Friday, October 31, 2008

Brainwave most likely to strike at 10.04pm

Just came across this:
Brainwaves are least likely to strike in the afternoon, according to a survey that suggests office workers have little chance of solving problems after lunch.The least creative time in the day is 4.33pm, with 92 per cent of people admitting to feeling uninspired in the afternoon.The poll of 1,426 people showed that a quarter of us stay up late burning the midnight oil when seeking inspiration.Taking a shower is the most popular way of getting our creative juices flowing, with 44 per cent of us heading beneath the nozzle when in need of a mental breakthrough.It appears that bathrooms have a key role to play in bringing on brainwaves. ....

The research also showed that 58 per cent of people forget their best ideas by failing to write them down immediately, although women are more successful at keeping note of their brainwaves.A third of all people polled aged 35 or more choose to write notes on the backs of their hands, the poll by the Crowne Plaza hotel chain showed.
(full article here: Brainwave most likely to strike at 10.04pm - Telegraph)

Very very interesting. (Also: Crowne Plaza hotel chain poll??)

This seems to confirm my hunch that I should be working at night... I love night time and was thinking that going on retreat might be the chance to flip my schedule (schedule?) around and work from 10 ish for several hours. I will see if that works. Looking forward to meeting other writers and artists and seeing what works for them.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Fix review and congrats to Vanessa!

There is a great review in The Fix of the 3rd issue of Greatest Uncommon Denominator magazine, which I am honoured to be included in, along with my writer friend Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau.
The theme of GUD #3 is Mechanical Flight. The cover, created by Zak Jarvis, shows parts of a model steam bat. What’s really cool is how on page 205 there are instructions on how to assemble the steam bat. It’s a neat piece of work and ties in with the aesthetic which strives to connect various art forms, thus creating Greatest Uncommon Denominator. Issue #3 is pretty hefty with more than 200 pages of stories, artwork, and poetry.
They give my flash fiction story a brief but extremely kind mention:
Tania Hershman’s “Splitting the Atom” is short and sweet. I can’t say much about it without giving it away. But you won’t want to miss this one
I say don't miss this whole issue, it's the first GUD I have read and I was extremely impressed, an excellent and entertaining read, so full and so diverse. Find out more here.

Secondly, huge congratulations to Vanessa, whose poem made the shortlist of the highly prestigious Bridport Prize. Vanessa, already an award-winning short story writer whose stunning first collection, Words from a Glass Bubble, was published in March, is a new poet, and it seems as though the universe is telling her that she is definitely on the right track. Is there anything this woman can't do?!
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Short Review Guest Blog Post: Randall Brown Gives Thanks

We're delighted to have Randall Brown, author of the newly-published collection of flash fiction Mad to Live (Flume Press) telling us about his process of giving thanks. Here is a taster:
"Recently, I had to write the acknowledgements for a collection of (very) short fiction, and as I thought of person after person to thank, I realized maybe I hadn't been that kind-of mythic, solitary writer of lore, holed away from the world as if in a cave, banging out words that barely can be seen with the light of a single desk lamp.....

The hardest thing for me, as both a person and a writer, to do is to step out of that dark, womb-like cave and take the risks necessary to face the uncertainties inherent in writing stories. While the final answer always resides inside, the outside world of writers and readers have helped me with every single story I've written or published."
Read the rest of the blog post here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hitting the (virtual) road: Stop 1 on my "Walking the White Road" Virtual Book Tour

My virtual book tour, Walk the White Road: flash, fiction and science, has now officially begun, and the first stop is at Clare Dudman's excellent Keeper of the Snails blog. She asked me questions about, among other things, my love for science, so I thought I would make a little confession here. Every now and then I pop into a blog called Cosmic Variance. It contains sentences such as this one:
The week before last, I spent several delightful days at the Causality, Analyticity, and Superluminal Propagation Workshop at the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics in Ann Arbor.
And I noticed that when I read the above sentence, I got a thrill. The kind of thrill I imagine some people may get from porn, or from gourmet chocolate, or from finding a great bargain, or buying a pair of really expensive shoes.

The words "Causality", "Superluminal!, "Theoretical Physics" do something to me, they excite my molecules. Why?? I have no idea. I continue reading and there is more: "Lorentz invariance", "dark energy", "Einstein"...oooooooooooh, stop!

