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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Been there, done that

Not this November,

Congratulations to all of you. The valiant who plunged into a month long journey of discovery. Charging headlong into a mealstrom of creativity at the witching hour of hallowe'en and now, a month later the words are out, transcribed on to screen or paper and they cannot be put back.

For the first timers this November  was your "one day..." and you followed it with twenty nine others

Now the pressure is off, a little, but that promise to write "One day" has been kept and you willl never be the same again.

Pause a moment and give yourself a chance to relfect on the achievement, whether you hit the target or not, the last thirty days says something about you. You stuck it out and gave it your best. So they words were still pouring out as the deadline loomed, you were there, in the thick of it,  drawing with your imagination on the raw pulse of your inspiration until you crossed the line.

That feleing you have now, the potent mixture of sensations, that's yours to hold and treasure and no-one can take that away from you.

Hang on to it, enjoy it, you've earned it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Colour Coded

One of the surprising threads on social media after the US elections discussed the colour of Hillary Clinton's jacket lapels, many tweets expounded theories about the colour choice. Comments blended the Democrat Blue and the Republican Red into a common purple echoed in the words of Mrs Clinton's  speech after the vote, and the campaign slogan "Stronger Together."

Friday, 11 November 2016

He was a soldier too.

I often think about him at this time of year, an old gentleman I used to see quite often. Almost every morning close to a war memorial, roughly the same time of day, about nine o’clock. Quiet, reflective, the sort of man who keeps himself to himself. Occasionally we would exchange a few words beyond good morning and then he would go about his business.

One day he wasn’t there, and he would never be again, but before that day he shared something that had a profound effect on me. He’d left a card on the memorial, asking people to remember those who had died in the second battle of them Somme. I paused to read the card and he said quietly “I wish I had died with them.”

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Who is the masked man?

November the Fifth, Bonfire Night, the Million Mask March through London, all connected by the face of one man. Guido Fawkes. Some say he was the last man to enter the Houses of Parliament with honest intentions 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Starting over

November 1st, another year and another challenge for hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, of writers?

NaNoWriMo swung into gear at 00:01 this morning wherever you are in the world. If you are heading out for the first time into uncharted waters with your first attempt at the fifty-thousand word - thirty-day challenge good luck and enjoy yourself, and the same good wishes go to all the veterans of past NaNoWriMo years.

I'm giving it a miss this November, focusing on completing works in progress.
The finished novels are available through the major eBook retailers, check out the links from cheekyseagull.co.uk  Click the drop down  menu, each title has its own page; or visit the series page at Smashwords for The Grange.

Grab yourself a piece of the action, a good thriller for the dark winter nights is just what you need.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

What did you say?

It kicked off with a conversation about language with a colleague and an attempt to introduce him to the delights of the arty bollocks generator, I've touched on this before, but this time, horror of horrors, it was off-line. Mildly embarrassing to head for the reveal and be left with "page cannot be displayed" or a similar message. Happily, the loss was temporary and before too long the generator was back at work.

The temporary denial set me clicking around the Internet, trying to discover where it had gone and in the process stumbled on a cornucopia of generators, all of the same ilk. Brothers in Arms of the ABG and I was introduced to International Art English, after David Levine and Alix Rule's 2012 essay in the TripleCanopy magazine and a variant, one might call it a dialect perhaps, International New Music English explored by Danika Paskvan in cacophonymag.com.

With a liking for word play and a fascination for how language changes, naturally and by mangling and mutilation uncovering the various generators became a serious distraction, touching on the conversation about triggers, safe spaces and the less than tolerant attitudes expressed in both these areas. I left the heavy stuff for another day; returned to the generators and International Art English.

Levine and Rule explored the premise in their essay that the language of art whether by accident or design confused, obfuscated and segregated. Knowing the language was a way of breaking into and advancing through the ranks, without the knowledge advancement was near impossible. They lay some of the responsibility for the development of International Art English with the interns of the art world, at one point describing the language as English inexpertly translated from French.

The pair take it seriously, and many of the art world do, fluency is a mark of the Insider, and Levine and Rule describe it as a unique language, English that definitely is not English. Their research involved running thousands of press releases through the language analysing software, Sketch Engine, to uncover the workings behind it all. IAE uses more words not less. Its structure under analysis pointed towards the badly translated French origin and Levine and Rule pinpoint its arrival via the magazine October, a critical journal founded in 1976 in New York and drawing on French post structuralism's ideas and prose style.

Where ever it began, the language is now as global as its parent and an established part of any exhibition or installation, for good or ill.

I digress, that's how it's been for a couple of weeks, it started with the ABG and went waltzing (without matilda) across the Internet. The original intention of locating the downed ABG sent the click rate soaring and a web of connections. Nowhere seemed safe from jargon of some description or other and the humorous generators were never far away.

IAE was born out of post structuralism and post modernism got  in on the act too, the post modern essay generator was high on the search rankings, click the button and another wordy treatise of intellectual gibberish appears on the screen, and business has its adherents at the commerce B.S. generator. A simple click throws up a snippet of..., click it again and another one appears.

It does seem the art world is assailed by more than its share of generators, maybe an extension of the inevitable creativity expressed through art, but that hyperbolic verbiage comes under ruthless assault - hang on a moment, did I just slip into...?

The Art speak generator offers a quick fix, the Critical Response to the Art Product - the FLA is pretty clear  - offers a quick retort in a tight situation. The apposite comment you wish was in residence all the time visiting fifteen minutes after you turn the light out at night.

The right words at the right moment, what a rare gem that can be!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Just when you thought it was safe...

It was a sequel to Jaws, the not entirely originally titled Jaws 2, but it had the tag "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." A classic line from Peter Benchley.

After sifting through the Bowker review of publishing trends, 2010 to 2015 and seeing the hit the Vanity press had taken, a hit so hard that Penguin Random House ditched Author Solutions at the beginning of 2016, and the declining numbers of authors buying their product I should have known there would be something lurking around the corner. Just when you thought...

I had that feeling when I clicked on David Gaughran's blog and started reading, he is running through the latest money scamming idea from the dodgy end of publishing, Vanity Publishers pretending to be legitimate trade publishers and hiding their true colours until the author has taken the hook, been played on the line and finally reeled in.

Just go to David's blog and read it here.

I'll let David tell the story, my job tonight is merely to pass it on, at David's request!