Number six in my series of 1000-word Postcards from the Future has just gone up over at the Elsewhen Press blog.
The veteran writer and editor D F Lewis has just blogged in glowing real-time review terms about my short story “Eleanor” published earlier this year in the Inkermen Press’s anthology “BOOK“. Des writes:
“…This Thompson story is substantively haunting: not just because of its mention of Berg, Szymanowski, Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Avignon Quincunx’, TS Eliot’s poetry, the “marriage made in Heaven, or Hell perhaps” … not just because of all of those things: things that give this story artful Aesthetic provenance, …the Book indeed found in a mysterious ‘haunted’ bookshop that, through its business, gives life’s regrets their own provenance. Strange that I quoted “He was a suicide” earlier from a previous story, more appropriate than saying ‘he committed suicide’ – now come home to roost in this story with its own book extracts as retrocausal provenance, extracts demonstrating, for me, an Elizabeth Bowen-esque timbre of prose and fractured emotion. Coincidence or an old man’s trick, this story and its own self-made extracts within it represent something that you will never forget…”
“BOOK” really is a fine anthology of mysterious and atmospheric fiction, and editor Dan Watt handed me my special edition version in person this week, with pages interleaved with cut and pasted fragments of butchered antique books… a magnificent act of self-referential madness in a palace of broken mirrors, of course.
I forgot to blog last month about how I was privileged to read some of my poems aloud at a members-only event at the Scottish Writers Centre at Glasgow’s CCA venue, alongside some wonderful people reading in English and Gaelic: J. David Simons, Raymond Soltysek, Angela Blackthorn-Brown, Catriona Lexy Campbell, Maureen McLeod, Alison Lang, David Eyre, Jacqueline Smith and Mark Spencer-Turner. I’d like to include URLs to all of these people’s websites, so please email me to add any I’m missing.
My next publish performance/appearance will be at Fantasycon in Brighton on 28th/29th September.
Which is all very well, but begs the question: what on earth is the relevance of my photograph of a stone lion at the top of this blog? Well, Tony Lee once told my dangerous alter-ego Alexander Stark never to post a blog entry without an accompanying visual image, and we’ve never forgotten this sterling advice.
I don’t generally talk about my architectural work here, but this morning as I walked through the park towards this building, I found myself thinking of “her” like an old ship I was refurbishing and bringing back to life. Old Buildings are even better than boats if you think about it: hundreds of people work to create them then hundreds more live in them across decades and centuries. As an architectural critic once said of the buildings of Aldo Rossi: “we open our hearts to them, and they guard our dreams.”
This carved stone lion is only one of several that appear only as rough blurs from the street below, and yet when viewed from a scaffold is revealed as a minor masterpiece. Just think, the man that carved this about 150 years ago was probably no celebrity but only one of many simple tradesmen who took joy in his craft. What set them apart from us perhaps, was not just their enormous talent, but their faith in a future world that might value and appreciate their work. I wonder if we’re worthy of their legacy. Indeed, sometimes I wonder if we can really be the same race of people.
What connects those stone lions with the detailed care with which an anthology like Inkermen’s “BOOK” has been put together is a vision of spiritual life outside our own narrow confines of individualism and materialism.
I looked up at my building this morning and whispered: “hang on in there, old girl, we’ll have you all patched up and put back together in no time.” Seaworthy, even.