Category Archives: Archive

The most fearsome being known to man…

The closing date for entries to the BBC short story competition is about to expire. I had my submission ready – ‘Method Acting’ – a story about a man who gets the starring role in a Broadway play and becomes so immersed in the character that he loses his sense of self. Just before posting it I read the small print and discovered that you had to be previously published, and that self-publishing didn’t count. I thought about writing a strong letter of complaint to Henry Kelly, but then reasoned that one 15 minute interview several months back probably doesn’t constitute an unbreakable sacred bond.

As stated in a previous blog – I don’t feel hard done by with the stigma that seems to be attached to independent/self-publishing, but it’s still worth mentioning whenever doors remain closed to me as it’s all part of the journey.

On the 5th of next month I’m heading up to ‘The Flask’ pub in Hampstead to take part in a reading group’s discussion about The Melting Pot (6-8 people) – quietly excited whilst mildly petrified at the prospect of meeting readers in the flesh, but then as I keep telling myself – why else did you get it published!

I’ve also started to approach reading groups outside of the London / M4 corridor. My initial thoughts were that people would be more open to taking on a book by someone who was vaguely local, but emboldened by a few successes I’ve decided to branch out a bit.

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Old habits die hard

HEY! It’s the all new, safe, polite, boring me…

At parties, when asked what I do for a living, I’ve been known to introduce myself as a wizard. The reason for this can be traced back to twelve years ago at university where an accountancy degree made it difficult to impress women.

‘Come back…I’m really interesting once you get past debits and credits,’ I would shout as they faded into the distance…

…But now that I’m a wizard all manner of opportunities arise. Most recently a woman asked me what my best spell was, to which I perfected an eccentric, insular-but-tinged-with-mania expression and replied ‘I can give people boundless physical pleasure without touching them.’

Apparently she’d heard that one before and successfully avoided my feeble trap; disappearing off with a guy who manages hedge-funds-stock-portfolios or something.

In a similar vain, an intrusive psychologist once tried to impose an unwanted personality test on me by saying, ‘you can find out a lot about someone by their answer to the following question – How do you feel when you hear an ambulance siren?’ to which I replied ‘aroused.’

Didn’t go down too well and wasn’t invited back (which was the idea!)

Being free from the constraints of convention is a wondrous thing – A lot like telesales, but with the added benefit that you can also see your recipient’s eyes glazing over.

The relevance of which is this – Getting biblical for a second, there’s a premise of being either hot or cold and NOT lukewarm. The slightly off-balance approach I’m taking has a split reaction – Some people are put off by an author doing their own marketing and are fogging over before I’ve even uttered the second syllable – Others think it’s great and give me a chance. Being middle of the road (sensible) seems to lose everyone…which brings me to…

Literary-based achievements this week:

  • Momentarily reaching the pinnacle of 39,000th in the Amazon rankings – A new high (!)
  • Being approached to take part in a literary festival (London-based) – Faaaannnnttttaassstttiiccc!
  • A third reading group has taken me on.

Come on momentum!

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Two months without central heating and still no gangrene…

Signs that show you’re arrived:

  • Gorgeous women stop you in the street and ask if you wouldn’t mind signing their underwear.
  • Burly Italian waiters wave you past a queue of irate customers, turf a couple of supermodels out of their seats, present you with a bottle of their finest plonk, (on the house naturally), and then hang off your every word, (along with the gathering crowd), as you regale them with hilarious anecdotes about your various famous friends.
  • Complete strangers come up to you at the bar and adorn you with cigars and brandy before kissing you on each cheek and sobbing at just how great you are.
  • You find your book in Oxfam.

Only one of the above has happened to me this week, (although another nearly did), and the closest I came to achieving social euphoria occurred when an after-work gathering was momentarily reduced to silence by a colleague yelling, ‘I’m so hungry I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck.’

Inspirational writing has been somewhat curtailed in recent weeks due to my hands no longer working. This in turn is as a result of spending the winter months huddled around a portable heater. Whilst I would love to cry Dickens-style poverty, my predicament is in fact caused by a series of rogue heating specialists dis-improving my ancient combi-boiler (‘Oops…now that’s broken’ etc).

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Death by Google

Years from now I see myself sitting in a job interview having this blog presented back to me like the incriminating murder weapon in a trial whilst a lackey holds the door open for me to be unceremoniously thrown out into the street.

‘So Mr. Cororan, what interests do you have outside work…beside making sex toys out of chocolate and then blowing them up?’ (See previous blog entry)

I continue to receive (welcome) visitors to this blog via the most bizarre of Google searches: – ‘Scary babies’, ‘Silly surnames’, ‘Catchy monkey’, and the ole favourite ‘lugubrious’ to name but a few. I’ve no idea how indexing or keywords work, but something seems to have recently kicked in.

Similarly – googling my name throws up various disturbing images from the site gillen.cream.org – run by an old school friend Kieron – I am rapidly becoming unemployable.

