Category: writing

The Write Way

Just read something which is too good to keep to myself. If I could only recommend one article about writing fiction, this would be it. Click on the link, let me know what you think …

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/04/what-writers-really-do-when-they-write

And I bet it helps him sell copies of his own novel!

 

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Image: Oxford Dictionaries Blog

Voyage in Time

A sentimental – even slushy! – poem about early childhood when my greatest joy each morning was lying in bed with my mum and swapping sense and nonsense with her …

    a secret key to everywhere

head to head           whisper soft
just us two            i just laughed
snuggle down           why does the sun
warm as toast          who life begun
nice and cosy          how high the sky
safe and sound         what where why
special secrets        only we
never to be told       riddle-me-ree
what say what          when is the moon
now and always	       late and soon
where our words        lost in dark
bibble-babble          gobbledy-gook 
che ma pasa            shan ti kapo
bazi baza              yabos yabo
little birds calling   let them sing
airy nothings          float in the wind
waves on the seashore  play in the sand
castles tumble         sweep of my hand
word in your shell-liketickles my ears   
shush now shush        sounds of the seas



This is the intended opening to a long poem about childhood that will explore the relationship between nature and culture which makes us what we are. I’ve made lists of childhood memories – the easy bit – and now all I need to do is write them up!

I may post the occasional extract to gauge public reaction …

What I must remember is that being creative is not an exact science. Things could get messy. A little bird tells me you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. And so, the cc-rack of eggshells and rrr-rip of  tearing rule-books in my ears, I set sail …

Baffle Bursts Banks

                                  On-The-Spot Flood Special From Our Helicopter Team

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Much of Bafflesby is underwater today after weather conditions described by an official source as “exceptional and unprecedented” caused the River Baffle to overflow in what locals say is now an annual event. When asked why the department of forecasting science had been axed in the austerity cuts, an Environment spokesperson said: “Nobody could have predicted this.”

Mobile-phone footage sold to the media by distraught residents has brought the rising floodwater into millions of homes nationwide. One dramatic clip captured the moment a newspaper reporter asked for a house-owner’s reaction:

… (sound of rushing water) … “So how does it feel to watch the river swirling up your garden, pouring through your back door, streaming through your lovely home and ruining all your gorgeous furnishings and precious family keepsakes?” … (sound of lachrymose sobbing) …

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. One enterprising organisation has managed to turn tragedy into triumph. Shard & Froyd Travel Tours Inc. has taken the plunge where others shiver on the side, bringing a cascade of visitors to the most severely flooded areas where they can experience all the torment and misery at second-hand. “There’s always somebody worse off than you,” said Hugo Smirke of hilltop village Upper Crustleigh, “and this is a welcome break from campaigning against wind farms.” The tour company said the catastrophe had come in the nick of time. “To be honest,” said their spokesperson, “it’s a case of sink or swim. Luxury travel has been in the doldrums since the recession. After this deluge, we’re home and dry.”

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The firm who built many of the swamped estates was Floodplain Fabrications Limited Liability Company. They declined to comment and told us to contact Bafflesby and District Council who had put the land out to building tender. No council spokespersons were available but an automated message referred us to the national government agency that originally approved planning permission. The only person actually authorised to comment was the head of the agency but he was still on holiday in the Seychelles and pending his return we were advised to check back with Floodplain Fabrications that they had adhered to official guidelines.

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Back in Bafflesby, confused residents awaited the arrival of a swat-team of junior government ministers on an urgent fact-finding mission.  A rain-soaked crowd perched on duckboards in the town square, all eyes peeled for the ministerial convoy. The cry went up but cheers turned to jeers as fingers were pointed across the still-swollen River Baffle at the politicians and their frantically-phoning aides – 20 minutes later than promised – gazing down with apparent surprise at the impassable wreckage of the town bridge.

