Monthly Archives: January 2016

Life imitates art imitates life…

Some years ago now, my wife made a miracle happen. She persuaded Ray Bradbury to sign one of his books for me. He was extremely ill at the time (his assistant informed my wife he was no longer personalising books), but my wife, she wrote a heartfelt letter to him explaining how much his work meant to me and about the doubts that plagued me every single day. He read her letter. With great difficulty he managed to write a one word message. That Christmas morning, when I opened the book and saw it, when I figured out what it said, I cried tears of joy, tears of sadness. It was little more than a scrawl, but I knew the great man had tried and that was enough. It was everything. And oh, what a gift!

Last week, my wife suffered a miscarriage. It was her second in eighteen months. I wrote a story about the last time it happened, you may have read it – I can’t bear to anymore. Right now, she is heartbroken. She doesn’t want to talk to anyone, not even me. She has no words. Me, I have only the wrong ones, it seems.

I just want to remind her of that miracle. Remind her what it meant to me. Remind her what Ray wrote, in that barely legible scrawl, to me, to her, to us all:

‘ONWARDS’

There is no other way.

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2015 – What I Read (and Loved)

Okay, so I only read 16 books (fiction/non-fiction) and 64 short stories in 2015. It isn’t a lot, I know, but for what it is worth here is a list of the titles I particularly enjoyed and do not hesitate to recommend. In no particular order:

BOOKS

  • On Writing – Charles Bukowski (2015)*
  • Point Hollow – Rio Youers (2015)

* This is perhaps one for fans, rather than a starting point for readers interested in Bukowski’s work.

SHORT STORIES

  • The Absent Shade – Priya Sharma (Black Static #44)
  • Men Wearing Makeup – Ralph Robert Moore (Black Static #46)
  • All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck – Kate Jonez (Black Static #47)
  • A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love – Eric J. Guignard (Black Static #47)
  • What We Talk about When We Talk about Love – Raymond Carver (collection of the same name)
  • Morality – Stephen King (collection: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams)*
  • I Have Heard the Mermaids Sing – Ray Cluley (collection: Probably Monsters)*

* I am still  currently reading The Bazaar of Bad Dreams and Probably Monsters.

2015 – What I Watched (and Loved)

I watched 95 films in 2015, give or take. Here is a (pretty long) list of those I recommend. I’d seen many of them before (some many times), but others, such as the terrific Her, were new to me. The list is in the order I watched them, and my three favourite films are marked in bold.

  • Always
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Rain Man
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Nightcrawler
  • Interstellar
  • Gone Girl
  • Carnage
  • Boyhood
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Training Day
  • Big Hero 6
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Duel
  • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  • Babadook
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • West of Memphis
  • Her
  • Pale Rider
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Green Mile
  • Scarface
  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars: Episode V – Empire Strikes Back
  • Inside Out

Next: 2015 – What I Read (and Loved)