Blog

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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Distraction by Design: Observations on Television

22 Mar 2017 Category: television

Over three years ago, I stopped watching TV. I didn’t have one in the house I was in, so I just stopped. At first, it was strange to not constantly have noise and visual distraction. But soon, I didn’t miss it. I preferred the silence and space to think, giving myself time to immerse myself in reading and writing. Television felt mind-numbing in comparison. I did not miss switching my brain off. In the same way as I occasionally need to disconnect from the internet to improve my attention, I never got another television because I found myself more...

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The New Religion of Brexit

15 Mar 2017 Category: politics

Finally, after 9 months of legal battles and back and forth in parliament, it looks like Article 50 is about to be triggered and the UK can start its negotiations with the EU. No going back from that point. It seems since the vote months ago that hard Brexit is now a religion, an unstoppable dogma that cannot be argued with. The UK is willing to sacrifice almost everything for the promised hard Brexit. Turn this island into a tax haven? Sure, why not. Public Services? Tories were getting rid of them anyway. Even the United Kingdom itself...

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Good Boy: Flash Fiction

08 Mar 2017 Category: stories

[Prompt from here]http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2017/03/03/flash-fiction-challenge-right-vs-wrong/

I am at a stage in my life where the internet is my only source of life advice. After the divorce, then the breakdown, I have very few friends left. No one in fact. My therapist was no use to me, a newly trained child with no time to do anything but read from a textbook. I feel like an alien, able to observe humans at a distance but never able to connect with them. So I find myself endlessly typing questions into Google. How do I improve my life? How do I make friends? How do I...

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'Hope in the Dark' is more relevant than ever

01 Mar 2017 Category: book review

If you are a woolly liberal like me, someone who believes in compassion for all and the importance of civil liberties, then these are dark times. The prevalent mood, both in the UK and the USA appears to be an inward turning nationalism, a conservative rhetoric that is looking backwards to some imagined age rather than forward to the future. There’s an emphasis on military spending and reducing the state. The hard-won luxuries we enjoy, such as the NHS, are continually being eroded, while at the same time the super rich refuse to pay any more tax. The gap between...

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To Forbidden Passengers: Flash Fiction

22 Feb 2017 Category: stories

If you are reading this, congratulations. You have successfully made your way into the belly of the Penumbra. The journey to this point has been difficult. I know, because I did it myself.

Unless things have changed drastically since my time, it was a difficult path with many obstacles. I was almost discovered multiple times. I cannot believe I find myself in the hold of Penumbra, on my way to a new destination across the void....

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George Saunders and Normalisation

08 Feb 2017 Category: book review

In these days of increasing insanity in the world of politics, I find myself thinking more and more about the fiction of George Saunders. He understands that humans will adapt to any situation, however bizarre and will build their identities around it, even if that situation is horrifying. Many of his characters rebel against the situations, or come to the realisation that, like Brexit or Trump, this is not normal. Since I read Tenth of December last year, the beautifully crafted short stories have become more and more relevant to the modern age. We seem to be living the surreal...

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Step Away from the Internet

02 Feb 2017 Category: creativity

Every few months or so, an article comes around that reminds me I’m spending too much time on the internet, looking at pointless things and wasting time. This time, it was this article by Craig Mod that caught my attention. It made me realise that I was once again endlessly flicking between the same sites, watching Twitter refresh and reading the same articles over and over. It was an eloquently argued wake-up call.

I spend a lot of time on the computer at work as well as when I’m when writing. There’s an internet connection constantly. If I’m...

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Alternative facts and the rule of misinformation

25 Jan 2017 Category: politics

Bloody hell, what a terrible phrase ‘Alternative facts’ is. Similar to last years ‘post-truth’ that the UK media were so fond of last year, it seems the Americans are catching up to the Orwellian double-speak where 2+2 is 5 and nothing is as it seems.

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A Press Conference

18 Jan 2017 Category: stories

I am here today to announce there is nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Everything is fine. Rumours you may have heard to the contrary are simply that- rumours. Do not worry in the slightest. Do not worry about the Shadowlands. They do not exist because everything is fine.

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Enduring art (Same as it ever was)

10 Jan 2017 Category: creativity

I was listening to the rather excellent Book Shambles podcast the other day. It is a rambling discussion about books and literature, usually with a guest to guide the discussion. One of the hosts, Robin Ince, mentioned The Great Gatsby, saying that every time he reads it he finds new insight in its pages. It’s my experience that despite being a relatively slim novella, the complex characters and removed perspective provides a wealth of wisdom and observations. It got me thinking about art that endures throughout your life, that helps to shape you at different moments. I think this...

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A response to Laurie Gough

04 Jan 2017 Category: writing

In another example of running a controversial story to get clicks, the Huffington Post published an article by Laurie Gough that argues that self-publishing is an insult to the written word. (Of course, they also published a reaction to the original article, so they have it both ways.) As a self-published author myself, I disagree with Laurie’s argument. There has been a few angry responses to this opinion piece, but I thought I’d offer some personal thoughts on why I take issue with it.

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