31 August 2013

It Has Been a While - Some Writing News

Tonight I shall mainly be discussing writing stuff including my last short story, Dean Walker’s collection of poems, Julian Gallo’s new novel and Blogger Interactive. Oh and my hatred of Donald Trump, that had to be included.

I haven’t written anything on this blog for nine months.  Nine months!!! 
What bullshitery is that? It’s not really that I gave up writing here, more that I’m not a full-time blogger, as in, I post here occasionally and you have to admit that a nine month gap is stretching the occasionally limit.  I usually use this blog as a place to put articles that I’ve posted elsewhere but a few things have been going on and I thought I’d mention them here, writing things that is, no one is interested in my latest coffee maker acquisition, which was pretty much one of the year’s highlights.

Back in June I wrote a 30 page short story called Grand Canyon, which I didn’t really publicize that much. This is a surreal little tale about a recluse who is forced to make a stand against big business. Part of the description I placed on Amazon was, “This is a story about fathers and sons, about how the past can determine your future if you let it, and about making a stand for something you believe in.”


The idea for this story actually came from Donald Trump (thanks Donald) and if you know the story behind Trump and the golf course he built, up near Aberdeen in Scotland, then you may well recognise him as the character Donavan Thurrock. It takes me ages to get around to writing stories unless I really have something persistently nagging in my head and Trump’s destruction of that part of Scotland, in order that some old rich guys dressed up like a clown's wet dream could knock a ball into a hole with a stick really did it for me. I mean Trump is so unoriginal he built a golf course in a country awash with golf courses and in the process he destroyed something of great beauty and unique scientific importance. The guy is, if they served a burger in France named after him, le bell-end supreme.

I read a newspaper article recently about New York's attorney general suing Donald Trump for $40 million due to Trump’s phony “Trump University”, a course designed to make students rich. One piece of the story stated, “Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of "The Apprentice" TV star.”

It just takes a tiny bit of internet research to show that no one benefits from a Trump deal but Trump. The term ‘buyer beware’ is tattooed somewhere on Trump’s body, probably under his hair, which is why you will never, ever, see it. He knows he is conman, his track record is there for all to see and yet people still hold him up as businessman worth emulating. 

If your idea of a good business role model is Donald Trump, do yourself and the world a favour and don’t start a career in business, the world does not need another Donald Trump, we don’t even need the one we have now. The guy is the biggest douchebag in business and he has a lot of competition for that title. There are plenty of other weasels in the business world but they are just clever enough not to hog the limelight unlike Trump; I’m sure Trump is there just to take all the heat of their shady dealings. If there was a Mount Rushmore for business assholes and Trump’s face wasn’t on it he would sue whoever sculpted it just for the sake of few more inches of publicity.  

Enough about Trump.

I wanted to give a mention to a few writers I know who have come up with some good stuff in recent months. Dean Walker, he of Expats Post, who you may know for his spot-on political writing, has written a book of poetry called Hurricane: A Collection of Poems. I really didn’t know what to expect from this as I’m not really a massive reader of poetry at all.

The book description said:

“During my divorce I wrote many distraught and desperate love poems. Eventually, I put the collection into a box and moved on with my life. After a few years, I finally pulled the poems out and re-examined them. The poems in the following collection represent the poems written during this time in my life. What I found in the poems is that during the winter years of love, the themes of longing and vulnerability became the dominant themes.”

I downloaded from Amazon and thought I would read a few poems before going to bed except that I could not stop reading and ended up finishing the entire thing. This could have easily been a bunch of schmaltzy love poems that should have stayed in that box but instead what you get is some of the most honest writing on a break-up I have read. Maybe the reason these poems are so honest and unpretentious (and the feelings and emotions written about throughout will be completely recognizable to anyone who has been through a bad break-up) is because the poems were written during or after the break-up, without any intention of publication, so there was no censorship, no “what will people think if they read this, I better not write that, it’s too much.”

To me it brought back all the ‘lying on the floor reliving memories shit’ that people go through when they break-up, trying to hopelessly work out what went wrong, what could have been done to put it right, just the sheer fucking torture of knowing you have lost something that’s not going to come back no matter how much you want it to, and sometimes for good reason. The water down the drain.

And these poems are beautifully written. Walker really took his time over these. After I finished the book I wrote to Dean to express congratulations on this collection and he deserves congratulations. There are poems in there such as Bagged, Ex on Meth, Tomorrow I will Sing, Suicide Watch and Wild Geese that made me sit up as they brought back memories, and some of them were like a punch in the gut. The end of the collection does bring a surprise and it’s a great way to end the book. He has written something at the end that feels like the world moving from winter to spring (emotionally speaking) and it definitely lifts you up. Melody Haislip, no slouch in the poetry writing department herself, also deserves an honorable mention here for her editing skills.

So I would highly recommend Walker’s book, available on Amazon, and I just have, above.

What next?

Next is Julian Gallo’s novel Europa. Julian Gallo is a writer I have known for a few years now and I think I’ve read and reviewed every one of his novels. He is nothing if not prolific and he’s actually now more than halfway through his new novel before I’ve even had time to review Europa.

The thing with Gallo’s novels is you never know what to expect, you never know what he is going to write about next. If you have read more than one of his previous novels you will know that each one is completely different. There is a big argument about self-published writers not being of the same quality as those published by one of the big publishing companies but if you have ever read any of Julian Gallo’s novels you will realize that this argument does not hold water and that the people saying this have either got very unlucky with their choice of reading material or are just talking shit about self-published writers for the sake of it.

