Paper / Notes to Self

One of my life goals is to have fewer little pieces of paper surrounding me, each containing reminders of tasks undone. A clear ‘to do’ list is the surest sign of freedom, I’m sure. But right now, what I want to pin on my notice board of stuff, is a humble note to self:

You don’t have to do everything at once

You don’t have to do everything

Life does not require you to be ready

 

 

Comics as High Culture

For a lot of last year I was producing a weekly radio show all about the Arts Scene in Northern Ireland. It was a mixed bag, regularly featuring interviews, reviews, and exhibition notices. As part of it I spoke to poets, authors, painters, and singer/songwriters, not to mention a range of people involved at various levels in the organizing of Belfast’s many cultural events and festivals.

One group of people I didn’t initially seek out were the city’s many talented comic writers and graphic illustrators, however. A good friend kept insisting I do a feature on comics, but I dismissed the idea. Comic books are for kids, I kept thinking, they’re not particularly cultural. Needless to say, my friend challenged this thinking, and he was right to, because I was wrong. Let me break down why, for a second:

  1. Comics are not just for children (Watchmen, anyone?)
  2. Even if they were, that wouldn’t make them inherently less valuable to society
  3. Who even gets to decide what culture is? Everyone and no one. My friend’s definition was as valid as mine (except for the fact that mine was wrong).

Continue reading

Thoughts on Self Publishing

I’ve self published a few books, so far, and I intend to release more in the future, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the topic by any means. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from both A. having opinions, and B. wanting to share those opinions, which is what I’m going to do here. If you want to read more about the actual process I went through in making my books a reality, you can do so over here.

So, what are my overall thoughts on self publishing? It can be great. Key word: can. It can also be awful, if you do it wrong. But, generally speaking, I’m in favour of it. I like the opportunities it gives to people who – for whatever reason – can’t or don’t want to be traditionally published. That’s not to say I’m not in favour of traditional publishing, because I am. They’re both good, for their own reasons, and in their own ways. I think some types of books are more suited to one particular publishing method than the other and, when it comes to my novels, I want to go down the traditional route, only using self publishing as a plan B.

I self published ‘Still Dreaming’ and ‘Wake’ because it suited the books and it suited me, at the stage of my writing career I was at (i.e. the very first stage). Traditional publishing wasn’t a real, tangible option for them at that time, mainly because they were works of poetry and short stories, which are also known as ‘things most reputable publishers won’t touch with a barge pole unless the author is already very famous’. As sad as it is, that stance is completely reasonable for publishing houses to have because the chances of them selling these types of books in large enough quantities for them to break even – let alone make a profit – are very low.  Continue reading

Carriage Complaints

Flash fiction inspired by my train ride home:

The teens were excited – three girls squealing at a photo on one of their phones, while music poured out of a second device. Deep bass made the whole carriage shake almost as hard as the conductor’s head. He told them to turn it off. There were complaints from all around the train – everyone seemed to love the song. Unanimously he was told to shut up and enjoy it.