At the start of the year, in recovery from some pretty major surgery, I decided to put my enforced downtime to good use. Starting with The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky’s heavy-duty epic, written on a scale I can’t even begin to conceive of – as well as some marathon writing sessions: immobility and confinement being good for one’s productivity levels, if nothing else.
That was the plan anyway. And you know the way it is with plans.
This particular one was flawed from the outset. It failed to factor in what happens when the residual effects of anaesthetic are overlaid with pain meds. Re-runs of Cagney & Lacey, in short, followed by extended afternoon naps.
Now the upside of that was a whole new appreciation of New York crime-fighting duo, Christine and Mary Beth. The downside was, not only did Dos – as Bukowski was wont to call him – go back on the ‘to read’ pile, but all creative function effectively shut up shop.
When it re-opened, about the same time I’d begun to feel half-human, and just as Jim Rockford was swapped into the BBC2 daytime crime slot, I started writing again. Short-shorts at first, and tiny bursts of flash, the results of which are now online at Structo and resident in This Body I Live In, a Pankhearst Slim Volume, with another forthcoming in the new year.
While this year may have started out with an aborted attempt at a literary great, it ends with Unthology 8, the latest short story collection from indie publishers Unthank Books, due to be published in January.
As a long-time fan of the Unthology series I’m delighted my story, A Beautiful Noise, is in there. Not least because it’s among top-drawer company, but also because – as the Unthology alchemy seems to be in matching excellent short fiction to a distinctly punk rock beat – I was really, really hoping my music biz story would make one of its mixtapes.
Pre-orders of Unthology 8 are now being taken. Happy reading, punk rockers!