Nuwe Stories 3 kortlys aangekondig

Die Nuwe Stories 3 Kortlyskandidate.  Foto verkry vanaf www.litnet.co.za

Die Nuwe Stories 3 Kortlyskandidate.
Foto verkry vanaf www.litnet.co.za

Dit is vir my ‘n groot eer om weereens hierdie jaar deel te wees van die NB Uitgewers/Human & Rousseau Nuwe Stories Kortverhaal Kompetisie kortlys.

Die kompetisie word hierdie jaar vir die derde keer aangebied met die doelstelling om jong skryftalent (onder 30) op te spoor en te ontgin. Lees meer oor die kortlyskandidate asook die bundel by Litnet.co.za deur hier te klik. Baie geluk aan alle kortlyskandidate!

Wanting to be a writer vs. being a writer

“Follow your dreams”, that’s the spirit of the times for young people leaving school and those who are re-thinking their careers. I was lucky to grow up in a home where the general consensus was not to follow a career path that pays well, but to follow a career that sits well with me. For me, almost any career in the arts would sit well, partly because I don’t have the aptitude to do a nine-to-five office job and partly because I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything if I haven’t created something new. This doesn’t mean that I look down on everyone else for being able to do these jobs, just don’t expect me to understand the complexities of their day at the office.
I tend to think of office jobs in a fairly linear fashion. This is how they look in my mind: You go to the office. You work at completing your work for today. You go to lunch. You come back to the office. You finish your work. You go home. You relax and forget about the office until tomorrow morning. You get up and do it all over again.

Wanting to be a writer

For a writer I imagine a completely different task-management-plan: You get up when you’re ready to. You don’t go to the office, but rather grab your computer and get back into bed. You read a few blog-posts and articles before getting coffee and settling down to work.

Coffee1

You realize that you need to do some research before writing the next passage, so you head to Google. You get more coffee.
You haven’t read a book in like, three days, so you do that, since it’s anyway too warm/cold/noisy/quiet/emotionally draining etc. to write. You get some coffee.
You attempt to write something, but get distracted by something you wrote three months ago and didn’t finish yet. You attempt to finish it, just to find out why you had stopped in the first place: the story wasn’t going anywhere. Still, you spent time writing that, so you end up not deleting it, just in case the idea does turn out to be WML (Worth Millions Later). You get some coffee, for inspiration.
You still haven’t written anything all day, so you buckle down and put down a header:

Anthrax

You look at it and muse about what meanings or expectations people will gleam from it when they see it on the cover of your debut novel. You Google the word, just to make sure it’s as bad-ass as you hope. It is. Then you do an in-depth search about all the ways in which a person could commit murder using Anthrax. You see dollar-signs about your head. This book is going to sell millions!
You attempt a basic story outline:
Wally Silberman is an ordinary guy, working a nine-to-five office job. His life is uncomplicated until he accidentally overhears plans of an illegal weapons-exchange while having lunch at the local coffee shop. The next day he finds an envelope with anthrax on his desk at work.
OK. You think this is sufficient to build a story on.
You type “Chapter One – An ordinary man” and then go to get some more coffee.
When you come back to your computer you don’t like the idea, probably because there’s not much to hold on to or like there.
You write a new idea:
After his lab-assistant wife dies in a chemical accident caused by a lack of safety precautions, Hal Osprey has nothing left to lose. He is intent on getting revenge and he means to show the company just how flawed their safety is.
OK. This seems like something!
You type “Chapter One – Chemistry” and get up to get some more coffee. It’s the only way you’ll stay awake, because when you come up with anything remotely close to a full-fledged idea at two thirty in the morning, you had better keep going.

