Watching News of the World on Netflix last night, I spotted (in a film with an interesting conceit), one of the great cowboy cliches. When you're being pursued across a featureless landscape, you always manage to reach a rocky outcrop before the baddies catch up. Leave your horses somewhere and take cover behind a boulder. If you're any good as a goody, you should be able to pick off your pursuers one by one, even if they taunt you with the hopelessness of your position. Of course this made me concerned for Shanahan, Shorty Andrews and Slug Willard, the fearless cowpokes of the Circle N as recorded in Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds. Are there enough hills that meet the requirements within the county of Dublin? Would Howth Head suffice? They should be prepared. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had to resort to a rocky hideout.
Sunday, 4 April 2021
I've been submitting sections from my next novel as short stories to competitions. Managed to get to the short list of the Wordsmith's competition but no further. Curses. Fortunately they were generous with feedback and I've incorporated their ideas to, hopefully, make a better short story. By abstracting sections like this, it does make me focus on the writing even more than I did before. So it could be that an enforced delay (how could the publishing world be so short sighted?) is a benefit - and I don't just mean sparing the discerning reading public - I've suffered for my art now it's their turn.
In my own reading, I took a brief diversion for Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One, a brilliant title and a great plot. A love story given the Waugh treatment. It does make modern writers seem earnest and po-faced.