The Beauty of Darkness
Fields of The Nephilim are playing at Shepherd's Bush Empire and we will be there... Special... I will be getting inspiration for The Book of Thoth.
I have been spending the past 20 minutes deciding what to do about my first book. I had started the publishing process on Lulu but I didn't go far: adding your own ISBN adds £2 to the manufacturing cost of each book (the costs I had been quoted were already too high for my taste, but I was ready to compromise.).
This wasn't mentioned anywhere.
So I got really annoyed; over the past 6 months, I have spent hours and hours sorting out the documents, working out the pricing, etc. for publication on Lulu. Everything was super complicated, but I thought I would manage.
Now, somehow, I don't think I will, and I am giving up. This was the last straw.
I probably could try and publish the book without an ISBN, which will make the whole process much simpler, but that's not the point at all: I am very serious about publishing my books and I do not want to do something that looks unprofessional.
So I Am a Muse will not be published in 2012.
I am now going to go over my options and see if it would be possible for me to deal directly with a printer. Basically, what I need is a book printer who is sympathetic to the needs of a very small, independent publishing imprint who wants to publish quality books at as low a price as possible! The search starts NOW!
A quick update on what is happening with the books.
I am listening to PJ Harvey's Stories from the city, stories from the sea, which matches the work I am doing at the moment: updating the various pages of this very website, thinking about my forthcoming books - which all contain stories from the city and stories from the sea...
Today, I am reading through I Am a Muse to make sure it is ready for publication. Everything is now ready to be uploaded on Lulu, which I will be trying out on Sunday. I am so worried, I have butterflies in my stomach. This weekend was my deadline for uploading as I still would like to hit my November publishing date.
If everything goes well and all the files upload properly, I should be able to order a proof copy of my book immediately. So Lulu will need to send the copy to me, then I will need to read through it and check that the printing has gone well.
This should take another two weeks, if I am not interrupted by some freelance work - yes, it's money, but...
Or it could all go wrong on Sunday and I will be in a spot of bother.
*UPDATE 28/10/2012: I began reading through I Am a Muse on Friday. I couldn't help changing words, tweaking things... So this has now turned into a last minute revision of the manuscript, which is not cool as it will delay the publication further. I hope this will not take too long and I will be able to try out Lulu in the forthcoming days...
In other news, I have now purchased two domain names for my websites so the addresses look more professional. So you will find me at www.missgish.com - well, here - and also at www.arcanepublishing.net.
Business cards should get done in the forthcoming weeks.
I have been updating details about my next books as I have been to a lot of inspiring places and events and my brain has been overheating this week (see previous blogs!).
I have added the first writing piece for The Right Place HERE as well as some of the pictures taken during my holidays in Dorset earlier this month. I have used them as inspiration for that very piece.
I have added some details on the Anti page. Walking around London has given me quite a few more ideas for my Urban Noir tale...
I hope I will be able to go back to The Book of Thoth next week, but it looks like work is coming my way in the next few weeks. I will try and apply the "write everyday" rule nevertheless, let's see if I can do it. Usually, if I am working, my brain refuses to switch to "writing mode" and I can only write if I have a whole free day.
Palace Theatre Open Day
As I have mentioned here before, this year is the centenary of the venerable Palace Theatre in Southend.
I have always been fascinated by theatres and theatre actors and am thinking about writing a novel set in a theatre in the Victorian or Edwardian era. But that's another story!
Last Sunday, it was the theatre open day, and the doors were thrown open to the public who were invited to wander around the building and discover what lies within the walls of the theatre.
We were extremely pleased to see that so many people had turned up for the occasion.
As keen theatre goers, it was lovely to be able to explore "the other side"...
Here are a few pictures.
There is going to be a lovely book published about the history of the Palace Theatre, "Tales From the Palace Theatre, 1912-2012" - published 1st November: it has been written by Charles Sharman-Cox and Rachel Lichtenstein and designed by graphic artist Ciaran O'Sea. We cannot wait to get our hands on it!
All pictures below by Matt ArtPix.
I miss going to gigs... I still do, but not as much as I used to... When I lived in London and was a music journalist, it was free to get in, photo passes - I often had to take the pictures myself too! All this up to four/five times a week!
Now I need to choose my gigs very carefully, as I do not live in London anymore and I am back to being a bog-standard punter.
I will not write a review of the gig as it would take me at least two good hours, but I have posted a few pictures here and a video Neil Gaiman has shared on his Facebook page - it's of very good quality, it shows the fantastic atmosphere, good humour and magical feel of the night!
I will sum up the evening with a few adjectives: MAGICAL, POIGNANT, ENERGETIC, DYNAMIC, CABARET-ESQUE, FABULOUS, POETIC, ECCENTRIC, DARK, GLITTERY, COLOURFUL, STIMULATING, THRILLING, HILARIOUS, COMFORTING, BEAUTIFUL, ROUSING, PUNK, EDGY, LIBERATING, ENTHRALLING, LIFE-AFFIRMING, CREATIVE...
Every single individual involved was a gifted, talented artist, musician, composer, performer...
