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Showing posts from March, 2014

Worlds' War

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I was in a coffee shop when war was declared. I wish I could say something more memorable, but there it is. My mum always said that she heard about President Kennedy when she was in labour, whilst she was screaming at my dad to turn off the sodding radio and do something about this bloody baby. (That was me, by the way.) All I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren about today is that I was drinking a metallic-tasting skinny chai latte. 

It’s a game-changer, war, isn’t it? I mean, the politicians have been talking about it for so long that we’d all got fed up and gone back to our real worries - house prices, the weather, whether The X Factor’s 25th anniversary could go ahead after Simon Cowell’s freak accident with a ride-on mower - so quite frankly, I didn’t pay much attention at first. But when they turn on the TV and I see Prime Minister Mandelson without his usual smirk, I know it’s true, and it did make me think the traffic might be bad getting home.

So I finish my latte and I’m won…

Words on Writing: Self Publishing. An interview with Roger Corea

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Roger Corea is the author of two novels: Scarback and The Duesenberg Caper. We met online to discuss the publication of his first novel and to explore the lessons he had learned along the way.

Scarback was published in 2014 and explores the question of what you do when the people you count on most in life suddenly desert you. The main character, Dominic Steppone, is a mentally challenged man in his 30s, who was abandoned at birth and still has nightmares of his tortured existence as an abused, half-starved, and critically ill migrant farm worker. He now has two very good friends - Augie and "The Hawk" - who have helped him get a roof over his head, a steady job washing dishes, and a respected place within his local community (he was recently elected Fairchester's Citizen of the Year). But when Augie makes plans to move to Chicago, and "The Hawk" is in a coma following a bad fall, Dominic faces the terrifying prospect of returning to the migrant farm of his nigh…

Would wishes?

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“Don’t use it all up Dougal!”

Dougal stops pulling the wool from the box they’d found attached to the gate. “That’s what it’s for, isn’t it?”He snaps the thread through the cutting handle, marches to the nearest tree.

Anna has pulled out 7 ragged strands.

“Make the wish count Dougal, really make it count.” Frowning, she sees that Dougal has already tied the thread – blue, for his team’s colours - around the nearest tree in a clumsy reef knot.

He is wandering off, checking his phone. “Yeah, done it.”

“Please make it take, make it strong, make it alive, please…” Anna is weaving, constructing: begging.

Blue over rust, under red, over yellow, under green, over cream, under orange; she is creating a braid.Holding it up to the sun, she checks it is perfect.

Carefully she walks to the largest tree in the ancient forest, an Oak after which the wood is named.

“Ancient Oak Tree, please grant our wishes.”

Judge and guardian, roots in the earth, leaves touching the sky, the Oak stands proud at the entran…

Words on Writing

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I came across this poem in Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk. It resonates with me as a writer. What about you?

a quality of attention has been given to you: when you turn your head the whole word leans forward. It waits there thirsting after its names, and you speak it all out as it comes to you. (William Stafford, 'For people with problems about how to believe') 

The Kylling

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"Blunt trauma to the head. Very blunt. Aggressive, but imprecise. Unsure what weapon matches this." 

"Someone get me a decent coffee! This fast-food sewage is disgusting." Inspector Nielsen considered his coffee, the body and the forensic's observations. "You found him lying here?"

"Yes." The KFC's manager watched one of Copenhagen's finest set out across Rådhuspladsen in search of better coffee. "Erik normally opens on Mondays. I found him at 10:00 and called 112 immediately."

The inspector nodded. His stomach grumbled, reminded of a skipped breakfast by the 'Kylling med Bacon' poster. His gaze wandered the kitchen, resting finally on the bubbling, chicken-filled deep-fat fryer. "Cancel coffee, we're done. Arrest this man."

"How...?!" 

"Either your food is a danger to the public or you're trying to destroy evidence. It's 10:25. You open at 11:00. Frying chicken for an hour? Not even…

A Dry Climate

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Mr. Evans was a fastidious man. Growing up, his parents had been extremely slovenly. His mother would leave spilt spaghetti sauce on the carpet for a week. This would be joined by the pee of her beloved terrier, Rex, and beer spills as his father vegetated on the couch. Columns of ants would traipse in and be sprayed with ant killer by his mother. They would lie where they died, their inert bodies scattered on the floor. The young Mr. Evans did his best to clean up, but vowed that when he grew up he would never get his hands dirty again. Nowadays he wore rubber gloves and an apron when doing the dishes or taking out the rubbish, and detested the feel of moisture on his fingers. He would rush to clean up spills, and get nervous around soup. He worked in a tidy office as a legal assistant and carried a briefcase to work every day, full of important papers. Mr. Evans liked papers; they were nice and dry, and could be kept in order. People who knew Mr. Evans thought of him as kind and poli…

The Catalog

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If I buy these clothes
will someone invite me
to sit in an Adirondack chair
overlooking the lake
in the late afternoon sun?

In my faux shearling jacket
will we laugh over coffee
at our earlier misadventures
in the canoe
and listen
to the sounds of the loon?

Am I the only one
who wants to climb
inside this new fall catalog
to join these happy handsome people
frozen in time?
Look for me under the tree (page 86)
casually dressed
sable corduroy barn coat
a smile on my face
hint of a secret
in my eyes.

by Joyce Huyett Turner