Friday 18 June 2010


I may be the worst jet-lag recoveree ever. It just goes on and on. I guess all the activity and heady short story info is also draining on the mind and body, while also being HUGELY stimulating, of course.

Anyway, enough of my faux moaning - I'm having a ball at this conference. I'm buying books by the new time, meeting dozens of interesting writers & academics, and listening to wonderful theories on the short story in all its forms. It seems to me there are more people here than at the last two conferences. It is great to see a huge contingent from the UK along with our Irish gang. Sadly Kevin Barry has been unable to join us. But we are flying the flag between writers (William Wall, Madeleine D'Arcy, Philip Ó Ceallaigh, Billy O'Callaghan and myself) and academics, including Philip Coleman and Matthew Stocker.

Here are some quotable quotes from fabulous writers. I've heard these statements over the last few days so they are FRESH to you, my dear readers.

On travel and the short story:

'Travel is an inherently creative project. It creates hope.' Michele Morano (USA)

'One shouldn't try to unravel the place one visits.' Xu Xi (Singapore/USA)

On writing:

'In order to write you have to have language and you have to have leisure. You have to have a place to sit.' Alistair MacLeod (Canada)

On Paddy O'Reilly's (Australia) excellent short fiction reading:

'I listened to every word.' Pat Jourdan (England)

On flash fiction:

'If you come out of a story knowing what the character wants, then you were in the presence of fiction, not prose poetry.' Robert Olen Butler (USA)

Read fellow Irish author Madeleine's blog on the conference at Triskel's site here.


Unknown said...

I like the comment on flash fiction. It seems like such an easy thing to pin down, but of course, it never is. Squirmy.

Group 8 said...

Hi Jess
Interestingly, Robert O B prefers to call his flashes 'short short stories'.
He is a great innovator in the form. I recommend 2 of his collections: Severance and Intercourse. He is also a GREAT reader of his own work.

Rachel Fox said...

Did you say you were taking a small babe with you...that intensifies jet lag I think (having taken a 3 year old to Canada a few years back).
Have fun.

Kar said...

Sorry to hear the jeg-lag is lingering on and on..

Love the quotes and despite the jet-lag you're having a ball, its great to read

Enjoy the rest of the trip, good luck with your reading tomorrow and safe home.

Group 8 said...

Yes, Rachel, baba is with us. I hope it is just that and I am not doomed to have horrible jet lag on every long trip I take forever. (The drama!)

Kar - thanks! C u soon. N x

Rachel Fenton said...

But I like writing flash prose poetry short shorts! :)

Have a brilliant remainder of conference - cool quotes - thanks - and hope the jet lag speeds off soon!

Anonymous said...

The Bob Butler quote is great - yes, I call him Bob now. ;)

I like the travel ones too. I used to find what was essentially travel writing in the slushpile all the time - people trying to 'unravel' the places they'd been and kind of forgetting about story.

seventydays said...

Thanks for reporting these comments.

ROB's book on the process of writing fiction From Where You Dream (assembled with Janet Burroway) is worth a read.

For what it's worth I don't much like the term 'flash fiction'. The Germans have 'kleinkunst' which is used to mean a type of literary cabaret or prose miniatures of the kind written by fin-de-siecle Austrians like Peter Altenberg. There's no equivalent in English which is a pity.

Mags Treanor said...

Think about all the baggage excess charges when buying those heaps of books...

Tania Hershman said...

oh it sounds heavenly! Sorry about the jet lag... hope it goes soon. Send my best to Paddy O'Reilly, you should get her collection, I love her stories! Tell her we need another collection -soon!

Group 8 said...

Thanks for all the comments, people.

Seventydays - I like 'kleinkunst'. There is also smokelong fiction, postcard fiction etc etc. All v interesting.

Mags - I had to carry over my own books for the book shop (ggrrr rant rave) so I have free space as they all sold.

Tania - Paddy is really nice, good fun.

Unknown said...

Lovely to meet you there even if it was ever so ever so briefly!