MoreCoffee

When you return you start considering the broader outline of this story: what company were Hal and his wife working for, what were they creating and what went wrong in the lab? Why did the wife die and not Hal? Wait a minute – isn’t that the exact plot in Spiderman 3?
You find your copy of Spiderman 3 and watch the whole thing through. Apparently not. Never mind.
What could have prevented Mrs. Osprey’s death? Was she perhaps pregnant with their first child? Is that why revenge is so important to him? Is Hal a good name for a scientist? Where does the story take place and why there rather than somewhere else? What kind of habits does Hal have? How does he mean to exact his revenge?
You look at all these questions and begin to realize there will be a learning curve, or at least space for a lot of research. For one thing, you don’t know anything about science, scientists or Anthrax. Also, you’ll obviously have to build a chapter by chapter outline for this one, since you can’t really foresee where it’s going and you don’t want to end up giving up on it like the one you ended up not deleting earlier in the day.
You decide, since it’s late and you’re probably too tired to figure out the mechanics of this idea, to go to bed and start again fresh tomorrow.
The next day you get up, fully intending to write at least one chapter, but during your morning coffee someone rings the doorbell. Strange, you think, you don’t have any friends, why would anyone be ringing the doorbell?
A police officer is twirling his hat, which should rather have stayed on his head to hide that hideous hair-day.
“Good morning, officer. What can I do for you this morning?” you ask in your most polite voice.
The police officer doesn’t seem interested in anything you have to say, simply introduces himself via a badge before telling you that you are to come downtown with him.
“Whatever for?” you ask, no longer polite.
“You Googled Anthrax. You are now considered a person of interest.”
“By whom?” you ask, very proud of your correct use of grammar.
He has said as much as he was willing to and is now giving you the grandmother-glare, secretly hoping you will understand that it means you should drop everything, close the door behind you and come downtown with him.
You do so, though not because you particularly want to.
After hours of interrogation and explaining that you are a writer despite not having been published, you are let go.
Warned by intuition not to pursue the subject, you set down to start writing something else. You silently mourn the loss of an idea which could potentially have sold millions.

Being a writer

writer-caffeine

You go to your office. You decide what you are going to write and start writing it. You work through lunch because you want to at least finish a draft of Chapter One. You finish your work well before dinner, which gives you time to do chores, fetch the kids from school, cook dinner, help with homework, make a costume for the Halloween dance and catch up with blogs and Facebook. After dinner you put the kids to bed, call your mom for her birthday and finish reading the book you started last night, all the while jotting down things you liked about the manuscript and good ideas you have. Your mind is constantly processing ideas which will help you overcome some hurdles during your workday tomorrow. You go to bed having come up with the solution to some particularly annoying problems and having written them down. The last thought you have before falling asleep is that you’re confident your book will be done by the end of term, in time for the family vacation. You hope at least one person will like it. If you’re lucky, your book will get picked up.

Rewriting your prose for literary types (and rendering it incomprehensible)

The Book of Hard Words by David Bramwell

The Book of Hard Words by David Bramwell

I am affectionate toward books about words, which is how I came to read The book of hard words by David Bramwell. What comes next is what it inspired me to do.

This is the original flash fiction piece, written with it specifically in mind that I want to rewrite using only “hard words” from The book of hard words.

His neighbour’s unruly behaviour made him feel particularly bloodthirsty. The memories of his death and reincarnation returned once more.
Perhaps just one bite, he thought.
Biting her could be beneficial to him. He was one of a kind, a revolutionary of his time, because he was the only one of his kind who didn’t have the predisposition to kill his own offspring.
The more he thought about her slender digits, the more lustful he became.
She obviously feared speaking.
He carried her into his underground chamber. He hadn’t been there since the early part of the century, shortly after his rebirth, and the place was covered in spider webs and dust.
It had once been his winter retreat, but he had long since given up the practice. After his transformation it became unnecessary.
Tying her to a chair, he intended to pour her blood into a cup. That was, after all, the humane way of feeding.
He bent over her, ready to cut her delicate skin.
‘Wait,’ she insisted. ‘I can tell you many things about yourself. I am a palm reader.’
‘Is this a trick?’ he asked. ‘Or are you really a visionary?’
‘I’m not cool enough in the face of danger to be lying.’
He stuck out an overly cold hand towards her.
‘Hmm…,’ she murmured. ‘You have an unnatural vibe about you. Very mysterious.’ ‘Do you feel anxious during the full moon?’
He sighed audibly. ‘I’m not a werewolf, if that’s what you’re suggesting.’

