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There is No Exit: Flash Fiction

14 Jul 2017 Category: stories

A quick flash fiction written from a prompt from Chuck Wendig once again. This time, the prompt was ‘There is no exit.

Ivor trudged home. It had been a long, hard day. He had got into the office at 7 in the morning and it was past 10 at night now. The office was struggling to complete the audit and he had to pitch in. Still, it was better than previous years, back in The Agency. His thoughts started to drift back to- No. He was stronger than that.

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Suspend the outside world for a while: Thoughts on Glastonbury Festival

05 Jul 2017 Category: art

Posts on this blog have been a bit scarce for the last couple of weeks, mostly because I spent a several days in a field in Somerset. I listened to music, watched comedy and saw the odd politician1 I was lucky enough to attend Glastonbury Festival, a cornucopia of delights that I have gone to since I was fifteen.  This was my seventh time at the festival. I have been to others in the meantime, but it remains the original and the best. It is a marvellous tent town where the outside world is put on hold for a while,...

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The Thief of Moons: Flash Fiction

13 Jun 2017 Category: stories

A story written from a prompt by Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds. This week we had to pick a title, so I chose the Thief of Moons. Enjoy!


My mother had always told me to avoid the thief, but she never went into detail. She only offered vague warnings. Only once, when we were sat by the fire late at night, did she speak more. She had guzzled one too many gins and sat cursing him over and over.

‘I never used to be this old.’ She said. ‘The years have been stolen from me. I don’t know where they...

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Battle of the Ages in the Election

06 Jun 2017 Category: politics

So there’s an election on Thursday. You might have heard of it. You probably have your own opinions one way or another. Maybe you don’t care. But either way, you have to admit, it is kind of a big deal.

The story so far: professional Cruella de Ville impersonator and unconvincing robot Theresa May surprised everyone by calling a snap election in March, mostly to shore up her majority. She ran a campaign on a cult of personality, despite having none. This and her endless slogans repeated like a skipping CD meant she plummeted in the polls. Jeremy Corbyn on...

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Dispatches from the Uncanny Valley

31 May 2017 Category: art

Uncanny valley

  • Kodomoroid communication android by Osaka University and ATR Laboratories, Japan, c. 2014. Photo by Melissa Wiseman

As I stood before the seated figure, my stomach turned. Every part of my brain was screaming that the face before me was alien. It looked so lifelike. So much like a human. Then it moved and everything felt wrong. I moved on from the robot to the next exhibit, trying to shake the odd feeling those semi-lifelike eyes had given me.

This robot was featured in a fascinating Science Museum exhibition that...

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White Noise

25 May 2017 Category: publications

Hi,

My poem White Noise is featured over on I am not a silent poet. Check it out here.

Cheers!

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A Debate: Flash Fiction

25 May 2017 Category: stories

KATIE NEWSINGTON: Welcome back. A new study suggests the moon has a more abundant mineral content than previously realised. Interesting stuff. Joining us to discuss some important questions is the author of the study, Professor Ian Boffin.

PROFESSOR IAN BOFFIN: Good morning

KATIE: And on the other side we have the president of Moon Lies dot-com, Shannon Onangononon.

SHANNON ONANGONONON: Good to be here.

KATIE: Good to have you both here. Professor, if I can start with you first, could you explain what exactly you found in this study?

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Oak Tree Manor: Flash Fiction

17 May 2017 Category: stories

Another story from a prompt at Terrible Minds. This week was a mash-up of genres. I got ‘Haunted House’ and ‘Body Horror’. Enjoy!


William shifted uneasily in the bed. It was no use. He couldn’t sleep. Every time he was just about to drop off, he was woken by a creaking in the great house. It seemed to be coming from all around him, loud and all-pervasive. The sound filled his ears and jolted him from the edge of much-needed sleep.

Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen. He sat up in bed, then fumbled for the matches...

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Everything is a story

10 May 2017 Category: politics

One of the things reading a lot of fiction teaches you is that everything we rely on in the real world is made up. We are narrative beings and we rely on the power of stories to guide our everyday lives. Very little of our experiences and the systems we live in are based on cold facts. Most of the stories we tell ourselves do no have neat structures, with a beginning, a middle and an end, but are beliefs we hold that change how we view the world.

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At the End of NaPoWriMo

03 May 2017 Category: poetry

I wrote a bit about the process halfway through, but I’ve finally finished NaPoWriMo, where you write a poem every single day in April. I had foolishly thought the process would be relatively straightforward, but I was drastically wrong about that. Writing so many lines over so many days was a real challenge. It was difficult to keep motivated and continue writing.

Halfway through the process, I forgot exactly what poetry is. Nothing seemed to make sense:

Jerusalem, Ambition and the Power of Ideas

26 Apr 2017 Category: book review

It’s taken me three and a half months, but I finally finished Alan Moore’s magnum opus Jerusalem.  Made of a number of interlinked short stories set in Northampton, it tells the history of the town as well as the nature of life, death and time itself. It is ridiculously broad in its scope while remaining funny and down to earth, with a serious message about the abuse of the working class. The entire second book occurs whilst a child is choking on a sweet. Each chapter, especially in the last book, uses its own style. There’s an epic poem, a...

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NaPoWriMo Halfway through

19 Apr 2017 Category: poetry

For the month of April, I have tried to write a poem a day for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month.) It’s been surprisingly difficult to find a different theme or story each day. Nevertheless, I feel the process has pushed me forward as a writer by sending me into unknown areas. It’s giving me much needed rigour and discipline. I consider myself to be an amateur, with less experience in poetry than in short stories or plays. I only started writing poetry again last year, and even then it was fairly occasional. Forcing myself to write a poem a day has...

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Tourmaline: Flash Fiction

05 Apr 2017 Category: stories

Flash fiction created in response to Chuck Wendig’s prompts. Enjoy!

Sunflower grabbed at the smooth black pendant hanging around her neck. It was still there. The electric stone. Thank you, she said to herself, thank you.

Where was she? There were bright lights above her. The sense of movement. She was on her back, lying down. How did she get here? She lurched upward. The world swum around her, blurring like an out of focus camera. Someone was shouting. Someone else was speaking calmly to her, quietly. She couldn’t understand the words. They were English, but they might have been...

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My accidental novel: Thoughts on first drafts

29 Mar 2017 Category: writing

I accidentally wrote a novel. Well, it certainly started that way. I started working on a short story in December, setting out a really basic outline and running with it. After about ten thousand words, I realised I had barely scratched the surface. Clearly, this short story was something more expansive. The story demanded a larger setting. So I continued on until finally, last weekend, I typed THE END. What was a short story has now turned into something approaching short novel length. I had very little idea what I was doing and even less of an idea on how I...

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Jabberwocky Remixed

23 Mar 2017 Category: poetry

Inspired by Poetry as Fuck and Imaginary Advice, I spent a morning remixing* Jabberwocky* by Lewis Carrol. Because…? I’m not really sure why. Anyway, here are the results. In this first one, I replaced words with common names. Weirdly, it still makes a sort of sense:

Jerry-Walt

`Twas Bradley, and the Susan Todd’s
Did Gary and Genevieve in the Wade:
All Maureen were the Bernie-Gregs,
And the Mae Rolfs out-Gabe.

“Beware the Jerry-Walt, my son!
The Jakes that bite, the Calum that catch!
Beware the John-John bird, and shun
The Francesca Barnaby-Sam!”

...

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