in March without freezing, (b) wearing shoes while doing so is detrimental to the overall visual effect.
A second and superior attempt, taking into account what has been learned, with better equipment and positioning, will be conducted two weeks from now at sunrise...
Friday, March 27, 2015
Postmodern Mariner Ebook
The first story in this book, 'Castor on Troubled Waters', has been published far and wide. It appeared in the successful anthology of pirate stories FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS and has been released as an audio podcast on two different sites including PodCastle. And yet the book itself wasn't particularly successful.
So finally I am pleased that it now has the opportunity to reach a wider audience. It is available on the UK Amazon here and on the US Amazon here. I do need to point out, however, that the first third of this book is the same as the first third of my book THE TRUTH SPINNER, so if you have that other book you probably don't need to get this...
Thursday, March 19, 2015
You Too Can be a Moon!
It seems that one of my ebooks published back in 2012 has recently been featured in The Guardian and elsewhere as an example of an ebook with a "bad cover". Personally I think the cover is just right for the stories in the collection, which are quirky, daft and absurd.
Young Tales from the Old Cosmos is a set of linked stories about sentient moons, planets, stars and galaxies. It was inspired by something Umberto Eco said in his essay 'How I Write' (from his collection On Literature) about how he once started writing a series of stories called 'Ancient Stories of the Young Universe' in which the planets of our solar system were living beings. Venus falls in love with the sun, for example, and throws herself into his embrace with tragic results.
They say that "all publicity is good publicity" and although I have never been convinced by this dictum it seems worthwhile to mention that my ebook is still available on Amazon and elsewhere and can be bought for the extremely reasonable sum of £0.99 in the UK and $1.47 in the USA.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
My Name in Flowers
It does feel that spring is coming at long last! I desperately need sunlight to power my mind and body and enable me to make the changes I want to make in my life.
It has been an interesting week or so. An excellent cultural week including all night dancing (I was exhausted), cinema, Italian food, discovery of brilliant writers unknown to me (Rubén Darío) and more.
I am progressing with my scheme of turning most of my out of print books from years ago into readily available and low cost ebooks. The next one will probably be The Postmodern Mariner. Soon I will also resume work on my gigantic collection of stories that totals one million words. It is such a daunting task to face that I have been putting it off, but it can't be put off forever!
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Mirrors in the Deluge
The publisher is Elsewhen Press, who specialise in speculative fiction of many different kinds. They have already issued a number of extremely interesting books and I am privileged to be associated with them. They have treated me extremely well, with efficiency and care. In the writing world this is not always the case. I have nothing but admiration and respect for them.
So now that I have recommended both the book and the publisher, I can say that the ebook is available to be ordered right now. It can be found on the Amazon UK site here. It is also available on all other Amazon sites, on Kobo, Google Play, and elsewhere. The paperback will be published in June. The cover was designed by Alison Buck.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tallest Stories & Eyelidiad Ebooks
Two books of mine that have hitherto only been available in hardback and paperback are now finally also available in ebook editions.
Twenty years after it was written and nineteen years after it was published, my second ever book (which has been out of print for a decade and a half) is finally available as an ebook. EYELIDIAD tells the story of a highwayman who carries on his back a portrait of his younger self that happens to be alive, and the adventures they have together...
As for TALLEST STORIES I have always regarded it with special affection. Indeed I often say that it is my "best book". Whether this is true or not isn't really for me to judge, but certainly I can state that it represents me as a writer more fully than any other of my books, because it is a microcosm of everything I hope to achieve: a set of linked story-cycles that are controlled by various framing devices, each of which is controlled by a larger framing device.
I am delighted that these two books will now reach a wider audience. Tallest Stories exists as an ebook thanks to the generosity of David Rix of Eibonvale who allowed me to issue it as a joint venture between his company and mine.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Thirty Tributes to Calvino
"Paradoxical and philosophical fables; impossible cartographies and labyrinths of the mind and heart; towers that stretch across the universe; men who set sail on domestic oceans; the opinions and hopes of the sun; sentient geometries; games with gravity and planets; metafiction and wordplay; recursion and exploration; the perplexities of logic and desire."