How to use hard words in daily life.

How to use hard words in daily life.

This is the rewrite using hard words from the book.

His neighbour’s obstreperousness made him feel particularly sanguisugent. The memories of his metempsychosis returned once more.
Perhaps just one bite, he thought.
Biting her could be beneficial to him. He was sui generis, a sansculotte of his time, because he was the only one of his race who wasn’t prolicidal.
The more he thought about her leptodactylous beauty, the more concupiscent he became.
She was obviously lalophobic.
He carried her into his hypogeum. He hadn’t been there since the early part of the century, shortly after his rebirth, and the place was covered in spider webs and dust.
It had once been his hibernacle, but he had long since given up the practice. After his transformation it became unnecessary.
Tying her to a chair, he intended to extravasate her blood into a cup. That was, after all, the humane way of feeding.
He bent over her, ready to cut her delicate skin.
‘Wait,’ she insisted. ‘I can tell you many things about yourself. I practice dermatoglyphics.’
‘Is this a trick?’ he asked. ‘Or are you really theophanic?’
‘I’m not sangfroid enough to be lying.’
He stuck out an acrohypothermic hand towards her.
‘Hmm…,’ she murmured. ‘You have a preternatural aura about you. Very mysterious.’ ‘Do you feel anxious during the plenilune?’
He sighed audibly. ‘I’m not a lycanthrope, if that’s what you’re suggesting.’

Ek agter die skerms en Nuwe Stories 2 beskikbaar vir Kindle

Die Nuwe Stories 2 skrywers by die bekendstellingspartytjie in Kaapstad.

Die Nuwe Stories 2 skrywers by die bekendstellingspartytjie in Kaapstad.


Hier volg ´n onlangse onderhoud met Litnet na die publikasie van Nuwe Stories 2 in November 2013.

Nuwe Stories-kortverhaalwedstryd 2013: Onderhoud met Christina van Deventer

Naomi Bruwer, Christina van Deventer

Vertel ons lesers meer van jou verhaal/verhale wat in Nuwe Stories 2 opgeneem is.

My verhaal, “’n Kis vir Boel”, handel oor ’n hond wat ’n jong seun doodbyt. Wanneer dit duidelik word dat die hond aan ’n swart man behoort wat sedert die gebeure vermis is, raak die hele gemeenskap betrokke en is die hond se lewe op die spel.

Ná die aanvanklike keuring het jy die geleentheid gehad om die kortverhaal persgereed te kry met die hulp van raad en keurverslae. Hoe het jy hierdie proses ervaar?

Ek het die proses geniet. Die keurder se verslae was op die man af en die voorgestelde leesstof was interessant en aktueel. My enigste “negatiewe” kommentaar op die proses is dat ek graag kritiek van albei keurders sou wou ontvang, aangesien dit moontlik die ontwikkeling van my verhaal verder
sou verdiep.

Wat is die beste skryfraad waarvan jy al ooit gehoor of gelees het en wat jy probeer om self toe te pas?

Lees. Dit is moontlik ook die grootste hindernis om te oorkom, want ’n mens is geneig om fiksie vir ontspanning te lees. Selfs wanneer ek ontledend lees, raak ek ná ’n hoofstuk of twee meegesleur deur die verhaal (as dit ’n goeie een is) en vergeet ek om op te let na die nuanses. Ongeag daarvan dink ek dat dít wat jy lees in jou onderbewussyn saamgesleep word en ’n uitwerking op jou skryfwerk het, selfs al is dit net deur taalgebruik. Ek het aanvanklik gedink ’n mens moenie so baie lees nie, want dan begin jy soos ander skryf. Ek het intussen my opinie verander.

