Fletchski has a new site!

Greetings all you wonderful Lobsterites.

I’ve a lovely new blog over at http://fletchski.wordpress.com Why don’t you pop over and have a look at all the stuff I’ve been up to lately?

Cheers.

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes.

Blatant misuse of Classic Bowie album cover.

Blatant misuse of Classic Bowie album cover.

There have noticed a few changes here but don’t worry everything is Hunky Dory…

Greetings Lobsterites, (if anyone has a better name for followers of this blog then please let me know,)

I thought I’d better get in touch with you all and let you know of some exciting changes here at Here Come The Lobsters.

You will hope fully have noticed that I’ve set up a new blog focused solely on my writing activities, (which you can find here.) This was due to the need to present myself more professionally as a writer and to not slide off at wonderful tangents, which left Here comes the lobsters in danger of becoming somewhat redundant.

I’ve enjoyed blogging on Lobsters over the years and would hate to see it slide into the great internet cache in the sky. So, I’m introducing two new bloggers, people that I know and trust, that can write with verve and passion about a wide range of subjects. From the UK we have The Anfieldcobbler and from the U.S. Of A. the highly qualified and mysterious Smear.

Both have written two posts for you. The Smear has started, what will be a three part article, on the viewing the UK through a globe trotting, expat’s eyes. Whilst Cobbler starts with something very close to his heart, football and family history. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Midsummer Poetry Picnic.

 

Blimey, I’ve been invited to read again this summer!

This time it will be at the gorgeous Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, for the launch of a Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen collaboration entitled,’Sea of Brightness,’ published by Cinnamon Press.

An oasis in the city.

An oasis in the city.

The Martineau Gardens really are wonderful, an oasis in the middle of the city and a fine venue to hear some great poetry.

There are some excellent poets on the bill,including the mighty fine Charles Wilkinson. I’m in the same writers group as Charlie and he’s an excellent orator as is Jacqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea. I don’t know Joan Poulson but I’m sure she must be good.

Below is the invitation.

 

 

Invitation

‘Screen of Brightness’ is a poetic collaboration by Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen, published by Cinnamon Press. It will be launched on Sunday 16th June at

A Midsummer Poetry Picnic

in the beautiful Martineau Gardens
27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7UG

2 – 6pm, with poetry readings from 3pm. Cakes & drinks provided – bring a picnic and listen to Fiona & Meredith
supported by guest readings from
Garrie Fletcher
Joan Poulson
Jacqui Rowe
Charles Wilkinson

All welcome – RSVP jan@cinnamonpress.com

To find out about Martineau Gardens and how to find them click here.

To read about ‘Screen of Brightness’ click here.

My take on the Martineau Gardens can be found here.

 

Kowalski

T-34

T-34 Russian Tank.

I had some rather wonderful news today: my short story Kowalski has found a home. Those wonderful people at Unthank Books will be including it in their marvellous Unthology anthology either this November or summer next year. So in honour of that I thought I would post a picture of a T-34 tank which makes a cameo appearance in the story. Also I really should get my finger out and write a review of Ashley Stoke’s excellent short story collection The Syllabus of Errors which is very good indeed.

Check out Unthank Books.

 

 

 

Unthank-Books-Unthologies

Previous Unthologies.

5 Reasons Cormac McCarthy’s The Road Should Be Taught In Schools

I’ve just read a rather good post on why schools should teach Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and thoroughly agree. The Road is a beautifully poetic and challenging book, exactly the kind of thing teenagers should be reading to help them to think about what is important in their lives.

Lucas Flanagan wrote the piece on the What Culture blog and you can read the post what culture and you can read my review of The Road the road review

The Nao of Brown

The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

Great cover.

Great cover.

Why am I writing about this book? I’m writing about this book because I’m jealous of how wonderful it is. Not only can Dillon tell a moving tale with warmth and honesty but he can tell it in an engaging and innovative way. So why am I jealous? I can also weave a story that lives with you long after you’ve read it so… Well, the reason I’m jealous is because not only can Dillon craft words into a tight narrative but he’s also a bloody good artist. Seriously just check out the Nao of Brown website for peeks inside:

The Nao of Brown

I was rather excited to see that you could also buy toys that were featured in the story there! I haven’t bought any, yet.

