Some More Than Others

1Some More Than Others

32 pages, 21cm x 29.7cm (8.3″ x 11.7″)

€20 (includes postage), order copy

To see a video of the book, please click here

A group of creatures shares the drawings an artist made of them while the artist was invited to stay with them in July 2022. The artist went home and left the drawings with the creatures. They in turn drew a picture of the artist which the artist took away with them, and so we’ll never see what the artist looked like.

A story about intimacy and friendship, about kindness and creativity, and the unexpected connections that can happen when we let go of labels.

16 drawings and sketches alongside a text that reads:

“we have no names we are no species we do what we do and we like what we do and we don’t need any of that you are this you are that you come from so and so no we don’t need that in the beginning we were born and we’re always changing always different that’s who we are sometimes we like this sometimes we like that none of us are the same and we always have room for more we fish we fly we crawl we eat we want what we want and some of us are sometimes fishes and sometimes flies sometimes swans and sometimes mosquitoes and we like to laugh even when we look angry even when we’re about to eat you boo! we’ll eat you and you can eat us too when the urge urges you we come and go when it’s our time as long as we’re here we’re having fun especially the way we are with these wings this hair these teeth that tail so long so short these plumes these eyes my oh my you’re beautiful in flight beautiful when you’re pooping come let’s poop here in the field plop plop poop who’s making dinner we’ll make dinner and eat anything as beautiful as we are anything as delicious as bright as sweet as sour sometimes we’re sour and bitter like cranberries like cocoa like kale as sweet as so much of the world is sweet look at us what’s not to love so when the artist came and said you look beautiful can I make your pictures we said sure he was nice we liked him he had lots of pretty feathers and shapes and we sat together and talked and shared stories from our heart and the artist with paper and pencils drew these portraits then he said these are for you and gave us the pictures so we did a drawing of the artist as a souvenir to take home which means we don’t have it here to show you sorry did you want to draw us too”

Order a copy here.

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Not a Day Goes By

not-a-day-goes-by-1Not a Day Goes By

To see the original handmade version, please click here

The creation of Not a Day Goes By was triggered by an encounter with a homeless man who’d just soiled himself in the centre of Madrid, a city I’ve lived in for the past five years. The book depicts the body in public spaces and the shame and disgust we attribute to its natural functions when they become visible outside their acceptable, hidden sphere: the privacy of one’s own home.

Forty years ago, while still serving in the Israeli military, I, too, had shat myself on separate occasions in public spaces. Since then, I have lived with the dread of a reoccurrence, the times it almost happened again, along with the memory of the start of my PTSD during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the early 1980s. The encounter with the man who’d soiled himself sent me back to the graphic nature of living with a chronic bowel condition and the challenge of depicting the dread, shame and isolation through colour, abstraction and surrealist imagery.

I turned to other artists for guidance and company, and the images in the book make references to the work of Max Beckman, Chris Ofili, Philip Guston, Barbara Rossi, and George Condo. Trauma is deeply linked to isolation, to the feeling of aloneness when faced with an extreme situation, and through this conversation with artists who use vibrant colour palettes and who are interested in telling complex stories through their work, I felt able to depict the psychological and physical reality of living with a chronic PTSD-related condition.

The original artist’s book can be seen here.

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Touched: Artist’s Book

1Touched

To see the original handmade version, please click here

While working on a prose book about friendship and how childhood friendships shape those later in life, I noticed how touch and desire were at the core of my early friendships, kindergarten friendships, primary school friendships, and I questioned where that knowledge came from, how did I learn to touch, how was my desire formed, who teaches us, if anyone at all, to say no. In my teens and twenties I put myself in situations where I did not know that “no” was an option. To say “no” was to choose solitude, loneliness. To agree to unwanted touch seemed better than no touch at all. As if those were the only two options when to be touched by those we love was neither available nor deserved.

Out of the unspoken, non-verbal world of desire and punishment I made this book. I wanted to show how the trickle down effect of state-sanctioned violence – from the omnipresent inhumanity of apartheid to corporal punishment in school – and the disregard for individual integrity in the place I was raised in, South Africa, shapes how we see our bodies and the bodies of others, and how the subliminal messages of crude homophobic and sissyphobic songs and taunts of early childhood teach us that our bodies and skin are violable and shameful. The use of bright, friendly colours are a way of superseding the weight of what was meant to be unspoken.

I’m interested in the unuttered and unutterable, the wounding that happens in silence, the traumas that silence us. I make visual and abstract work because prose, my medium for almost thirty years, is not always enough. I want to tell these stories in ways that feel closer to the experiences themselves, through movement and gesture, through colour and shapes, away from the cerebral intellectuality that literature expects, and closer to the physicality that drawing allows.

