Friday, 7 March 2014
To whoever finds this letter
please thank the pigeon
I'm stuck on an island
fuck knows where, please send help
I got your letter,
I gave the pigeon some bread and sent you a tuna sandwich
can you describe where you are?
Thanks for the sandwich
all I can see is sand and sea, a few trees and the remains of the aeroplane
where it crashed
That's not much help, I need some directions
A crash? Fuck
Are you badly injured? What happened to the other passengers?
I'm feeling amazingly well, considering
sorry to say the other passengers are all dead now
just me and the pigeon
Bloody hell old chap how long have you been out there?
Here's a pencil and some more paper so you can draw the island
maybe we can work out where it is.
I've lost track of days, I think it's been a few months,
You should see my motherfucking beard,
Here's my drawing
Thanks for the drawing
I'll see if anyone recognises it,
but one small thing, what are those black things on the beach?
Oh the black things?
Those are the rest of them from the plane. Well what's left of them
just bones, I can't eat the fucking bones as well
Are you saying you ate them?
What are you, an animal?
Who would do such a thing? Seriously man.
Calm down you prick
Most of them were already dead, I only shot a few.
What do you take me for? I couldn't eat the pigeon
It's Bob for the last time
You murdering scumbag, this is the last time you'll hear from me
You can shove the pigeon up your arse
Are you there Bob?
For Fuck's sake! This island is doing my head in.
(C) Ally Atherton 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
Pearly gates or no pearly gates
God won't worm it out of me
He's supposed to be
he should know where I've hidden the keys
It's not my fault there's a backlog
This is written for this week's Trifecta challenge.
You have to write a 33 word piece using the word prompt
using the third definition
'to obtain or extract by artful or insidious questioning or by pleading,
asking or persuading'. Pop along and join in and connect with some lovely writers.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
The Return by Joseph Conrad
Alvan Hervey arrives home from work and discovers that his wife has written him a letter, even though she knew he'd be home for dinner.
He reads it and the ground opens up underneath his feet.
It seems Joseph Conrad gets a mention in every book on writing I've ever set my eyes on,
so I felt it was almost my duty as an aspiring writer to pick this up when I came across it at my local library. It's only a small book so I was able to read it in a couple of sittings and it's
about time I read another 'classic'.
I wouldn't say this was the most gripping thing I have ever read and it's not exactly a page turner in any sense. But it is a thoroughly intense affair and captivating in it's own way as we experience from all angles the horror and frustration of the main character as he deals with the discovery of his wife's unfaithfulness.
It was first published in 1898 in a magazine called 'Tales of Unrest' but it is surprisingly easy to read and accessible unlike a lot of books of that period. In fact it could well have been written in the modern era.
Alvan Hervey, the main character, lives in a world of straight lines and hastily folded evening papers, a world that lacks passion and spontaneity. This perhaps is his downfall and ultimately, I think the downfall of his marriage too. I like the overall message, the overall theme of this book.
2nd March 2014
Write a Novel and get it published
by Nigel Watts and Stephen May
I have read a few fantastic and very helpful books over the years on the subject of writing but this is the first one that I feel the need to stick to my desk and have it in full sight whenever I am writing! It is a must read for anybody wanting to progress as a fiction writer and contains more than just the nuts and bolts of what you need to know.
All the chapters are easy to read and extremely helpful and encouraging. I particularly liked the chapters on Plotting and the Eight-Point Arc but every chapter is full to bursting with useful and essential knowledge about writing.
I won't say much more about this book which receives a 10/10 from me because I need to go and fix it permanently to my writing desk, immediately, before I forget.
I have been concentrating on my writing so far this year and it seems I have been neglecting my book reviews. So here, better late than never is my first review of 2014. As usual I will be perfectly honest about what I think but hopefully positive and charming in the process ;)
A pleasure cruise on his father's boat turns into a disaster for Kyle when his friend Brie is hit by a powerboat and disappears under the lake. Underwater and mortally injured she discovers a secret cave with a mysterious pool full of magical green water with miraculous properties.
This is a book that I got free on my kindle a while ago and being a short read I thought it was time to give it a go. This is my second Mike Wells book having previously read Lust, Money & Murder Book One. There are so many parallels between the two, notably their length but more strikingly their easy reading value but also their overall 'thinness'.
This is a very short book which can easily be read in one sitting but I preferred (as I usually do) to chew it over for a few days. It is a mildly entertaining piece of escapism. However the plot is as thin as the characters are and like 'Lust, Money & Murder' it very much felt like I was reading something in a short story magazine. Not a woman's magazine this time but perhaps a Young Adult Fiction one.