I could go on. One thing I just HAVE to mention: when Amanda stopped the music and, alone on stage, started reading out short messages written by fans in attendance - the brief was "write a short message telling about something sad that has happened to you in your bedroom" and leave them in the box in the entrance of the venue - she read the harrowing messages in COMPLETE SILENCE. Apart from two drunken giggling girls at the back who got shouted out by a bloke and promptly shut up, THE WHOLE SOLD OUT VENUE was filled with a heavy, respectful silence, as if everyone present were holding their breath.
This shows the incredible amount of respect those people have for Amanda Palmer and for what she does. This was really impressive, and believe me, I have been to a lot of gigs...
That is the nature of cabaret: sad and light at the same time, a sort of poetic bio-polar beast that enchant without forgetting the reality of the human condition. And this, if you follow Amanda Palmer well, is what her art is about.
We were treated to a multitude of special guests, my favourite being Amanda Palmer's husband, cult author Neil Gaiman, who performed Leon Payne's eerie Psycho accompanied by "a four-sawchestra". I have posted the video below. This video was shared by Neil Gaiman on his Facebook page this morning.
And now, a few pictures of the night below.
For some awesome pro quality pictures of the evening, go to Polly Thomas' Flickr photostream HERE.
All pictures © Carya Gish 2012
Under the spell
I am still under the spell of Amanda Palmer's performance yesterday at Koko.
I think I might have some good pictures, so everything will go into a blog later this week. It was... MAGICAL. And her husband Neil Gaiman came on stage for a song! Bonus...
In the meantime, here are three songs she played yesterday. Don't watch the second one if you are of a squeamish disposition.
A weekend of inspiration
On Saturday, I was back in London to see Tate Britain's exhibition Pre-Raphaelites - Victorian avant-garde. I adore Pre-Raphaelite art, which seems to be enjoying a rehabilitation after having been dismissed for years. I have never given up on them, because their work genuinely inspires me. You could write a whole novel using any of their paintings as a starting point.
Being face to face with such craft and beauty really moved me. Pre-Raphaelite paintings can take your breath away and send you into a daydream you will find difficult to shake up. Such beauty in our very ugly, bling world is incredibly welcome. Art for art's sake: this is a motto I completely adhere to.
William Holman Hunt is my least favourite of the Pre-Raphaelites; he was obviously tormented by religious guilt and fever and his numerous Bible-themed paintings, if extremely well executed, do not do anything for me and do not fire up my secular imagination. It's a little bit too evangelical for me. But I have found two reasons to like him again: The Light of the World is infused with an incredible light. Then there is The Lady of Shalott. I almost fell over when I saw it. It is not a painting, this is a whole scene in motion: the hair tossed around, the threads flying across the room... You have to go to the exhibition and see the large framed painting to really appreciate its sheer power, energy and beauty.
After a walk along the Thames which provided me with yet some more ideas for my fourth novel, an Urban Noir tale set in London, we reached the ever popular South Bank centre and the BFI. We wanted to make sure we would catch "The Art of Frankenweenie" exhibition - this was the last day - and I am so so glad we did! It was just amazing to be able to see a little bit behind the scenes of Tim Burton's latest offering - I am a big fan. There were sets, videos, trailers, and some of the puppets that had been used for the movie (Sparky the dog is so cuuuuute!)
The exhibition made you understand how incredibly detailed and thought through everything was, and to be able to see all the tiny little details of the sets was a real bonus; you can never see everything when you watch a movie, as the action distracts you from the rest.
There is an excellent little article about the exhibition HERE, together with some pictures, so go and have a look.
I adore Tim Burton's universe, because it is so very close to my own. He might be considered as the "weird", "eccentric" director, but for me, he is the one I find reassuring. In Frankenweenie, he celebrates old movies, the beauty of black and white, what it feels like to feel alienated from a world you don't fit in. He celebrates brainy, intelligent, curious, creative kids. He tells children (and adults) that it's OK to be who you are, to be different, not to follow the crowd. It's fine to like books and science, not to be desperate to be popular. It's OK to have a dark side and like strange things, it is what makes you special.
And I will go and see Frankenweenie, even though it's a Disney movie aimed at children. Well, probably according to the marketing office. Us adult Tim Burton aficionados, we know otherwise.
We haven't left adulthood destroy our dreams...
On Sunday, we went to The Palace Theatre open day and had a great time... But this will be the subject of another blog!
Metal's creative LAB: On Writing Fiction
So there. I have done it! I have survived my first creative writing course. And to be perfectly honest, it will probably be the last. No course could be better than this one. This was pretty special.
Last week, I had to get into the habit of going off to work somewhere outside of my flat again – something that hasn't been happening for the past three years exactly – I left my last full-time position on 23rd October 2009! I also had to get used to being around a group of people day in and day out again. I have grown incredibly fond of my hermit life, alone in front of my laptop…
I am a loner by nature, and being around people – especially people I don’t know well – emotionally exhausts me… Interacting with other people makes me be on my guard all the time. The reasons for this are numerous and would take too long to explain. Let’s just say I am extremely weary of people in general. Going to exhibitions, the theatre and gigs doesn't really count, I guess, as one can still remain in one’s own little bubble, even though it gets reduced a great deal.
