Tuesday, August 26, 2008

readers digest

flash fiction in 500 words. harder than it looks, even harder to make it any good. still not happy with it but i'm learning, i'm learning. enjoy.

'I'm sick. I sleep all the time these days and when I'm not working I lie down, I read comics, writing letters I won't send, eating food dry and raw because I forget to cook and thinking, thinking, thinking.

I've stopped reading the newspapers - there was a story the other week about a fortune telling fish. Apparently this miracle fish was predicting flash floods and minor earthquakes in the lowland provinces of Japan and the local people had become torn between worshipping it as a piscine deity and grilling it over hot coals. At first it depressed me that this fish had warranted more column inches then say, the rising crime rate or the economic downturn but then I figured, what the hell, let the fish have it's glory. It's just my mood these days. I think it'll pass.

I don't watch the tee-vee anymore either. The batteries for the remote control gave up four months ago and I haven't got round to replacing them. This suits me fine. I've heard its beginning to eat itself, television, digesting and regurgitating ideas into slickly produced pools. Soon there won't be any programming, just a long shot of the same image being replayed over and over again.

So I'll just keep on writing my letters. I have a pile of them now, all to my brother.

He's dead, my brother, he died saving another kid who was drowning in six feet of water. Six feet man, can you believe that? Some people are that tall and then some, it isn't much. The kid survived, it was my brother who went under. The papers called him a hero and the mayor gave my grieving parents a medal - a posthumous award, which made about as much sense to me as banana skin shoes. He didn't need it, we didn't need it, so it sat growing dust on the mantelpiece for years until my father put it in a drawer and we forgot about it.
My parents still get letters from the kid he saved - isn't there an old Chinese proverb which says 'if you save a life you are responsible for it forever'? The letters are growing more infrequent as the time passes and pretty soon they'll stop altogether, but right now he wants them to know that he's graduated in law from UCL, has started training as a barrister with a firm in London, how it's all down to Tom, all down to Tom, your brave son brave Tom.

They're the letters I do send. The letters to my brother are the ones I can't. The ones in which I tell him I'm sorry for wading out into that murky water, with it's lethal shelf which falls away beneath your slow moving feet. I want to tell him that some days my mouth still fills with the blind, mineral taste of the river and I feel like I might choke on it. I want to tell him but I can't. '

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

showing your age in put downs

A short while ago I was heading home from work when a van pulled up alongside me and the passenger leaned out the window.

“Excuse me love,” he asked, “can you tell us how to get to the Level ?”

I began to tell him, secretly impressing myself with the succinctness of my directions. It was only when I looked up that I realised he wasn’t listening. He leered forward, until he was halfway through the open window.

“What are the chances of me and you…..” here he made some gesture with his arm. I’m still not sure what he wanted. It was either to give me an uppercut or fist me. I really couldn’t be sure.

I peeled off my sunglasses and squinted at him. I’d been to see Mudhoney in London the previous night and consequently ached all over. I hadn’t slept and had the beginnings of a fearful hangover. I shook my head sadly and replied,

“Don’t be ridiculous mate, you look like Corey Haim.”

As they pulled away I caught the driver laughing. Corey just looked at me blankly.

Unfortunately they hit a snarl of traffic up ahead which rather ruined their exit, but also meant I had to walk past them. Again.
Corey was already leaning out of the window – I’d already called my friend Sweetman for support but despite the fact that I was on the phone, he blared out,

“Oi! Love! Oi, you in the tight dress ! Oi!”

"What ?” I asked sweetly, but I with a heavy heart I realised I already knew what he was going to ask me.

“Who’s this Carrie Haim ?”

“Corey.” I corrected him, “From the Lost Boys ?”

“The who ?”

I gasped. Surely everyone has heard of the Lost Boys, right ? It’s one of my favouritest films. Then I looked closer. This kid was no older than twenty-two, twenty three at the most.

Jesus Christ. He had NO IDEA what I was talking about.
I’m not sure what had disturbed me more – the fact that I was being propositioned by a chubby man-child or the fact that I’d slapped an 80’s diss on him. I shook my head sadly. Imagine never knowing the Lost Boys.

Monday, August 11, 2008

a fully paid up member of the Hsktskt Faction

I received an email the other day from someone asking me why I’d be so sorely neglecting the blog recently.

In truth I’ve had an awesomely busy* couple of months, have had some fairly seismic changes to make** and on top of which have had to write *** the synopsis to THE NOVEL which is proving to be a task on a scale with poking yourself repeatedly in the eye with a sharpened pencil in terms of sheer enjoyment.

In order to glean some insight in how to make this seemingly impossible task slightly less hellish I had a brief scout on the internet for synopsis writing aids.

Eventually I found one. Initially it started off well – she had a clear-cut and concise list of detailed instructions in how to begin, including a list of do and do not which I thought was pretty invaluable.

Then she gave an example of how to begin using this novel;

“Begin your synopsis with an opening paragraph that presents a clear, brief view of your protagonist, his/her world, and the situation he/she is in when the novel opens. For instance;

"When the Allied League of Worlds withdraws from the Pmoc Quadrant to pursue the enemy Hsktskt Faction, Lieutenant Jadaira (Dair) mu T'resa and her squadron of SEAL (surgically enhanced/altered lifeform) pilots remain behind to provide planetary patrol. They have to; the aquatic pilots can't survive away from their native underwater environment on Kevarzangia Two for more than brief periods. Mainly they deal with remnant ordinance and space traps left behind by both sides, and which are hazards to the influx of refugees fleeing the war."
–BioRescue by S.L. Viehl ”

What ? WHAT ? Does anyone understand the premise to BioRescue ? My eyes have literally stopped recognising that paragraph as the English Language.

**been a bit bummed out
*** rewrite, rewrite and then fucking write again