Presuming that human civilization is going to survive Coronavirus at some level, then I perhaps ought to post here what I’ve been up to in the world of writing. My 14th book, a “quantum novel” called ‘Barking Circus’, has now been published in hardback in Germany by Zagava. This is a fairly extraordinary publication, comprising as it does of 14 quality reproductions of my late brother Ally’s drawings. The text was begun around 25 years ago, so parts of it verge on encrypted autobiography, while others are purgative attempts to come to terms with my brother’s premature death in the only effective way I know how: by analogy and allegory into wild flights of surrealism and science fiction.
The theory of this is simple: that real life cannot simply be described and told just as it is, if we wish to hold people’s attention and extract useful meaning from it. Who, after all, should care about the pains and cares of my irrelevant little life? But none of our lives are irrelevant, and all human experience is united by the same longings and sadnesses. To find a way to shed light upon your own life is perhaps a way to help everyone else shed light on their own. The trick as we probably all know by now is that tired old adage of “showing, not telling”. The apparently disconnected fragments of stories in ‘Barking Circus’ can only be assembled in the mind of each reader themselves, and there it is that the higher meaning of not just the book, but life itself, will emerge, like the flickering image of the street outside in a camera obscura.
Here is the official burb:
In the early days of the 21st century, an ‘Unknown Executive’ is killed by a passing car near Park Circus, the architectural office quarter of Glasgow. From his briefcase spill a series of mysterious and outlandish story fragments which blow across surrounding districts over subsequent days, each found and read by a diverse range of local characters. A far future Britain overtaken by rising sea levels, a near-future Scotland in which a nuclear accident has displaced the lowland populations to new experimental settlements in the north, an America in which NASA has begun a mining colony on a distant planet to the detriment of its hapless alien inhabitants. Each of these narratives do little to help the police establish the dead man ‘s identity, but point instead to a higher reality, a series of metaphorical futures that throw light on the enduring enigmas of human life and love: the struggle for freedom against the forces of tyranny and decay, the adverse effects of social-exclusion at the personal and societal level, and the transformative power of art.
‘The Suicide Machine’ was written after ‘Barking Circus’ (despite being published before it, complicated eh?) and dealt in similarly fragmented terms through disparate narrative threads with the death of my mother. As I’ve posted here before, it received a very favourable review by Andrew Hook in in Black Static Magazine No.68.
In other news, some poems of mine appeared recently in Seahorse Publications anthology ‘Glasgow: Historical City‘ edited by the wonderful Linda Jackson.
Forthcoming later this year if the world is still here, will be a poem of mine in a magazine called ‘The Poet’s Republic‘, and a novella called ‘Emilianna’ to be published in Eibonvale Press‘s chap book series. Until then, stay safe, then overthrow your governments in order to build a new world and way of life in harmony with nature.