In my previous job a dozen or so gents from the helpdesk set up a Facebook group to co-ordinate their night’s out between three different shifts. They named the group ‘Company X Boys’ and even added the company logo – so proud were they of their employer. They then proceeded to post graphic messages about how they were ‘too drunk to do any work’ and how they ‘couldn’t stop staring at X’s breasts’ etc. They used an obscene amount of expletives to the point where their statements were verging on the incomprehensible. The Facebook group was later used in a disciplinary where two of its members were escorted off the premises.

HR had found the group by googling the company name!

…All of which is superfluous flannelling – Google is clearly doing me immense favours.

Onto matters more relevant – another London book group has agreed to read The Melting Pot which is great. Plus – I now have a few contacts with magazines / marketers which are looking promising.

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You-Tube debacle

For a minute there I thought I had it…

…Been thinking for aged: How can I put a You-Tube video together that, at virtually no-cost and with incredible humour, sells both the title and tagline:

= THE MELTING POT – How do you escape from a vicious circle =

Idea:

1. Get an orange and apply with vampire teeth, beady eyes and claws – making it a vicious circle.

2. Buy woman-shaped chocolate of some description and place in small bowl.

3. Place both in microwave with revolving dish and switch on.

4. Vicious circle orange appears to be chasing woman who then melts into a pot.

5. Voice-over with “RRRAAAAARRRR” and “Ohh my Gohhhhhdddd!”

6. Possible flamenco guitar in the background to get the South-American-thriller-angle crow-barred in, with someone reading the blurb in the style of a Mexican bandito.

7. Post on You-Tube, lavished with praise, orders come flooding in etc.

Anyway – couldn’t find a chocolate woman (a market gap that will no doubt be shortly filled by some entrepreneur), so I made one by welding kit-kats (arms and legs) and maltezers (head and boobs) to a cadbury’s cream egg (body). Not the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen it must be said, what with her pot-belly, tree-trunk legs, tiny flat head (a mishap) and lop-sided cleavage. She also towered over the orange which took away from the general viciousness and forced me to substitute it for a melon.

The first obstacle overcome I placed them in the microwave (which I bought especially) at opposite sides and whacked it up on full heat. The oscillating light was a cheeky bonus until one of the woman’s arm fell off, shearing off a boob as it went. This coincided with the melon exploding a decapitating the troll-girl

…none of which happens in my book.

No one tell Comet about this blog – Will be taking microwave back…

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“Hellmouth discovered in Southwark”

Our offices were refurbished over Christmas. When we returned to work we found that, as part of the move, a cupboard had been shifted to one side revealing a small white notice board beneath. Blue-tacked to the board was a shabby piece of paper scrawled across with several sentences that we discerned to be written in Italian. Typing the text into the translation site ‘Babelfish’ we discovered that it was an extract from Dante’s Divine Comedy – the bit about “Abandon all hope – all ye who enter in” – a description of hell.

After we’d laughed at it’s absurdity I found myself asking what would possess someone to write something so sinister in another language and then hide it. What’s happened to them? And how long has their message been waiting? It’s a far cry from Dilbert cartoons, or a banner proclaiming ‘you don’t have to be mad to work her but…’

So, I find myself, eight weeks into a new job, working in a (basement) office that some unseen entity has likened to the fiery underworld.

Apart from that it’s relatively quiet – put a blog on ‘My Telegraph’:

http://my.telegraph.co.uk/el_scubadiver/

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Artistic license / Morality tale

At the beginning of the film ‘Fargo’ a caption appears stating that, ‘This is a true story.’ When actor William H. Macy asked director Ethan Coen where he could find material to research his role he was told, ‘You can’t, We made it up.’ Under protest that he was lying to the audience the director justified his position by saying that, ‘It’s not lying, it’s fiction.’

Why is this relevant? A few weeks back I wrote to a book review site and asked if I could post a blatant pitch. The administrator agreed and added, ‘Thanks for asking. Most people just do it without permission under a fake name and review their own book.’

Not to take the moral high-ground, this is certainly something I considered early last year – I even had a name in mind – an italian pseudonym that roughly translates as ‘massive liar’. Suffice to say I joined a forum and was rumbled in less than 30 seconds. A thriller could’ve then been written about a deceitful author trying to cover his tracks whilst an overzealous website administrator goes after his head – A dumb idea and not one that I recommend to anyone.

So, the moral of this story is – If you’re gonna write stuff that you hope clever people will read – don’t insult their intelligence – OR – if you are going to insult their intelligence, do it in a humorous way.

I have a male friend who writes under a woman’s name. He sends letters to organisations asking them ridiculously random questions e.g. writing to a literary body and asking them to consider removing the letter X from the alphabet as it’s pointless. He then collates their responses.

I asked him why he writes as a woman, to which he replied, ‘I find that more people consider a woman i. more trustworthy ii. more worth responding to.’ He also made sure that the surname was an inanimate object e.g. Sheila Spoon or Ruth Kettle. This, he said, made them appear ‘too bizarre to have been made up’ – a reverse-psychology that seems to have paid off.

Meanwhile – I’m hoping the same rings true for Cororan (Koh-roar-ran) – a name that sounds made up but isn’t!

Engrossed reader

‘Methusalah Fandango’ reviews the work of literary giant Martin Cororan.

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