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Their reset SatNav route took a further 20 minutes, by which time most residents had wearily resumed their property reclamation leaving a few stragglers to heckle the motorcade. The ministers leaped from their cars, donned brightly-coloured protective-wear and began to point in all directions with expressions of decisive intent and looks of pained empathy. Another mobile-phone recording captures the responses of one minister to inquiries from disgruntled bystanders:

” … and so at the end of the day, madam, when push came to shove it boiled down to hard choices and I have it on unimpeachable authority that allowing Bafflesby to flood in order to save Nobsford made perfect economic sense under the circum … (muffled interruption) … well, yes, Bafflesby does have more homes than Nobsford but when you consider market value it’s crystal clear that … (muffled interruption) … ah, yes, I see where you’re coming from but … (muffled interruption) … no, madam, what I meant was that I understand your point of view but we have to consider the British taxpayer in every … (muffled interruption) … oh well, sir, as a Nobsford taxpayer you will certainly appreciate your brand-new state-of-the-art high-water flow-containment spill-proof flood-barriers … (muffled interruption) … dear me, flooded too, you say … well, let’s not forget we’ve had exceptional and unprecedented weather conditions and I’m sure your flood defences performed brilliantly right up until the point where they failed … “

Here water penetration appears to bring the recording to an abrupt end.

Coming Soon

We seek answers to the key questions – why, what, where, when and who?

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Seasonal Stop Press!

              Shoppers queue as fizzy-drink truck rolls into shop car-park

Families from across town queued up in their hundreds to sneak a glimpse at the famous bright red truck as it made its way into Bafflesby.

The iconic lorry rolled up at Pennywise in Markdown Lane yesterday to greet queuing shoppers ready to have their photograph taken and grab a giveaway bottle of the fizzy drink.

April Fuddle and her daughter Freebie were among the throngs of people queuing for their time in front of the camera.

The 46-year-old, of Witsend, said it was fun to come down with her family and get into the festive mood.

She said: “We’ve never seen the truck before so we thought we’d come down as it’s in Bafflesby. As soon as you see the advert you feel really festive. We’ve been singing the tune non-stop.”

Queues were already building before the truck’s arrival time of midday, with residents from across Bafflesby travelling specifically to see the brand’s television advert star.

The brand’s TV advert has become synonymous with Christmas and the iconic tune Party Time Is Here Again blared out across the car park all afternoon.

Tick Boxer was also waiting with his family to have their photograph taken with the bright red lorry.

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The 60-year-old, of Barmcote, said: “We’ve come down just to look at the lorry. It’s my first time coming to see it but it’s famous so we just had to come.

“I’ve seen the advert already so many times on the television. It’s a nice festive event on the run-up to Christmas.”

The red lorry first graced television screens in 1995 and has since travelled across the UK to spread festive cheer in various locations. It was last in Bafflesby in 2012 at Lowprice, Greater Dumdale.

Fellow fizzy drink fan Sippy Thicket, 21, of Potherfield, added: “It’s the first time I’ve seen it in Bafflesby so we wanted to come down.

“I’m really excited. I absolutely love it. I’ve come along with all my family and we’re looking forward to having our photo taken.”

This news item appeared in my local newspaper. I have changed nothing but the names. I never look a gift horse in the mouth and this was obviously a message from the gods of satire. You may look forward to further bulletins from Bafflesby …

 

 

A Pat on the Back

My blog is a few months old and I have just received a nomination for The Blogger Recognition Award. I would like to thank T. Wayne of A Joyful Process for this. Click on the blog title in the previous sentence to view his many thoughtful, varied and readable posts.

The rules for this award are very specific:

1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to

2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

3. Write a post to show your award.

4. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.

6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

7. Attach the award badge to the post (right click and save, then upload.)

8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them.

9. Provide a link  to the original post on Edge of Night 

For #9, click the name above. For the rest, here goes …

I started my blog because I was looking for something a little deeper than Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I love splashing about in the shallow end but I like to get out of my depth sometimes. How else will I know if I can swim?

I try to be adventurous and not worry too much about my image or ‘niche-appeal’. To be fair, a narrow focus may suit some bloggers but I prefer to be unconstrained – at least until I discover an authentic writing voice.

