Recipe for a writer

To fashion oneself into a writer, first assemble your tools. Pens – I am extremely fussy about pens and haven’t found one I really like in about three years. I like black bic medium biros with the pointy lids. I like strong, bold, penstrokes – not the anaemic writing you get from many biros now….

How books can stop all evil (except paper cuts)

I’m working on about 10 short stories at the minute. I told myself I’d do ten by the end of the year. I hadn’t written or had an idea for a short story in four years before this, so it just goes to show that ideas don’t come from particles flying in the air. Or…

However, we haven’t had an earthquake lately

I’ve always been a pessimistic person. I think the main reason is I can be absolutely CRUSHED by disappointment, so I always reasoned it was better not to get too excited in case something didn’t work out (like that time my primary-school team got beaten in the finals of the 1993 Ulster Credit Union quiz…

Your tinfoil hat order has now been processed

I ordered some weird stuff off Play and Amazon the other day. Books about spies, Russian defectors, and child geniuses. I was worried in case it started giving me suggestions like ‘People who buy this also end up buying: MEIN KAMPF’, or ‘Often bought together: this book and a tinfoil hat’. I also worry about…

The helicopters of hope are circling the mountain

Well readers (reader? hubristic assuming more than one?),it’s been an exciting day. First the shortlist for the Sony Reader Award was announced and there’s me on it! (Along with someone who teaches writing for a JOB…but as we all know the underdog always wins, so that’s OK. Think Mighty Ducks, Jamaican bobsled team, Dodgeball). Then…