Miscellanea

I’m think­ing of mov­ing over from a lengthy Saturday post, which is the meth­od I’ve been using thus far on this blog, to short­er and more fre­quent posts. In that spir­it, here are some snip­pets of news.

Book review

My review of Mil Millington’s Love and Other Near-Death Experiences has appeared on Spike Magazine.

Scott Pack Interview

Chris Mitchell over at Spike Magazine has run this inter­view with Scott. It’s very inter­est­ing, par­tic­u­larly if you’re a new writer who won­ders how on earth you’re meant to get your book into Waterstone’s. Scott provides an address.

Progress on ‘Flashback’

Not as much as I’d like — as usu­al. This week I have been mostly join­ing a new gym, dis­cov­er­ing what it’s like to have a sauna (it’s frickin’ hot), but the primary reas­on for slow pro­gress is the research-heavy por­tion of the book. A char­ac­ter is about to board the ill-fate air­liner Star Dust, and it’s import­ant to get the detail right. The details sur­round­ing the air­craft has been quite straight­for­ward. The dif­fi­culty is in breath­ing life into the people who were really there; which lan­guages did they speak? how would they have acted? in which cul­tur­al milieux (or whatever the plur­al of that word is) did they swim?

Since I had some nice responses from the last snip­pet I pub­lished, here’s anoth­er, with the usu­al caveats asso­ci­ated with a first draft:

I don’t under­stand.”

Kirby lif­ted the cradle and let the wait­ress wipe the bar top. He set the phone down and said, in the over­cooked Spanish of a German nat­ive, “I will spell it.” He checked his pock­et watch. “S. T. E. N. L. O. C. Did you hear me? Repeat it, please.”

S. T. E. N. L. O. C.”

That is cor­rect. It must run in the even­ing edi­tion, with the exact form I have giv­en you. Do you under­stand?”

I’ve writ­ten down, ‘To J. Stenloc. From K.’”

Kirby popped the watch clasp with his thumb, press it shut, and opened it again. “I will send a boy with money.”

Let me cal­cu­late the cost.”

No need. The boy will have enough.”

Sir, I should –”

Kirby hung up. He mul­ti­plied the cost of the call by ten and slipped a bank note under the black foot of the tele­phone. Then he nod­ded to the wait­ress, pic­tured the dead Clarisse, and left. He hes­it­ated at the porch and dropped a trilby over his hair, oily with bril­liantine, before the fair winds could dis­turb it. A wintry Saturday in Buenos Aires. The grass of the Plaza de Mayo was marked by blotches of shade, but the sun was dull. Well-to-do fam­il­ies took airs along­side hardy Argentineans whose coun­try­men had, not long ago, demon­strated on this plaza to secure the release of a cer­tain Juan Domingo Perón, who now sat in the Casa Rosada as pres­id­ent. Kirby was sick of hear­ing about Peron; the pres­id­ent was debated in the cafés and revered in the homes, where his sub­jects strained hear speeches on his ‘third way’. Kirby turned to the Casa Rosada. A decrep­it porteño once told Kirby that the casa was pink because it rep­res­en­ted a fusion of the red and white of the oppos­ing polit­ic­al parties that fla­voured the reign of the nine­teenth-cen­tury pres­id­ent, Sarmiento. This explan­a­tion was countered by a guf­faw from the man’s female com­pan­ion, who went on to give hers: gouts of cow blood mixed into the paint helped pro­tect the palace from humid­ity.

Kirby nod­ded at the idea of a gov­ern­ment that painted the house of its exec­ut­ive in blood. His correspondent’s shoes swished at the tough grass as he crossed the edge of the plaza. He entered the Avenida de Mayo and found the gates of el subte, the under­ground. His cane clicked on the hard stairs.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

3 thoughts on “Miscellanea”

  1. Great fun! and crammed with splen­did detail and atmo­sphere.
    (I’ve got a gripe with ‘guf­faw’, that’s all — think the word should
    be out­lawed. It doesn’t work the way it’s meant to, imo. Otherwise, I think this is all SPOT ON.)

    sort of signed: That per­son who can’t stand ram­bling, or self con­scious ‘funny’, and finds your recent FLASHBACK excerpts rich with con­vin­cing detail, enga­ging and grip­ping.

  2. Thanks for the com­ment. You’ve got me inter­ested in your iden­tity — of course! So far, I’ve crossed ‘Ghandi’, ‘Beau Brummel’, ‘The Milky Bar Kid’ and ‘Franka Potente’ off my list of pos­sib­il­it­ies. Want to give me a clue?

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