That backslidden boy

August 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Last month I was standing onstage at a festival, story in hand, as I was introduced to the audience. I had a bright red dress, a straight spine, and a handful of butterflies circling my belly as I looked out at the crowd.

I love public speaking. Truth be told, I feel the adrenalin and worry about tripping over a microphone cord, but I know that stepping out of my comfort zone can only make me a better writer in the end.

My hands may shake, but my voice doesn’t.

I listened to the announcer chat about my publications and performances. I was busy wondering if my lipstick was still red, and whether I should swill some water before my turn came. He reached the final line of my biography, and I heard laughter ripple out from the audience.

Rijn is currently working on a novel, and trying not to include Elvis in it.

And I had no choice but to lean into the microphone, and with a straight face tell them “I didn’t manage it, I’m afraid…he just sneaked into chapter thirteen.’

Stereo Stories

Stereo Stories  performance at the Newport Folk Festival

I can’t listen to music as I write. I do while I’m researching, or redrafting…a little Howlin’ Wolf can never go astray, after all. But while my muse is sitting on my shoulder (she’s a tiny little redhead with slightly crossed eyes and a passion for karaoke, in case you’re wondering) and I’m pouring out the words, I need lotus legs, black coffee, and silence.

But Elvis…lord, that man slays me, every time. At one point I realised that three of my previous eight stories had the characters listening to Elvis, a fact that escaped me when writing. And yes, yes, when I pull out the notes for my novel a fair few sequins spill out now, with the man himself nestled happily between chapters, just as we both knew he would.

So why not put him deliberately into a story, find a fitting home, and send him off with a smile?

The result, ‘Elvis Would So,’ has just come online in Vending Machine Press. You can click on the link to read it, and also to listen to me recite it. I was recently in the ABC studios recording my newest story, so a little practice in audio work  is always welcome.

vending machine press

And if you have strong views on Blue Hawaii versus Black Leather Elvis – and who doesn’t?! – feel free to discuss.


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