This is my writing blog, where I will be shamelessly posting my work. Poems, short stories, flash fiction, extracts from novels...they'll all be here. And if you don't like any of that, just play with the tiger.

Friday, 24 July 2009

What's in a name?

Apologies to Shakey for pilfering his words for the title of this entry, but it seems that I am incapable of original thought just now. Last night, during a rare foray into the seething mass of adverbs and POV switches that is Tyrone's NaNoWriMo novel, I hit upon what seemed to be a subtle and nicely mellifluous title for it. For a happy moment this inspired happy daydreams of seeing said title on said novel (now with its adverbs under control), and made me think that one day I might actually get the damned thing finished. This was nice, as ice ages have passed more swiftly than I am currently editing.

However (and of course there is a however), a quick jaunt to Google was typically disheartening. As you have no doubt surmised, a book of the name I had hit on already exists (as near as damn it, except that the existing tome prefers a definite article). I realise that this shouldn't matter. But incidents of this nature bring out my worst dog-in-the-manger side (no dog jokes, thank you), and now I like the title a billion times better for knowing I can't use it.

In the spirit of this post, I will close with the words of another. As Captain Darling so wisely said: 'Bugger.'

Saturday, 18 July 2009

War haiku

Failed pincer movement:
flesh-flayed hand twitches for life
but grasps only death.

Gee willikers

Have I really been away since February? Good lord, how time does fly (and yes, I do know that's a spanking great cliché but I'm rather out of practice at this writing malarkey). I have no amusing anecdotes with which to regale you or to explain my prolonged absence; I've merely been indulging in a prolonged spell of lassitude after dragging myself through the gloopy bog of turgid tedium that was my last 'creative' 'writing' course. I would tell you all about it, but if I start harping on about it I will only get annoyed at myself for having wasted the time on money on it in the first place. Well, not so much the time, as I ignored most of the exercises. Which may explain why I got so little out of it. But the exercises were about as inspiring as cold rice pudding. So I ignored them. It was a viciously boring circle.

That's quite enough from me. Have a haiku instead.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunday afternoon

Whooshing steam billows.
Crease-mountains defeated, flat:
ironing alchemy.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Mutter, grumble

Words melt into goop,
brain sharp as charred marshmallow:
a deadline is nigh.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Hellooo..? Anybody there?

Dearie me, it really has been a while this time, hasn't it? I've been in a bit of a meltdown state lately, what with the course (hate it), work (feel strangely attached to it) and general laziness (love it). I won't bore you with endless invective about the course, but suffice it to say that the one thing it surely has taught me is that it's time to stop studying how to be a writer, and instead take a proper bash at actually being one.

Work has been hard, and, at times, heart-rending. In November it was announced that the site would close due to the economic crisis (and let me say here that I am heartily sick of the jauntily alliterative 'Credit Crunch'. It's crisis; it's recession - it's people's lives). Many of my colleagues worked their last day on December 23rd - 'and a happy Christmas to you, too' - and others are due to go at the end of this month. I am among the extremely lucky few who may be safe, as there is the possibility for me to transfer to head office. Yes, it's much more travelling, but at least all that sitting in traffic will give me time to count my lucky stars. Assuming there isn't another gobshite in a van out there just waiting to ram into me...

And as for the general laziness...I'd love to tell you all about it, but I'm afraid it's now my nap time.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

The course begins...

Here's an activity what I writed for my course. Day one, and I've got something written...yay!

The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows, and is answered by a braying donkey. A body lies across the doorstep of the church; a viscous trickle of dark fluid on its cheek is picked out by the feeble dawn light. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease. A figure glides past the church wall, before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.
Guillermo Brown registers briefly that these sounds of normality can still exist - clocks and cocks, babies and brays. Beneath them, he hears still the incessant bass of the front, the ceaseless, brain-churning thrum of artillery and the sudden whoompfs of displaced earth. His mind adds extra sound effects: the whistling skirl of shells bearing down on him; the nasal whine of bullets streaking by his ear, so close they set off detonations in his mind, the strangled, urgent shrieks of men shouting 'GAS!', and the eerie, invidious silence of the gas itself. All these noises want him dead. And so did his friend. Guillermo Brown looks queasily at the body, and runs.

The church had seemed safe: abandoned for the night, it offered a haven for an hour or two. If only he'd known that Tommy Atkins would get religion. As Guillermo Brown writhed on a pew, trying to snatch a fragment of sleep, Tommy Atkins began to pray.
'Will God forgive us, Gil?' he whispered. '
Yes,' snarled Guillermo Brown, bunching his jacket beneath his head as a lumpy, stinking pillow.
'But we're deserting. Running away.''
Saving our bloody skin,' Guillermo Brown corrected him.
'But doesn't the Bible say, greater love hath no man-'
'Bloody hell, Tommy!' Guillermo Brown surged to his feet. 'I never made you come. If you want to go back and be cannon fodder, off you go.' He pointed with his whole arm at the church door.
Tommy Atkins blinked stupidly. 'But we're pals,' he almost whispered, his bottom lip trembling childishly. 'It just doesn't feel right. Leaving the others behind.'
'We're not stopping them from running away, if they've got the balls for it.'
A heavy silence.
'Greaser said there'd be bacon this morning,' Tommy Atkins said vaguely. 'Bacon and good, strong tea. With sugar.' He smacked his lips, then looked at Guillermo Brown with big eyes. 'Gil. God will be so angry.'
Guillermo Brown lowered his head, recognising that the die was cast. Tommy Atkins was going back. But Guillermo Brown wasn't. 'Fine,' he whispered. 'You go back and be killed like an animal. If it'll make God happy.'
Tommy Atkins took a deep breath, and began to walk away.
Guillermo Brown settled back onto his pew, then jerked upright with horrible realisation. They'd court martial Tommy Atkins, and Tommy Atkins would spill. Every word of their plans to flee hell would tumble from his frightened mouth, and then they'd be straight after Guillermo Brown. When they caught him, they'd save the Hun the bother of shooting him.
No. Guillermo Brown raced through the church, picking up a heavy candlestick as he went. He caught Tommy Atkins on the church steps, and silenced him with a single blow. He hoped Tommy, and God, would understand.

The baby quietens as Guillermo Brown runs through the drowsy village. He sends a regretful, anguished thought after the soul of Tommy Atkins. As he reaches open country, he vows he will write a letter when he gets to safety. A warm, gentle letter to Tommy Atkins' mother, telling how her boy had laid down his life, for his friend.

With thanks to Graeme