Dillon is an excellent draughtsman; he uses very clean, economical lines and then washes over them with breathtaking watercolours. This isn’t your traditional comic book art, this is art. Each page could be framed and put on the wall it really is that good.

 

The story concerns Nao Brown an Anglo-Japanese woman who wants to find love but is afraid her   neurosis will put those she cares about at risk. Nao has urges, very similar to Tourette’s Syndrome, in that she will think of the worst, most horrific, thing to do in social situations, visualise the consequences of them and then have to employ a range of coping strategies to stop herself from doing them. One of these strategies is Nao’s attendance at the local Buddhist temple, which as you’d expect, is serene and calming, that is until she notices the teacher’s penis is poking out of his shorts!

nao bike

There are lots of wonderfully comic moments throughout the book but that doesn’t mean it’s a comedy. Her relationship with the sage like washing machine repair man is gentle and accommodating until, well I don’t want to spoil it.

My wife does not read comics but I went on and on about how wonderful this book was that she sat down and read it from cover to cover and thoroughly loved it.

I spotted The Nao of Brown on the shelf in Nostalgia Comics in Birmingham, it was £16.99, I did a quick scan on the phone and discovered I could save £6 at tax dodging amazon. I pondered and pontificated and then snatched it off the shelf. I’m so glad I did, it was one of the best £16.99s I’ve ever spent.

So if you never buy comics, or you rarely do, make sure you buy this one, you won’t regret it.

Gorgeous art work.

Gorgeous art work.

Cuckoo

20130205-170830.jpg

I’ve only just stumbled across this. Cuckoo has been going for just over a year and is a literary magazine aimed at young writers, writers under 19. The magazine is looking for submissions in short fiction, poetry, screenplays, reviews, rants and they say if what you write isn’t listed send it along anyway as they may be interested in it.

I wish there’d been something around like this when I was under 19 (many centuries ago,) so if you are, or know a young writer send them this way and get them to share their work with the world.

To visit the Cuckoo website just click

10 to 1 Survival of the Lit(est)

Pigeon Park Press have set themselves a challenge: to produce a novel using ten authors over a year. Starting in May 2013 each of the ten authors will write a 1000 words on their character and each month a character will be voted off until only one is left.

20130121-164325.jpg

This sounds like a very interesting project indeed, Big Brother meets Pulp Fiction (the cheap fiction magazines of the early 20th century not the Tarantino movie,) something that could be great fun and quite manageable, at only a 1000 words a month, the trick will be not getting voted off. So its a popularity contest for writers? Maybe not writers but definitely for writing. I imagine who ever writes the most engaging prose, with the most intriguing character, will win, although organisers have said that ‘cliff-hanger’ endings, to get readers voting for the next instalment, will not be allowed.

pigeon Park Press tested the water with this idea when they produced Full Fathom Five another collaborative novel that should be out early this year.

20130121-164216.jpg

I think I’m going to throw my hat into the ring for this one, it sounds like fun and you never know I could be last writer standing?

Check out the Pigeon Park Press site for details and give it a go.

Made Up Words

Cool Competition

Grabbed from their website…

English PEN and Arvon join together to give you a chance to win a place on an Arvon creative writing week!

For this year’s Arvon brochure competition, English PEN has teamed up with the UK’s leading creative writing charity to run a competition called Made-Up Words.

We’re giving you the chance to win a full place on an Arvon course at one of the three English Arvon centres, plus travel to the Arvon house (the equivalent of a second class train ticket within the UK). Arvon run an exciting and broad range of courses for writers at all stages.

How To Enter

All you need to do is write a poem (maximum 14 lines) or a piece of flash fiction (maximum 100 words) with a title that is a made-up word.

Submit your entry in the body of an email to competition@englishpen.org by 29th March 2013.

Good luck with your entry! You may only submit one entry and you may not alter or amend the entry once it’s been sent. See below for further terms and conditions.

What’s a Made-Up Word?

All words, in a way, are made up, and we want you to feel as free as possible, but you might also be interested in exploring words that people make up and use in their families and friendships (think of Paul Muldoon’s poem Quoof, his family’s strange word for a hot water bottle) or nonsense words (think of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky) or perhaps combinations from words of other languages, or onomatopoeic words, or words that are somewhere between sound and sense, or… Good luck exploring your own Made-Up Words!

