Friday, September 29, 2006

My first launch

Well, I went to my first launch last night, and it was pretty thrilling! My short story, Express, has just been published in Issue 6 of Transmission, a literary mag in Manchester. I've never been to the launch of anything to do with one of my stories... I thought, Why not? Don't I deserve a little love from the literary community? And I graduated from Manchester Uni in the "early nineties" (let's leave it at that) and was dying to see how it had changed.

Boy, has it changed.

But more later, when I've uploaded my pics.

The launch at the Cornerhouse last night was everrything I hoped it would be, at the back of a bar, loads of people milling around, me chatting to the editor (Graham) and the designer (Joe - who actually said "Ooh, let me show you my favourite line in your story"... which no-one's ever said to me before! Ok, so then he couldn't fine it, but it still thrilled me.) The mag looks fabulous, each story was illustrated, and my story is actually the first one the highly-literate and discerning reader comes across - another thrill! I chatted to another contributor, C, and we swapped tips on short stories.

Then I have to admit I wimped out and went back to my hotel at 9.15. Well, I was jet-lagged (yes, a two hour time difference does affect you) and I had had a very hard afternoon shopping. Manchester is the place to shop, let me tell you. I researched the subject thoroughly.

OK, back to the fiction. Wheee, I feel very enthused by it all! Graham and I discussed the literary scene, who their contributors are, how he started the magazine, how he picks stories etc... He's editing Transmission on a voluntary basis. That is true dedication to the short story. I hope that someone rewards him for his trouble at some point soon. Richard Branson - are you reading this? In a world where publishers are interested in the next best-selling novel, because "no-one reads short stories", what would we short story writers do without people like Graham and magazines like Transmission? Keep up the good work!

Am now sitting drinking fresh orange juice at Manchester Picadilly station, also changed beyond all recognition since the "early nineties", with a big TV screen above the platforms reporting a BBC news piece that is warning me of "Lingering Pregnancy Fat Danger". Nice at 8.54am, eh?

Pictures coming soon, when i find the right cable.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

back to fiction

Well, seems like I didn't win the Ilkley Literature Fest's short story competition . Another one bites the dust. Don't you just love it when they don't acknowledge receipt of entry and don't even send you a polite little email saying:

"Thank you so terribly much for sending us your delightful piece of creativity. We are sorry but we were deluged with four million entries from across the universe, all of which were of an incredibly high standard, but, well, we can't give awards to everyone now, can we?"

Where is Ilkley, anyway?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I just heard about this. It sounds a little like someone who is hard of hearing talking to a friend called Susan - but no! It's Water Shiatsu invented by someone called Harold Dull. How cool is that? I can't wait to try it... Seems they do it at Kibbutz Lotan down south, where they have a centre for Natural Health.

Will report back when I have been down there.

All in the interests of research, of course. I am very thorough.

Monday, September 18, 2006

laptops saving the world?

I went to a business conference today in Tel Aviv, ostensibly for the free fancy hotel buffet lunch, but also to hear the keynote lecture by an Internet guru, the former head of the MIT Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of WIRED magazine. He was supposed to talk about the future, the next ten years, technology trends etc... Well, it was the future as he sees it. He's the founder of the One laptop per child non-profit organisation and he has come up with a $100 laptop that looks like this:And he wants to give this to every child in the world. All 500 million of them.

Ok, fine.

But then he started talking about how he is giving it to poor children in remote villages with no electricity or water. He joked that the first word these kids learn in English is "Google".

And I thought, Hey... shouldn't they perhaps get water and electricity before they Google? Where are our priorities?

Sure, it's admirable that NN wants every child to have an opportunity to educate themselves through the World Wide Web, but I'm sorry but I don't subscribe to the view that Internet kiosks in the jungle will bring peace and harmony to the world. I am sure the esteemed Internet guru is fully aware that the Internet, as well as helping nice people to connect and share, is a mecca for terrorists, providing them with the ideal infrastructure for transferring funds and know-how and recruiting new members.

No, you can't blame the technology if it is put to nefarious use, but all I am saying is that the Internet is not the panacea for all ills. Surely clean drinking water, a regular food supply and access to healthcare come first? Or should the kids just order that over Amazon?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

weird art

This was displayed in the window next to very expensive clothing shop Comme Il Faut (thin summer scarf - 1500 shekels - £200!!!).

It's a carcass.

If you look closely you'll see it's made of sweets.

Art, eh. It's beyond me.

group with a view

This is where my writing group met for our meeting on Thursday.

Not bad, eh?

Yes, we did get some work done.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Girl shortage could cause rise in crime

Who knew? Apparently, according to cool science mag SEED,

"...over the next 20 years, in parts of China and India, there will be a 12 to 15 percent excess of young men—men who will have to remain single in societies that also place a high value on marriage. Because women will be able to select high status males to marry, the men who remain single are most likely to be members of the lower classes or those who are otherwise undesirable.

These unmarried, low-status males are the people most likely to be perpetrators of violent crime, the authors suggest. Previous research has shown a strong correlation between sex ratio and violence."

So girls, get out there and marry, for the good of society, and pay particular attention to the "lower class male", save him, save him from a life of crime!

Your nation thanks you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Where's the fiction?

PS This blog was supposed to be about fiction - me writing it, reading it, talking about it etc... ooops.
Will get back to that.

I am working on adapting one of my short stories into a radio play. And just started a playwriting class, which is fun fun fun....

US versus British

I'm in rehearsals for a play. Proof, the one about maths, except that it's not really about maths. As someone who studied maths (or "math" if you're American), the play and the film really pissed me off when I saw them, because I feel that the playwright just shoved a bit of maths in there as a gimmick. Whatever.

Anyhow, a friend persuaded me to audition so here I am and I am thoroughly loving the rehearsal process. But I have to do an American accent. I have to get rid of my Britishness. It's so odd, because when I say the words rolling my rrrrrrs like I was on some daytime soap, it rings so wierdly in my ears. But not just that - I can't think properly. It's almost as if my personality has been taken over. I can't be funny. I'm not saying that Americans aren't funny, because that would be a ridiculous statement. I fell on the floor with laughter during Friends, the first series anyway. Jon Stewart is hysterical. But when I don the accent, I lose my sense of humour. Apparently, when I am funny, my accent is pseudo-American but my intonation is Monty Python. Problem. Not good.

Just an observation. Curtain up mid-November. Will keep you all posted on the personality changes I undergo along the way.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Up north: Breathtaking

A view from the road on the way back from the healing day in Tsfat. It was breathtaking just being up North.

Jerusalem's 1st organic cafe

How exciting, it finally arrived. I know you can't see much from the pic, but Cafe Zmora has a lot of quinoa dishes... and more. Warms my heart.