Today on the blog, I have a new writer pal to review his 2013. Please welcome Shane Simmons!
2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
Getting to work with Matt Potter again on Pure Slush‘s ‘2014’ project. The premise for ‘2014’ is as follows; It’s a multi-volume anthology, with each volume devoted to a month of the year. Each writer involved contributes one story per month and each of these writers is taking one day of each month and setting his/her stories on that same day of every month.
I liked the idea so much that I started drafting the first two pieces before I’d even contacted Matt to see if there were any slots available, I so nearly didn’t get the chance to be involved!
I really don’t know how Matt does it, running Pure Slush, editing and bringing together 365 stories, designing the covers, updating the website, all as well as his day job, he’s a powerhouse of an editor, but being so new to this game, I see him more as a mentor. The time he takes to get a single story where it should be is phenomenal.
In 2012, I got to work with Matt on a piece for Pure Slush’s non-fiction anthology, ‘Real’. It was my first ever publication so I’m still finding it a little hard to believe that I’ll have twelve pieces published within the ‘2014’ series! Overwhelming for a scribbler that never planned on getting anything out there at all.
‘January’ and ‘February’ have already been released, you can get little teasers from each story here;
January – http://pureslush.webs.com/atasteofjanuary2014.htm and
February – http://pureslush.webs.com/atasteoffebruary2014.htm
And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally?
Hmm, I don’t keep up with a lot of current affairs, I avoid the news like the plague so general events can often pass me by. One of my favourite personal moments was finally getting to visit the south of Italy. For nearly a decade it had been a distant dream… but this summer my partner and myself just went for it! He has a hellish time with flying (doctor didn’t give him Valium, boo!), but even he’d admit it was worth it! I’m a food-lover and Italy is a top spot for good nosh, I got to eat some of the best pizza I’ve ever sampled, and the gelato… TO DIE FOR! My mouth is watering remembering the many trips to different gelaterias. Anyone that knows me wouldn’t be surprised that my favourite moment of 2013 would be somewhat food-related!
Favourite book in 2013?
I am a bit of an odd breed of writer. I don’t read that many books. There, I said it and, I know, it’s weird! That doesn’t mean I don’t read, I like reading about real people and their life experiences. I’ve enjoyed some really great blogs this year, the stand out being Allie Brosh’s ‘Hyperbole and a Half‘. Her piece, ‘Depression Part Two‘ did the social media rounds and ended up in front of me. I thought it was exceptional, if you’ve never seen it go Google it! I would love the ‘Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened‘ book this Christmas… *just throwing those hints out there…*
I’ve also just purchased ‘To Kill A Mockingbird‘ by Harper Lee. I haven’t read it since that very distant time and place called secondary school. I remember it being one of the first books that really impressed me so I figured it was time to re-read it without the distractions of being a difficult teenager…
Favourite film of 2013?
Is it me, or has this year been a real let down for movie releases? I mean, remaking ‘Oldboy‘? WHY?! Oh, and ‘Carrie‘?! Sorry, had to get that rant out there. I’m struggling to think of anything I even bothered to go and see. Thanks to the usual bombastic Hollywood trash, I may have overlooked a few worthwhile indie releases – recommendations gratefully received!
As a Studio Ghibli fan I was slightly disappointed with ‘From Up on Poppy Hill‘ which I finally got to see this year. Maybe a repeated viewing will endear it to me?
Favourite song of the year?
As with most things, I really didn’t get into much that’s current. There’s too much good stuff from the past I’m yet to discover. For some reason this year, I’ve been revisiting that most scorned of musical decades, the eighties. And I’ve found myself enjoying some bands I never got, or got into before. In the first half of the year Depeche Mode reigned my playlists, can’t count how many times I listened to ‘Everything Counts‘ as I made my way to work.
Tears For Fears’ first album, The The, early Simple Minds (no, not ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ and all that overblown crud!) I finally got into Sonic Youth, ‘Sister‘ and ‘Daydream Nation‘ are among the best albums I’ve ever heard, can’t believe it took me so long.
Siouxsie and The Banshees ‘Juju‘ was my perfect night-time album. John McGeoch (who plays guitar on that album) forced me to become a better guitarist this year as I tried to figure out what he was doing. I must admit, he’s become a bit of a hero to me.
And lastly, Talk Talk, especially their albums ‘The Colour of Spring‘ and ‘Spirit of Eden‘, came into my psyche the last few months. One particular song is the beautifully simple ‘April 5th’. Sends shivers down my spine, I adore it.
Any downsides for you in 2013?
In the second half of this year my anxiety and depression came back full force. Total bastard. I’m currently debating with myself as to whether I should go back onto anti-depressants, it’s been years since I was last on them and the previous time around they bloated me to hell. Constantly buying new jeans was harsh on my minimum-wage wallet, I can tell you!
Are you making resolutions for 2014?
I never keep them, so I stopped doing that years ago! Go to the gym? Eat more healthily? Give up cake?! Come on, let’s not be ridiculous here!
Okay, one serious resolution is to spend more time with my family in London. With my mum being in a care home now, I feel a little too distant and that two visits a year isn’t quite enough. I’d love to go for a month or two, and get to spend some quality time with my mum, dad, and sister (all of whom are in London) instead of trying to cram in what I can in the space of a fortnight. Fat chance I’ll have of getting the time off work… but I’ll make it happen, somehow.
What are you hoping for from 2014?
More writing, more music, bit less ‘everything is fucking terrifying me’ anxiety! I’m hoping the last six stories I need to pen for the ‘2014’ project go smoothly. I also hope to get more story ideas, more regularly! I’d love to play in a band again as well, but I really don’t have the patience to get all that going, it’s an arduous process trying to find other people that actually play instruments and aren’t looking to pose on a stage with their fancy hairstyles and clothes. Pfft.
Oh, and all the usual, world peace, end to poverty… And more cake. Cake for all.
If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?
I’m an easy guy to please. I’d love a big hug from a real life Totoro. How about Boxing Day off work? No? Oh well…
Shane Simmons writes in between being a till monkey, stuffing his face and having brain frazzles in the middle of the night. He lives in miserable Glasgow, came from miserable London and is generally of a quiet yet angry nature. He is willing to listen to strangers talk about their lives if they buy him cakes. He doesn’t like Twitter as there is a word limit but he can be found blogging at http://scribblingsimmons.wordpress.com/