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About Mark At The Word...

Once upon a time Mark wrote a story about robots destroying the world, because he was 8 years old it felt like a novel but it turned out to be the 1st of many short stories. He was encouraged to continue to write because once he’d finished the robot story he was asked to read it to the whole school and everyone laughed in the right places.

Scrolling forward through to many years not to mention numerous pages of short stories, unfinished novels, the odd political rant for an arts magazine and even a play that the idea of people reading his stories and hopefully laughing in the right places has never really gone away. And although he continues to write for his own pleasure when he gets the chance or feels inspired he still has that urge to be read.

Even when he’s not writing he is always reading, at many moments in his life this has been the only thing between him and leading an armed uprising against the many frustrations (mainly job related) encountered in day-to-day living.

In his world Thomas Hardy is a god, D.H. Lawrence is duller than paint drying very slowly, Virginia Wolf a snob who stole her best ideas from James Joyce, Raymond Chandler the creator of the world’s greatest private eye, Proust an overrated bed-wetting mother’s boy, Jack Kerouac the most uplifting and saddest man of the 20th century, the Alexandrian Quartet the greatest set of novels of the 20th century and J.G Ballard a real loss. If you’re going to have opinions they might as well be full-bodied and unashamed.

Through “The Word Runs Through It” Mark will hope to engage and provoke you into generous arguments about books. He will try to convince you that you should read under the volcano before you die and destroy every copy of Les Miserables you come across.

Through his own experience he will hope to help you get your writing out there as he tries to finally be serious about addressing his own urge to be read.

Can a Writing Group Improve Your WritingAfter many years of avoiding the issue and finding excuses I finally bit the bullet, took the plunge, climbed into the saddle, put my best foot forward, hit the road, got on the bus and joined the Figurative Language Society.  Actually, that’s a lie, what I did without hesitation, prevarication or deviation is finally join a writers’ group.

To be honest I’ve always had reservations

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Oh the HorrorNow that it is officially autumn, the balance of the equinox having been overwhelmed by the darkening days, it’s time to consider things that go bump in the night and turn your blood cold.  Yes, it’s time to consider the writing that really doesn’t help you sleep at night.  And I’m not talking about the horror of a badly constructed sentence, or the frightful use of punctuation!

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The HumansWell I have to say I was a little reluctant to read “The Humans” by Matt Haig.  However as it was suggested by my little sis Chris and she followed up the suggestion by pressing a copy of the damn thing into my sweaty palms, it was when we had our summer, you remember don’t you, July, hence the sweaty palms.

Anyway, there was no way out, I couldn’t say no without appearing to be more of a curmudgeon than I normally am.

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Forcing Yourself to Write to a DeadlineI have set myself the target of finishing the travelogue of my Mongol Rally Odyssey by September, however I have to say it’s not going so well.  Like most of my writing, the whole thing set off at a cracking place, the start was sharp, focused and I thought pretty gripping.  However, now that I’ve come to the meat of the thing I seem to have lost that focus and my faith in what I’m writing about.

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Cider with RosieI’m not exactly sure when I first read Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, I know that it was a course book that I read at school when I was young.  The copy which I still have is from when I was 14, it’s one of the few books that has survived my various moves around the UK and Europe.  And although I first read it as a child, it’s one of those books that I have come back to again and again as I grew older because with each reading it offered up something new and interesting to me.

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Hay FestivalThere does seem to be a strong tendency in the British to dismiss an enjoyment in the discussion of the written word as pretentious, in this world intellectual is an insult.

It is very much linked to the view that science is either undertaken by otherworldly boffins or madman bent on creating something that the

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Short Story But SweetAfter the success of the BBC’s 500 words competition, the short story is clearly flavour of the month.

So to honour the return of the short story, I know, I know, it’s never really gone away, here are some suggestions for its great exponents.

 

 

 

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List of BooksThere seems to be list for everything these days, many of them designed to make us feel inadequate.  1000 must-do’s before you die, 50 craps towns in Britain, 100 albums you must have in your music collection, the top 10 best cafés you should visit in Paris, the 5 must have pair of shoes for your summer collection, the 10 tropical diseases you should experience before you die.

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The BeachAs we move closer to summer, you can tell this because it’s westerly winds blowing in the rain against the window rather than northerlies, I think it could be time to talk about beaches and their role in novels.

 

 

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Madame BovaryCited as one of the greatest of French novels with Emma Bovary, the eponymous heroine of Flaubert’s novel, often spoken of in the same breathe as Tolstoy’s greatest creation Anna Karenina. Well, I have to say, I’m not convinced.

I can appreciate the style and the sense of boredom and desperation that Flaubert so

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