Long time no see! Sorry I haven’t blogged much for a while, you owe me a virtual slap. I’ve been busy reading pretentious books for my MA and visiting Munich!
I went to Munich last week with my boyfriend for a mini pre-summer holiday. My favorite place we visited was the Literatur Haus Munchen, as per below. There was a secret library upstairs which we couldn’t get into as there was some sort of conference, how dare they.
I recently read this blog by Tracey S Rosenberg on the Scottish Book Trust which got me thinking about what it’s like to go out with a writer. My boyfriend writes and runs Bad Language with me and our friend. It may seem like a dream to go out with someone who’s passionate in writing and is pro active in their writing habits. In some ways it is, I can get knowledgeable feedback on my writing any time, we both make time in our lives to write and read, we keep each other in the loop with competitions or good new writing we’ve come across. But on the other hand, there’s guilt when he’s writing and I’m not, I struggle with dyslexia so he’s three times faster in writing and reading then me which is very frustrating, and sometimes I can never be sure if his honest feedback is tainted by the fact that I’m his girlfriend. The positive thing is that I’m around someone who knows and understands the things that I want and we can keep each other motivated to write, but in another sense we could be each others direct competition.
Talking of pretentious books, we’ve been reading endless experimental, post-modern books for my university course. We’ve gone from Austerlitz, to GB84, to Cloud Atlas. Although I appreciate the need to play around with literature I’ve found myself craving just a good story, just a straight forward, well told, good story. Every book we’ve read for a while seems determined to remind the reader that they’re reading fiction and any time the reader might relax into the story the author pops out and pokes the reader in the ribs and says ‘keep working snarff snarff, don’t forget that you’re reading fiction. THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. DON’T FORGET THAT THIS IS SOMETHING YOU’RE READING. DO NOT RELAX.’ What happened to just a good story well told? Or perhaps I just don’t like post-modernist writing.
On a positive note, the best short story I’ve read for a while is 40-litre Monkey which can be found in Instruction Manual For Swallowing by Adam Marek. It’s about a man who goes to a pet shop to buy his girlfriend a new pet and ends up meeting a 40-litre monkey. As the opening tells you: ‘I once met a man with a forty-litre monkey. He measured all his animals by volume.’
If you’re in Manchester tonight you should come along to poetry in translation with Bad Language and Literature Across Frontiers. Nikola Madzirov will be visiting from Macedonia and David Tait, Kieron King and Sian Ruthore will also be reading.