"I just hope our descendants can forgive us for what we are about to do here and that one day a flower can grow again in Moss Side without it being punched and then set on fire."
Still hurting from the sudden death of Rochdale Borough’s Arts Officer Beate Meilemeier, the Revenue Funded Arts Organisations of Rochdale Borough and leading local freelance artists have decided that the best way to protect themselves in these difficult economic times is to unify and diversify.
In the last two years there has been a rapid expansion in initiatives and projects aimed at tackling the demand for community gardening and food growing. This has been due to an upsurge in interest in 'growing your own', as well as an awareness of other issues such as health and well-being and climate change.
Existing provision of land, particularly allotments, has proved inadequate in the face of this demand, so groups and organisations at national, regional and local levels have begun creating a plethora of initiatives.
Public plantings in streets and communal areas has a long tradition of making a neighbourhood a more pleasant place to live. Traditionally street greenery was made up primarily of flowers and shrubs, from municipal hanging baskets to flower borders, from shrubbery areas to trees.
Until recently, there were few if any initiatives to grow edible plants using street space, communal areas eg precincts and marginal areas bordering streets or roads. But several different ideas are now taking off which make use of these public areas for vegetable and fruit growing.
The great thing about being an independent author is that I’m not tied to anyone else’s scheduling. If I have an idea and the time the turnaround on a book can be two or three months, less if it’s a novelette or short story. Of course, this can also work against me. Deadlines for planned books are self imposed, and I’ve always been my own worst enemy. It’s all too easy to get distracted and go off to do something else if a story just isn’t gelling.
Which is what happened to me in the last few days. The next planned Irwin story is titled A Death in Didsbury. It brings back characters from So Much To Answer For. (Which is sort of -1 in the Irwin series in that it shares the same universe, but doesn’t feature him. He hadn’t even moved to Manchester when the story was happening.) There’s ghoing to be dilemmas for Kay Wood, and decisions which will change the nature of her relationship with Irwin, and I get to re-use some characters I enjoyed. The problem is, A Death in Didsbury is going together very messily and slowly and some of the plot threads I wanted to use are refusing to merge, no matter how hard I push them together.
Then, yesterday morning, I had a silly idea for a schlocky, over-the-top horror/comedy. It’s one of those ideas which is so obvious it’s probably been done before, but I’ve decided to kick it around until I’m certain. So yesterday I did some reading around the subject and started planning the tale. It’s the oppposite of Death in Didsbury in that sense. I’ve created a yWriter project and filled it with chapters, scenes, characters and locations. Each extra layer of detail suggests scenes and plot details. If I carry onlike this it may be the first story for which I’ve had a decent framework for years.
And if I do finish the story it will be different in many major ways from my other work. It’ll be silly, violent, dirty and trashy (in the best possible way). Readers who enjoy it may not like my other stuff and my regular audience might wonder what I bashed my head against. So, whilst it will still be published by Spinneyhead, maybe I need to give its author a different name.
Indie superstar Joe Konrath gives a similar explanation for having a horror alter-ego Jack Kilborn. When I read his post I was still planning to put my own name on everything I write (I say as much in the comments), but now I can understand why I should reconsider.
The question, then, is- if I need a pseudonym for certain genres, what should it be? I’m tempted to go with just Gareth Pattinson, as Gareth was one of the other options for my first name anyway. Or perhaps Gareth Owen, because in the early days- pre web- Spinneyhead’s full name was Owen Spinneyhead. (There is already a writer called Gareth Owen, however.)