Even Batman has off days…

January 20, 2018

Needing Dick

January 20, 2018

I feel tired
as late summer, drawn,
golden as my tea.

I watch the birds
in their quick-numbered
moves, who seem to know

exactly what to do
as they make short work
of the downcast sunflowers.

I stop asking myself
whether or not I’m happy
and change the stems

in the vases, grind the salt,
let morning shadows
steep into me

as light begins
threading the house
room by room,

resting my hand
upon the page,
watching the season go.

Jennifer Burd

The Minotaur’s Epitaph

January 20, 2018

Of course my prison had to be ornate:
it held a prince. I tried, at first, to chart
its turns, compose a history of Crete,
a treatise on the tyranny of art.
But now I dream of straight lines, and a plain
unfenced by the horizon, of pulling my own plough,
a hell besides my ramifying brain,
a harem of flies to crown my leathery brow.

Its meandering profile meant betrayal,
and that my royal lineage had strayed
to a dead-end. But let the brute part fade
from memory; words scraped in the labyrinth’s wall
affirm it mastered speech, the throat’s thin blade
that separates us from the animal.

Michael Lavers

writing since I was sixteen

January 20, 2018

writing 2

In a certain respect, writing THE LAND OF LAUGHS was a last-bullet-in-the-gun, jump-off-the-cliff-without-a-parachute, last gasp act of desperation. I had been writing since I was sixteen but when I was about to turn thirty, I’d already written many short stories and three novels no one wanted to publish. We can dream all we want for our lives to go in a hoped for direction, but at a certain point when it just isn’t happening we must admit to ourselves the Oz we’ve been working towards is unreachable and we’d be better off choosing a more reasonable destination. In other words, in all likelihood my dream of becoming a writer wasn’t going to happen so I’d better choose something else to do. At the time I was teaching school during the day and writing at night. I’d come home in the late afternoon, take a break for an hour or two, do schoolwork till dinner, and then write till the creative lights went dim in my head. I wrote the third failed book that way. My literary agent at the time read it and asked one question  —  don’t you like any of the characters? I didn’t get the feeling you did.

At the Vienna flea market one Saturday I saw an old Montblanc fountain pen for sale. The seller wanted the equivalent of 50 cents for it. The pen wrote perfectly but at the time I promised myself I would not use it until I started a new book. A few months later while vacationing in France I filled the pen for the first time from a bottle of new/old unopened twenty year old purple Waterman ink I had found that day in a junk store. In a new notebook I wrote on the cover THE LAND OF LAUGHS, which was stealing the name of both a Chinese restaurant I once passed on a bus and a sort-of translation of a famous Viennese operetta.

Months later back in Vienna I wrote the scene where a dog talked for the first time. As I’ve said elsewhere, I have no idea where that idea came from but the most important thing was I didn’t question it. I think I stopped for a minute, said out loud “The DOG just talked,” and then went on with the story. Until that time all of my fiction had been very firmly based in reality but the world, my writing world, shifted on its axis at that moment and I never looked back.

Jonathan Carroll
An Introduction to The Land of Laughs

easier when I was young

January 20, 2018


I wanted to make sense of my childhood. I wanted to write it all down – but I couldn’t write it as it happened. I had to turn it into fiction because I didn’t want my parents to see it.

It was easier when I was young because I had no standards – I would just write. It was wonderful. I wouldn’t bother whether it was any good. It gets worse the more you know – your standards go up and up and you realise you can’t reach them.

Beryl Bainbridge
Why I write