Process

Touched started out as four large sheets of paper drawn on with pencil while writing a novel about childhood friendships and how those early connections shape the types of relationships we go on to have later in life. I used the freehand lines and illustrations to try and access memories that were lurking below the surface. Memories of childhood fumbling, adolescent touch, lessons in desire and the forms it takes.

The large sheets were then cut into quarters and bound together to make a book, at which point I started using colour pencils, looking for the shapes in the unplanned lines, trying to piece images together, finding pleasure in colour and colouring in, giving shape to guilt and shame, rage and bewilderment.

The original artist’s book can be seen here. The single copy was then scanned and digitised, and a smaller A5 copy (in the images below) has been printed in a limited edition of 250, copies of which can be ordered via this link (€15, includes int’l postage).

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Mark: A Novel

Mark for KindleMark: A Novel

Treehouse Press, 2021
175 pages, £12, $16, €15

Mark is a novel loosely based on the life of the painter Mark Gertler, interwoven with the story of an Israeli writer living in London, haunted by his experience of a brutal war in Lebanon and the death he witnessed there.

The story is told during the last months of Mark Gertler’s life as he recalls his relationship with the painter Dora Carrington, and his friendships with Ottoline Morrell, members of the Bloomsbury Group, and with Eddie Marsh, Winston Churchill’s private secretary.

The narrator, in his fascination with the deceased artist, travels to Sitges, Paris, Brighton, and to the sanatoria where Gertler spent many months as his body succumbed to the ravages of tuberculosis. Aided in his research by his lover, Gabriel, the narrator discovers the whereabouts of Gertler’s son in West London. As the story moves towards the devastating end of the artist’s life, the writer will eventually reveal what he witnessed during the war in Lebanon.

Mark is told through a series of sketches from an ex-soldier’s life and the life of one of the great British painters of the 20th Century. It is a story of the artist’s battle for recognition and financial independence and how those struggles impact the artist and the people around them.

Click here to order a signed copy directly, €15 (includes postage)
Or through Amazon UK and Amazon US

Alone with a Man in a Room

Alone with a Man coverAlone with a Man in a Room: Pieces

Kiss and Tell Press, 2021
234 pages, £12, $18, €15

Alone with a Man in a Room is a collection of fiction and creative-nonfiction stories and essays written and published in various anthologies and journals over the past 20 years. Pieces about love, obsession, promiscuity, paranoia, and desire set in bedrooms, hotels, bathhouses, and public parks, in London, Tel Aviv, New York, and Sitges.

from the Introduction: Many of these pieces have been with me for so long I can’t remember whether they’re fact or fiction. Most are probably a combination of the two. I remember the time and place of their conception: those sweltering afternoons in London writing in an overgrown Abney Park Cemetery, a trip to Lille for writing and sex, the holiday in Almería on my way to Fundación Valparaíso for a writing retreat. Some pieces have been incomplete for so long, they’ll remain in a state of becoming forever. This book is a love letter to London and Tel Aviv, a stock-taking of work that has accumulated over the past twenty years. It’s a farewell card and a thank-you note, a restrospective of stories and essays written in the first twenty years of this new century. (Shaun Levin, Madrid 2021)

Click here to order a signed copy directly, €15 (includes postage)
Or through Amazon UK and Amazon US

Why I Don’t Visit You

Why I Don’t Visit You: a graphic novel in parts

Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be ordered via this link.

For the past few years I’ve wanted to write the story of what it’s like to live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a chronic condition that has shaped my life for 35 years. The graphic novel 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.

The working title is Why I Don’t Visit You, capturing some of the complexity behind a simple invitation from a friend to come and visit, and highlighting the most challenging part of living with a bowel condition: travel, getting from A to B!

I’m creating the graphic novel in sections. Each section is a zine. The first three parts are currently complete and can be purchased through this link.

To keep following the project, please visit my Patreon page.

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Some sample pages from Part I and Part II:
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Snapshots of The Boy

Snapshots eBook coverNew edition of Snapshots of The Boy, 2021.

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.

Click here to order a signed copy directly, £10 (includes postage)

Or through Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/SnapshotsUK or Amazon US: http://bit.ly/SnapshotsUS
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Some sample pages:
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Watch a Clip

Isaac Rosenberg’s Journey to Arras

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

order a copy here (includes postage)

Seven Sweet Things

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)

Click thumbnail to read a review

£9.99

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.

A Year of Two Summers

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 soldier 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.

£7.99, Five Leave Publications, 2005

order a copy here.