In which our authors talk about the inspiration behind their stories, in an attempt to answer that most notorious of questions, ‘where do you get your ideas?’. Also features behind-the-scenes looks at how our books are put together.
Years ago, I was working on an advertising campaign for a theme park. In the course of my online research into the target market, I blundered into the world of ride and theme park enthusiasts. Immediately it was obvious that this was exactly the same kind of community I knew well from music fandom – the injokes, the nicknames, the disturbingly detailed knowledge of trivia, the bickering. It was fascinating to see the parallels when outwardly these people and I had little in common.
It’s a kind of kinship repeated all over the place, from LARPers to Whovians to rail enthusiasts. All the same and all largely oblivious of each other, these constellations of people like extended families who, whatever their individual differences and however fierce their infighting, will close in if one of the group is threatened.
Last year, I’d almost forgotten about the theme park enthusiasts. I’d been thinking about loss, and how hard it is for a writer to make sense of. I wanted to write a story that wasn’t about “coming to terms” with death, but about the ownership of loss, and how grief is shared out. I also wanted it to be about life- so often, if someone dies young, their life becomes defined by their death, and this seemed like something that was worth trying to explore and address.
Then I was lucky enough to see Jon McGregor talk and read from his collection This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You. His swoops from exuberance to horror and back to the mundane gave me a eureka moment – my “lost friend” character was one of the roller coaster fans I’d been reading about! The theme park environment was the perfect metaphor for the giddy thrill of being part of a gang, mixed with the sickening terror of terminal illness.Of course this plunged me into a swamp of research, and made me briefly wish I’d chosen a more familiar setting – every bit of technical information mentioned in passing had to be painfully extracted from the depths of the internet. The relationships between the boys, though, were something I already understood, like anyone who’s been a member of something, and once I knew who they were, the characters wrote their own story.
Jas’s family stand off to the side a little. Their tragedy is great and incomprehensible, but I hoped that looking at them through the eyes of someone who’s outside the family circle might allow us to see their situation more clearly, in the same way that a driver can only see his own car when he gets out of it.
It was a hard story to end. It wanted to end with Jas’s friends scattering his ashes, but that set off my sentimentality-alert siren. The narrator’s dream that does end it is a heavily adapted one of my own. It was an incredibly vivid dream in which a much-missed friend returned to us, purely to have a good laugh at us and our earthly squabbles and dramas. I woke feeling sad but optimistic, and I like to hope the reader might feel a tiny echo of that on finishing the story.
‘The Coaster Boys’ appears in the latest Fiction Desk anthology, Because of What Happened, available in all good bookshops, on Kindle, and through iTunes.Tim Lay to tell us about the inspiration behind his story ‘The Patter of Tiny Feet’, which appears in our current anthology Because of What Happened, available now in all good bookshops…
When I was a kid, we lived on a smallholding in the country and kept goats and chickens. They say if you have chickens then you have rats. Sometimes the rats would get into the food bins. I can still remember the high pitched shrieking of a rat that got cornered (and battered) in one of those bins.
I don’t like rats. Over the years I have encountered rats all over the world. Jungle rats nesting in the palm roof of a Gambian beach shack, dirty New York street rats jumping out of rubbish bags, rats the size of puppies strutting down the landing of a Mumbai hotel…
So that was the starting place for ‘The Patter of Tiny Feet’. An inherent fear. But it was an actual infestation which gave me the inspiration.
In the past few years I have returned to country living. One spring, after a particularly mild winter, we had a colony of rats set up behind our chicken coop. You know you have a rat problem when you see them foraging in broad daylight.
I live with 3 vegetarians. Poison was deemed a definite no. So it was at that point I started researching alternatives. A method vouched for by the traditional Devon farmer was to pump petrol down the rat hole and light a match. I heard about another farmer who would split a bag of feed in the middle of his farmyard, wait for rats to swarm and then let blast with both barrels of a shotgun.The price of petrol and a lack of a shotgun precluded me from taking these options!
It was my brother who told me about the ‘cannibal rat’. He claimed it was a Devon country practice, but research later placed it to South East Asia. To find out more, you’re going to have to read my story in Because of What Happened… The cannibal rat did not solve my rat problem. But it was a great hook for a story.