A couple of years ago I produced an ebook called Ten Tributes to Calvino. It was suggested to me that I expand the book and I agreed to do so. In fact, that ebook contains a few stories that aren't in this new book; but this new book is a more refined and (to my mind at least) satisfying "thank you" to my favourite writer.
The cover is by the divine Brankica Bozinovska and the book is dedicated to her...
It is available from Amazon and elsewhere right now, in both paperback form and as an ebook. The paperback and ebook differ in one story, a tale called 'The Broom Cupboard of Crossed Destinies', a collaboration I wrote with D.F. Lewis back in 1996. It's a story that uses pictures of Tarot Cards as essential to an understanding of the text, and the challenge of formatting these images for an ebook proved too much for me. In the ebook edition I have replaced this tale with an alternative.
Talking about D.F. Lewis, that gentleman has just completed one of his 'real time' reviews of this collection and I am delighted to report that his final judgment is, "I assess that this book could well be this author’s greatest book. Well, my own jury is out, sitting in the February gloom of my garden, like a secret guild, beyond my earshot. The book certainly is highly representative of his best work as well as his rare worst. And as a tribute to Italo Calvino, fans of that writer will, I am sure, appreciate this book greatly. Yet, even here, Rhys Hughes stands distinct as the strangest and uniquest writer I know. And Calvino would not have had it any other way, I guess."
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The first was to celebrate the birthday of the amazing Kseniya Gomzjakova, a lady with a huge heart who is just a very lovely person. She made no fewer than 25 special dishes for her party. But I must remember that a party with Russians and Latvians will involve endless toasts of vodka! I drank an incredible amount that night, but the quality was so pure there was almost no hangover the following morning.
This photo shows Kseniya (on the right) with her friends Inga and Inese. As I have said in previous blog posts, Kseniya is an extremely fascinating person in so many ways. Her beauty is not just in her outer form (she is indeed extremely beautiful) but inside too, in her mind and soul. I dedicated the second edition of my Journeys Beyond Advice book to her.
The following night I travelled to Tenby with Amira to stay with the awesome Tseng Lan Hui, a kind and generous lady who always inspires me with the strength of her character. She owns a guest house and it was a wonderful experience to have the opportunity of exploring Tenby at night. It is one of the most appealing towns in Wales.
As on the previous night, there was an astounding array of food available. After the food it was time for dancing! This photo shows just some of the people who were there. Most of them I know through salsa classes.
I am lucky to know special people in my life who always prevent me from being cynical about the human race. Lan is definitely one of these and I have dedicated my forthcoming book Mirrors in the Deluge to her. This blog post proves that even when writing about parties, food and dancing, I can still mention books somehow...
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Dancing with my Muse
Valentine's Day is coming up soon, so I will take this opportunity to plug my Bottled Love Story novelette again. It's about a woman named Amira and her adventures in this world and in another; and candidly it's one of the best things I have ever written, if not the best. It only exists as a realbook because the formatting (of the pictures and typographical tricks) was too tricky to turn it into an ebook; but if you want a PDF of the text then let me know and I will email you one.
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Aardvark Caesar blogsite, which contains information about all the books I have published so far. I have added Bone Idle in the Charnel House and Orpheus on the Underground and there is a surprise there too, something I am going to announce officially soon but not yet; so consider this to be an unofficial announcement...
Orpheus on the Underground is now available as an ebook as well as a beautiful deluxe print version.
I have also added another story to my Platinum Ass blogsite, where I hope to one day present exactly 100 of my stories online to be read for free. There are now 21 available. The story I have just added, 'The Mirror in the Looking Glass', is one of my most popular ever.
The year has got off to a very good start in many ways, including writing and publishing.
