The Black Devil

As I said in my previous post, most of my current reading is really “research” – both for school and in terms of trying to improve my own writing. I’m reading a lot of New Zealand fiction, mostly short stories and poetry, and some non-fiction essays about writing and authors.

Currently I’m working my way through two short story collections: Essential New Zealand Short Stories (selected by Owen Marshall), and the Cat’s Whiskers – New Zealand Writers on Cats. Barnaby gave me the second one, it has that famous letter on the front from Francis Hodkins to her sister, with the illustration of her cat called the Black Devil.

It’s a mixture of poetry and short stories, which is good for my current erratic attention span.

My favourite one in the Essential book so far is by Vincent O’Sullivan, whom I heard read recently at a National Library event. Fuck he’s good. When he ambled up to the podium I expected his work and his speaking to equally elderly and dry. But he’s witty, sharp, and entertaining as hell. In Putting Bob Down, he narrates from a dead man’s perspective, watching from the grave as his two mistresses continue their lives together without him. It’s eerie and poignant, and pretty damn funny actually. A new hero?

Still struggling with my own short story for school, but I got some writing done today, at least. Hurrah.

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