First reading of 2018 was at the lovely Novel Nights – a well established jewel in Bristol’s literary crown. It’s been a while since I was last at Novel Nights and there has been change and continuity.
The venue is new to me: The Square Club in Clifton, Bristol. Intimate and plush. A lovely place.
What hadn’t changed was this:
· the warmth of Grace Palmer’s welcome
· the quality of the readings – this time from Freya Morris and Nastasya Parker – excellent both
· the quality of the guests – fanfares for Tom Vowler - an Arvon tutor, editor, lecturer, novelist and with a second short-story collection 24 hours away from publication.
About Tom Vowler…he liked Bristol and seemed like a really nice bloke - except he kept saying things I didn’t want to hear. He kept saying good things I didn’t want to hear like:
· leaving space for your reader – let them interpret, rather than spoon-feeding them
· let there be glancing blows and sub-text in your story
· do not over-narrate or over-explain
· place detonations in your story
· do not be sentimental […what me?!?]
And then he read a couple of stories from Dazzling The Gods and demonstrated that the bar to publication is set high and that his feet are sailing through the air again.
Still on the ground, I read an extract from a new story that is currently titled Snot Dragons – a man purposely runs into a tree and knocks himself out. If that wasn't bad enough, he wakes to find he is on the wrong end of a ‘Ewe’s toilette’. Not written for performance and with some challenges in delivery - but good fun nonetheless.
Here are my reflections.
Submit to Novel Nights. Go to Novel Nights. Read Tom Vowler.
But try not to let your troubles pile up so that you run into a tree and break down, crying, and turn into a Snot Dragon. Talk to someone before that happens.
Oh, and keep writing – always. You can sail through the air too - I’m sure of it x