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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Michael Bloor – The Love of Reading

In his last post, Michael Bloor author of ‘The Aberdeen Kayak’ published in Breve New Stories Issue One, reflects on his love of reading and its roots.

I’ve loved reading all my life and ten years ago I found out why. The clue lay a few miles north from my home, in a building in the hamlet of Innerpeffray, in rural Perthshire. There you can find Scotland’s oldest free public library: www.innerpeffraylibrary.co.uk, founded in 1680. IMG_1630

When last I saw it, on rare warm day of early spring, the ground of the little wood beside the library was smothered in snowdrops, and the last of the winter snow could be seen clearly, glinting on the hills above Crieff. Inside the lovely old building there are many rare volumes, but the real treasure within this house of treasures is surely the Borrowers’ Register which goes back to 1747. Overwhelmingly, the readers are the rural poor: William Morrison – roadman, James Bronsler – cooper, Peter White – shoemaker, Ebenezer Clement – dyer, Peter Comrie – miller, John Drummond – mason, James McInnes – brickworks foreman, James McDiarmid – carpenter, and the rest.
Jethro Tull’s ‘Husbandry’ and Hill Burton’s ‘Emigrants Manual’ were popular items, but many borrowers seemed to read for more than self-improvement. On April 28th, 1859, Peter Comrie, the miller, borrowed ‘Fable of the Bees’ and ‘Ship of Fools;’ he was back on May 12th to borrow Scott’s ‘Witchcraft’ and Middleton’s ‘Letters;’ and he was back again on May 26th to take out Burton’s ‘Anatomy of Melancholy.’ Shortly after that he was reading a history of the French Revolution. These readers were autodidacts, snatching brief hours of leisure, peering at pages ill-lit by primitive cruisie lamps. They trekked to Innerpeffray from tenant farms and servants’ bothies to drink the sweet waters, to sample the only art and beauty that was available to them. They had fed on honey-dew and then would accept no other.
Me too, I’ve been feeding on that honeydew for sixty reading-years.

Michael Bloor

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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Michael Hampton – On the Act of Writing

In his last post, Michael Hampton author of ‘”A” Death’ published in Breve New Stories Issue Zero, reflects on the act of writing.

from Unshelfmarked

In declaring writing to be an ACT consisting of modes and exercise (eg the jargon of art criticism), before it is a definitive profession, and therefore closer to Derridean écriture, or the presence of writing, I would like to return to the ground and issue of writing at its most fundamental level, that of mark-making. Starting out once again from the primordial human impulse: to articulate signs in language systems, or para-language systems such as cuneifrom and hieroglyphics, re-sets the way words are perceived, and therefore used; forever bearing in mind that their order and meaning can always be fatally scrambled.

 

The emergence of so called art writing (see my thoughts on this phenomenon in Letters to the Editor Art Monthly #352, Dec-Jan 2011/12) has taken place at the interstice of these psychic domains, the literary turn in fine art of the 1990s exemplified today by migratory figures such as Tom McCarthy and Katrina Palmer, or the calligraphic modernist painting of Cy Twombly. Personally I try hard to confound the way society and the market force us to become wholly defined by our job descriptions, hence my endeavours over the years to produce verse, book & exhibition reviews, philosophical discourse and occasional short fiction, with a current leaning towards conceptual writing.

I’ve been assembling a set of prosthetic extensions to texts already in print. Here the term ‘extension’ is suggestive of its modern usage, applicable to hair, building, ballet movement and web addresses. Typically these extensions will derive from sources at the edge of the popular, but not necessarily high brow either. For instance in ‘The Holmes Doppel’ I combed through dozens of cheap imitations of Conan Doyle stories in the British Library and extracted instances of cross-dressing or disguise, which have then been aggregated as a list or anthology, illuminated by an endnote. In ‘Pulled from the Wreckage’, fragmentary material is lifted from Wreckage, 1893, a collection of short stories by the now forgotten symbolist writer Hubert Crackenthorpe, which gets butted up against technical data taken from the report into the Concorde air crash of 2000, and then blended with the diary notes of a London flaneur, in act of unlikely bricolage; a reminder that no text is ever finished absolutely.