I view blogging as a global writers’ collective, an inspiring stage in humanity’s lurch towards cultural evolution. I often comment on other posts, partly as a way of building my own readership but also because blogging is a two-way thing – a dialogue between like minds.

My own nominations seem to share these ideals and values. I search for satire, reflection, laughter, passion, insight, sharing – here are a few of the blogs where I find them .  I’m following 128 sites and many of them are no less rewarding than these, so please accept my apology if yours isn’t here:

garfieldhug.wordpress.com

problemswithinfinity.com

opherworld.wordpress.com

thetroublesometraveller.com

storytimewithjohn.com

publikworks.wordpress.com

nebusresearch.wordpress.com

eddiestarblog.wordpress.com

stevehigginslive.com

thenicessist.com

bensbitterblog.com

sillyoldsod.com

stephellaneous.wordpress.com

echoesfromthepath.com

entertishworld.com

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Please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong. A post like this stretches the cyberskills of an old codger like me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arts Wars

When I began A Nomad In Cyberspace six months ago, my declared aim was to avoid going over old ground. Then I proceeded to write about my childhood memories, musical nostalgias and firmly-entrenched opinions. Ha, so much for mission statements! Memoirs Of An Old Codger, you might think, though you’re much too polite to say it to my face.

Well, go ahead. I’m a grown-up. I can take it.

More than that, I need it. Any writer worth his salt must have something to offer the present. The young Arthur Rimbaud, who seemed to pack a lifetime’s experience into his brief career as a poet, put this as well as anyone.

It’s necessary to be absolutely modern.

No hymns: hold the yard gained. Harsh night! The dried blood smokes on my face, and I’ve nothing at my back but that horrible stunted tree.

I take ‘modern’ to mean ‘future-proof’ as well as ‘of the moment’ because Rimbaud’s writing never seems dated. His words above wouldn’t have been out of place in Sam Beckett’s existentialist play Waiting For Godot, almost eighty years later.

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Trying to develop as a writer in your sixties, it’s easy to feel daunted by young writers like Rimbaud and John Keats who were done and dusted before they were a third your age. But the precocious perception of the 24 year-old Keats can give an old-timer hope.

The common cognomen of this world among the misguided and superstitious is ‘a vale of tears’ from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitrary interposition of God and taken to Heaven – What a little circumscribed straightened notion! Call the world if you Please “The vale of Soul-making” … Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence – There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions – but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself.

As a humanist, I can find little to argue with here – his philosophy seems closer to Buddhism than to conventional Christianity. As a teacher, I welcome his rejection of passive fatalism in favour of an active existentialism and feel that this wise young man still holds out a generous hand to other young people struggling to find a foothold – nil desperandum, he seems to say, just hang on in there because things can only get better. And as one who has somehow made it through, I can only confirm the beautiful truth – and truthful beauty – of his prescient insight. Everyone deserves to discover that ripeness is all.

But the young teach the old as much as they learn from them. When your own future is ‘circumscribed’, to echo Keats, hope comes from the future of others. And as a would-be writer I want to communicate with everyone, not just the old and nostalgic. I must live in the present, in the harsh light of day rather than the rosy glow of evening.

To stretch the metaphor – only in the here and now, together, can we bear to face the black night to come. Your energy becomes mine. I was young, as you will be old. Je est un autre, said Rimbaud, I is another. Perhaps we are become a single being in cyberspace? Could this be the starship Paul Kantner said we should hijack? Mankind gone from the cage, he sang when the internet was still just a hippie dream, all the years gone from your age. Only connect …

Alas, the fragile web of language comes apart so easily. These days, I need to hear the snap and crack of a scourge. And spurred on by guilt at the mighty mess my generation has left yours to clear up – our old freedom cry of Do your own thing long since hijacked to justify the selfish individualism that rampages across the planet like a bull in a china shop – yes, spurred on by morality and creaky metaphor, I might yet do something. Think Lucky driven ever onward by the whip of a greedy Pozzo

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Lucky I might be – luckier than Lucky, for sure – but the mess isn’t all my fault. I never voted for those bastards …

In downbeat moments, I do wonder whether my moment has passed. A one-act play competition at the local theatre galvanised me into finishing one of my dribbling dialogues as I drolly dub them. The winner was a brilliant young poet called Toby Campion.

