September 30, 2009

Richard Ridyard & Stolen Words

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before. ~ Mark Twain

A rather nasty case of repeated, blatant plagiarism has turned up on the net, exposed by prolific (by my standards!) US writer and fellow 6S denizen Angel Zapata. Full details are here, on his blog.

The perpetrator's name, Richard Ridyard, appears to be stolen as well, being the name of the former editor and director of the South Yorkshire Times, who died in 2003 at the age of 88.

Apart from anything else, it’s a good read, beginning with Angel’s preparedness to be understanding:

“Initially, I was taken aback. Could someone have stolen my work? Is it a case of unconscious plagiarism? Maybe the author really liked my work and wanted to do something similar. I was upset and dumbfounded. I decided more research was required.

What I found was frightening.”
And it is…

Not only was this person stealing from his fellow online authors, mostly in the horror genre, but from established writers like Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft.

The accused author's stories are being pulled from online sites with a haste which attests to how seriously publishers are prepared to take this issue. Good on them.

September 29, 2009

Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, and she's gone.

The Beatles' 'Lucy in the sky' dies
September 29, 2009 - 7:24AM

The woman who inspired The Beatles' legendary song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds has died aged 46 from an autoimmune disease, the charity that supported her has announced.

Lucy O'Donnell was at school with John Lennon's son, Julian, when she was three and it was his picture of her in 1966 that inspired the classic song.

According to various biographies of The Beatles and O'Donnell herself, the young Julian took the picture home to his father and explained: "It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

The song, which featured on the Fab Four's 1967 album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, caused huge controversy at the time because of its psychedelic theme and supposed reference to the drug LSD though its initials, a charge always denied as pure coincidence by the songwriter Lennon.

Julian Lennon and O'Donnell - who became Lucy Vodden after her marriage - resumed their friendship in recent months after she became ill with lupus, the disease of the immune system that led to her death last Tuesday.

"Everyone at the Louise Coote Lupus Unit was dreadfully shocked by the death of Lucy," said Angie Davidson, campaign director of the St Thomas Lupus Trust that helped Vodden during her illness.

"She was a great supporter of ours and a real fighter. It's so sad that she has finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long."

The trust added that Lennon and his mother Cynthia were "shocked and saddened" by Vodden's death. -- AFP

September 28, 2009

Aaaaarrgghh! &@#$*% Lulu! (Monday vent)

I haven’t logged onto Lulu for over two years. All I want to do is buy a copy of Shot Glass Stories.

I put in my password. Nothing. Blank page. I asked to be reminded of my “forgotten” password. Eight times. Nothing. No emails.

So I decided to open a new account. After three goes at choosing a “store name” (even though I don’t want to open a store), I’m told that there is already an account with that email address. My email address. Yes, it’s my account, idiot website!!

There is no way you can send them an email enquiry without logging into your account (not that I could find on their site, anyway), which means if you can’t log in, you can’t find out why not. Now I will have to open another one with a different email address.

I feel better now…

September 17, 2009

Goodbye, and thank you...

Mary Travers

Ellie Greenwich

Patrick Swayze

Henry Gibson

We Got A Review!

David Hebblethwaite, on his site Follow The Thread, has given us (the creatures of Critters Bar) a very positive review for Shot Glass Stories and Other Small Indulgences (see previous post). That I now choose to characterise him as clearly discerning, erudite and perceptive has nothing to do with the fact that he cited one of my stories as “quietly powerful”…

Again, thanks to Sophie Playle for putting this little book together. She’s written about the experience on her blog, and is expected to make a full recovery.

September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll has died, died…

Actually, he died on September 11, ensuring that those who recall his work will never forget his day of passing. And yes, I know everyone’s using that “People Who Died” joke, but it seems appropriate; the song was about the staggering number of his friends who had suffered early and violent deaths, and now… hopefully he is with his friends. If we could be certain this was to be our fate, Death would hold no terrors.

You’ll find his NY Times Obit here. I never thought of his music as “punk” – I always thought punk’s blank nihilism devalued it too much, and The Jim Carroll Band was anything but blank. Here was a man whose output was so exciting and provocative that Andy Warhol and Keith Richard sought him out. I played those records a lot back then, never could part with them.

I must admit I’m not closely acquainted with his written output; I guess I’ll find my copy of Basketball Diaries when I unpack the twenty or so boxes of books still languishing in the garage after our last move. But I spent a bit of time today checking out some of his poetry and writings on the ‘net, and it was a good way to pass some time. He was hailed as a great by no less than Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Patti Smith, which makes him an artist’s artist – they are the ones you need to read, so go Google-cruising if you don’t know his work and you may be pleasantly surprised.

And put his music on while you do…

Shot Glass Stories and other Monday stuff.

Sophie Playle, a fellow denizen of Critters Bar, recently got it into her head that it would be a good idea to publish a selection of 200 word stories culled from the weekly challenge that we have been holding on our little workshop site for a couple of years now. As it turns out, she was right (well, we think so anyway) and the result is Shot Glass Stories, a compendium of short stories told in (or within) two hundred words.

You can get it as a free download here on Lulu, or if you like the old-fashioned feel of a book in your hands and print in front of your eyes, you can buy a copy for a very modest price.

If you’d like to spend a few minutes reading a fine piece of writing that will stay with you, read this wonderful story , by Quin Browne, a capital writer who rarely uses them, and who makes Six Sentences a place I should really get back to more often. That old thing about Time speeding up as your life unspools…? It’s true.

And now, because I’ve had this song stuck in my head for days…