Die ander skryfraad is die ou een “skrywers skryf”. Baie suksesvolle skrywers sê hulle kan bloot elke ses maande ’n boek op die rakke sit omdat hulle elke dag skryf. Om elke dag te skryf, klink maklik genoeg, maar dit is nie. Dit verg toewyding en dissipline. Ek raak al beter in hierdie opsig, maar dit is ’n roetine wat ’n mens moeilik aanleer, veral omdat die lewe geneig is om tussenbeide te tree.

Wie is die skrywers wie se werk jy die graagste lees, en waarom hou jy van hulle werk?

Ek lees graag die groot kokkedore van Engelstalige ontspanningsfiksie: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crighton, ensovoorts. Ek is baie meer kieskeurig wanneer dit by Afrikaanse fiksie kom en lees selde of ooit ’n boek net omdat dit deur iemand geskryf is van wie se vorige boek ek gehou het. Ek word maklik visueel beïnvloed: As die boek ’n aantreklike buiteblad het, sal ek dit koop sonder om spesifiek op te let wie die skrywer is. Dan gaan ek huis toe, lees, en besef/besluit agterna dat hierdie skrywer meer aandag verdien. Dus lees ek in Afrikaans oor die hele spektrum, van Sophia Kapp en Isa Konrad tot PG du Plessis en, meer onlangs, Deon Meyer. Dit is vir my moeilik om iemand spesifieks uit te lig, want ek geniet amper enige skryfwerk wat goed afgerond is en maklik lees, selfs romanse en niefiksie. My enigste vereiste is dat die boek goed moet eindig – ek lees gewoonlik die laaste bladsy in die boek voor ek besluit of ek dit koop. Dit maak dit interessant om dan uit te vind hoe die skrywer en karakters daarby uitgekom het.

Het jy enige verdere planne vir jou skrywersloopbaan?

Ek weet nie of mens regtig in hierdie verband planne kan maak nie. Ek skryf dít wat my hart my forseer om te skryf en hoop dan maar agterna dat daar ’n ontvangslokaal daarvoor sal wees. Ek hoop om as skrywer te ontwikkel en dat mense byval sal vind by my skryfwerk, maar net die tyd sal leer of daar wel ’n skrywersloopbaan op my horison is.

Vind meer uit oor my deelname aan Nuwe Stories 2 deur hier te klik.

As jy nog nie ´n kans gehad het om die bundel in die hande te kry nie, gaan gerus na Amazon vir die Kindle weergawe, of na Kalahari vir die “paperback”.

Have you had your hands on this yet?

Quote

And by this, I mean THIS:

The white-hot cover of "Nuwe Stories 2"

The white-hot cover of “Nuwe Stories 2”

Hot off the presses, Nuwe Stories 2 is the only cubic package you MUST give this Christmas. It’s not the only book you MUST own, but definitely one of them – at least right up there with your Bible and your Diary 😉 It has been available since the 15th of November… so what are you waiting for? It’s time you rush to your nearest bookstore to get it, or click here to learn more about the book and where to get it.

Your life will feel meaningless without it!

xoxo

Nuwe Stories 2 – Make space for it on your bookshelf!

On Friday I received this in my email inbox:

Nuwe Stories 2013 Book Launch Invitation.

Nuwe Stories 2013 Book Launch Invitation.