I read three books recently by a well-known writer, a very successful, well-known writer. The first two I thought were great, not the type I usually read at all but I couldn’t put them down. However, I did notice that the same plot-line ran throughout both books, then I read the third one and I was like “wait a minute this is the same plotline as in the last two” and I gave up on the third after about 50 pages, it just didn’t hook me because I kind knew where it was going.

With Julian Gallo’s books such as Naderia, Be Still and Know That I Am, Mediterraneo and Europa you are getting something different every time. There is a theme of searching for identity running through his books, and I’ve mentioned that to him before in an interview, but the stories are always different. If you have read any of his previous novels and then read Europa you will notice that Europa seems harder hitting, more graphic in parts, maybe because it deals, in part, with themes such as the racism and fascism that are running through Europe or more specifically Eastern Europe at the moment.

Anyway, I’ll be interviewing Julian on this novel soon and will update when that is out.

Finally. I say finally because this post is getting on to 1800 words and I was only going to highlight a few things to do with writing. Too much coffee. Did I tell you I bought a new coffee machine?

As this post is all to do with writing I want to mention Blogger Interactive. This is an event taking place in Austin, you know the place right, it’s in Texas, you know, the state that is the same size as the UK. The UK, you think you’re so great, you’re tiny UK tiny, get over yourself, and your right wing government sucks ass. Sorry, I live in the UK and can say things like that, especially after too much coffee.

Anyway, Becca Cord of 25toFly and Jen Sharp of Sips of Jen and Tonic did something together, I don’t know what they did but they will give birth to this event on October 25th to 27th 2013. It’s an event designed to bring bloggers together and from what I've read on the website it sounds like it’s going to be pretty amazing. Julian Gallo, he of Europa, is going to give a talk about self-publishing and Chiara Mazzucco, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at The Indie Chicks is also a guest speaker. 

The event is open to all and it’s free to all plus there’s alcohol, which you’ll probably have to buy yourself although you know, if it were me, I would just drink the mini bar dry and then charge it to Blogger Interactive. What do you need, a written invitation? Go on, go to Texas, go to the convention, meet everyone, get drunk, get up on stage, dance naked on the bar, tips some cows over if you feel the need – sorry, flashbacks there.

If it ends up like the photo below, you'll know you've had a good time. Just avoid the vodka cranberry drinks.

And that’s it, that’s all I’ve got tonight. I felt like doing a bit of writing and this was the result – it was okay right, it could have been worse - oh believe me it could have been.

Now I’ve got to put all those damn links and pictures in!!

#dumptrump, #dumpdonaldtrump


Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't even know you had a blog. :) Love this post. You are such a sweet person Garry, and everybody that knows anything knows Donald Trump is a jerkwad. :)This is Dani... I don't know what's up with the login thingy

Garry Crystal said...

Thanks Dani..ah my blog publicity is working then :-)

Glad you like the post, it made a change for me from work stuff, was fun to write just off the top of my head.

Derek Thompson said...

Welcome back, with a vengeance!

Garry Crystal said...

Cheers Derek, thought it was about time.

TJ Lubrano said...

So, are you back back or just making people jealous that you got a coffee machine that makes you fly? :)

Welcome back and awesome announcements! I need to download the books. I was pondering which book from Julian I have to read next. Maybe I'll pick this one. I haven't been paying attention to Trump at all. He's a butthead.

pacificmelody said...

Garry, there you are, and yes, nine months is too long. In fact, it's long enough to have a baby (unless you're me and it takes almost ten months).

I understand your feelings about The Donald (I worked for a friend of his for four years and it marked me). Wish I could blame him on the UK, but he's all ours, dammit!

As for Dean, I think the first thing I read by him was a poem, and although his political pieces are also works of art, his poetry really speaks to me. There's passion, honesty and raw human emotion. I'm sorry he went through all that, but it comes out in his work and makes it sing! I hope he sells a million copies!

And what can you say about Julian Gallo? He's one of my writing heroes, for so many reasons. I always enjoy your interviews with him.

And now I want to read your story about DT. I despise him as much as you do, and I apologize as an American for anything evil he did in your lovely country!

And by the way, bought any good coffee makers lately? That sounds like a story right there. And last but not least, is that a scene from "Grosse Point Blank"? Love John Cusack!

Galadriel said...

Not reading all of this just yet as don't want to be spoilered for your stories. But I will read them (and this) once I have my Kindle App restored again.

Garry Crystal said...

Is that your Miss Doe?

Garry Crystal said...

Melody - Well The Trump is supposed to have Scottish heritage, although that was probably more of his BS, who knows.

Yep, Dean's short stories are great as well, he definitely has his own distinctive voice and writing style. I agree with your comments on his writing.

Interview with Julian shouldn't be too long, it's just rare that i'm getting a day off at the moment.

Good eye, yeah Grosse Point Blanke, I rewatched it a couple of weeks ago, classic.

Garry Crystal said...

Miss Lubrano

Am I back? Well I didn't set out to write that article, especially not that length last night, I just started writing and that was the result. It's good to write stuff just off the top of your head that is nothing to do with work stuff.

Julian's book is definitely worth reading, there is great dialogue all the way through and it's another where you keep on reading to find out how it's going to turn out.

Butthead for Trump is an understatement.

TJ Lubrano said...

Brows, you're right about the butthead, but I can't curse on your blog now!

Whatever you do, just keep on typing. :)