Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Daniel Handler, will you marry me?

You are already married? Oh well. She must be lovely.

You are brilliant though! My favourite things about you:
- you were a poet first
- you say bad things about the film on which your own books were based
- you like babies
- your motivation for writing childrens books is that they are rubbish
- you wrote an incest opera novel and don't care too much whether people want to read it
- your only writing advice is to write, and get a job with access to free photocopying
- your life philosophy is to never refuse a breathmint
- when interviewing jack black, you asked him only questions pertaining to weddings.

You are really very good, and borrow novel formats for your children's books from great french literature. You make everyone laugh, and play the accordian on proper records because no one else does.

This collection of things about you strikes me as rather wonderful. I am glad you are successful, even though The Basic Eight got rejected 37 times.

Embracing 'Ways to Live Forever'.

I spent most of today reading this book. I was astonished by how good it was, by the ease and honesty with which Nicholls wrote about death in a form suitable for children and adults. This is what I am aim for in writing my novel. I like to read debut novels because the style is not too polished and as a new writer I find that inspiring.

Nicholls has a style which is her own and she employs a lot of techniques which I also employ, such as short sentences, dark humour and a loose sort of structure, interspersed between memory and the present.

My favourite thing about this book was that it was written by a twenty-three year old. I read it and I do not feel intimidated; I feel like I can do something similar within the next few years. I like that she studied at MA Creative Writing at Bath Spa, and I like that managed to convince people that reading a book from the perspective of a dying child would not be too depressing. I like that she has a degree in philosophy and this obviously informs what she writes. I like that her influences are Hilary McKay and Frank Cottrell Boyce. I even like her picture. I would like to be her friend. I left a nice comment on her website.

I am very excited by this book, and feel invigorated, and empowered to write more about child death in a way which is not wholly depressing or solely about how everyone heals and forgets.
The format is obviously such that she put it all together at the end. And it works. And it does not drag and nothing in it is boring. What brilliance!

Rock on, Sally Nicholls. I look forward to reading your next book, also about death. I hope one day, you will read mine.

(Note: you can go to the website and download the beginning of the book, and also read more praise which i wrote in the guestbook! http://www.waystoliveforever.co.uk/ )

Thursday, 7 February 2008


I recommend chrome-a-zone, number one for all your chrome joke needs. It is also coming in paper form to Ripple Magazine, in perhaps a couple months from now. A Chromance feature is coming to chrome-a-zone online, in time for Valentines...