It was also a bit of a disappointment to find that the story didn't end (at the end) but was to be continued in Book Number 2, which is available I'm sure at Smashwords as well as other places like Amazon. Offering part one of a series FREE is a clever and useful sales technique but it's helpful to be warned before hand!
Overall fans of Young Adult Fiction would probably enjoy this more than a middle aged bald bloke like me but it was ok.
It just didn't blow me away in any shape or form. It was more like a gentle breeze than an incoming storm. Give this a go if you can get it free or relatively cheap like I did, I'd be interested to know what you think. Feel free as always to contact me, I don't bite. Not unless you ask me nicely.
I may even do you a book review but I will be brutally honest if necessary ;)
My next book, a non fiction book on writing.
Monday, 24 February 2014
At six I believed
all my lies were written down and collected in a bag.
To this day I always hear the sound of paper folding
when you say you love me
that wasn't what I meant.
(C) Ally Atherton 2014
This was written for the Trifextra Challenge and this week the challenge
is to write a 33 word piece ending in the line
that wasn't what I meant
Why don't you pop around and see what it's all about?
Maybe take part and connect with some fab writers and lovely people.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
"Time is the longest distance between two places."
~ Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
It's 12 35 and the clock has stopped and that's never happened before.
It was 12 35 when I was born and it has been ever since.
I have found myself knee deep in shit and it is dark, so dark I don't know where the ground starts and the sky begins. I am searching for the seam.
I am coughing and farting and vomiting at the same time. There should be a word for this phenomenon but at the moment I am happy for it to remain wordless.
I have other things on my mind and many questions.
Is this human shit or animal shit that I am sitting in?
Where am I and who am I? And why has the clock stopped?
I can't begin to describe what it's like to live every 12 35 that has ever existed and to be every person that has lived and breathed for just 33 seconds.
That's all I have ever been given. It's not a lot of time at all, barely enough time to scratch my arse or brush my teeth.
I've been around the block.
I was there when they knocked down the Berlin Wall, I was Queen Victoria's chamber maid, I witnessed the great funk of 2257 and I even fucked Marilyn Monroe once for 33 seconds. Couldn't really get into it.
But most of the time it wasn't like that. Most of the time I was insignificant. Doing mundane things for 33 seconds like fastening my cuff links or crocheting or barking. That last one wasn't because I was insane, I was a German sheep dog once.
But now it's 12 36 and I'm up to my knees in shit trying to think of a word for coughing, farting and vomiting at the same time. I think I found the sky.
I wrote this short piece for two challenges this week, Trifecta and Write On Edge.
For Trifecta the challenge was to write between 33 and 333 words using the word prompt, Funk. (The third definition of the word meaning a slump.) For Write on Edge the prompt was the Tennessee Williams quote that opened my piece. Take a look at both of these fantastic challenges, join in and connect.
Thursday, 13 February 2014
If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge
I had oatmeal for breakfast because I rolled a four.
It's the way I start every day, with a choice. I've had oatmeal three times this week, I don't know if that makes me lucky or healthy or both.
Every morning as the clock strikes eight I run to the water's edge and drop to my knees.
I wash the die with my eyes
closed and say your name in my mind's eye.
I am only allowed to say it once so if I get it wrong there are no second chances. I have learned to say it one small syllable at a time.
Sometimes when I say it I feel your breath on the back of my neck and I can hear you laugh as you fly through the sky with the clouds and the seagulls. On some days I get nothing. I'm just cold and wet and sometimes it feels like your name is one step ahead of me and already spoken before I get the chance to catch up with it.
Then I open my eyes and write everything I should be thankful for in the sand or the name of everybody who has ever hurt me or every bad thing that I have done recently - depending on whether I roll a 1, 2 or a 3.
Today I rolled a 1. I am thankful for breathing, for gravity, for the oatmeal.
Then I rolled a 5 and made my way back, knowing that the sea would do it's job and receive my words in it's own time. Whenever I get a 6 I have to wait and make sure it happens. That happened on Monday and it was pissing down.
I wrote this as part of this week's writing prompt over at Write on Edge Take a look, take part. Connect.
It's not like going to the dentist and having a tooth out
I had to discuss this, I had to talk to my husband. You don't have
a family meeting about a tooth extraction. You bear and grin an extraction
and you go home with some painkillers. I don't think
there's any pain killer that can touch the loss of something that can break
up a marriage. It's that big.
It's devastating, I don't know if I can go through this but it's that or the highway
You can't just go back and grow two more. But I'm not ready to kiss
my daugther goodbye either.