Yes, it’s an invitation to the book launch of one of the hottest new numbers on the shelves this Christmas, Nuwe Stories 2. Of course, being one of the collaborators, I get a front row seat at the event and one of the first signed copies, but that doesn’t mean you’re not invited. In fact, this here is my official invitation to each and every one of you to go out and get multiple copies as Christmas gifts, wedding gifts, housewarming presents, Birthday gifts, just-to-say-I-love-you gifts and early Mother’s- and Father’s Day gifts. Also get one for yourself, since you’ll want to read this – I promise. I read the entire collection of stories in one sitting. The hard copies will become available in major bookstores everywhere in the country in the last week of November/first week of December, so there’s plenty of time to get it wrapped up for your mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, dog (yep, your dog will want one) and of course your spouse and all his/her family. There will also possibly be an electronic version available from Kalahari and on Kindle. More about this when I know for sure.
For those of you who managed to read this far, if you are interested in coming to the launch, inbox me. For a modest amount of biltong, chocolates and wine, I might be able to sneak you in.

xoxo to all my future fans:-) (That’s how much I love this book!)

P.S.: I am able to sign books at elaborate coffee-and-lemon-meringue meetings and three course lunches upon invitation. Dedications and photographs might become more costly… perhaps a trip to the Bahamas? I’ve never been ;-P

When social media is no longer enough

Years ago, when my father had a dial-up connection that allowed you to view your emails and spend the occasional moments in chat rooms, computers and the Internet had a few basic functions that made people want to use them. Word processing, calculating payrolls and tax returns and the odd game of snake or worms, was what we spent our PC time on. Many feared this new age, the age of technology, because just like the industrial age, it had the potential to replace humans. But it didn’t. Not on a large scale, anyway. If anything, it created new opportunities, new disciplines of largely un-treaded territory. Back in those days there were no such things as digital cameras (remember film?) or mp3 players (remember Walkman?) and there certainly were no such things as social media, apart from chat rooms where one could meet with friends and strangers and exchange ideas or play iSketch.
In the nineties all of this, however, changed. Connections became faster, computers became smarter, and the consumer expected bigger, better and more all the time. The Internet became more accessible – it was no longer simply a way to send and receive messages, it was now also a way to advertise products, display and obtain information, travel virtually and play games with people from any country and any walk of life. The Internet turned from being a little corner bookshop, to being a warehouse with the largest stock in the world.
Soon digital photography and music became a reality, and suddenly computers became virtual photo albums and music collections. Wikipedia was born and so was Google. Information became available to anyone and everyone. People shared what they liked, disliked, wanted or needed and there was an inventive atmosphere the world over that had everyone excited and in the spirit for creation. A creative explosion ensued.

And then came social media.

