It’s twelve months exactly today since Heather Heyer was murdered in the leafy, historic streets of her home town, Charlottesville, VA, by James Alex Fields Jr., a neo-Nazi who had travelled all the way from Ohio to join the first ‘Unite the Right’ rally. Nazi Pride might be a better description of the event. His… Read More Nazi Pride: three things we’re getting wrong about free speech
Fellow fans of the Three Lions will tonight probably be feeling as disappointed as I do at coming so close to a first World Cup final in 52 years, only to crash out with semi-final defeat to Croatia. Given that it’s 28 years since we were last in a World Cup semi-final, one could argue… Read More It’s Kieran Trippier’s primary school wot lost it
One of the problems with the current political climate is that, if you’re anything like me, your experience of the daily news cycle is much like your childhood relationship with horror movies. For more than a year now, my tactics for staying informed have switched between (i) watching the TV news through the gaps between… Read More Want to know why Trump won? It’s not what they’ve been telling us.
My very short story (or is it a poem?), On the Crest of a Wave, is published today via the good people of the North London Story Festival, as part of their video project called The Writer’s Journey. You can hear the story at the festival’s You Tube channel.
More often than not, it seems to me, when things are awry in the realm of public policy, it’s because we’re asking the wrong question. Not because our politicians can’t understand the problems, or can’t formulate possible solutions, and not even because they can’t find common ground. The real problem is that we’re starting in… Read More Asking better questions can save lives
I’ve often thought that, first and foremost, writers write for the benefit of their own mental health, rather than for the impact that their words might have on others. It’s fashionable, in the world of writing ‘advice’, to argue that writing is simply a product to be consumed by others that should never be undertaken… Read More Stick a flower in it
Like all civilized people, I have been sickened today by scenes of neo-nazis marching with torches through the beautiful college town of Charlottesville, Virginia. As well as being the home of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a quaint old town in its own right that’s worth a visit, and I recommend in particular The… Read More Hate is not a political opinion
This weekend marks 107 days of the Trump “administration”. Perhaps more significantly, it’s now one week since I cancelled our cable TV contract. (As it happens, I also cancelled our landline number because, you know, when was the last time your house tried to call my house for a chat?) So, what has been the… Read More Living without cable TV: the first 7 days
In my post of 2 April, I mentioned the first line of The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, as one of my favorite openings to a novel. Which got me to thinking about why it’s one of my favorites. I wondered if I could explain it, and even quantify it. Here’s the line again. “It was a… Read More The anatomy of an opening line
When recently perusing the American Book Review’s fascinating list of their 100 best opening lines of novels – which you can see here – I wondered how many of the masters represented here had got away with things that we non-masters debate in our writers’ groups and forums, in terms of what makes a good opening line. In… Read More A subjective and unscientific analysis of the 100 best opening lines in fiction