Judge

Writer Femi Martin is the judge of the competition. Femi is a writer and performer who is best known for her flash fiction. She was appointed the Dickens 2012 Young Writer in Residence.

Be Inspired!

Femi Martin – the judge – has written some inspiring words for you to help you come up with your entry! Have a read and get writing!

Competition Partner

Made-Up Words is part of europolyglot, an English PEN festival of events, workshops, night classes and roundtables that celebrates multilingualism and active ageing in the UK, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom.

Terms and Conditions

1. To be eligible, entries must be received on or before the competition closing date, as stated above.

2. You may only submit one entry (either a poem or a piece of flash fiction) and you may not alter or amend your entry once it’s been submitted.

3. The competition is open to all aged 16 or over. Winners aged 16 and 17 must be able to provide a consent form from a parent/guardian.

4. The prizewinners will be decided by the judge and the judge’s decision is final.

5. The competition ends as specified on the competition page; no entry received after that time will be considered. The winner will be announced on this web page. There is one prize of a full place on an Arvon course at one of the three English centres, plus travel to the Arvon house (the equivalent of a second class train ticket within the UK). A selection of the best entries may be published on the English PEN and Arvon websites.

6. The promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prizes or offer alternative prizes of equal or greater value.

7. The prizewinners will be notified by email. If any of the selected entrants do not meet all of the contract conditions, other entrants will be selected from the remaining eligible entries.

8. The competition is not open to employees of English PEN or Arvon and their sponsors or their immediate families.

9. The right is reserved to terminate or withdraw this contest at any time.

10. Entries must be submitted by the named entrant and will be invalid if found to come from a third party. Multiple entries from a single source (e.g ‘competition entry’ website/company) will be disqualified. Entrants may only submit one entry.

11. Entry to the competition is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions.

12. The email address you provide to enter the competition will be used by us to contact you if necessary, and will not be shared with other companies. English PEN and Arvon will only use your email address in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with our privacy policy.

via .

Original post can be found here.

Review: The Road

The Road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book of such terrible beauty that it left me choking back tears at the end.

The characters and images will live on with me for a long time, like the shadows of the lost world the father guides his son through. Despite the utter despair of a dying world I found this a very positive book. The father and son are ‘carrying the fire,’ which I took to be that they are trying to be beacons of hope in a hopeless world. The father constantly tells his son that they are the good guys but routinely refuses to help others despite his son’s protests. This creates conflict between them but it is something that simmers constantly throughout rather than exploding when things become to much. The book is filled with a constant dread with regards to what might happen to the father and son and it is this dread that powers the book along. Written in short paragraphs with no chapters its the kind of book that I would normally struggle with but the characters are so sympathetic and the language so poetic that I was hooked by the first paragraph. When he talks about the grey, lifeless days his words are succinct and full of purpose, ‘Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.’ McCarthy creates a post apocalyptic vision that appals and shocks, a world sparsely populated with desperate, shameful people, that pray upon the misfortune of others by stealing their food and often their lives. The father and son set out upon the road,a quest to head south, to find the ‘good guys’ to ‘carry the torch,’ to avoid the marauding, cannibalistic gangs, to not be eaten or worse.

McCarthy never states the nature of the catastrophe that has befallen the Earth, (it sounds like it may be nuclear with a description of percussive thuds and bursts of light on the night it happens) or names the father and son and, for me, this makes it even more powerful. The fact that they aren’t named means that they could be anyone but more importantly that names are no longer of use.

It all sounds a bit bleak I know but it isn’t. There is much to admire within the pages of this book. The beauty of the alien yet familiar landscape, the lost childhood of the boy, the memory of the mother but most importantly the bond between father and son. I did something I rarely like to do with books, I watched the film before I read the book. The power of McCarthy’s writing made me forget about the film, which to be fair is a decent adaptation and, if, like the film, I’d have finished it at night I would have once again run upstairs to kiss the sleeping heads of my children. As it was I made a cup of tea and sat thinking, thinking about the friends I’d lost and the world that took them.

This book is a must read. Spread the word.

Buy it here.

Some other links you might like;

Wikipedia info on the book.

Info on the film.

View all my reviews