The vegetarian bloc in my family gave me such a hard time about wanting to get rid of those rats. We had arguments about it. One time I told my girlfriend she was being an ‘unrealistic hippy.’ In the end those rats overstepped the line. They started eating the organic tomatoes in the poly tunnel. It was at that point that even the vegan’s tolerance snapped, “Do what you have to do,” my girlfriend said. “Just don’t tell me how.”
And that’s when the story came together. The conflict of ideals and reality. The solution may be more organic but does that make it any better?
— Tim Lay
Here’s Colin Corrigan writing about the origins of his story ‘Wonders of the Universe’, which appears in our latest anthology, Crying Just Like Anybody.Some day a real rain will come…
Travis Bickle said it. Noah said it. All over the world, people have been saying it since storytelling began. There’s something religious about a flood that will rinse away all evil, and leave us with a fresh start. A clean world, hoping to forget its past…
About eighteen months ago, my house was flooded, my living room, kitchen and bathroom submerged under nearly three feet of sewage-stained water. It really wasn’t the end of the world for me — I rent, so the repair costs were borne by my landlord, and my housemates lifted most of our valuables out of the way before they were claimed by the waterline — but it felt dramatic, even momentous, all that rain, nature’s power reaching up at us through our very floorboards. It was probably inevitable that I would one day soon try to shove the experience into a story.
‘Wonders of the Universe’ began, though, as a story about science, not religion. Kevin and Edel start watching a DVD box set of Brian Cox’s popular BBC series, after they are advised by their marriage counsellor to do more things together, and the experience encourages them to analyse their own lives, and try to deduct what they really want from the world.
Science is a thing we humans have been doing for a while now, to try to understand phenomena that had previously only been explained by myths, legends, and religious doctrines. We’ve managed to figure out why the sun rises, why the sky is blue, why the earth sometimes quakes. We’ve discovered cells, molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, and made all sorts of technological advances.
Lately, though, it’s all gotten a bit out of hand. There’s a story about a reporter who approached a Professor Eddington of Cambridge, who had translated Einstein’s work, and asked him if it were true that apart from Einstein himself only two people could understand his Theory of Relativity. Professor Eddington looked at the reporter and said, “I wonder who the third person is.” Fast forward another century or so and we’ve got string theory, wave-particle duality, dark matter and hidden dimensions. It has gone far past the point of making the world easier to understand. It’s made the task damn near impossible.
So I’m writing the story, it’s getting longer and longer and more and more complicated, and things are just getting worse for Kevin and Edel. It’s becoming obvious that bringing the Wonders of the Universe into their living room was a really bad idea to begin with.
Because the Universe is, unfortunately, like Brian Cox, and your options are limited.
Like Kevin, you can weigh yourself against his knowledge, his achievements, his rockstar lifestyle, and understand that your own life is embarrassingly insignificant and underwhelming.
Or, like Edel, you can fall for his mellifluous, Mancunian whispers, his soft, floppy hairdo, his sheer goddamned enthusiasm, but then realise that he’s unattainable.
Or, like me, you can eject the DVD, flick back to the Bible Channel for a moment, and wash all my characters’ troubles away with a flood scene at the end.
Some critics, like Hollywood scriptdoctors and Aristotle, would accuse me of lazy storytelling, argue that I should construct my plots through a chain of causes and effects towards a conclusion where my protagonist earns his resolution through his own decision making and actions. And maybe they’re right.But in my defence, Aristotle didn’t know about entropy. And: sometimes these things really do happen, interventions of fate or coincidence that change the direction of our lives. And: sometimes it just rains so much the sewers can’t take it. And: sometimes that’s all we can hope for.
— Colin Corrigan
‘Wonders of the Universe’ appears in our latest anthology, Crying Just Like Anybody, available in paperback and ebook editions. We published another of Colin’s stories, ‘The Romantic’, in All These Little Worlds Read Colin’s thoughts on writing ‘The Romantic’ here.
Luckily, being comfortable isn’t the best circumstance for getting stories written.
The stories I like to read usually induce discomfort, unless they’re also the funny, sort of dirty kind I like even better. Disturbing ideas came fast and furious, one of them about a diabolical machine that allows newborn infants to speak. That story, written in a weirdo inteview form, got published nearly right away. This one, I held onto for a long, long time.
