2014 Crowd-Favourite Bullshit from this Blog

Hey, 2014 was a year that happened. For me it was a pretty grand year, which involved all sorts of nicenesses, but also there was some bad, it’s almost like a year is an arbitrary hunk of experiences sliced from the formless chaos that is existence by the math boffins who secretly run the world! Almost like. Anyway, I wrote some stuff on this blog and I’m going to look at the stats and see which ones people liked the most/ clicked on!

1. Valentimes Day Cards for non-suckers

GODDAMNIT, MOVE MOGGY. PAPA NEEDS A NEW BLENDER.

GODDAMNIT, MOVE MOGGY. PAPA NEEDS A NEW BLENDER.

You guys. Love is a funny thing, and Valentimes day is a stupid thing. If anybody ACTUALLY gave their significant other one of these cards, I will send them a hamper.

2. Urgh, Writing

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So this year I wrote A Man Made Entirely of Bats and started submitting it to places and then was lucky enough to have it picked up by Spineless Wonders. I’ve been blogging about the process of writing and publishing a book – and will continue to do so – and have put it all under the series name ‘Urgh, Writing’. I do some things like explain what an editor is.

3. WRITERS I REAL LIKE

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This is one of my favourite things I’ve started doing on da blogue this year. Writers I Real Like is a little series I’ve been doing where I wax rhapsodically about some writers I goddamn like. It’s a real treat to potentially introduce people I like to other people! So far I’ve had this host of legends: Kat Muscat, Michelle Law, Scott McClanahan and Jack Vening.

4. Curriculum Worstae

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A ten part series of micro-fictions about some of the worst jobs I’ve ever done! It’s like an anti-resume!

5. 10 Potential Spinoff Shows from Game of Thrones

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 1. How I met your Mother of Dragons

Fun and sassy sitcom about Daenerys Stormborn, living in New York and falling in and out of love. Jorah Mormont played by Neil Patrick Harris.

 2. Jon Snow’s Feelings for Snow

Jon Snow solves murders in the cold wastes beyond The Wall.

3. Melisandre’s Puppy Rescue

Because the night is dark and full of terriers.

Read more.

 

Five Books from 2014 that I Can Remember

Hey, look, if I had even a hope of remembering all the books I read during 2014, I’d goddamn do an end of year best of 2014 style list. End of year lists are my jam – I unapologetically love them. I frequently go and read ‘best albums’ lists, and then spend the subsequent year really enjoying them, but being unable to discuss them in cool bars, because they are so last year. Anyway, I’ve decided to just fucking go with the flow and list five books that I read this year that spring to mind, because obviously they mean a lot to me.

1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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I love Amy Poehler, so it wasn’t really a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed her book. What was the surprise was the method in which I enjoyed it. Yes, I laughed. I did this weird thing where I grinned really widely on public transport and just breathed through my nose a lot. It is goddamn funny. But it was also entirely genuine, and gave advice in the manner of someone you trust telling you something really relevant and truthful. This book came at a very good time for me – there’s all sorts of racks you flay yourself upon when you’re putting something as momentous as a book out into the world, even if it’s only a teeny-tiny book. Amy’s views on art making were refreshing and revitalising. And to be honest, her whole chapter about prize winning and ‘almost getting the pie’ was SUPER timely for me. God this book. I feel like I’ll be reading it once a year for sanity.

2. Dress, Memory by Lorelei Vashti

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I’ve been a fan of Lorelei’s for a while, having been introduced to her blog by my girlfriend, Bridget, who very rightly pointed out that it would be right down my alley. I enjoyed everything about this memoir – the tactile memories of the dresses themselves, the honesty, the humour, the style of writing. But this was also a very important book for me, because it helped confirm the direction I was going on with my own manuscript ‘Will You Look At All These Things?’. If you read this blog a lot, you’ve probably read some bits from it, but I’m basically writing a memoir, or as I describe it ‘a bunch of anecdotes from my life worth telling’. At various points while writing it, I’ve been filled with doubt about whether it’s worth writing – there’s no overarching narrative to adhere to, I’m not a celebrity, I’m relatively young and people are being mean to Lena Dunham about writing a memoir while young, and SHE’S a fucking celebrity with a TV show – what the fuck have I done? But the very description of this book salved some of those fears: ‘Dress, Memory is Lorelei Vashti’s piecemeal memoir of her twenties in dresses.’ Piecemeal memoir – I love that.

3. The Rook by Dan O’Malley

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Yep. Most fun had in book form. A really humorous yet still suspenseful urban fantasy, it just ticks all my boxes. Oh man. Basic plot: woman wakes up surrounded by creepily gloved dead bodies, has no memory of who she is, but finds letters to herself hidden in her clothing from before she lost her memory. Then basically has to play out a high placed role in a kind of Hogwarts style secret service. I didn’t want to stop reading this, it’s just so wonderful.

4. Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan

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Beautifully written, disturbing, playful, just absolutely excellent. I already talked a bit about this when I raved about how much I liked Scott McClanahanahanahan, but I can honestly say I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I read it.

5. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

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I read this book as part of my Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, and in doing so totally confirmed why I started doing this ridiculous challenge in the first place, and why I’ll probably be doing it for the rest of my life. But this book is breathtaking – and I don’t mean that in the trite, over-used way we’re used to hearing breathtaking. This book made me hold me breath in suspense, and release it in wonder. It was just gorgeous.

Urgh, Writing: How To FOCUS on Writing

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I was reading this post by my colleague Craig called ‘How Not To Write a Novel’ and was nodding along with his points, before realising that actually my problems are entirely different to the ones he has laid out, and are maybe unique to me. But then I thought I was probably overestimating how special I am and underestimating how ridiculous other people’s lives are. So here are my pointers on how not to write a novel, with an added moral at the end:

1. Don’t Write Theatre

One of the easiest ways not to write a novel is to spend years writing theatre. While it may sometimes look like you’re writing a novel due to all the words you are putting on a page, don’t be confused – this is a script, and not a novel.

2. Don’t Write Films

Hey, films are cool. How do they get the words you wrote up on that big screen and expressed through shiny pictures? We’ll never know. But doing that film writing course is not writing a novel. You are often sitting down, but once again, still not writing a novel.

3. Don’t Write Satirical Poetry

Even though you got a shiny purple suit and an 8-foot banner of yourself, you are still not writing a novel. You are in a poetry boyband.

4. Don’t Write Miscellaneous Shit for Everyone Who Asks

Still not a novel. Mostly these are lists about 90s TV shows.

5. Don’t Get A Job You Love

Because you have to go there every day, and not write a novel. They’re pretty strict on that point.

I am definitely guilty of all these, and because of the last point, I’ve had to look at all the things in my life and decide what my goals are. I am now dedicated to getting some books out there – starting with a collection of short fiction, then a creative non-fiction novel and then potentially a fiction novel. These are my goals. Because I am now focused on my goals, my writing has become a clear and defined thing. The microfiction a day plan that I talked about in a previous Urgh, Writing has been working fantastically, and I am reliably pumping out a few stories a week. Furthermore, I’m enjoying my actual writing. It doesn’t feel like a chore. Accompanying this is STILL a bunch of side projects – things which I’ve looked at and said ‘this will help my eventual goals in terms of promotion and exposure’, or smaller projects which I really believe in, such as a top secret thing I am working on with Seizure. But I am also learning how to say ‘no’. Over the past two weeks, I keep seeing fantastic writing opportunities – comedy writing positions, webseries, residencies, etc etc etc. Things that would have suited past me a lot, or things that I think I would enjoy. And it’s super hard staying focused and saying no to them. But I’m getting better.

And now for bonus moral point:

6. ACTUALLY DO ALL THOSE THINGS I SAID NOT TO DO

Why? Because maybe I don’t have a novel, but each of those points has led me to becoming a better writer. Theatre for example – something I love, something I love writing, and something I will write again, but I KNOW my dialogue skills in prose have enhanced because of it. My film course? Taught me I don’t want to write for Hollywood, but also how to pitch ANY project. Focus is good, but I think I’ve needed this time being a little bit adrift to pick up some skills, and now I can focus them into a deathlaser or whatever.

A LIST OF THINGS I LIKE

A LIST OF THINGS I LIKE

* PEGADORS
* NOT HAVING INSOMNIA
* STYLISH CLOTHES
* SWORDS
* COMIC BOOKS
* BOOKS
* NAKED BODIES
* TELLING LIES
* TELLING STORIES
* SHOES
* PEOPLE WHO TRY
* ROBOTS
* HISTORY
* DINOSAUR
* SPEAKING ELVISH
* PLANNING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
* BEING REALLY ORGANISED
* INTERESTING PEOPLE
* WHISKEY
* WINE
* REALLY GOOD BEERS THE KIND OF BEER YOU DRINK AND SAY WOW THAT IS A REALLY GOOD BEER
* DOGS
* LAUGHING
* SAD MUSIC
* HAPPY MUSIC
* MUSIC THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS SUNG BY A BANJO SPIRIT WHO LIVES IN THE FOREST
* BANJOS
* FORESTS
* THE PAST
* POTENTIALLY THE FUTURE
* WRITING
* WRITERS
* FRIENDS
* SPRING
* AUTUMN
* SKYRIM
* GOOD HAIRCUTS
* SOCIAL MEDIA
* THINKING ABOUT MARKETING BOOKS
* TINA FEY
* BRIDGET LUTHERBORROW
* VARIOUS CATS
* PIZZA
* AMY POEHLER
* THE TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED MOVIE (1984)
* MARTINIS
* KURT VONNEGUT
* COLD DAYS
* GREEN
* WATCHING MOVIES I’VE ALREADY SEEN
* FUNNY THINGS
* WRITING LISTS

Slaughterhouse Party of Five – The best book/TV show mashups

It all started fairly tamely – I was writing an article on Slaughterhouse-Five for Writers Bloc, and I thought about that show, Party of Five and I posted it on Facebook.

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And it just kept going:

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At this point, I had people messaging me saying that they were having fun but they really should get some work done. But they kept posting them:

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By this point, I literally couldn’t watch things anymore as I had WORK. But who needs me?

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WILL IT NEVER END

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OH GOD COME ON

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HAHAHAHAHAHA

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No, but we had to stop before we start bringing movies into this. That can be next week.