Michael Hampton

Michael Hampton’s Unshelfmarked: Reconceiving the artists’ book ISBN 978-1-910010-06-8 is published by Uniformbooks www.uniformbooks.com

 

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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Michael Hampton – The Idea Behind ‘”A” Death’

Michael Hampton talks about what inspired his story ‘”A”Death’ published in Breve New Stories Issue Zero.

It is a pleasure to be asked by Breve’s editor to add a gloss to my short story ‘“A” Death’, due to be published in issue zero.BREVE-LOGO

The narrative was written during a miserable period of my life when I was on a work placement at an office in south-west London. This involved a tedious red bus journey which was occasionally brightened up by spotting some of the physical details recounted in the text, whilst the central phantasmagoric incident described here is the result of extending certain logical possibilities, or hidden dangers present in the fabric of every day life; a random suburban event against which no insurance policy can safeguard. Recently the traditional short story has been joined in the literary landscape by flash or micro fiction, even nanofiction, that differ in wordcount terms yet also bear family resemblances, certainly stylistic traits and structures that distinguish them from the novel, especially the contemporary blockbuster. ‘“A” Death’ is a minimal story, its format low on packaging, yet still capable of maintaining suspense and conveying horror in a dry, understated way, without much psychological elaboration. It is a cliché but here the facts speak for themselves, revealing life as subject to grotesque contingency, the individual despite their best efforts destined to end up as a tragicomic victim, robbed of agency. My tale is the product of daydream related with an almost administrative detachment, the sudden temporal shifts not only representing a discontinuity of experience but also the gaps between writing sessions; evidence of a slow sort of plotting, and fastidious revision.

Michael Hampton

 

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Introducing Breve New Stories Submissions

Submissions for Issue Zero are now Closed

Dear all,

Thank you for submitting your stories to Breve New Stories. We are amazed by the great response and it is going to be tough to pick the two authors to feature in our first issue. Submissions are now closed, but don’t worry if you couldn’t make it this time, we will be open for entries again very soon.

These two months of Breve confirmed  what we already believed: out there it’s full of new talented writers looking for more challenges and opportunities. This inspires us in our project and makes us want to reach further, hoping that one day Breve will be acting as a springboard for succesful literary careers and as a reference point for all those starting.

August is going to be a month of intense work here at Breve and while we get ready to send Issue Zero to the printers we welcome your support, so if you don’t follow us already, please do! You can follow our blog or find us on Facebook, and on Twitter (coming soon).

Keep watching this space!

 

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Introducing Breve New Stories Submissions

Don’t miss the deadline: submissions close on 31 July!

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Time for procrastination is over: submissions for Breve New Stories Issue Zero close in less than two weeks!

Enter your best short story and/or flash fiction by July 31st and they might be published in the very first issue of Breve. Selected authors will also have the opportunity to write for Breve’s blog and hold printed copies of their work in September:  not a bad way to welcome autumn, hu?

For more info and guidelines click here.

Don’t forget to follow us on facebook and on brevenewstories.wordpress.com.

Good luck!

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Introducing Breve New Stories

Little Magazine Life

Breve HQ is buzzing, less than a month left to submitt, tons of great stories to read and a beautiful book to desing. The photo depicts just one of our attempts to be organised and stay on top of our excited minds (we integrate with many cups of tea, walks in the park and the occasional visit to the pub).

Breve Weekly Plan

Coming soon: Breve Monthly Newsletter, Breve questionnaire on your dream lit mag and lit community….and much more.

Thank you to all of you -so many!, for submitting your stories, we appreciate how much hard work you put into every single piece and we are honoured you are sharing them with us.

Thank you also to every single reader who got in touch to wish us good luck in our adventure, your support means the world to us.

Your stories and your love for literature fuel our passion, it’s great to have you on board!

