We asked Cally Phillips to come out of the shadows briefly to give us a wee run down on McRengades from her perspective. And she started by giving us some insight into her current thoughts on narrative… feel free to skip it if you’re easily bored.
McRenegades. See us, we do it differently. I’ve been thinking about some of the advice that is trotted out all too easily to writers. And thinking about a McRenegade response.
Write about what you know they say. And what do any of us really know? Write from the heart, using the imagination and you can’t go far wrong as a McRenegade. I know that.
Find your ‘voice’ they tell you. But here at McRenegades we are more interested in playing with narrative voices – especially transgressing the boundaries between character, author, narrator and reader- My favourite lines in the Bible are ‘My name is Legion for we are many’ and that just about sums it up for me. I’m interested not just in characters in books but in the role of character in general – also the interplay between characters, narrator/s and authors. Especially in a non-capitalist context. When you’re not trying to brand yourself or your work, you can relate to it in an entirely different (and much freer) way.
What, after all, is a ‘real’ character? The boundaries between reality and fiction, between character and person (and indeed robot) are areas of great interest to me and I’ve been playing around with them now for a couple of years. I ask myself (well, no one else is going to) Who and what is real in fictional terms – is a ‘real’ author any more real than a fictional one? If a fictional narrator is a character, then what about a fictional author? And when we (real or imaginary) die, what sort of reality do we leave behind us. How might we be said to exist in the writing we leave? We are more than our writing while alive, but what else is there of us when we die? All these and other questions are posed, but not necessarily answered on a regular basis by McRenegades (and you thought we just ‘told stories’) Na man, we’re deeper than Loch Ness here at McRenegades.
And how about the relationship between writer and reader? Especially writer AS reader. That’s an interesting relationship as any writer as editor can tell you. And one man in his time plays many parts – oh yes, got to put something in for the bard’s 400th!
But for those whose eyes are glazing over already, I’ll stick to the actual task of updating you on a few of the names we travel by at the moment. You can ponder the realness or imaginariness of each and all of us as you will.
Brendan Gisby is at home being Mr McStoryteller as he is being The Great Gisby. But he’s also finding a new lease of life as ‘Baldy’ who ‘owns’ Joey the Philosophical Hoover – a character who is making waves on Facebook.
Angus Shoor Caan has kind of found his spot as Mr McLimerick. How many thoosan’s hae ye coontit o’ his wee poems around cyberspace? He’s got nine volumes out, which means he must be comin’ up for ten hunner… gaun yersel’ big man.
Cally Phillips is flexing her writing muscles for the mother of all McRenegade serials starting in October/November #tobelikeche. Still under wraps but it’s going to be a corker, it follows on from the 2007 ‘classic’ ‘Otro Mundo es Posible’ which was a blog before blogs were even common and became the novella ‘Another World is Possible.’
Bill Robertson has been seen doing press-ups on Facebook – nice work if you can get it.
Jack MacRoary has given up writing for the mean time as he starts pursuing his dream career as a potato farmer. Not even Brexit could tempt him back into print. But never say never again…
Annie Christie is beavering away at some McSerials while husband Rab Christie’s gone all serious and is busy getting the centenary collection together for Deveron Press as well as editing The Gateway.
Alasdair McPherson, John McGroarty, Tom Greenwood, Kirsty Eccles, Robert Cowan and Lee Carrick all continue to contribute to McStorytellers and keep their heads down in various parts of the world.
And from the pantheon of dead writers whom we induct into our McRenegade Hall of fame can I give a wee shout out this summer for James Leatham and S.R.Crockett and in the ‘International’ category this autumn we’ll be introducing you to Ernesto Che Guevara and Evgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin. Don't say we never give you anything... I've never even got started on all the new writing that's been generated over the past wee while... well, rather than flood you with sales pitches, we're McRenegades, we do it differently. You want to find out what we're writing, you've got to go looking.