Follow Your Dream
Redundancy was a blessing in disguise for Aucklander David Lyndon Brown, who used the payout and the time on his hands to reinvent himself and do something he loved - writing.
The hard slog is showing results now. Brown's first book, Calling the Fish and Other Stories, has just been published by University of Otago Press. The twenty-two stories in this collection have all received recognition: they've been broadcast on National Radio, appeared in magazines and anthologies, and won short story competitions.
Brown's stories are sensitive, flamboyant, often humorous and occasionally surreal, with satisfying twists. Drag queens primp and preen, a supermarket checkout operator takes revenge, gay men gather at a friend's funeral, single mums have a girls' night out, an elderly couple go shopping - the characters are memorable and lively, and some appear several times, linking the stories together.
Most of the stories take place in urban settings, many with an Auckland feel. The cover is enticing: a vibrant Hawai'ian shirt image, by Dunedin designer Annaloes Douglas, conveying the feeling of a shimmering, sub-tropical summer.
Although Calling the Fish is Brown's first book, he is no novice. Since being made redundant in 1993 he has enrolled in every creative writing course going. As well as stories, he writes plays and now teaches creative writing. Calling the Fish and Other Stories will be launched in Auckland on 18 July.
'There is a good case for stating that Brown is one of New Zealand's very best writers of fiction. Observant, sly, nimble, he has a beady little eye for detail and a big ear for speech, and he genuinely cares about his characters.' - Listener
Contents Starr, The Spin, Proof, Cracked, Spanish Steps, The Mortification of Henry James, Faith, The Revisionist at Play, Why I Never Learned to Swim, Calling the Fish, You Wouldn't Read About It, The Last Supper, The Triumph of Hope, Heavenly Father, Solstice, I Spy, Trains and Boats and Planes, Blueboy Explores the Hotspots, Ever After, The Little Mermaid, Wasted, The Object of My Affection (22 stories in total).
About the Author David Lyndon Brown was born in South Auckland in 1951 and grew up in Papatoetoe. A champion roller skater in his youth, he studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, where he majored in sculpture. In the early seventies he became involved in the Gay Liberation movement. He had various jobs: an egg processor, a shop assistant, a fashion designer, a gardener at a mental hospital, then worked as a telephone operator for Telecom while pursuing writing and painting. When David was made redundant in 1993, he decided to return to his creative roots, to reinvent himself, and began writing seriously. His work has been broadcast on National Radio, published in NZ Listener, Another 100 Short Short Stories, Pander, JAAM, The NeXt Wave and Queer View Mirror. He has been shortlisted in or a winner of the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition, the Out and Proud Short Story Competition, the Querelle Short Story Competition, and the Joan Faulkner Blake Short Story Competition. He has also worked on corporate video scripts and magazine articles. David devised and conducted a creative writing course called 'Out of Your Head' for the School of Continuing Education at Auckland University. In 1999 David collaborated with Olwyn Stewart on a play called The Wild Blue Yonder, which had a public reading at Downstage in Wellington in June. He is currently working on a new play with Olwyn.