If this floats your boat, you can view another of his performance monologues by hitting the Sob Story link on my menu cloud.

Yeah yeah, Sob Story. The title is two months old. My sobs are subsided. Now I can take it. I’m grown up. And it doesn’t hurt – would I lie to you? – when a feller loses to a younger, more vigorous competitor …

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The beautiful truth, of course, is that all competitors share in the genuine victory of the better man. Here is a young talent with striking maturity, a unique voice that combines celebration with a call to arms and the bravery to speak up for a town and even a whole region. My private victory was in finishing a play for the first time.

Unless you count the script for a horror film I wrote as a kid. Bored on holiday and fed up with the feeble fright-factory that was Hammer Horror, I resolved to come up with something really scary. With my brother and sister and a couple of other kids in the cast, we performed it to an audience of parents. The details have gone – perhaps blotted out to spare my own psyche – but the upshot was that they confiscated my pens for the whole fortnight.

This time round, my only regret is not making the shortlist which would have earned me some official feedback. With that in mind, I’m publishing my one-act play online. If you have an hour or so to spare, you are welcome to take a look. Click on Beyond The Gilded Cage and a Word document should load after a few moments. I really would appreciate any opinions, the more candid the better. It is necessary to be absolutely modern. And as Keats almost said, No pain, no gain …

More Fun Than A Barrel of Monkeys

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How many bloggers, I wonder, have also kept diaries or journals? Since 1980 I have been writing down my wonderings in big red books – a whole shelf of them by now – and starting this blog was cheaper than buying a new bookcase. But my real reason for the switch, I suspect, was a desire to go public.

My journal was always an open secret – unlike Sam Pepys who wrote his diary in code and hid it behind the wainscot – and so I never minded when my family sneaked a look. Let them mock, I thought, they’re only jealous! I stopped writing it because I wanted to conserve my creative energies for proper writing – stories, plays, poems, whatever.

Book publishing is an on-off switch – you’re either published or you’re not – whereas blogging offers a gentle continuum between private and public. You begin with no followers and write in the dark. When interest gradually arrives, you start to write for an audience – people on similar wavelengths whose blogs you read and respond to, in return.

The idea of being in a writers’ collective appeals to my idealistic nature – something cynics say you grow out of, although I find my idealism has only deepened with age and grandchildren. The world should be a better place and the internet seems to offer humanity its best shot at improving things. Human evolution, if it’s anything any more, is now a cultural phenomenon …

But I won’t run ahead of myself. Plenty of time to develop big ideas, when you publish a regular blog. Let’s stick with blogging … and lists. I may be knocking on in years but I’m just a whippersnapper when it comes to the blogosphere. Five months in, I’m like a kid with a new toy. Yeah, lists …

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  1. Saving Drafts – just like doodling in art, this keeps the fun alive
  2. Thinking up snappy titles and eye-catching tags
  3. Ordering your posts with careful categories
  4. Surfing the net for Media to illustrate your posts
  5. Getting feedback for your stuff
  6. Starting conversations with people around the world
  7. Watching the Category Cloud reflect your developing interests
  8. Fiddling around with old posts to improve your Archive
  9. Learning new communication skills, both verbal and visual
  10. Having a constant incentive to write

When it comes to dislikes, so far so good … unless you count a slight suspicion that featured posts are mostly if not entirely upgrades … but let’s keep this post upbeat, eh? Perhaps the secret of increasing readership is to find a Niche, but for now I’ll just keep firing off at random as the mood takes me. Best therapy in ages and if somebody else likes it, so much the better!

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