There was also the fact that I have never shown my work to anyone else. My work in music journalism was of an entirely different nature, and a lot of people read my articles and reviews, but that didn't bother me. I knew I was good at it and I was talking about other artists’ work, not mine. Fiction writing is completely different: you disclose your inner world to others, whatever comes out of your imagination is part of you and it can feel intimidating.
Metal’s Lab: On writing fiction wasn't full of pedantic self-aggrandising wannabe authors who, having paid good money to get a place on a course, feel entitled to behave like the customer they are; after all, “the customer is King”. They expect to be told how to become a famous author in 10 steps, just because they’re worth it – or at least they are worth something because they have paid.
All the people on last week’s course had been invited to attend after a rigorous selection process, and all 9 of us felt very thankful and privileged to have been picked.
One thing was immediately obvious: there was passion in there. We all had very different personalities, backgrounds and life experiences. But we also all had a passion for books, for the written word, for our writing. Chalkwell Hall was filled with energy the whole week; you could feel the subtle power of creative brains at work.
There was also a lot of talent. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the work produced by the other participants and their knowledge of literature – and of a lot of other subjects too!
Nobody was dabbling; we were into serious writers’ territory, there.
It was a humbling, inspiring, energising experience.
The staff at Metal were absolutely wonderful: friendly and genuinely interested, they listened and observed without dictating.
A special thank has to go to Syd Moore, our “tutor” and “team leader” for the week, for her guidance, expertise and encouragement.
I love listening to other people and absorb information like a sponge, and therefore that’s what I have mainly done: I listened, and I learned a lot.
On Monday and Tuesday, we had special guest speakers, all seasoned authors in their own right.
I was particularly thrilled to be able to listen to Christopher Fowler, whose books I have been reading on and off since 1998, and whose fab blog I have been following for the past three years. He was absolutely fascinating, as was the mesmerising Cathi Unsworth – what a charismatic personality!
Julie Myerson was the most famous speaker of the three – her and her husband form one of London’s cultural power couples. I was very impressed by her self-confidence and her strong opinions on writing, even though as a person and a writer, I feel closer to Christopher Fowler’s and Cathi Unsworth’s world(s).
I actually spent one day and a half working on the top floor of Chalkwell Hall on my own work – what will become my third novel, The Right Place. When I started off, I vaguely knew in which direction I was going: my third novel would be set in Dorset, would be inspired by the landscape, the history and the very special, quasi surpernatural atmosphere of the county; I also wanted to use PJ Harvey’s song “The Wind” as inspiration, and I kept the printed lyrics in front of me while I viewed my holiday pictures of St Catherine’s chapel and Chesil Beach, two of the most important locations in my novel. And suddenly, it all started to pour out, all those ideas… A few hours after having set up on the table, my notebook was covered in Post-its and scribbles.
By the end of the day, I had written half a tempestuous scene which I then finished off the following morning. I genuinely surprised myself! I had so little when I had first arrived! It usually takes me a good six months to plan a novel, and I had done the equivalent of a month work in a day!
I am quite happy with that scene and will post it in The Right Place section of this website when I have done the small amendments that need doing.
On the Friday, when I finally stood up in front of the small, intimate audience to read an extract of the piece I had produced earlier in the week, I thought I was going to faint; I was so very nervous! I could swear small silvery stars momentarily danced in front of my eyes – for a whole second, and I forgot to breathe. It was a very different feeling to the one you have when standing in front of a class of 30 attention deficit disorder-riddled teenagers - I am an ex-teacher.
This was just so much bigger.
But I did it, and I think this first time was very very important. I believe I was the only participant who had never read to an audience before…
So now it’s a year to Metal’s Shorelines Festival – the literature festival of the sea – and we have all been invited to participate… I already have an idea about what I would like to do, but it is a whole year away and therefore I will not dwell on it…
I have gained a lot from this intense week, and I know that from now on, I will be approaching my writing in a slightly different manner. The instinct needs to be supported by more craft, and this is the recipe I will be using.
I have been thinking about revising my (hopefully) about to be self-published novel I Am a Muse before publication, but I am now running out of time.
I will be doing a quick read through this week but will leave it as it is: rather raw and incredibly imperfect, a naïve and probably not fully formed first novel.
The Right Place is taking shape!
This is the result of half a day spent on my own on the top floor of Chalkwell Hall during Metal's Lab: On Writing Fiction. I now have four - still not very defined - characters, and a lot of research to do...
Afterwards, I typed 500 words the very same afternoon, then around 400 the following morning. So, really, I can now say that I have written 900 words of my third novel! I need to correct one or two things, then I will stick the text in The Right Place section of this website.
A longer blog about the LAB week is on the way - with photos of the wonderful guest speakers, Christopher Fowler, Cathi Unsworth and Julie Myerson.
I think therefore I write.
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