Yesterday our good chum Daniel Carpenter, one third of Bad Language Manchester, launched a new writing and photography project: What Vanishes Will Vanish. All the info is on the website, but in a nutshell: submit a picture from your childhood along with a short story (up to 2,000 words), poetry (up to 40 lines) or non-fiction (2,000 words) inspired by it; a creative interpretation of the image, if you will. Submit words and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @WhatVanishes on Twitter for updates.
Back to Bad Language, and I have been promising to do a little write-up of the shenanigans in the hottest room in Manchester last Wednesday, so here goes. I can't remember everyone who read or everything that was read, so this is just selected highlights and sorry if I don't mention you. The three hosts Nici West, Dan Carpenter and Joe Daly each brought us their usual high standard of tales, featuring subjects as disparate as team-building and star-spotting Paul Heaton on the bus. The guest star for the evening was the lovely Tom Fletcher, who read a few extracts from his second novel, The Thing On The Shore, which is nothing if not creepy.
Another published writer who appeared was Angela Smith, who I recognised from The Manchester Lit List write-up about the City Library launch of her debut poetry collection with Puppywolf, This Is The Me I Would Be If I Dared. Quite liked her pieces: modern and a bit in your face. Of the poets, Zach Roddis also deserves a mention. I like his stuff; it's young and fresh and he uses copious amounts of swears, which always keeps me happy. You can see some examples of his work on the Write Out Loud site.
On the prose tip, one story which stuck in my head was Nija Dalal's Young City, set in Atlanta, where she was brought up. Nija's work is always very personal and open, but at the same time intriguing and sometimes a bit David Lynchesque with her observations of America. In this particular story, I really liked the idea of her father dragging visitors to see the Gandhi statue and eating chutney sandwiches. I also loved some of the language and imagery, for starters: "Tumbledown shotgun shacks line potholed streets, close and huddled; a stern look could make these houses crumble" and "all roads intersecting Ponce De Leon Avenue change their names there, revealing an economic and racial fissure along a fault the whole world is guilty of".
Much to my dismay, I missed Fat Roland's (gimmick-free!!) performance of Michael Is A Beautiful Horse, A Dangerous Horse (yes, I was at the bar - needed some nosebag), but you can read the craziness that is that creation on FR's creative writing blog, Italic Eye, here. I don't want to give anything away, but can I just say one word? Carroty. Hahaha.
Tom Mason read his latest addition to his fantastic short story site 330 Words. Inspired by the current advert for match.com (which I've since seen), it's called Ukelele, and you can read it here. Tom even sang, though he's been embarrassed about it ever since. Tom's delivery is great; he always pauses for just the right length of time at just the right moments. Case in hand: "She hid her head under the pillow in embarrassment as he tried to think of a word that rhymed with foreskin.
"Nothing rhymed with foreskin."
I also read a piece from 330 Words, Bird Strike, which we won't go into again. This I bookended with two tiny tales of titillation, each, er, 69 words long. You can read them on my new home for saucy stories, Queen Of Tarts. (Disclaimer: adult content contained therein.) (Warning: this is a soft launch.)