Articles

The Long of the Short of It

The above might give you the impression this little piece is about opening sentences in books. Nope, it was just a nice way to start. This is about book beginnings, but it’s only about the beginning of one book: my book. Like many writers of short stories, I too am working on a long story. I’ve been working on it for several years, and part of the reason I’ve been working on it all that time is because it started life as a short story…

Making Movies

I’m making a movie. No, that doesn’t mean I’ve relocated to Hollywood. I’m making a short, no budget movie here in Auckland City, New Zealand. Short means 5-10 minutes, no budget means just that. Nada. The movie is a mystery story being shot on digital video, and its destination, once completed, will be a film festival or two (one day, it’ll eventually wind up on YouTube — the final resting place of all things video)…

Friends & Influences

In the late summer of 1988, I spent a week living inside a novel. I was staying with a friend (Albert), who himself was staying with a friend (Victoria), at a dilapidated farmhouse on the edge of a town that didn’t seem to have anyone in it or even a name. There was a school house, closed for the summer (or maybe forever), and a general store that had a CLOSED sign in its door (also probably forever). The town was about forty minutes out of Hamilton, in a direction I couldn’t tell you…

Pictures and Words

One of my fantasies is to be a painter. Oil on canvas. I have this vision of myself in a New York loft: A large room with a bare wooden floor, sofa, an open window with traffic sounds from the street below, open bottle of red wine, no glasses. No wall clock. And what would I paint? People. I like a good landscape, I like a good abstract, but what moves me are paintings of people. A picture tells a thousand words, but in every face there are a million…

The Nothing

Before the Internet, there was nothing. It was like living in a tent at an outpost at the end of the world. I’m talking about writing. Books were only in the library or at the bookstore. Finding a magazine full of fiction in my hometown (Auckland City) was like embarking on a quest to find a three-toed sloth. Finding mystery fiction in a magazine was like looking for the dodo. Other writers simply didn’t exist. I wrote in isolation…

What Happens Next Is F-Sharp

When I was thirteen, every Tuesday afternoon after school I had piano lessons. My piano teacher lived about two miles away, and to get to his house, I had to ride my bicycle down an alleyway that connected streets. The alleyway was a long, narrow strip of concrete lined with overgrown grass and the high wooden fences of suburban backyards. One day, during the summer, I noticed a dead man in that overgrown, sun-baked grass. I came to a stop, one foot on the pavement, one foot on a pedal, and stared at the body…

Terms & Confusion

A man walks into a website company, and the goatee-chinned chap behind the desk says: “So, you want a PHP subroutine to run a select join on your client tables and then do a mail send?” The man nods, but he really doesn’t understand — and let’s be honest, how much do you?

Dot the i, Cross the t

Words are the most important part of a website. Words convey a website’s crucial information to a site visitor. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but without actual words to accompany it, any intended meaning will be subjective, and at worst incomprehensible…