Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: All in the game

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  • chris,

    Great post Jolisa, I was hoping you'd cover some of this stuff, namely the Historian and Stead. Challenging the contemporary perception of writers as measured observational types, it's feeling to the common man that literature may once again be teetering on dangerous.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    it's feeling to the common man that literature may once again be teetering on dangerous.

    I know! Also, mad and bad! Vive Lord Byron.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Duck and cover, friends and relations!

    Now that was a great collection of short stories!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And on the third hand, there's the story about the Janet Frame story, mentioned by Fergus Barrowman in the comments here

    I was rather bemused at another comment suggesting that All Visitors Ashore was some kind of "revenge" on Frame. Not so sure about that - "Celia Skyways" is no more ridiculous than anyone else in that tragi-comic farce. I've got half a dozen unpublishable novels gathering dust, that suggest to me that it's too damn hard work for the kind of malicious bitchery best reserved for a diary. Or a blog. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Yay! At 6.48pm last night I wrote this.

    Forget the 80s, I'm getting nostalgic for Jolisa's bookie thread.

    I'm not claiming the second sight or anything, but it is nice to have you back. You're sure getting us reading, but. I'm about a third of the way through. So I'll get back to it and once I've got through Stead-fast and Cox make some more educated comments. Hopefully.

    It's all that damned additional material. Do you have to be so thorough? ;-)

    Actually this speaks for itself.

    Hulme, the winner of the 1985 Booker Prize for The Bone People, would be worth listening to "when she is a writer again".

    Meow! So this state of 'writer-ship', which clearly Stead has a special handle on, lapses after a certain period of time? I thought only scientists lived by the 'publish or perish' mantra.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Helen,

    Great post Jolisa. I've been following this quietly amused.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Two rival women writers, say, and a bereaved husband ripe for the wooing -- a gender flip

    That sounds awfully... feminist. (And we all know how Stead feels about feminists, because they're in nearly every one of his books, peskily demanding things at universities. No, I don't find his obvious grudge distracting at all, why do you ask?)

    I also have a feeling Rowling's article would be a case of TL;DR for Paula Bennett, sadly.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    "The reason I set this story in Croatia, rather than in New Zealand, was because everybody would have tried to work out who the characters were, and I didn't want that."

    He was determined to also win the prize for disingenous comment of the decade then? That seems greedy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Pauline Dawson,

    Great post on the Stead thing.

    Mosgiel • Since Feb 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He was determined to also win the prize for disingenous comment of the decade then?

    Then again, Anthony Powell was rather benused by various people who ran around claiming they were the real life models of his "chateau-bottled shit" Kenneth Widmerpool in A Dance to The Music of Time -- who starts off as an officious buffoon and ends up as voyeur, traitor and directly responsible for the rather squalid deaths of several other major characters.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Off topic I know but people have had fun learning to pronounce the volcano as Eyjafjallajokull but that is the glacier underneath Eyjafjoell the volcano. Much easier to say.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I don't think there's much point in imagining ways in which Stead's revenge fantasy could have been divorced from the events that so obviously inspired it. A more interesting question, I think, is whether the judges knew about the background of the story before they awarded it the prize. Surely they know how to use Google?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    I was rather bemused at another comment suggesting that All Visitors Ashore was some kind of "revenge" on Frame. Not so sure about that - "Celia Skyways" is no more ridiculous than anyone else in that tragi-comic farce.

    I saw that too. But if you look at the comment, you see that the connection was actually made by Michael King in his Janet Frame biography.

    There was also a lively discussion of all this at The Dim Post.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Graeme

    Now that was a great collection of short stories!

    I think of them as "hums", but yes. (Unless you're talking about Elizabeth Bowen, or possibly the Hawkwind albums?)

    Craig:

    I've got half a dozen unpublishable novels gathering dust, that suggest to me that it's too damn hard work for the kind of malicious bitchery best reserved for a diary. Or a blog. :)

    Memoir, darling. It's all the rage.

    recordari - you do have the second sight. There I sat last night, putting in all the links, thinking "must post before Russell fires me."

    So this state of 'writer-ship', which clearly Stead has a special handle on, lapses after a certain period of time?

    Or is it that every career must follow the same arc as, presumably, his?

    Danielle

    That [gender flip] sounds awfully... feminist.