Friday, January 23, 2015
There is a lady who lives in Skopje who brims with magic. Like the reflection of golden sunlight on the still waters of a deep lake, she radiates beauty, power and serenity. Her personality sparkles. She is warm, generous, sweet, mischievous, kind, exciting, intelligent, talented, magnificent.
It's a terrible thing to confess, but I am not in awe of many people in this world. I have met few people who have made me feel that I ought to be a lot more humble than I am. But they do exist and Brankica is one of them, the best and brightest.
Spending time with her in Macedonia was an experience that had an unexpected and profound effect on me. I will tell anyone who listens what a lovely lady she is, but she is much more than that. Her heart and soul are so big that they encompassed me the moment I approached her and in fact they encompass the world. Her compassion is truly moving.
And yet it is her strength that is most impressive to me. Her character is heroic and yet undemonstrative. I might have felt feeble and inadequate in her presence, but she inspired me, enthused me, left me convinced that here was the perfect exemplar of an indomitable human spirit.
Because I am fond of the process of Tuckerization, I have used her as a character in many stories, most notably and extensively in my (as yet unpublished) novel The Pilgrim's Regress. She will continue to appear as a character in many forthcoming works.
She also creates delightful art and she designed the cover for my collection of flash fiction Flash in the Pantheon, and I will be using her art to create the cover of my next book, Thirty Tributes to Calvino, which will be dedicated to her.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Serbia and Macedonia
recommend it here in public). Then I went off to meet Brankica at the designated rendezvous point.
I flew home with the certainty that I would return soon. I have to return. I still feel that I am flying high over the clouds, the mountains, the sea...
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Orpheus on the Underground
In the meantime I am absolutely delighted to announce the publication of my new book! ORPHEUS ON THE UNDERGROUND from Tartarus Press is a collection of weird phantasmagorical stories that has been wonderfully illustrated by the genius artist Chris Harrendence and is dedicated to my lovely and magical muse, Amira Ana Smyth.
It exists right now and is available to be purchased from the publisher. And soon it will be available from other places... I am very pleased with this book. Tartarus Press have a superstition that authors shouldn't talk about their books until they are published, which is why I kept so quiet about this one.
It has been more than twelve years since I was last published by Tartarus Press. They always create a truly impressive product, books that are beautiful art objects, and it is a privilege as well as a pleasure to be published by such a fine publishing house.
Here is part of the blurb that Tartarus have created for this book:
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
The Elephant in the Room
This will be my first book of 2015. On the first day of January I also plan to start writing a new book of linked stories called Down Cerberus. I have been turning over ideas for this project in my mind for a long time. It is going to be a collection along the lines of the Mrożek and also Čapek's Apocryphal Tales. It always seems a good idea to commence a new venture on the first day of a new year.
Every year I try to write a minimum of 100,000 words of fiction. Some productive years have seen me achieve more than double this figure. But I have been rather lax in the year 2014 and at one point it was very doubtful I would meet my wordage quota. A late surge has got me to 98,500 words. Today is the day I hope to thwart failure!
Friday, December 26, 2014
End of 2014
Merry Christmas! Another year is almost over; and it is with a feeling almost of shock that I realize my blog is now ten years old. My earliest entries were absurdly short and vacuous: I simply didn't know what to write. Then my blog gradually became the main way in which I sought to 'communicate' with my readers and the wider world. Social media sites have eroded this function somewhat. I usually first post news about what I have been doing on Facebook before anywhere else. Yet I am still happy to have my blog and I intend to continue updating it.
2014 was a good year. I did more things in it than I did in 2013. My writing output dropped rather a lot, however. Every year I seek to write a minimum of 100,000 words of fiction. The past few years have proved extremely fertile in terms of production (in 2012 I wrote 240,000 words) but I always knew that a higher rate was unsustainable. I haven't failed to reach my hundred-thousand word target for a decade but this year I am still nine-thousand words short. Let's see what I can do in the week remaining to me! One of the many reasons my output was lower this year is because I seemed to reach some sort of apotheosis with the Bottled Love Story novelette and found it difficult to write anything in the wake of this piece. Now, however, I am finally building up steam again...
