Blog

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 1

01 Apr 2019 Category: poetry

For the last couple of years I've taken part in NaPoWriMo, where I try to write a poem every day in April. I've really enjoyed the process. It's got me back into writing and has helped produce some of my favourite poems. And some of my least favourites, but the beauty of this writing exercise is you carry on regardless. I also really enjoyed publishing them in public last year. It forced me to be accountable to myself and not skip any days, whilst also trying to make them as good as possible.

If you want to see my attempts...

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Matter

22 Mar 2019 Category: poetry

I slipped off the viewing platform,
slid under the flimsy handrail
fell down or forwards or up
towards the black hole.

I cursed flimsy safety measures
but knew it was far too late.
Wrong to think I was unique,
I was just atoms, accelerating
without friction towards an
unknowable spiral nothing.

One last view of the cosmos
before I reached the event horizon
and paused

                                             
                                          forever.

I...

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Hunted

11 Mar 2019 Category: poetry

With apologies to Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the memory of a dream
vanishing seconds after waking,
already fragmenting, quickly forgotten
as we methodically pack away our camp.

Since we came to this former town
that thing with feathers has stalked us.
Our every slight movement tracked
as it circles around our frail bodies.

Here, that thing perches above us
imitating old radio broadcasts
or those lost long ago to time.
It strikes us in the soul. We walk on.

Today, dawn attacks my eyes.
As I rise to find new sanctuary
it sings the tune without the words.
I...

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Making the familiar strange

04 Mar 2019 Category: creativity

I though I was a good typist. I’ve written on computers all my life. I type fast. But the truth is half my time is spent correcting errors. I write fast but sloppy. So I started to learn to touch type.

I tried to learn a few years ago but only got half way through learning, not committing to the practice. As a result, my typing is a weird hybrid of hunt and peck and formal touch typing. I didn’t practise enough to embed the muscle memory. So I started again from the beginning. I expect to breeze through the...

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Sharp Objects and genre blindspots

08 Feb 2019 Category: book review

Genre fiction is often used to describe science fiction and fantasy, but everything fits into a genre. People tend to dismiss sci-fi as not belonging to the real world and following set formulas. I admit to similar prejudices with crime novels, particularly those with detectives or journalists trying to solve a murder. There are some twists and red herrings, the protagonist gets personally involved due to their issues but by the end of the story it is all neatly resolved and the murderer is revealed. This is the narrow-minded view I have of the crime genre.

Admittedly, I have not...

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Starting again

27 Jan 2019 Category: writing

Towards the end of last year, I finished two major projects I had been working on for ages, a short story collection and a poetry collection. I finished them to a stage where only minor changes were needed.1 These sprawling ideas I had been carrying around in my head, my notebook and several disparate files suddenly existed as completed manuscripts.

  1. They aren’t available yet. Publishing is a whole different mode to writing. But all the writing is done. 

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Thoughts on 'Annihilation'

15 Jan 2019 Category: book review

For my first book of the year, I sped through Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, the first in the Southern Reach Trilogy. It is classified as science fiction, but in this case it seems to be a catch-all category of “I dunno. Seems weird.” Science fiction isn’t really a good classification for this odd novel. From the very first moments, it is clear that this strange little book is delving deep into horror.

In Area X, the rules of the world we know are discarded. There is only the alien ecosystem subverting every part of nature. Immediately, things go very wrong indeed....

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Resolutions

06 Jan 2019 Category: stories

I’ll finally tidy up this place and keep it neat. It’s too dark! Too many cobwebs and not enough flaming torches. I’ll stop leaving tomes half opened on the lectern. Need to keep my ingredients in order. I can never find salamander’s tails when I need them. Similarly, I will stop leaving half-finished potions around the place. The number of times I’ve been interrupted then come back to find the laboratory filled with a putrid purple smoke, I tell you… It’s not good. I’m four hundred and seventy-two, I need to start clearing up after myself.

Once I tidy up,...

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Best of 2018

28 Dec 2018 Category: year in review

It’s that time again when I examine what media I’ve consumed over the past twelve months and pick my favourites. Defining the best of anything is an entirely subjective act that nevertheless, I try to do every year. I’ve moved away from trying to pick the ‘best’ of anything as they are all different experiences, so instead, I have chosen a few in each category I like.

Here’s the last couple of years- 2016 and 2017.

Let’s dive in.

Favourite Albums

Double Negative- Low

See, this is where the list is entirely subjective and changes from day to...

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2018 in Review: A Poem

15 Dec 2018 Category: year in review

In previous years I’ve written rambly, angry blog posts that tried to make sense of the world around me and mostly failed. This year I’ve given up trying to understand the world and instead have written a poem to sum up the year:

2018 in Review

This year was a bullet fired from a shaking hand,
screaming as it ripped the air in half
then burying itself deep into an essential organ.
Or maybe two. It was hard to tell with all the viscera.

This year we all turned to stone.
In many ways, it was...

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Why Writers Should Exercise

28 Oct 2018 Category: writing

The problem of writing is that you spend too much time in your own head. Even if you do it as a side hobby as I do, you can spend a lot of time imagining future plot twists or details for your characters and world. I’ve been editing short stories and poems recently, finally getting to the end of a couple of projects that have taken me years. During editing, I stare at words, cross them out, write another in, before crossing that out and going back to the original. It can be frustrating and maddening. That’s why I find...

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Recent Published Writing

15 Oct 2018 Category: publications

Stairs
Some funky spiral stairs in Oxford. Irrelevant to my writing but they looked cool.

Recently, I’ve been very lucky to have some writing accepted in a couple of different places.

I am very pleased to have been featured in Neon’ magazines Battery Pack, which features very short stories. I have a story called Debugging report in Battery Pack 3 and you can get it for free here.

I also have a poem in* The Martian Wave 2018*, called *Beyond Darkness. *Find that here.

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Flash Fiction: Reasons Why I Believe I Am Dying

13 Oct 2018 Category: stories

  1. My food tastes of rubbish. Every day, I am brought the most sumptuous feasts imaginable, the finest Kobe beef, caviar and gold encrusted truffles. All of it is expertly prepared by the best chef in the world, who cooks for me and me only. Each new plate is brought to me on the finest antique china, every one a collector’s piece that by rights probably belongs in a museum. I eat with handcrafted silverware. Each knife, each fork and each spoon has been handmade exclusively for me by artisans in Naples. And every time a new meal is brought...

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Ten Miserable Years of Austerity

13 Sep 2018 Category: politics

Like the rest of the UK, I’ve been steadfastly ignoring anything to do with Brexit. It’s like there’s a ticking time-bomb hanging over our heads and we are doing everything we can to distract ourselves from the countdown, hoping that it won’t explode if we just ignore it hard enough. Sometimes though, something slips through. This week I saw the chancellor’s comments on how Brexit will probably reduce public spending further.

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A haiku

22 Aug 2018 Category: poetry

Soft wind and raindrops

play a tune on dying leaves.

I have all I need

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