Long ago, while uncomfortably between jobs in New York, wandering around in search of something to do in order to not feel even more completely useless, drawn by carefree childish laughter perhaps, I strayed onto a school playground. The school cop, instead of getting busy with pistol or cuffs, escorted me into the handsome-but-delapidated building and upstairs to a classroom, where a harried young lady somewhat desperately had over forty kids spellbound over an esoteric point of geography. The interruption brought a shower of regard: who is this guy? The looks made me wonder too: who is this guy I supposedly am? The same fellow these happy, curious, hopeful kids might like me to be? Which led to ten years as a volunteer teacher. Grade school became writing school for a scribbler who’d pretty much given up.
Story Day became a once-a-month feature for the whole class.
The teacher who took me in had a problem with two girls who were stealing stuff, a classic means of getting attention when things are so bad that even the negative kind seems desirable. Teacher didn’t want troubled kids to get stuck with a larceny rapsheet, was also leery about alerting their parents, who were notoriously of the I’ll-beat-some-sense-into-your-thieving-little-head school. She asked me to deal with the situation.
Best I could come up with was a story about a non-gender-specific Kid who steals things because it’s oh so shockingly easy, feels bad about the new career in crime, discovers that repairing mistakes is difficult but definitely possible and worth the trouble. A free candy bar is the pay-off, a present.
The kids asked if I’d ever stolen anything. They didn’t want to hear hoary adages about amateurs who borrow. I confessed, spilled my guts on childhood heists. Maybe I felt better about the criminal past.
Another story, they wanted to know whence came the idea for a kid who kicks a girl in the ass because he’s secretly in love with her and she plainly doesn’t feel the same.
Think about it for about two seconds, I said. They got it.
One of the boys in the class was also a sixty-year-old woman named Esmé. He shared this slightly spooky metaphysical info with his classmates on Story Day in a delightful, totally matter-of-fact style. Because he felt he really was a divided soul. A little girl who was born in South Africa wrote about prenatal surgery she underwent. She said she remembered the hole in her heart, and the pain.
Can’t make this kind of stuff up, according to the old truth-is-stranger-than-fiction trope. The truth is, strange fiction’s usually based on something equally strange or even stranger that happened for real.
‘Across the Kinderhook’ is the most painful story I ever wrote. And I didn’t make it all up.
My gypsyish parents got jobs in a small college town in the northeastern USA. Another, more settled, professorial couple invited them for a kindness-to-new-people dinner. My mother, a sort of flesh-and-blood maternal machine, bonded with the couple’s daughter, whom she didn’t know was practically locked-in autistic. For some reason, the little girl responded to the woman who acted naturally. But their communication only lasted a few weeks, or until the little girl became aware my mother knew something was wrong with her. Maybe. Nothing’s terribly clear, in such cases.
The disturbed girl became an artist. She draws faint, gnomically complex geometric worlds and washes dishes in restaurants to support herself. She seems to enjoy her work.
Quite a few narrators in my stuff find jobs washing dishes. They claim to like it too. I was a pro dishwasher, for a happy while, in a hamburger-suffused jazz joint on Broadway. The chef had a sideline dealing psychotically strong weed. We all got along great.
It used to bother me that practically everyone I knew had careers, lived in houses, enjoyed family life. Always felt I’d missed some ineffable signal or opportunity to begin the real business of life. Didn’t occur to me that there were hideous downsides to most of life’s nice, normal stuff. Then, when it was more or less too late to change courses, it was driven home that it’s not even possible to miss out on real life’s nightmarish aspects by not participating. I guess that’s where this story came from. I felt particularly uncomfortable while I scribbled it down, and it wasn’t because the bench at the cement table was so hard, or that it was so incredibly hot there in Madrid that summer.
— Matthew Licht
‘Phantoms’ started off as a vague notion to update the old horror trope, the Creepy Doll. On various visits to museums and stately homes I’d seen my fair share of toys, and also of figures that weren’t quite dolls but were still human representations. The idea that they were not for play struck me as making them at once a little more potentially sinister. Obstetric phantoms are still used (as far as I know) for training purposes today, but historically were often made using real foetal skeletons as their framework. Well, Dead Babies has to rank right up there alongside Ghost Children and Creepy Dolls as an all-time horror classic. The artists’ lay figure at Packwood House also impressed me — a life-sized dressing-up doll that wasn’t quite a doll would be sure to give readers the shivers.
