Running From Safety.

After (very thankfully) a lot of years on the planet I’ve only quite recently come to know and understand a part of myself that was a mystery. It’s about fear, and I really never noticed how fearful people are. A small comment here, a nervous tic there, a fully loaded seat of the pants on that roller coaster you really thought you wanted to go on, and etc. For people like us, who have so many of the luxuries existence can offer, we have so many fears, foibles, anxieties, and near-misses on the seat-of-the-pants-filling side of things.

When it occurred to me how much of my life was controlled by secret fears I began wondering how I ever got this far, and then it hit me, just like people who know me would like to do if they thought they could get away with it.

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I’ve met some interesting writers thanks to Chuck Wendig.

I’ve been occasionally looking in on his site for a few years, but rarely posting anything and, until recently, not with this moniker which isn’t, by the way, my real name. Just so you know. As I mentioned in a probably buried post, I’ve had this blog for 5 years but never did a thing with it until recently. Some of you may be sorry I did anything with it ever. So, I’ve uploaded a bit of stuff I’ve written over the years, not because it’s my best work but because it was all I could find after 4 laptop changes and a hundred lost USB sticks.

Now that I’ve drawn you in this far, I’ll … no, fuck it … I’ll circle the point a little more. Because what’s the point of having a reader if you can’t annoy them? Ahem. Moving right along …

Wendig’s latest Workshop is to post the first line of your WIP – that’s writer’s talk for Work In Progress. Yeah, we have ‘talk’ because we’re all cool and shit. Here’s the link to the Workshop.

Being something of an arsehole myself, I dropped a fictitious line in there just for fun. It made me laugh, and I didn’t mean any harm because I just thought everyone else would roll right over the top of it. Then I panicked. I figured I’d better have some sort of story to back that line up with. The thing is, I couldn’t stop laughing, even later in the shopping centre, which brought me some odd looks. Those first two lines were so dystopian I had no real choice but to write further in that fashion, but because men grow older but never grow up, the boy in me – the one who still thinks dick and fart jokes are outrageously funny – couldn’t get past all that.

So now, finally, I’m coming to the point. I started writing Dystopia as soon as I got home. An hour later, with several offensive gags under my belt (Think about that. Hee hee. I told you I’m such a boy!) Here’s the first instalment. NSFW, NSFL, NSFA.

If the spirit moves you, write the next part. If you’re not nearly as juvenile as I am, I’ll keep picking away at it as time and motivation permits.

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Stay With Me.

My new friend and source of inspiration, Ada Ireland, wrote a beautiful poem: ‘Break My Heart Thoroughly.’ Ada and I had decided – okay, I hassled her into it – to do a short story that was no-holds-barred.

So far, I’ve uploaded a lot more dark stories than the lighter ones I’ve written. That tradition is sort of going to continue with this story, but I’lll get to the sweeter ones later, I promise. Before launching into this one I’ll just note that some years ago I used to do mixed media stories. I’d find a song I liked on YouTube and I’d write a backstory to it. I’ve done that here. If you’re interested in experiencing this mix there’s an intended format. Please read the story first and then play the video. To do it the other way around will spoil the intended effect, and I’d like you to ‘get’ this as I intended it. Humour me; it’s not going to cost you anything but a little self-regulation and patience.

Here’s the vid link:

So, here’s ‘Stay With Me.’

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Break My Heart Thoroughly.

Every now and then, if you’re very lucky, you come across something so exceptional that you want to scream, call the fire department, or climb a tower dressed as a clown.

There’s a new talent in town, and she’s a beauty. Ada Ireland, take a very well-deserved bow.

Read it and weep. Powerful, compelling, incisive, insightful, and all the other superlatives.

The Alchemist.

I wrote this in 1999 with a vague plan in mind. I wanted to create a character so charmingly vicious that he could make you laugh while he was doing the most horrendous things. He began ‘life’ as a wizard but over the years I refined his basic character and have used him as a psychopathic village school teacher and as an evil entity, part dragon and part demon, who acted as a tutor in the teacher’s reign of terror.

I began by wondering what you’d end up with if you took a highly intelligent man (in this case, but a woman could be incredible, too) who knew exactly what he was and delighted in being it. A few years later, Hannibal Lecter burst onto the scene in ‘Silence of the Lambs’, and his steady heartbeat maintained while he was doing the most gruesome things reminded me of this character. Friends weren’t so sure; they said my character was Hannibal on crack.

I had thought that if you invent a character who is so obviously evil, you can significantly cut down on the amount of graphic detail in a story. The reader’s imagination can speak louder and more thoroughly. I thought it was important to make him somehow likeable, and that got a huge reaction from readers. They liked his humour and candidness even though what he was doing with them was awful.