Why should physics be so seductive for me? It's not as if I have much of an idea of what most of these terms mean. But to me, they are part of something bigger, "science", that I just love. Visit Keeper of the Snails where I discuss this in more details, and tell me what you think.

Finally... I am a Google Alert!

I have been (foolishly) waiting for this ever since I set up my Google Alert for "short stories": the day I myself would appear as an alert. That day has finally come! Look:

How ridiculous am I???? Answers on a postcard....

A learning experience: fiction and science

I have to confess to being a little disappointed that the first few comments on The White Road up on berated me for my lack of adequate grammar. It seemed as though they had confused writer with character; perhaps because they are unused to reading fiction, or at least fiction in any unfamiliar setting, a popular science magazine, they didn't grasp that this is a story in the first person, and the voice, the grammatical quirks, belong to my main character, Mags. That's how she speaks. Thank you so much to Vanessa, Douglas and Pierre for rushing to explain how fiction is, saving me the task of wading in to defend myself and the entire field of creative writing! Most wonderfully, both of my "critics" have rescinded: Said one:
I apologize for my hastily prepared comments, especially the reference to educated people. I was rather surprised to see that particularly well written article appear in a science journal but happy to see the merging of the arts and sciences. I do appreciate both.
and the other, who sent me a personal email, now admitted to "having second thoughts" about her comment.

After a few days' pause, I realised that it is actually a wonderful thing that people were confused - because it meant that I am reaching an entirely new audience, who is unprepared for this sort of writing, an audience used to reading journalistic articles. I was delighted to find this comment this morning from someone I don't know:
A very intense story perfectly written you can feel the cold , hear the voices, I'll buy the book.
That is, obviously, the reaction I had hoped for. Sometimes it just takes a while, but I do believe this has been a great learning experience, for me and my fellow writers in terms of how our fiction may be mis-read, and for some of New Scientist's readers who have been asked to read a little differently!

Next: Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science...The Virtual Book tour kicks off tomorrow on Keeper of the Snails, and deals, most appropriately, with science in fiction, as well as a with snail-related topics!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The White Road on

Read it here.


The White Road on New Scientist today...and interview in Haaretz

Just had an email from New Scientist, they are putting The White Road short story up in their online edition TODAY, possibly the audio and the text version! Ok, all a little too exciting, things move so fast. Will link when I get the link...Aaaargh!


I am interviewed today in one of Israel's national newspapers, Haaretz, which has an English edition and a section where they focus on English speakers in Israel. Click here for a scan of the article with pic. Exciting, and odd to be on the other side of the camera, so to speak: interviewee not interviewer. I would have written about me differently, but I need to let go, let go, let go. OK, off for a lovely weekend in a luxury yurt. Pics to follow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My book and New Scientist

I just got a lovely email from the Opinion and Book Review editor of New Scientist - due to postal glitches, it has taken weeks for them to get a copy of The White Road and Other Stories, and I was biting my nails waiting to see what they'd think of it. I mean, I don't think they'd ever received a collection of short stories inspired by articles from their magazine before, so I knew it had novelty value but beyond that, I wasn't sure.

Well - the good news is that they really like it, and are hoping to mention it in the print magazine and online, where they may even include excerpts from some of the stories alongside the articles which inspired them. This is more than I could have hoped for - I thought they might give it a small mention, but this is excellent. More news as it comes in!

Also: the book is now available from two bookshops in Jerusalem, Rehavia Books and Libretto. The woman in there was so sweet, kept congratulating me. It feels so great that there is now a bookshop in my home town which has my book on its shelves. Now we'll see if they sell any. There is going to be an article about me in the English version of one of the national newspapers, HaAretz, so that might "drive sales", as they say!

More book news: I will be at the prize-giving ceremony for the Momaya Press short story comp at the London Review of Books bookshop and I emailed the bookshop manager, and he's going to get some copies of my book in for that. And Jewish Book Week has agreed to stock my book in their festival bookshop next February in London, which is run by Foyles.

I am getting used to my new role as author/marketer. Today I walked into the branches of two major bookshop chains in Israel brandishing my book, and got the phone numbers of their buyers. I will call them tomorrow. Let's hope they react positively. Will let you know.