    True. And not just that, but awfully unlikely, narratively speaking. Which in turn is a reminder of how, erm, familiar the shape of the story is. Is there a middle-aged, bereaved equivalent of Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Because that's more or less what the dead writer's wife functions as in this story. In my world, she'd have cut him dead, not giggled and made a mix tape. (Tip of the hat to one of my off-screen correspondents for pointing out this aspect of the story).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Craig, again:

    Then again, Anthony Powell was rather bemused by various people who ran around claiming they were the real life models of his "chateau-bottled shit" Kenneth Widmerpool

    Quite. We all want a piece of the action, even if it's nasty action. Which reminds me of the observation made by whomever it was (you?) in the long Witi thread, about how the best defense is to preemptively grant your based-on-life character an enormous willy, on the grounds that they'll be too flattered to sue. Hard to think what the feminine equivalent would be; I don't think we're that flatterable.

    Ian:

    Eyjafjallajokull but that is the glacier underneath Eyjafjoell the volcano.

    Ah, geographical pedantry! A man after my own heart. So, too lazy to google, I ask: was there an Eyjafjöll already? Or is that new? Was it as if a volcano erupted under, say, the Fox Glacier, and we called it the Fox Glacier Volcano before settling for Fox Volcano? (Which, incidentally, would be a nice name for a character in a short story).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Andre:

    I don't think there's much point in imagining ways in which Stead's revenge fantasy could have been divorced from the events that so obviously inspired it.

    Except, perhaps, as a creative writing exercise. And one that reveals some of the holes in the original scenario (see above, re Manic Pixie Dream Widow).

    A more interesting question, I think, is whether the judges knew about the background of the story before they awarded it the prize. Surely they know how to use Google?

    Ah, but I doubt they'd have found anything - especially once Stephen Stratford had been asked to take down the (then fairly obscure) blog post reprinting the original article.

    Philip, thanks for this:

    There was also a lively discussion of all this at The Dim Post.

    I knew there was another link I was forgetting. I spent some time scrolling through the Fundy Post looking for it. Fundy, Dim - can't think why I confused the two. </threadmerge with David H's thread>

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    "Am I the only one who wanted to print this out, roll it up, and deliver it to our own Minister of Social Development and Employment?"

    No, no, and no again. You are not the only one. I wonder if J K Rowling would allow it be be printed in the Herald/Dom. I wonder if the Herald/Dom would print it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Yay, Jolisa's here!

    I was tossing up whether to blog about this but in the end decided not to (i.e. got distracted by cats). But "brouhaha" was exactly the word I was going to use. Possibly it would also have been less of a brouhaha if it hadn't involved Stead? But then, of course, possibly such a story would have never even been written.

    I also got distracted making a list of "literary gossip" blog names. You know the sort of thing - Go Fug Yourself, Go Plug Yourself. D-Listed, Short-Listed. Perez Hilton, Dun Brown. TMZ, ISBN.

    But Stead's comment about Keri Hulme was a petty dig. And he used "attend" in a way that just makes me think of Phantom of the Opera "Christine, attend."

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    "Am I the only one who wanted to print this out, roll it up, and deliver it to our own Minister of Social Development and Employment?"

    What's stopping you? :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    you do have the second sight. There I sat last night, putting in all the links, thinking "must post before Russell fires me."

    Unlike Stead, I suspect Russell won't declare your views are no longer relevant because you've been too busy to blog for a while. He seems a patient man, by and large.

    Oh, and lets not forget, when it comes to writing, it's quality, not quantity (or frequency), that fosters immortality.

    Here, take my advice, I'm not using it...

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Here, take my advice, I'm not using it...

    Yoink

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    What's stopping you? :)

    Ten thousand miles, or so. I'd need a ruthless and dedicated accomplice...

    when it comes to writing, it's quality, not quantity (or frequency), that fosters immortality.

    Which is why I reckon that Keri H is entitled to sit on her laurels, like Harper Lee. The book is on bookshelves everywhere I go. I can't tell you how many people, on hearing where I'm from, have said "I read the most amazing novel..." (usually in tandem with the more common "I've always wanted to go there").

    Both of whom are name-checked in my piece in this week's Listener, by the way, about the Women's Bookshop Fifty-Fifty Women poll (there's an inexplicable typo in the online version - title should be "Votes for Women").

    And I'm reliably informed that there's a piece on the Stead story in next week's Listener.

    I also got distracted making a list of "literary gossip" blog names.

    Ngaire, that's a brilliant idea. A person I cannot name and I were thinking of something similar once, but figured our style was too identifiable. A writing challenge for some brave soul?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    That Harper Lee namecheck reminds me to link to this very interesting story about a guy who nearly published a JD Salinger book and blew it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Thanks Philip- that's a great Salinger story.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    And I'm reliably informed that there's a piece on the Stead story in next week's Listener.

    That would be the issue dated May 1-7. Cover quote:

    War of the words. CK Stead's latest literary spat

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 189 posts Report Reply

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