I’ve been away and otherwise busy over the last two or three weeks – hence the rather sporadic posting. So here are a few random sweepings from the floor …

1) On Tuesday night this week, I took part in the NYC Midnight “Tweet Me a Story” competition. Basically, I got a word at midnight UK time and then had five hours (yeah right, I said midnight UK time) to write three twitter stories using it. The word for group 19 was “attack”, which could have been a lot worse. Anyway, I threw my three together in half an hour. I find out next Tuesday if any of them are going to go forward to the next stage of voting.

2) I’ve just sent my story off to Jim Wisneski‘s ‘Twelve Days of Christmas” project; I’m one of the ones doing “Eight Maids a Milking”. It’s a rather odd piece altogether. I’ll let you know when it appears.

3) I’ve decided that the perfect in-flight movie is “GI Joe – The Rise of Cobra”. Why? Because it’s full of action (read “guns and explosions”), has an idiotic plot and (crucially) you don’t need to be able to hear any of the dialogue in order to follow it. There is no excuse for watching it outside a plane, however.

4) Weirdly, two out of the five writers shortlisted for the National Short Story Award (Sara Maitland and Jane Rogers) were judges in competitions where I won prizes this year. Following this logic, if Zoë Heller wishes to make an impression on the NSSA next year, she knows what to do. OK, Zoë?

5) By the way, well done to both of them for getting onto the shortlist, and especially to Sara Maitland for getting the runner-up prize. I read her collection “Far North” earlier this year, and I can strongly recommend it – especially the title story, which is quite extraordinary.