Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hard copy - grim determination

Just a draft and test page of the cover - Maybe - by Bobby CAs we approach the time when the first hard copy of our online magazine becomes available (more on this soon!) I realised I still like having something paper in my hands - well, I work in a library! And although I recommend online research to lots of people, I certainly don't read fiction on a computer much.

I have decided to investigate Lulu Publishing. Not exactly vanity publishing (you are not paying someone else to produce a huge run) - just Print On Demand. They also offer the option to allow people to buy (or get for free) your book as a downloadable PDF.
NaNoWriMo 'winner'
Although I hope to complete the book I talk about so much, I did actually write 50,000 words last November (as part of a challenge-to-self writing marathon hosted at NaNoWriMo).

Motivated by our 'manifesting' of a previously ephemeral online magazine I have decided to use this 'hastily written piece' as a sampler to learn how Lulu works.
Bobby Campbell
I have commissioned a cover from Bobby (an artist I have a collaborative working relationship with) and although I intended to publish the piece 'warts and all' I have inevitably started tweaking it. I still don't want to rewrite the whole damned thing, though (even though when I write articles I obsessively rewrite).

It's a test. And it's a record of what comes out of me if I write 1667 words every day for a month! Of course it seems seriously flawed. The tenses keep changing, it has a shortage of vivid description, I spotted repetitions, etc. I don't care.

I want to put more energy into the other book, which has lingered around for so long. Well, since I reached 18 and 'wanted to write'. I realised then that no-one much cared what someone of that age thought, and I had little experience of the world. I looked at dust-covers of books, and read about the colourful lives of the authors. So I decided I'd have to go out and have a colourful life. I abandoned any attempt to go to university, or get a job - just dropped out and ran!

Well, I found my colourful life, and now I would like to capture some of it.

Almost Foolproof

Actually, the 'novel' that I'll Lulu has a certain amount of 'real life' in it, too - almost inevitably when you have to write every day. It became a semi-fictionalised roman- a-clef about a period of my life in the 80s. Still I attributed some events in my own experience to other characters, and made some stuff up, etc. Desperation makes you do these things. I also included, as a character, a late friend of mine, Mick, whose papers I attempted to edit, but I never really finalized the book he had been working on when he died. So I put him in here and wrote him the happy ending he always wished himself.

If this all works out perhaps I will have one more try at completing his book, too, and 'putting it up on Lulu'!

Meanwhile - I have to take seriously my own plan to complete my unorthodox autobiography - for which I do have a working (secret) title - just like James Joyce with his Work-In-Progress that turned out as Finnegans Wake. I wonder if LucasFilms will let me put Jabba on the cover? Hmmm. Things to research!

Virtually foolproof

On the old website I compiled the scattered bits of erratic writing I have done over the years (a meagre haul!) - but recently I have been migrating all that stuff from that rather dated-looking Front Page template to a new set of Writing pages hosted by Google. That also means I can move house when necessary, and not feel tied to those original hosts (although I might lose my Google 1st place ranking for a while - probably a relief to the other Toby Philpott!)

100% foolproof

To document this adventure, I will start by offering you a few links (and storing themself up for myself, too, of course.

Guardian article on Print-On-Demand, from 2006

Lulu Publishing (UK)

Lightning Source (POD publishing)

Writers Services

Society of Authors

Monday, July 28, 2008

Unbelievable in many ways

Before anyone asks, no they don't fly me in to judge the Slave Leia Metal Bikini Awards - and bless all the women who want to be slaves (Ho Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha) but I am afraid that my hand is on the button to the Rancor Pit. You could ask nicely.

Jabba has had all the semi-belly dancers he can handle - he had Oola who didn't age a bit - but still didn't feel satisfied. He even had Leia in his grasp, an intelligent author of something like his own generation, intelligence and all (Doh!)

Pass the hookah - no I said 'hookah'!

And no, I don't find these things out by searching for 'Leia Metal Bikini' - I just have a Google Search set to Jabba, but I mostly find Office jokes about the guy who can eat the most junk food in five minutes. etc.