Now I had my basic inspiration I fully intended to write a horror story about the effect that irrational fear has on people: there is clearly nothing supernatural about these artefacts — they can’t even move — yet they can terrorise people all the same. It didn’t turn out like that, though. I set the story in a curio shop, where these items could feasibly cross paths, and the rest of the tale grew from there. I’m very interested in stories where the obvious ‘villain’ of a piece gains the reader sympathy. It’s too easy to see ‘the monster’ as automatically bad and I much prefer tales where that assumption is turned on its head. Therefore in ‘Phantoms’, the phantom and the lay figure become young Anna’s allies in a fight against her real enemy, school bully Beth. At school, I was always considered strange for my interest in old things, so that’s translated into the story. I decided that the protagonists would be little girls because, as Margaret Atwood shows so effectively in Cat’s Eye, little girls can often be the cruellest and most inventive bullies.
When Anna is bullied, her choice is to ignore or retaliate. Boosted by the new power to terrorise she has through access to the phantom, she chooses to fight back. But is there a point at which self-defence becomes attack and retaliation becomes bullying in its own right? Just as, when rendered familiar, the phantom and the lay figure lose their horror, so an enemy once conquered loses their mystery and power and instead instils a kind of disgusted pity. Beth becomes, like the phantom, broken, and the shine is taken off Anna’s final victory. But at least through conquering her enemy, Anna finally conquers her fears.
— Die Booth
I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, but I moved to London with my family when I was a child. Growing up, I started to notice that young men were particularly intrigued when I told them I was from Brazil. Many would tell me about the romances they’d had with Brazilian women, and how superior they were to British girls – both in looks and demeanour.
I’ve heard it thousands of times: Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world. This stereotype is extremely uncomfortable for me; not just because of the fear of falling short (I’m often told I don’t “look Brazilian”), but because this fetish is inevitably focused on dark-skinned, working-class women. It’s not just about beauty; it’s about power.
My protagonist, Adam, isn’t a sex tourist. He’s not one of those old white Americans you see walking down Ipanema beach at sundown, hand-in-hand with teenage prostitutes. But Carolina’s ‘otherness’ is still very enticing to him. He’s an amalgamation of many different men I’ve met over the years, who have brought Brazilian women to the UK. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t – and of course many of these relationships are fruitful and genuine, particularly when the man hasn’t gone to Brazil in search of a sexual cliché.
Carolina was inspired by a girl I met many years ago. She started a relationship with a much older gringo, who was travelling around Brazil. She was infatuated with him, and he thought she was beautiful; he was as exotic to her as she was to him. He took her home to a small English town, where she spent months in depressed isolation before returning to Brazil. Carolina, at least, gets to go to London!
I toyed with the idea of writing the story from Carolina’s point-of-view, but it felt right to do it in the second-person, from Adam’s perspective – hopefully, it captures his self-absorption and the romance he creates around her. It reads like a love letter, but between the lines, he treats her pretty badly. He doesn’t appreciate how lonely and far from home she is, and that she has her own story to tell – she’s not just part of his gap-year narrative.
I like to think that, while Adam is miserable on the tube, pining for the past, Carolina is in Rio, happily married and working in a decent job. I hope she laughs every time she thinks about Adam; looking back fondly, but not with longing.
— Luiza Sauma
In S R Mastrantone’s story ‘Just Kids’, a young father-to-be’s becomes increasingly obsessed with a gang of noisy youths that congregates beneath the window of his apartment. Below, the author talks about how he came to write the story.We had an idea that we might be superheroes, my girlfriend and I. Perhaps The Rooftop Avengers or something similar.
Our flat is on the top of this tatty old office block that’s scheduled for demolition soon. Our garden, or our ancient tarmac roof, depending on your capacity for self-deception, overlooks a charity shop and at night well-meaning but ultimately misguided people leave their donations outside the front door for the staff to find the next morning. Unbeknownst to them, there is a strange squad of villains that routinely comes by the charity shop and steals all the good stuff. Up until my girlfriend and I got involved they went about their nefarious business unopposed.
Enter the Rooftop Avengers.
