Why I Don’t Visit You: a graphic novel in progress
For the past few years I’ve wanted to write the story of what it’s like to live with IBS, an invisible chronic condition that has shaped my life for 35 years. The graphic novel – my first! – feels like the most appropriate form to show what it’s like to live with a disability that’s easy to hide, yet one that takes its toll on the spirit and the practicalities of day to day living. I’m discovering that the graphic novel is also a liberating form in which to tell a story that needs more than “just” words.
The working title is Why I Don’t Visit You, which I feel captures some of the complexity behind a simple invitation from a friend to come and visit, and places the spotlight on the most difficult part of living with a bowel condition: travel, leaving the house, getting from A to B!
I’m creating the graphic novel in sections. Part I and Part II are currently complete.
An exploration of the stories hidden in photographs. Seventeen short lyrical pieces (accompanied by the photographs that inspired them) draw meaning and memories from captured moments in time based on images revisited from a childhood in South Africa and an adolescence in Israel. Snapshots of The Boy is a meditation on love, memory and sexual awakening, and a riff on the lasting presence of the boy in the life of the grown man.
A man sets out to visit Isaac Rosenberg’s grave just as his relationship back home in London is falling apart. Travelling by train through Northern France, getting lost in the heavy rain outside Arras trying to locate the cemetery, the man tells his own story and the story of Rosenberg’s last days through a series of anecdotes, impressions and thoughts. This story is an exploration of infidelity and allegiance, to the living and to the dead. Isaac Rosenberg’s Journey to Arras: A Meditation is an elegiac prose poem, homage to a visionary poet and a meditation on the nature of war and hope.
Isaac Rosenberg’s Journey to Arras is part biography and part autobiography, a story faithful to the conflicting powers of fact and the imagination.
£5, Cecil Woolf, 2008
the book is part of the War Poets Series produced by Cecil Woolf Publishing
An affair between two men in London begins in an internet chatroom and takes them further into love than either could have imagined. A disturbingly honest and intensely erotic work, Seven Sweet Things is as much an exploration of love as it is the lovers’ exploration of the city. Shifting between hidden archaeological mysteries in London and a fantastical stay in an old house in Yorkshire, and between Clissold Park in North London and Roslyn Glen in Scotland, where the narrator gets invited to prepare extravagant desserts for an aristocratic family, the landscape is always love. Seven Sweet Things is a reminder that each time we fall in love, we re-invent our codes, our values, and our sources of inspiration.
In every chapter there is a moment to take your breath away with its simplicity, its originality, its honesty (Time Out, London)
a sumptuous and deeply personal feast of a book (Gay Times)
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Publication date: 2012
The new edition of Seven Sweet Things (with a new Prologue) was published in 2012. You can order a signed copy here. Seven Sweet Things is also available to order from Amazon, or on Amazon Kindle.
The stories in A Year of Two Summers introduce us to an array of characters as they negotiate identity, migration, belonging, and the things that get lost in translation. A new recruit fantasises about a fellow solder during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon; a young gay man experiments with cross-dressing; a father worries about protecting his son during the bombing of Tel Aviv; a South African woman and her Syrian boyfriend tiptoe around each other as they look after their unexpected baby. These stories keep alive the elements of both Jewish and gay traditions of storytelling. The are lyrical and unflinching, nostalgic and pragmatic.
A Year of Two Summers won an Arts Council of England Writers Award when it was still a work in progress.
Set alongside “Bathers 1917-18” by the artist Mark Gertler, the story “Trees at a Sanatorium” was written specifically for this publication. It is a meditation on landscape and the importance of intimacy in artistic creation. The story was written while visiting places where Gertler stayed, from the sanatorium at Banchory in Scotland, to Catalonia, Paris and the gardens at Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire.
This is the first of The Nobile Folios series – monographic explorations of 20th- and 21st-century works of art – published by Sylph Editions. Another story based on Mark Gertler’s life won the Moment Short Fiction Prize.