The Lunar Tickle, Captains Stupendous and (most recently and perhaps significantly) Bone Idle in the Charnel House all appeared in 2014. This made a total of eight books published in one year, my personal record. Next year I am expecting more of my books to be published, both by my own micro-press and also by established publishers. I also have some foreign translation deals currently under discussion, which bodes well for future travel.
After a few years of not really going anywhere, I got back into travel in 2014, making numerous trips within Britain (most memorably to Devon in the summer) and also abroad, first to Ireland and then to Portugal. These foreign trips were primarily work related and involved me giving readings in public, etc. Next year I hope to travel even more, both for work and also for pleasure. Long yearned-for trips to Serbia and India might be on the cards. The latter of these will take some organisation, as if I do go then I plan to stay a long time.
In 2014 one of my main hobbies became learning to dance salsa. I had tried before, years ago, but never really got the hang of it. Finally it started to work for me; and although I can hardly describe myself as 'skilled' now I am at least competent and hope to keep improving next year. I also ended up regularly playing the drums on Sunday nights in a Latin dance club.
I no longer use this blog to talk very much about 'personal' matters, but they are the essence of who I am, so I can't ignore them completely. I had an intense and passionate love affair in the summer; but I also finally grew closer to someone I have known and liked for a long time; and she in fact has become my muse and my dearest friend, more than a friend in fact: my soul mate. I hope that together we will have many adventures in the new year.
As for reading: I think I read more books this year than any other year of my life. I devoured them! A complete list of everything can be found on my Goodreads page. Feel free to connect with me there! I grow increasingly impressed with Ismail Kadare and Milan Kundera and they have both become two of my favourite authors... Anyway, that's enough for now.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Seven Men and Two Others
'Enoch Soames' is probably the best pact-with-the-devil story ever written; 'Hilary Maltby and Stephen Braxton' is perhaps the best ghost story ever written; and 'Savonarola Brown' is the funniest and most accurate parody of a pseudo-Shakespeare play ever attempted... The other stories are rather good too, with 'A.V Laider' being the only disappointment; I was expecting the 'twist' ending to be more surprising than it was. But even so, the utter excellence of the whole is not marred. I have read 'Enoch Soames' at least four times in different anthologies but this is the first time I have read the other stories.
This book was metafictional and postmodern before 'metafiction' and 'postmodernism' were even workable concepts. A delight and a privilege to read; and I am delighted and privileged to have just read it.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
A Mountain Walked
I am delighted to announce that it includes one of my own stories, 'Sigma Octantis', which was inspired by Lovecraft's early piece 'Polaris' (Polaris is the star closest to the north celestial pole; Sigma Octantis is the star closest to the south celestial pole).
Beautifully produced and illustrated, this deluxe limited edition Centipede Press tome is the ultimate Lovecraft tribute book and includes fiction by Neil Gaiman, Robert Barbour Johnson, TED Klein, Thomas Ligotti, Joe Pulver, Laird Barron, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Patrick McGrath, Michael Shea and many others...
Centipede Press are an amazing publisher. I am immensely gratified that they are going to publish my collection The Senile Pagodas in the not too distant future.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Bone Idle in the Charnel House
I have just heard from Hippocampus Press in the USA that my new book of stories has gone to the printers. They were also good enough to show me the full cover of my collection. Here it is...
It amuses me that the title of this book Bone Idle in the Charnel House can be turned into the acronym BITCH. This was entirely unintentional.
I had to fill in a 'promotion form' for this book which included a brief summary of what it's about. I wrote, "A collection of weird stories that often develop in an unusual manner from an original premise. The stories are part of the grand tradition of the ‘weird story’ but they seek to be rather different from most stories of this type. My hope is that these stories simultaneously will be a part of the tradition of the weird story but also help to push the definition forward a little."