Social media is the dictionary description for words like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram and Google Plus. Textbook social media allows people to display every detail of their life in high definition, vivid colour, to anyone who cares to know more about them. I hardly need to explain this, because if you’re reading this, chances are you saw it by way of a post on some form of social media, but social media is the virtual edition of who a person is, or aspires to be. I aspire to be a published novelist, my interests lie with books and language, and anyone who has ever seen my posts on Facebook will attest to it that the virtual edition of me loves books and language related media. Every day someone who wants to know more about me might, by way of following my interaction via social media, learn that I am female, married, childless, a pet owner, interested in books and movies and music and wildlife and that I have a fairly average sense of humour. In fact, for those who look more closely, they will learn about my specific preferences, my likes and dislikes, my opinions on politics, society and the future, my current religious views or relationship status or physical form and even where I am and what I am doing at any moment of the day.
But do they know me as a person? They will feel like they do, because they will know a lot about me. But is that really the same as knowing me? Do they know that I don’t eat peas because I hate how they roll around on my plate? Do they know that I broke my nose in the second grade and have had multiple corrective operations? Do they know that I often disagree with what priests say during their Sunday sermons?
They can’t know those things, unless I chose to share them, and just as you, the reader, are forced to take these revelations at face value, they will be basing their knowledge of me on what they saw me post on social media. I am who I say I am, and therefore it is the truth.
Here’s the flaw: I do like the way peas roll around on a plate. I have never broken a bone in my body and I have never had corrective surgery. I do not disagree with priests during Sunday sermon, because I rarely, if ever, go to church.
What I just stated, may or may not be the truth. What I stated before, also may or may not be the truth. If I tell you both things are irrevocably true, then you will automatically assume I am a liar. If I tell you both statements are completely false, you will do the same. However, if I tell you that the reason I don’t eat peas is because I am allergic to them, you will feel yourself forced to believe me, because why would I make that up?
Social media has become such a part of our day that many of us start and/or finish our day by checking our preferred site. Who said what to whom and why? But consider what you used to do with that time before the rise of social media. Did you read one more book per week? Perhaps you had time for one extra TV show, or an hour a day extra for outdoor activities? I find myself wandering in and out of Facebook and Twitter more and more often, just to see how everyone else is doing, but more often than not I am disappointed that nothing has changed since an hour earlier (or if I’m really bored, three minutes earlier). I have already seen all the posts, liked the ones I like, shared the ones I agree with, commented on the ones I disagree with and posted a selfie or five of me in an elevator or in my car, eating ice cream or just holding the new smart phone that will allow me to access social media even more frequently. When there’s nothing new on the social media and I’m not in the mood for working, I feel cheated, like there’s nothing else left to do on the Internet. I gleam all the interesting news articles or blog posts, photographs, funny thoughts, political discussions, personal interactions, invitations or discussions and even which music to listen to next, from social media. I haven’t been forced to go anywhere and look for anything unless I am doing specific research, so when there is nothing happening on the social media that I follow, my computer might as well be broken.
Growing bored.
Yes, I did that. I said that I’m growing slightly bored with social media. I will probably post this blog entry on multiple social media sites and I will sit around waiting for someone to comment, to gauge whether people read the blog and how they are reacting to it and whether I am the only one who has reached the point when social media is no longer enough. What I’m wondering though, is what comes next, because one of the things social media has successfully achieved is to stifle the creative explosion that came before it. Now creativity is considered to be captured by “I haz a moniez, now what to do wif it” pictures of various animals and corny poetry about what it means to be a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, grandma, grandpa, human, goth, emo, pet, teacher, etc. We no longer meet each other in person, and when we do, our conversations start with “I saw on Facebook…”. We no longer learn anything other than weird facts about animals posted by awareness groups which look good on our profiles. We no longer go out and smell the roses, we go out, take a picture of the roses and brag about them on social media. We don’t buy flowers and cards for birthdays, we send virtual greetings. We don’t call our friends, we poke them. We don’t know people, but we know everything about them. We live in a stalker’s universe, where the stalker and the stalked become best friends because they share an interest.
I’m not saying that when I post this I will quit social media. I’m not even saying my usage will go down. What I am saying is: it’s time for something new. Something smart, and fun and creative. Something that will force us to live in the world outside the digital one without constantly imagining how special moments or unique experiences will look on our social media pages. Something that will make us humble again. Something that we’ll do because we actually like it, not because it will look good as a social media post. Something we can be remembered for, by real people.
Oh! I managed to write this entire post without once checking my news feed.

I probably got this picture from someone's news feed on Facebook, so I don't actually know its source.

I probably got this picture from someone’s news feed on Facebook, so I don’t actually know its source.

A Wedding

This morning all the roses in our garden put on their white dresses and came to meet the fairies,
who are holding a wedding party for Mother Nature and The Rain.
The music is provided by the birds,
the food by the bees
and everyone is in good spirits,
even the trees.
Squirrel has started eating, because he just couldn’t wait,
Gecko and Lizard are out on their first date.
Snail is so slow he won’t make it on time,
to miss an occasion like this is surely a crime!
Only one can be jealous of this day
Sun has very rudely been staying away.
Suppose he wasn’t invited?
Or perhaps this proves it, that his love for nature is unrequited.
Millipede prepares his speech: “This wedding was surely fate,”
and everyone puts on their best clothes, they don’t want to be late.
But no one looks more glorious, than beautiful mother nature,
she’s dressed in nothing but green, for the wedding of the year!