Finally: I am now set up as an Amazon Author through AmazonConnect in the US, which means that they show my blog on the book page and other author info. Not sure how to do this in UK, any tips?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Helen Simpson: Pat Kavanagh: My friend, the perfect agent

A wonderful tribute by Helen Simpson in the Independent. I never met Pat Kavanagh but several of my tutors on the MA in Creative Writing were her clients, and she was spoken of in such reverent tones. It sounds like a great and tragic loss to the literary world, she does sound like ever author's ideal agent and advocate. Helen Simpson says:
Pat would get you the money, but she was much more interested in your writing. Some might call that old-fashioned but I was completely behind it. I had absolute confidence in her. If you wrote as well as you could and Pat knew what you were on about and was enthusiastic about your work, then she could sell it.
Full article here: Pat Kavanagh: My friend, the perfect agent The Independent
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Buy A Book And Get A Tree Planted from Life Goggles

My book has been mentioned on LifeGoggles, a wonderful site of "green reviews, news and interviews":

Buy A Book And Get A Tree Planted

October 9, 2008 ·

Written by Adam

It sounds so simple, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been done before. Raz Godelnik, founder of Eco-Libris has told me how he’s joined up with author Tania Hershman and Salt Publishing in the UK to plant a tree for every copy of Tania’s new book.The White Road and other Stories is a collection of stories inspired by real science articles and then taken further with a ‘what if?’ twist. Teaming up with Eco-Libris means the book is the first in the UK to be balanced out by having a tree planted for every copy printed - that’s right, not ’sold’ but ‘printed’ meaning every copy will be balanced out.All a good idea I think. You can find out more at Eco-Libris.
Buy A Book And Get A Tree Planted from Life Goggles

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

My first review: LabLit

I have been waiting eagerly for my first review, especially from a publication which deals with fiction and science, and here it is: Amy Charles on LabLit. And I must say I am thrilled. But not because it is universally glowing and positive (it isn't), but because it is a beautifully-written and thoughtful review that I can clearly see engaged with my stories and pondered them, the characters, the content, the settings, the structure, and put them in the context of other fiction/art, whether "science-inspired" or not. She says:
Take the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Doctor Atomic – it’s got an elaborate and very pretty backdrop, patterned on the boxes of the periodic table, with formulae scrawled in light on a scrim; but when I saw it in the New York Times’ video, I saw no particular meaning in it beyond “atomic science here”, and when I heard the director say “I know nothing about science”, I thought: “Science-decorator.” Tania Hershman does better. She’s not a scientist, nor a science-decorator. Instead she’s an interested, dreaming science observer who pays serious and at times myopic attention to sci-tech news stories and considers what they might mean, how people might live with them if handed them like a lump of clay.
While she enjoyed many of the stories, Amy Charles talks candidly about the ones she didn't connect with:
Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain blooms sickly with the living, dreaming meanings of tuberculosis, and of the tuberculosis patient; Thomas Pynchon's Gravity’s Rainbow turns the Poisson distribution into an object of sex-entangled terror. So is Hershman a new Mann? No; neither is she, I think, the new Atwood or Bradbury her blurbists claim her to be. The stories are uneven, and the workmanlike, deadline-driven reporter is still fighting with the poet. Too often she writes over the surface of the plot (this happens, then that happens, and y looks like z) without getting beneath to a transformative dream or an emotionally arresting moment, getting by on snap and rhythm. The stories take place in familiar but abstracted nowheres – a bedroom, an office, a hill – with the places in a story not necessarily joining at any seams, and this gives the strange, untethered effect of photo montage. Hershman gets by with it, but I get the feeling that the strategy is a workaround for having trouble setting short-short stories more concretely.
Interesting, the last point. I won't debate it, I will consider it for a while. She rounds off the review on a more positive note:
What saves most of Hershman’s stories is the fact that she writes well and with a coherent sense of dream, so that even the stories that most remind me of Mondino’s video of Bjork stabbing a doll (“Violently Happy”) are literate and well-made. ....Throughout the stories runs a novelty, a grown woman’s voice telling frank, taboo stories about motherhood and other facts of womanhood. They aren’t comic poses; they aren’t breathy sentimental vignettes. A woman hides from her son, whom she thinks stupid and dislikes. Narrators talk without any attempt at self-delusion or at ingratiating themselves of the burdens of sex, fertility, men, childrearing. As I read, I thought how well Hershman does it and how unusual it is, and what a pity that it should be so in contemporary fiction.
The whole review actually moved me, this is a reviewer who really took the time to look deeply into my stories, and I feel that she "got" what I was trying (consciously or unconsciously) to touch on, to get at, even if it didn't always move her. What I am discovering as friends tell me about their experiences reading the book is that every single story has at least one fan - everyone connects with something different. If there had been one or two stories that everyone mentioned as their favourites, I would worry. But every person who wants to talk to me mentions a different story. And who could ask for more than that?