I hope you enjoy this short story and please, remember he’s standing behind you. You’ll know what I mean when you get to the end.

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Free Tibet.

I think this short story was written in 2008. I had lived in China for some years previously, but it was a few years after leaving before I could even think of it without bitterness. I had met a really nice Canadian couple in my travels who had been to Tibet, and the man told me he’d been a pilot in the Korean War. I wrote this as an exercise in voicing disapproval without becoming a ranting maniac, and once again in practicing writing about love and tragedy.

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Chuck Wendig’s ‘Filthy Weirdo’s’ Flash Fiction Challenge

Chuck Wendig is the Ultimate Filthy Weirdo and a hell of a good writer. More than that, though, he’s a guy who shares what he’s learned and offers non-stop encouragement punctuated by butt plug bookends and monkeys doing painful shit to alien anuses.

So, after spending a few days unpicking the panties some retarded Christian app designers used to jam his butt right up to (and including) his transverse colon, he decided on a joint project smack down  – this Challenge.

In 2000 words, we’re encouraged and sort of mildly threatened/intimidated into compliance with his fight for shite. For my part, which is the first Wendig Challenge I’ve undertaken, I excerpted from Book 1 of a trilogy I wrote in 2013. To fit the word count I truncated some of the original, but only to keep the smut count as high as possible.

Here ’tis. Enjoy, and go visit Wendig.

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Abducting Innocence.

“Don’t call the cops.” And with that, my life became a nightmare. The voice was obviously made through one of those medical voice simulators; unrecognisable.  Of course, the first thing I did was call the police and it was extremely lucky I used my mobile phone to do so, because half way through dialling my land line phone rang again. It was the ‘voice’, just “checking to see that I hadn’t been stupid”. The line went dead at the same moment the one on my mobile sprang to life.

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As I shuffled around in the hard-backed seat, trying to find a comfortable place in the coal-smoke filled cabin, my mind wandered back to the events of the last few days. There I was, poor little Zoey, the one they all said would never find a man or amount to much, riding on a train across the country to meet up with the man who was now my husband. Our wedding just days earlier had been a quiet one. His family and mine didn’t make it; the first because they thought I was a bad choice for their boy and the second because they were just too dirt-poor to get there. We were there, though, and that was all that mattered to me. 1942 would be a year I’d never forget.

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Be prepared.” Not a bad motto for a boy scout, and an even better one for a soldier. More often than not the person who wins is the one who is ready to do more, go further, and keep pushing long after others have given up. And that’s pretty much the story of my life. There’s a cost to have an unrelenting philosophy, and I’ve paid it. Pretty soon I think I’m going to pay again so I’ll try to put these thoughts into some sort of order for anyone who might find them useful in the future.

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I will never forget riding on my fathers’ shoulders. The bullet that killed him passed through my leg before hitting him in the brachial plexus. He bled to death internally. The day I was shot, the day my father died there in the short grass, was the day my brother Peter stopped believing in God and my brother Michael started.

Isn’t it odd that we say we’ve come a long way when in fact many of us hardly move at all? We pass the years in a sort of mechanical blur, never really thinking about the day we’re experiencing and how it affects the totality of our existence. We look back at weeks that have flown and years that we recall in highlight rather than detail. Ask someone to tell you about their last twenty years and chances are they’ll tell you their most memorable highlights. The rest just becomes clutter stored away in the billions of cells in our brain.

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Telephone Line

My second attempt at a love story. Inspired by a friend who asked me if I thought real love ever dies. I said I wasn’t sure if I’d fallen in love before, but I knew I’d trodden in it a few times. Writing this short story was a way to avoid the good slapping I no doubt deserved.

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“Oh, no. Not You Again!”

If this blog was sentient this is what it would be thinking. At least, this is the printable version of what it’d be thinking. I set this space up back in 2010 after the most brilliant community I was part of imploded in a shower of ‘couldn’t give a fuck’ by the administrator. My friends and I were digitally homeless as a result. Some went out into the stars, some went to fuckfacebook, others to sites that soon after followed in the footsteps of the dinosaur, and some came here. Within a year, we’d all stopped blogging.

I don’t know how committed I am to this. I’d like a place to park my earlier attempts at writing, and I don’t mind talking to myself. Maybe later I’ll record, for dubious posterity, how I came to be here. It’s a 16-year saga of fun, international co-operation, a lot of batshit craziness, and a hat tip to the authors, bloggers, and friends who’ve inspired me.

Here we go. Again.