World of Trevor was written back in 2013, towards the end of that year. The days were shortening. The skies darkening. Rain and feet had churned the fallen leaves to slush. The first draft was written quickly, in longhand. I always start with paper and ink. You get a better feel for the words that way. The story went through a couple more longhand drafts as I sliced off various growths and buboes. The offcuts might yet become stories in their own right. (This method will cost me a fortune in fancy notebooks. Feel free to donate.) I typed up what was now a tolerable if not quite finished version: the basic shape was there. I read it aloud to friends and fellow writers. It went down well. The editing continued. Trevor was published in the always absorbing Black Static, issue 40. It was a thrill when Andy Cox, the editor, accepted the story. So here it is. Enjoy. World of Trevor.
Hollywood Chicken was published in issue two of the online magazine, LossLit (September 2015). Read it in full here. Contributors are asked to select a work for the LossLit canon. I chose Mendelssohn is on the Roof by Jiří Weil.
Through the Flowers first appeared in issue 14 of the invariably handsome and sleekly illustrated Popshot Magazine. The story is now online and you can read it here. I was particularly pleased with Kate O’Hara’s accompanying illustration (which refers to a dust jacket described in the the story). Her work is highly original, macabre yet full of wit. You can read my Q & A with the artist here.
The Mouse was originally published in Structo, issue 15. I was very pleased to find my work in the pages of that magazine: I’d had a near miss or two, so it was gratifying to finally make the cut. The story now has a second life, online, and you can read it here. Nicholas Royle, author of First Novel, described the story on Twitter as ‘endearingly odd & oddly endearing’. I travelled down from sunny Manchester to rainy Oxford for the launch of issue 15, an enjoyable affair in the admirably scruffy Albion Beatnik bookshop, where I met the Structo crew and some of my fellow contributors. A fine bunch. Arriving neurotically early, I had spent the day wandering around Oxford, drifting from bookshop to bookshop in my anorak (three De Lillos and an Aickman if I remember correctly). I had a slice of chocolate cake and a cup of tea at the Museum of Modern Art while a man without socks talked enthusiatically at the next table about creative industries. In the Bodleian I pressed my nose against a glass cabinet displaying items and documents from the Easter Rising. I ate chips. I took a wrong turning. I made notes. Several notes. I just need to find the notebook.
Inspired by the Day – an essay on the art of Derrick Harris
I didn’t actually invent this story – a piece on Julian Maclaren-Ross