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Pilgrimage and Beach Walk
I have just got back to Wales. It is cold and grey here. But that's exactly what I anticipated. It is better to dwell on some of the high points of my recent trip. Too much happened to give a full account on this blog, but I can mention that after I left Lisbon I went to Fatima, the main pilgrimage site in Portugal. I am not a deeply religious person, but by the same token I am not a deeply irreligious one. I lit a candle for a special person while I was there. I had expected the place to be tacky but it was more tasteful than my fears had supposed; and there was a feeling of calm awe about the place, an atmosphere that seemed to consist of all the hopes of the faithful who have made it their destination in previous decades, though whether this perceived ambience existed just in my mind is a question I can't possibly answer.
I walked more than 80 km, most of it on soft sand, which made the going much more difficult. The first day it rained and I got soaked, but at night the skies cleared and the stars came out with amazing brightness. I saw meteors, a thin melancholy moon and a succession of incredible sunsets and sunrises. One sunset into the sea had the light of the sinking sun filtered by the spray of the enormous waves that seemed to crash over it... I met not one other person during the whole of the walk. I walked most of the nights as well as most of the days. Strange lights in the sky and out at sea...
When I reached Espinho I stayed with a marvellous fellow called Nigel Randsley. In fact, despite all the incredible sights and experiences, it was the people who impressed me the most on this trip, not just all my old friends but new ones too, such as Joana Neves, Sara Almeida Almeida, Ana Luísa Melo, João Morales, Sandra Maria Teixeira, Paulo Brito, Inês Botelho, Ana Cristina da Silveira... Too many great people to list. I am very lucky.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Back in Portugal
Fórum Fantástico literary festival. I have been to many of them before, including the first one back in 2004. Ten years later I see that the event is growing in strength and vibrancy.
My presentation was about how Latin American writers have influenced British writers. The focus of the festival was primarily on Julio Cortázar, who was born 100 years ago. I spoke about Cortázar but also Roberto Bolaño, Macedonio Fernández, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Felisberto Hernández, Cabrera Infante, Álvaro Mutis and Gabriel García Márquez. I enjoy talking on stage with a microphone to an audience, something that would have been unimaginable to my younger self. Ten years ago at the Fórum there was no stage and no microphone, only me standing in a classroom and reading a story I had just finished writing.
So much has happened during my visit that I am at a loss to summarize everything. I had the pleasure of being invited to make a radio broadcast by the excellent Joana Neves. This broadcast is now online and it is in English. I read three stories by Donald Barthelme with lots of introdoctory banter and inter-story chit-chat. The broadcast can be listened to here.
In subsequent blog entries I will talk more about my amazing Portugal trip, including a three day beach walk, 80 km in total distance, from Figueira da Foz to Aveiro.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
My 750th Story and One and Only Muse
I have just finished writing my 750th story. It is called 'Died For Puns' and was inspired by Oscar Wilde's De Profundis. It was written especially to submit to an anthology and I will be sending it in the next hour...
This story is partly about muses. What does it mean to have a muse? In De Profundis Oscar Wilde complains that Bosie was a terrible muse, because Wilde did no work when Bosie was around. Unlike Bosie, my own muse really does inspire my creativity. She is in this story of mine and in fact she provided the impetus for its creation.
I am now in a position to reveal that her name is Amira. She is not only my muse, but also an amazing woman and a true friend. A few days ago she treated me to a bellydance in candlelight and now I know for sure what kind of dancing they have in paradise...
But the main thing she inspired is a story that may actually be the best thing I have ever done. It's a novelette that is available as a paperback book. There is no ebook version because the formatting is too tricky (the story contains pictures and unusual typographical tricks). However I am willing today to offer twenty free PDFs to the first people who ask for one. The only proviso is that you leave a review or a rating on Amazon or Goodreads. Here is a link to the book in question. If you want a PDF let me know. First come, first served...
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]