One day last week the postman brought me two nice things at once. On the right is a very arty homemade Christmas card (and eccentric extras) from Sein und Werden editor Rachel Kendall, and on the left is a booklet, postcard and “sestude” board from The Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh. The latter was organised by the 26 Winters team (Sara Sherdian and others) and by Lyn Wall at the Museum of Childhood itself. The booklet accompanies an exhibition that runs at the museum until 31st March 2016, featuring poems and reflections from various poets and writers (including myself) inspired by the exhibits at the museum. My topic was board games, and the result can be read in the official 26 Stories Of Christmas advent calendar here with accompanying blog post here.
Ever heard of Black-Out Poetry? No, I hadn’t either until Rachel Kendall encouraged me (and others) to experiment with it for our contributions to the latest edition of her Sein Und Werden magazine. Frankly, I think maybe I thought it would be pretentious silliness, but only afterwards did it dawn on me that what I had just done was the perfect literary equivalent of the collage in visual art. Basically, you have to go through someone else’s novel, blacking out every word except the odd phrase that catches your eye. The result, amazingly, seems to provide an unexpected avenue down to your deep subconscious, a bit like the Rorschach Test. I chose to black out a book (her decadent Parisian novel “Stranger Days”) by Ms Kendall herself, and the results were three poems you can read, here, here, and here.
In other news, the first review of my ninth book, the short story collection The Sleep Corporation appeared here. An entry has appeared for the first time in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction listing and summarizing my work to date (or at least those parts of it which could be described as genre), which can be read here.
Finally, those of you looking to laugh at me or with me may be interested to learn that my next public appearance will be on Friday 8th January at The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow at the launch of a new anthology of writers associated with The Speculative Bookshop. Details here.
Enjoy your Winter Solstice celebrations.
(oh yes, and another thing: over at the blog I’ve created for my late uncle the poet Alastair R Thompson, I’ve resumed the process of uploading his short stories, starting with The Crofter’s Horse).