What a wonderful first review to start me off. Thank you Amy, thank you LabLit. Read the full review here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My book launch!!

Well, it has taken a little while but I now have pictures I feel I can actually use on my blog (thank you Yitz Woolf for the wonderful B&W pics!) so now I can reveal all.

I couldn't even begin to think about planning my book launch party until I knew I had enough books in the country to be able to sell them - it is interesting that I had to think of the launch as part-celebration, part mass-marketing opportunity, which was quite strange, pulling in two directions.

We brought several boxes of books back with us from our trip to the UK on Sept 28th, and then I set the date and the place - my friend J-M's gorgeous and enormous flat (which others are now requesting to use for their book launches!). Nothing in Israel gets done much in advance, so giving people a week's notice for the party was about right. I invited 180 people, and prayed they wouldn't all come, not because I didn't want them all there, but because I had no idea what to do in the face of so many people, and whether I could even read in front of them all.

Luckily, only half that number, a perfect 90 or so, turned up. I was pretty frantically nervous; James was doing an amazing job with sales, and from almost the beginning I was being asked to sign and sign and sign. I had thought I would have time to refill the dips, top up the bowls of nibbles... but I didn't have a minute.

I was delighted when my cousins turned up, it's a long drive, they are not so young anymore, I hadn't imagined they would come - but they did, clutching copies of the book they had already bought! A highlight of the evening was introducing them to another cousin, same side of the family, that they had never met. A real thrill:

The evening kicked off at 7.30, and I had said I would read at around 8, so at 8.15 I decided I'd better do it. There was no stage, of course, no podium, no spotlight, no microphone, and inside I felt as though I was about to jump off a cliff. I stood in the living room, there was silence, people sat or stood, staring at me. I had no choice. I jumped.

I first explained about the 27 stories in the book - half being flash and half being science-inspired. I had planned that for the first reading, I would read one flash story from the book, Plaits, which I knew would go down well. And I thought I would take a risk and read out a new flash story, one that I recently wrote. I decided that this was a safe environment to try this out, and it added a little value, giving people a bit extra.

I knew that most people in the room - friends and family - had probably never read any of my stories. Some people had heard the ones that were broadcast on the Radio, but I didn't think many people had visited my website, clicked on the links. For me, this was a coming-out of sorts, a shedding of my skin, an announcement saying 'Here I am and this is what I do, what I write. This is me.'

Thankfully, it went well. Very well. So well that after the second flash story (which perhaps was a little too odd to be read out!) no-one got up, no-one moved. They demanded more. They grinned at me, clapped, demanded. And so I read what I had planned for the 2nd reading, The Angel in the Car Park. My only sort-of-Jewish story. And then I insisted on having a break.

After the first reading, the butterflies in my stomach changed, dissolved. I revealed myself and all was well, it was fine, nothing collapsed inwards, nothing fell on me. Relief.

We sold more books, I signed and signed, not a spare minute to even chat.

I received many compliments on my shoes, gorgeous boots that I had bought with part of the proceeds from the last story I had on the radio. Here they are (though not on my legs!):
People left, new people came, and I had to decide what to read for my second reading. Everyone seemed to enjoy me reading to them, so, although I was losing my voice by this time, I went for North Cold, one of my longer, science-inspired stories, since I had had several friends asking me to read an example of what I had meant by that. This is the other story I read in Cork, and it works well being read out, it's a bit like a fable. By the time I finished reading it, my voice was completely gone and I refused all calls to read something else. I was done!

Thank you to all my wonderful friends who came - and bought the book!

The evening wound up at around 11pm with me finding in one of J-M's cupboard the rest of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that I had planned on putting out but had forgotten about.The dozen or so of us still there fell upon them. A sweet end to a perfect night. Thank you to J-M! May your home be host to many more such celebrations!
Now I am post-book-launch, feeling happy but a little unsettled, unsure of what comes next. Well, the first thing is my Virtual Book Tour, "Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science", which kicks off on Oct 28th, and takes me (virtually) around the world, stopping off at ten blogs along the way.