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Introducing Breve New Stories Writing/Reading

The Emerging Writer

Breve New Stories seeks submissions from new and emerging authors.cropped-cropped-cropped-img_0476.jpg

Despite the vagueness of the term emerging, we received many entries from writers that recognised themselves as such. Conventionally, an emergent author or artist is one that has some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment and who is not recognised as established by other artists, curators, critics and industry insiders. This description focuses more on the financial/professional status of being an author than on the individual development of the writer per se, the process of learning the craft and the daily challenges of creation.

The term works as a sort of barrier between writers published by medium/big publishing houses that have plenty of press coverage, who market aggressively for their authors and can therefore often guarantee them a consistent compensation, and all the remaining authors in the most different places, be that writing on-line or self publishing. At the same time emergent writers represent a pool of talents from which the mainstream industry often outsources the best, freshest  and most innovative works of literature. There is also no way to deny that in this process are involved, other than talent, lots of luck and lots of politics. It is a sad but widely known truth in all creative environments, but one that doesn’t stop writers from writing and wanting to ’emerge’.

Breve‘s look on this is this: the writer is the one who writes, who consistently strives to refine one’s skills by giving time and energy to one’s work. The writer is the one that is brave enough to embrace the challenge and takes the risk not only to write, but to be read by others. Emerging writers, as new writers, are not second class authors, they can only be good or bad writers, and together with the so-called ‘established’ authors, are writers in progress, working everyday on their skills, styles and inspirations. The literary quality of a work does not necessarily run parallel to the hierarchy of establishment.

Today there are many ways to pursue this goal: the Internet,  self publishing, MFA in creative writing  and literary projects such as Breve. All these opportunities are viable but all of them ask writers to look beyond their ambition for status to what writing means to them, they all ask: how bad do you want to write? That bad? Then be a writer.

Two different intakes on the emerging writer:

 https://overland.org.au/2013/05/pity-the-emerging-writer-or-not/

http://www.emergingwritersfestival.org.au/2013/06/emerging-writers-festival-2013-keynote-astrid-lorange/

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Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Notes of Inspiration 2: Six Memos for 21st Century Storytellers.

There are pages that stay with us and change the way we read everything else. This is what happened with Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium.

calvino_sixmemos

In this series of lectures Calvino puts together some values and qualities of literature to project into the next millennium, never doubting the potential of literature in making it through the ages.

My confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us, by means specific to it.

These are the memos, as we can look for and challenge them everyday in reading and writing.

  1. Lightness
  2. Quickness
  3. Exactitude
  4. Visibility
  5. Multiplicity 

Italo Calvino was invited to give a series of Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University in 1984. He worked hard on a scheme for his lectures, deciding for six main subjects, and completing, before his premature departure, five of them. Although Calvino never had the chance to deliver his lectures, Harvard University translated and published what was ready, making them available to generations of readers, critics and writers.

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Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

The Fiction Behind Flash Fiction

Does fiction start from word one? Where is the fiction in a Flash Fiction piece?

Flash Fiction is very much a by-product of our times, as much as fiction is about what it is to be a human being-quoting D F Wallace. Therefore, as contemporary human beings flash fiction represents one form of evolution of fiction writing in a high-speed, over crowded, information-saturated, present.

Flash fiction is no poetry, no aphorism and no mere sentence. A six-words sentence can be a piece of flash fiction, as much as much as a 100,000 words volume can be a novel…provided that both contain fiction. The secret ingredients are imagination and creativity, which are indispensable to tell a story.

There is often some weariness of this form, a sense of limit represented by brevity and the perplexity around a piece that, by giving only very few strategic details about what happens, forces the readers to do for themselves. To put the pieces together and to stage them in the theatre of  the readers’ minds, in all its complexity, it is indeed a great deal of work for a five minutes read.

Flash fiction is a very powerful pill of fiction: you swallow it on the run while you do your thing and slowly it releases its properties. Flash fiction authors face a unique challenge in creating these undiluted pieces of fiction.

This reflection on the essence of flash fiction was inspired by a conversation with a keen reader and book industry professional with many questions regarding the relationship between brevity and fiction.  Every fiction reader and/or writer is welcome to contribute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/may/14/how-to-write-flash-fiction