We didn’t do much you understand, just yelled “Oi” or something similar, if we happened to be out on our mostly freezing cold roof and looking in the right direction, but it was enough to scare off the scoundrels and keep the neighbourhood safe for another night.
It was on one of these crime-fighting occasions that I saw a group of kids try to steal a pram. Now, despite Britain’s high underage pregnancy rates, I had the feeling these kids weren’t about to be using the pram for the purpose of baby manoeuvring. I had the feeling that they planned to do something bad with it, possibly even criminal. It was the confidence in their posture, nothing like the skulking figures we had previously seen on the pilfer. I actually had to think twice about saying something this time. What if they yelled something back at me that hurt my feelings? What if they waited for me outside my front door with a bat or let down the tyres of my car?
“Oi,” I shouted before I could wimp out, fighting to sound like a proper man who meant business. “Leave that pram alone.”
The kids didn’t even hesitate. They walked away very quickly with their heads down, looking chastised and a little embarrassed.
No longer feeling like a superhero, I went inside and dwelled upon what it all meant while feeling slightly ashamed. That was when I first had the idea for ‘Just Kids’. I imagined a man who is so threatened by the teenagers keeping him awake at night, he convinces himself into a war with them. It would start with something harmless and silly, like water balloons, but gradually the conflict would escalate as the man’s identity falls apart. While ‘Just Kids’ is partly a satire of the UK’s national fear of mostly harmless teenage children, it is also about male identity and how difficult some men find balancing their desire to be strong for the people they love with their desire not to be some sort of chauvinistic buffoon.
For the record, the Rooftop Avengers have never, and will never, use water balloons.
— S R MastrantoneCrying Just Like Anybody. Below he talks about the inspiration and real-life history behind his story. (The post does contain spoilers, so you might want to read the story first.)
In the early nineteen-forties, the scientists working on the Manhattan Project had a running joke with the Hungarians in their midst. This was the joke: the Hungarians – who included Eugene Wigner, Edward Teller, Leó Szilárd, Theodore von Kármán and John von Neumann – must in fact be Martians. Didn’t they speak a logical language far removed from any other? They did: Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language, with very few close relations (as Johnny remarks in ‘Crying Just Like Anybody’, nobody talks this way). Didn’t they rove far and wide, like extra-terrestrial gypsies? They did. And weren’t they just, well, a whole lot smarter than us mere earthlings? The brilliant von Neumann, in particular, was said to be an alien “who had made a thorough, detailed study of human beings and could imitate them perfectly”.
The Hungarians took this joshing in good part – especially Edward Teller, who on hearing the ‘rumour’, muttered: “Von Kármán must’ve talked…”
This was the genesis of my story ‘Crying Just Like Anybody’ (also in the mix was the legendary mathematician Paul Erdös, the absent-minded genius at the heart of Paul Hoffman’s awesome book The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (Fourth Estate, 1999) – Erdös was also Hungarian).
‘Crying Just Like Anybody’ is based on the premise that someone might take the Martian-Hungarian myth seriously.
This would have to be someone unworldly and relatively uneducated. And it would have to be someone who very badly wanted to believe that a fish-faced, gibberish-spouting little man they find lying in the street is, in fact, a man from Mars.
Fortunately, I knew just the people.
My novel Tom Quays is unpublished. It earned me a free lunch courtesy of Transworld a while back, but, since then, no dice. It’s set – or, rather, partly set – in Manhattan, in 1925. It’s about Tomas Quís, a.k.a. Tom Quays, who grows up to be a writer; it’s also about Jesca ‘Yes’ Möller, who grows up to be incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. Both earn a mention in ‘Crying Just Like Anybody’: Jesca is the older sister of Anna, the narrator; Tom is mentioned so as to illustrate how, according to Anna, “around here no one calls anyone by their right name”.
Anna and Johnny (and their Martian) slotted easily into this ready-made milieu. It’s a place of hustles and rackets. It’s also a place of dreams.‘Crying Just Like Anybody’ is about – well, it’s about lots of things. I’m not the sort of writer who ever sets out to Say Something. I write stories; it’s the stories that should say something, and exactly what that something is is often not for me to say. To me, this story talks about aspiration and escape; about alienation and immigration (the characters are all of European stock: German, Italian, Irish, and of course Hungarian). Perhaps most of all it seems to be about imagination.