I am also really thankful for the upcoming month at La Muse in November, to get on with several projects which have been on hold for a while, to breathe in the mountain air, to practice my French and not eat too much! A New Jewish Year just began and I feel the sense of a new beginning, in a completely different place creatively, metaphysically, mentally. Lots to look forward to.

(More pics on Facebook.)

Forbes Announces Top Ten Author Salaries

Should I even bother to comment?
The Top Ten:
1 JK Rowling, $300m
2 James Patterson, $50m
3 Stephen King, $45m
4 Tom Clancy, $35m
5 Danielle Steel, $30m
6 (Tie) John Grisham, $25m
6 (Tie) Dean Koontz, $25m
8 Ken Follett, $20m
9 Janet Evanovich, $17m
10 Nicholas Sparks, $16m
Writer's Market: Forbes Announces Top Ten Author Salaries
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

One-word tag

Tagged again - by Sarah. These are my instructions: Link back to the person who gave you this award. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. Put links to those blogs on your blog. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you've nominated. You can only answer in one word. I quite like these questions so I'm doing it. Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? Here
2. Where is your significant other? Close.
3. Your hair color? Reddish
4. Your mother? England
5. Your father? Ireland
6. Your favourite thing? Writing
7. Your dream last night? Gone
8. Your dream/goal? Book
9. The room you're in? Hall
10. Your hobby? Knitting
11. Your fear? Boredom
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Communal
15. One of your wish-list items? Shed
16. Where you grew up? London
17. The last thing you did? Emailed
18. What are you wearing? Pyjamas
19. Your TV? Computer
20. Your pet? cats
21. Your computer? Lifeline
22. Your mood? Flu-ey
23. Missing someone? Nope
24. Your car? Honda
25. Something you're not wearing? Watch
26. Favourite store? Bookstore
27. Your summer? Whirlwind
28. Love someone? Definitely
29. Your favorite color? Purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Lately
31. Last time you cried? Recently

Ok, here are my tags:

Thoughts from Botswana, Tim, Asalted, She of the Quill and Bottle, The Flea, LitFlood
and Women Rule Writer.
Feel free to ignore the tags, totally up to you!

Thanks, Sarah.

The Cyclone "Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science" virtual book tour is officially announced!

As you can see from my fancy new blog logos, I am delighted to announce my Virtual Book Tour, part of Salt Publishing's new Cyclone programme.

The "Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science" tour will kick off on October 28th on the Keeper of the Snails blog, and then wend it's away around the world, from the UK to the US, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, ending up at Thoughts from Botswana at the end of December. Much more than I could ever have done in person, without being exhausted and bankrupt! The idea is that each tour date will cover a different aspect - of writing, of my stories, of the writing life, of the fusion of science and art, etc...

Click on the image above to go to my Cyclone tour page for details of all the blogs and tour dates. More information on tour topics and the participating blogs very soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Short Review Issue 11 Oct 2008: Travel, Science, Love, Death and Flash

Issue 12 October 2008

Travel is one of this month's themes: with Gary Schanbacher's Migration Patterns, Derek Green's New World Order, as well as St Petersburg, where God lives, according to Tom Bissell.

Andrew Porter's The Theory of Light and Matter and Daniel Marcus' Binding Energy throw a little science into the mix.

Flash fiction is provided by Yannick Murphy's short short stories in In a Bear's Eye, some M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, and the Wastelands anthology provides apocalyptic tales.

Love and death round off this month: Chavisa Woods' Love Does Not Make me Gentle or Kind, and Rob Shearman's Tiny Deaths.

A bumper eight author interviews provide some background to the collections. Happy reading!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Something to read....

Ok, I have to go and get dressed and head off to my launch - nervous, nervous! Thank you for all your lovely comments. I have decided that as well as reading some flash stories from the book, I will try out some new flashes too tonight, which is a bit of a risk, so we'll see!

In the meantime, I have three of my most dotty and mad flashes up in the Whatnots section (very apt) of the latest issue of the Mad Hatter's review, just in case you have 6.5 minutes to spare. There's music that goes along with it but I haven't manage to play it yet... let me know how it works with the stories. Atonal, dischordant, that would sound about right!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Countdown to (book) launch...3...2...