Five reasons why writers should subscribe to theoatmeal.com’s RSS feed

matthewinman

So, I always thought I was one of a kind in that I get grammar wrong all the time, but it turns out it is more common than I thought. I didn’t notice though, or rather, I didn’t start noticing until I started taking it a bit more seriously. Spelling too.

I used to think I was good at spelling and grammar, until people started reading my doodles and pointed out my not so flawless language skills. I guess I thought it would be okay to use the excuse that English isn’t my first language, but it became pretty obvious it wouldn’t hold water when second-language English speakers started pointing out my grammatical shortcomings. So I started noticing stuff. Like writing dependent with three e’s instead of two. Or that yogurt doesn’t have an h. Bizzare is not a place where you can buy stuff. You would be surprised to hear how many words like that still get me all the time.

The thing is, I’m not the only one. People who speak English as a first language get things wrong all the time. It creeps up in newspaper articles, movies and even books. God forbid anyone actually tries to fix the whole me vs. I thing. Why would it be “Me and John” and then “John and… I”? It’s always I! Arrgghhh!

Somehow, for people who have an amazing grammatical sense, these things come naturally. They know that am follows I. They know that an apostrophe s doesn’t denote things belonging to “it”. They know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (According to the spellchecker I don’t.) They know how to write correctly, which automatically gives them a leg up as readers and writers. They’re the types that people like I hate, because they (pedantically) point out my mistakes. They’re the ones who laugh at the rest of us for not knowing when to say do or does, is or are and its or it’s. However, they are also the ones who, through their mocking of us, will create the very materials that can teach us how to “talk English more deliciously” and one of them has already done so for our convenience.

Which brings me to my point. Five reasons why writers should subscribe to theoatmeal.com’s RSS feed:

1. Matthew Inman, the creator of theoatmeal.com, made posters of grammatically correct use of the English language and included pictures for the academically challenged or ADHD person. (I myself find it hard to concentrate on simply reading things, which is why I do all my research via Google Images.)

2. There are other rather interesting pictures too, which shows diversity and therefore makes me assume Matthew Inman is very smart.

3. Did I mention that he created grammar and spelling posters? Too early for the classic repeat, I suppose. Okay, I bet I can come up with something else. Oh! Matthew Inman has a girlfriend, which means he’s not terrible looking. Let’s sum up: He’s smart, grammatically advanced and is ok looking. Three pretty good reasons so far!

4. There’s an abundant amount of pink on theoatmeal.com, which makes it *female-appropriate. Or gay-appropriate. Or “homey” for pigs, flamingos and newborn rats. Darnit, I can’t see how this is relevant.

Moving on.

5.You can enjoy Matthew Inman’s wit in the convenience of your own home, in the form of books! You’ll even get a free bumper sticker with.

 

Seriously, though. I love the website. Matthew Inman’s humor is right up my alley and he’s a phenomenal artist. If after all this you’re still not interested in checking out the site, it’s your loss. Click here to see what I’m on about.

Also, if you plan on writing anything in English, do have a look at the section marked “Grammar”.

PS: The real five reasons why you should subscribe to this guy’s blog are locked up in this insane, yet incredible comic. Read it all, until the end. It’s worth it.

*All females, gay people, pigs, flamingos and newborn rats do not necessarily like the color pink.

Picture borrowed from theoatmeal.com

 

PEN International New Voices Award Shortlist Announced

804xpstar

And the news is great! Not only will I (and anyone who is interested) have the chance to read ‘The Collective Name for Ninjas’ by the Canadian Claire Battershill, but South African PEN’s Masande Ntsanga made it onto the shortlist. Great stuff!

Read the announcement, as well as the three shortlisted stories here.

I’m off to go learn all about Ninjas!

Photograph borrowed from www.xpstar.com