Hey ho, and back to writing the book. These research trawls lead to many strange places...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunshine and showers

The hill outside the window keeps appearing and disappearing, with the low cloud flowing over it. The rain hasn’t stopped today.

I checked out Paris for next week and it sounds sunny and hot. Extreme contrast to end the holiday. Ten days in the remoteness and timelessness of the Welsh mountains in mist and rain – then a couple of days in a heat wave at one of the centres of civilization – with at least two of the others who have worked on producing a print copy of the Maybe Quarterly.

I got a little ray of sunshine (dodgy Segue warning) to hear that Sunshine Gray had begun work on her website. You can see and hear some of her work on MySpace. You can also hear her on Siren Radio next week – 9pm BST on the 23rd July. I missed this when in Cardiff, couldn’t get a connection here, and will find myself in Paris next Wednesday (sigh) but I reckon it’s worth tuning in, turning off the lights, and enjoying an hour of sounds. Sunshine back in the daysAccording to her blog, the radio site had some problems on the first transmission (server change) which is sad (but re-assuring when the Circus Arts Forum has had problems which I have had to apologize for, since a server change - at least I'm not alone!)

Sunshine and I have known each other (in a fairly distant sort of way - working in different creative fields) for many years…and she turned up again through the wonders of Internet, about three years ago.

I feel very proud of all and any of my creative friends. In a relatively barbaric country like the UK (in terms of showing respect for the arts) to choose an ‘artistic’ life seems like folly, but some of us can’t help it. And we tend to cheer each other on.

Hooray for our side!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still raining after all these days

The sky so grey today that I didn't even know it was morning.

I walked a couple of hours yesterday, when it never quite rained, and me and Dandy went through the forest to find a waterfall and grotto that were not a disappointment.  On the way back we saw a heron, but didn't get close.

Overhead, I can tell buzzards (fan tail) from red kites (forked tail), and around the house we have all sorts of chaffinchs, bramblings, great tits, coal tits, sparrows, siskins, greenfinches, etc.

I am not really a bird watcher, but this is the place to come if you like that kind of thing.

I have a dog sighing on the sofa. He doesn't understand why I 'd prefer to read a book, or even watch the golf, of a cold grey wet July day.   So I guess we'll go trudge around in the rain again. I can't think of somewhere new to go (I spent a little time looking at the map).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Sightings

I glimpsed the red head of a woodpecker (I guess a Green Woodpecker) the other day, when we had a bit of sunshine, and Dandy and I went for a long walk (2h 20m) across country, past the Highland Cattle, through the Forestry Commission land, into the Hafod Estate, and up and around and back through the village.

From the garden I have seen a Jay in the distance. And there are several around.

Yesterday evening I came across a slow worm in the back garden - another thing I haven't seen before.

And still it's grey and wet - and I have a rack full of smelly wet clothes from these walks in the rain (a couple each day). I guess I am walking 6-8 miles (up hill and down dale - there's no flat walking around here). It hurts a bit...getting quite sore around the shins, from all the walking on slopes...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Here comes that rain again...

Diary wise - I have retreated to the country with Julie and Dandy for about ten days. After that I zip over to Paris to meet up with the Maybe crew for the annual get-together...where we can discuss the hard copy of the online magazine we have produced for three years...and how best to distribute it around the planet.

I doubt we will have a copy in our hands by then, but it's just possible, I suppose.

And then, having used most of my leave up for the year already, it will be the long slog through the winter. I will 
  • continue with my studies (to become an e-trainer, or possibly to get into devising online courses), 
  • begin to prepare to move the whole Central Library to its new premises
  • maybe write another book in November (NaNoWriMo) because I enjoyed it last year, however hard it is to produce 1500 words per day (well 1667 actually)
  • carry on maintaining the Circus Arts Forum, in spite of my reduced connection with performing (or even getting to see) new circus
  • follow (as a member of the Board of Trustees) the development of a building for NoFit State Circus to use as a base - see the Four Elms blog, here
and so on, and etc.
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