24/9/2016

Just cooked a mahoosive fry up for Harry and Murray at the wee house. They’ve got rugby this aftie so it’s allowed. Much protein was consumed and H has gone to get his hair cut at the uber-cool barbers on the high street.

Its run by a couple of skilled hipsters, masters in the art of anything hirsute – no beard is too bushy, no hair to bald to be beyond their dark trimming and polishing arts.

The shop looks like its from 1955 all bright red and dark wooden with a rotating, retro red-and-white barbers sign. (You know – bone and blood poles from the days when barbers were not afraid to carry out the odd amputation.) Hope they do a good job – hairwise not cutting anything else off.)

They do look very stylish. They have a retro van from the sixties with an old Edwardianesque logo on it – actually they are as much ‘Edwardian moustache curl’ as they are 1950s quiff – but it would only take one slip of the clipper and woof – Harry disaster. On the plus side they sell good wax so, either way, he should come home with summat good.

Anyhoo MA writing-wise been reading mostly, and doing exercises in the goddam A363 handbook. Did the chapter on Voice – no problem – all v useful but now doing rhetorical tricks. Its not really called that but, like much of this chapter, I’m struggling to remember the names of things. Parenthesis this, litotees that – yada yada yada. Am going to read it all again on Monday. Won’t have time this weekend as Bob’s coming tonight and tomorrow we’re taking Roz out for Sunday lunch for her b-day. Having struggled for half a day I decided that the best way to learn about creating mood and suspense is to read some Stephen King – read him as a writer as the A363 book suggests. This is very hard because he’s so gripping I keep slipping into reading-as-a-reader, a scared stiff, heeby-jeebied reader at that!

Scared myself half to death last night sitting in this wee, darky house reading the scary bits (which is all of)  The Shining. Seriously scary.

Made me feel a wee bit daunted cos King is so vv good at this and quite a lot of The Shining’s tension is about pace and keeping things held back for ages whilst drip-drip-dripping scary shit at you all the time. You can’t really do that in the shortest stories (and the ones I have to submit on my course are mostly v short indeed) but its a lesson well-learned for my scary novel.

Also, I was writing a Flash at the same time, about Alzheimers and the moon (its a long story.) It was going to be sad and wistful but its turned angry and wistful influenced by Jack in the Shining – he sneaked into my elderly, female, first-person narrator without me realising.

Have set that story to one side now and will re-read Monday. Its part of my submission for the Kathy Fish Fellowship at SmokeLong magazine. Have to send four Flashes and lots of other info in by 30th September. Have no hope of getting this – its just about THE most prestigious thing in Flash, but if I do it every year, one day I might be good enough to get a mention.

Right – back to the possessed snowy mountaintop hotel to scare my metaphorical bollocks off. At least its daylight.

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