“They find the smartest guy in Europe just sitting in the street,” Anna laments, “and the best thing they can think to do with him is put him in a booth at goddamn Coney Island.”
Anna, I think, will make it out of midtown Manhattan, some day. I don’t think Johnny will. The reason why? Imagination.
— Richard Smyth
You can also download free previews of the book (or buy it for just £1.99 during our sale) on Amazon for Kindle or iTunes for iPad / iPhone. Richard Smyth has also written a book about the history of toilet paper: Bum Fodder is in all good bookshops now.Crying Just Like Anybody, the most recent Fiction Desk anthology. We asked him to write a few lines about the inspiration behind the story…
While the maxim is to ‘write about what you know’, I can honestly say I have never been tempted to spray myself from top to toe in silver paint.
The idea of ‘Me, Robot’ came, as the story itself hints, from a walk along the London South Bank one Saturday afternoon. Among the musicians, magicians, dancers and puppeteers, there were at least three statue performers — either remaining utterly motionless, or making jerky movements like, indeed, robots.
It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen street artists like this — I’ve seen them all over Europe as well as the UK — but on this occasion something was triggered in my mind. These were guys who had decided, for whatever curious reason, that colouring themselves silver or gold, sticking a bottle down their trousers (for reasons best left to the imagination) and standing still for the greater part of the day was something they simply just had to do.
I was intrigued.
However, the idea of the main plot came not from any thoughts about the motivations of these people, but more when I mused aloud to myself: they could witness all sorts of things, undetected. Invisible, in plain sight. Conspicuous, yet anonymous. An ideal protagonist, I thought, for a story. But my idea was a simple one: what if one of them sees his partner with someone else?
After this initial concept, the back story of the character, and the details of his unfortunate situation, fell into place. The notion of a human being becoming a robot, as opposed to the famous science fiction tales where the reverse is sort of true, led to the (hopefully not too cheeky!) nod to Asimov in the story title.
It turned out to be a comic story, more by accident than design. Comic stories, however, to my mind need an undercurrent to run alongside the humour: something darker, or some pathos, to prevent the tale from turning into a long joke. Hence my attempts to make the reader sympathise as much as possible with the main character. Even if he does go around thumping people.Nor did I immediately plan for it to be written in the style of one side of a conversation. I wrote a few stories like this in mid-2012 without really knowing why, and I’ve been wondering where the inspiration came from. Upon the death in December 2012 of the actress Daphne Oxenford, and having read in her obituary about her close work with Joyce Grenfell, it all came back. When I was little, I read and re-read, from cover to cover, Grenfell’s George, Don’t Do That. Wonderfully engaging humour and characterisation, despite only hearing the voice of a narrator: in her instance, a nursery school teacher attempting to control a class of unruly children. I guess this format stuck with me.
— Mike Scott Thomson
Read more about the anthology Crying Just Like Anybody.
‘The Romantic’ began with the somewhat cartoonish idea of a poet who has never been in love, and so can only write very bad poetry. My hero, Martin, came to mind pretty easily, a chump who deludes himself into the idea that he’s a fine poet, and that he’s enjoying what for most people would be a terribly lonely existence.
From there, the story kind of took on a life of its own. Posed with the problem of how Martin survives without working (or publishing his poems), it occurred to me that he might be living off compensation he has received after an industrial accident. Researching accidents, I came across a report of a man who lost an arm after being dragged into a printing press. A missing arm seemed to make sense, for Martin, a symbolic extension of his lack (with the extra irony of his being maimed by the publishing industry). It also worked nicely, as the story unfurled, to serve as a reality with which he would be confronted.
The character came to mind pretty easily because Martin is, largely, me, stubborn as I am about being a writer when there are plenty of material reasons why another career might offer more security, less stress, and a bigger car. I too find new ways to lie to myself every day.
Because he represents, perhaps, my more vulnerable side, I wanted to be mean to him, and it was inevitable that by the story’s end he was going to be crushed under the weight of his own delusions. When the realisation hits him that his poetry has had an entirely different effect upon Aoife, a girl he meets, than he had hoped and expected, I am like her: part of me wants to laugh at Martin, and the other part to apologise.
— Colin Corrigan