Well, tomorrow is the Second Big Day - my official book launch party, almost 5 weeks after Publication Day. It does spread out the excitement, and I am definitely looking forward to it, but, having invited 200 or so people, it feels to me a little like the wedding I never had (or really wanted). Everyone will be looking at me, which is not something I am used to. I will have to talk about myself, and about the book.... what will I say? I am going to give two short readings, probably flash stories from the book, that's ok, will have the words in front of me. But I am really not sure how many people will come, will there be enough food, should I have a glass of wine before or will I (as has been known to happen!) get too drunk too fast to read?!

I have 120 books that will be sitting, beautifully arranged and piled, on a table in my friend JM's enormous living room. I hope by the end of the evening the piles will be much diminished, but even if not, it will be truly a celebration of an achievement that is something very special. It's a great thing that everyone is coming to celebrate with me, and even if they don't read my stories, that doesn't really matter, does it?

Will post some pictures afterwards, when they're developed (nope, no digital camera, not yet anyway...). Wish you could all be there!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Ambition of the Short Story

A wonderful quirky essay on short stories which hits the nail exactly on the head in the New York Times by Steven Millhauser (whose collection, Dangerous Laughter, we recently reviewed on The Short Review)

The short story — how modest in bearing! How unassuming in manner! It sits there quietly, eyes lowered, almost as if trying not to be noticed. And if it should somehow attract your attention, it says quickly, in a brave little self-deprecating voice alive to all the possibilities of disappointment: “I’m not a novel, you know. Not even a short one. If that’s what you’re looking for, you don’t want me.” Rarely has one form so dominated another.

But Millhauser knows that the short story has more up its tiny sleeve:
The short story believes in transformation. It believes in hidden powers. The novel prefers things in plain view. It has no patience with individual grains of sand, which glitter but are difficult to see. The novel wants to sweep everything into its mighty embrace — shores, mountains, continents. But it can never succeed, because the world is vaster than a novel, the world rushes away at every point. The novel leaps restlessly from place to place, always hungry, always dissatisfied, always fearful of coming to an end — because when it stops, exhausted but never at peace, the world will have escaped it. The short story concentrates on its grain of sand, in the fierce belief that there — right there, in the palm of its hand — lies the universe.
And he ends on a triumphant note which is so very welcome after all these articles trumpeting the "death of the short story" and the "poor short story", victim of the cruel publishing world:

The short story apologizes for nothing. It exults in its shortness. It wants to be shorter still. It wants to be a single word. If it could find that word, if it could utter that syllable, the entire universe would blaze up out of it with a roar. That is the outrageous ambition of the short story, that is its deepest faith, that is the greatness of its smallness.

Click here for the full piece, The Ambition of the Short Story -
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

sore thumb

I haven't been blogging much due to a very sore thumb, which has been sore for weeks now. I finally today went to seek treatment, and it is still sore but I am now watching my bad mousing habits, the way I grip the mouse with my thumb, which makes no sense! Anyhow, I am almost recovered from our trip, we came straight into two days of holiday for Jewish New Year, computers and telephones off, much socializing with friends, a great way to reacclimatise. And this week it is Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, a fast day, an amazing time to be in Israel because the roads are almost completely empty of cars for 24 hours.... children take their bikes and skateboards (are they very 80s? Am I showing my age?) and ride down the middle of the streets, it's surreal. Apparently, scientists come to Israel to study what effect a car-less day has on air pollution every year. If only there were more days like this, and less cars. Yes, but, I do drive. Of course I do. I don't go that far...

I am busy planning my book launch for next Sat night, to which almost 200 people have been invited. I am hoping they don't all show up! Mainly because that is a really large number of people and I am not sure my friend JM who is hosting the launch in his beautiful flat, can take that many, and partly because I am going to be reading a few short short stories, and I don't want such a large audience, all staring at me. Hmm. I will have to get used to the idea. I have 140 books to sell, and am selling them around and about. I sold one last night at a meeting of a new party standing for the Jerusalem municipal elections. Nothing to do with the elections: a friend asked about the book, I whipped out a copy, money was produced, I signed it, much excitement! How lovely!

J is as we speak working on the films of my readings in Cork, will post those here and on YouTube shortly. I am trying to get over the fact that I hate seeing myself on film, that I look huge, is that really my nose? Get over it, get over it.

Ok, must get on with the October issue of The Short Review, taking it easy on the thumb!