Luskentyre

…OR MID-DISTANCE car trip. I know which one I like the sound of. I’ll be away for a week from civilisation, if civilisation can be defined as the presence of wi-fi, a coffee shop nearby and neighbours you never knew existed despite them having lived directly below you for years.

I don’t think I’ll be posting anything while I’m on holiday with my girlfriend, so this is me putting up the ‘CLOSED’ sign, a gone fishing kinda thing, although the only fish I’ll have will be in a restaurant – caught by someone else.

A road trip around Scotland isn’t exotic, but it’ll be a welcome break for both of us (plus look at the pic!). It is about time we faced the midgies and all that they can muster. I’m half tempted to take up smoking again to keep them at bay. You might think a strictly mythical beast like Nessie would be the scarier prospect, but no, midgies, the mosquitoes of the north can be horrific and are harder to kill.

Of course I may attempt to hunt a haggis or ‘haggi’ as I believe the collective term is, we’ll see how successful that is – not sure how much the hunting permits are and if it is even in season. Might have a perusal of the odd home, or castle as we call them. The nice thing about being in a car is we can stop anytime and go anywhere, there’s no transport to catch or deadlines to meet. I’m sure I’ll think of some interesting writing projects and ideas while in the Highlands.

So I bid you adieu for a week and thank you to all my readers, commenters, and followers known or otherwise :)

.PARents divorced.

..Left school early.

…Survived on oddjobs and benefits.

….Died in a hospital bed.

 

I’m experimenting to see how concise writing can evoke an entire life for whoever you just imagined from those four sentences above.

gaza bombing

IF I BOMB a school. I expect to kill children.

If I bomb a hospital. I expect to kill the sick and wounded.

If I bomb a house. I expect to kill a family.

But.

 What does Israel expect?

The Economics Of Creative Writing

Posted: August 23, 2014 in Short Story

lion around writing:

This sums up writing for many.

Originally posted on The Dish:

by Dish Staff

Nick Ripatrazone urges more pragmatism in creative-writing education:

Creative writing should be taught as an art, and as a business. A creative writing program that only includes the former can unwittingly reinforce romantic stereotypes of writing. A young student might major in creative writing. She could become a wonderful poet, and a well-read critic. But she needs to know that poetry doesn’t pay the bills. This is the inside joke of creative writing programs in America. We know creative writing doesn’t make money, and yet we continue to graduate talented writers with no business acumen. At best, it is misguided. At worst, it is fraudulent.

He thinks it “reasonable to expect that graduates of a discipline understand the economic realities of that discipline”:

[I]f we don’t talk about the business of creative writing, we perpetuate the myth that money always stains art. Does it often? Of course…

View original 312 more words

cat omgI realise I haven’t posted a cat specific post before, I think you’ll agree it’s a glaring omission from my body of work. If I don’t add to the quota the internet may break.

IF HE COULD speak or if I could interpret meows, he would say:
‘I want them back. What have you done with my balls?’

I feel guilt. My partner feels it too.
Our kitten no longer has testicles. It is as if we might have drained him of his true cat essence, like his cat persona would be altered beyond all recognition after a neutering. He’s a really smart kitten, bites and runs around like crazy. So far the loss of testicles hasn’t affected him, although with lowered testosterone he does seems a bit more affectionate. Still, volunteering him for catstration (yeah deliberate mispelling – ha!) seems like a horrible prank that the vet was surprisingly complicit with. No going back now! Not that the vet has stored his balls anyway. Which raises the question: What happens to them?! Is there a black market?

drowning in narrativeWORDPRESS – IT’S a wonderful thing. I see a ton of inspirational news stories, creative writing and photography to name just some of the worthy content. However, despite the immediacy of publishing a post and the potential audience (if connected enough) there’s definitely a sort of mental cut off in terms of what people are prepared to read through regarding word count.

Much beyond 500 words and people will seldom click on your short story or article. Comments will be on a yearly basis. The thing is I can’t even be annoyed, because I have the exact same tendency. I can’t be irritated that stories aren’t read when I myself would balk at the word length, irrespective of story quality. EVEN if I click on a post link and the story is interesting, well written and engaging I still find myself thinking, ‘Yeah, but it’s 865 words long…’ 

Vine, Twitter and Facebook combined with endless ‘Top 10′ links centering on irrelevance are easy to see as root causes in peoples attention span shrinking. But is that it really? I’m not so sure. Perhaps we are simply drowning in a pool of electric narratives; the only lifeboat is another story. Games, the news, movies, books, advertising – they are all competing for space in your world. I guess that is the challenge. Writer’s have never had it so tough. Visual media is running away with the flag. Reclaiming it won’t be easy, but where there are ideas, there are writers. Now I’m off to comment on a short story that’s 499 words…

night bus edinburghI WAVE THE day ticket at the uninterested driver. For all he knows, it’s a piece of plain paper. The automaticity of his job, the rote part of the brain doesn’t register on the night bus. A home to silent humans, allowing the bumps and noises of the machine to be the soundtrack.
Looking space is highly sought after. Eye contact is strongly discouraged – don’t even look yourself in the reflection of the window, because there will be a set of eyes looking back that aren’t your own.  Cursed are the ones who have to sit facing all other eyes, feeling the watchers read their minds cover to cover.

The top deck is off limits to those over 30, a land where the lewd and ropey rule, alongside cans that roll from one end to the next every five minutes. UV light adds a sinister touch as if to say, shoot up by all means but not on here.

On top of all this you are forced to look outward at people who avoid the ignominy of public transport in extra shiny metal cars, content, calm and lost in their own heads or music. Stall you bastards! But no, they roll on, and roll on past. Home soon. Sickos.

A dodgy looking drunkard fails to materialise ruining the authenticity – a stereotypical passenger, who wants always, of all the empty seats, the one next to me. Only saggy grey haired people riding for free look happy – all others feel peeved, resentful of the bone life has thrown them. I must travel amidst others?! What kind of twisted hell is this? With fogged up windows and a days stale air. Madness!

Each stop piques the interest. Who’s getting on? Who’s getting off? New faceless people come and go, tickets get issued, passes get scanned. Meanwhile, everyone sits as far away as possible from another person depending on the combination available. Sometimes, someone has to sit next to another person they don’t know, an edge of the seat journey for them, desperately trying to avoid knocking a knee against them. And as soon as another seat becomes vacant they jump and lurch for freedom, for their own personal space, dumping a bag on the outside to prevent any unwanted raids, wanting to keep the inner circle free of stranger. I find, an empty packet of crisps and the hood up works a charm.

 

john crawford shot*Amended – because I got Michael Brown and John Crawford names mixed up. That’s how messed up this situation is, that I can make that mistake so easily. Guns don’t kill people, policemen do. 

BRAND NEW,

Feeling – brand new

A new purchase freshly scanned through.

 

Next to the car,

Sudden pain,

All asphalt and white lines

Car tyres.

A S.W.A.T team stand

Guns silent

But ultra violent,

As if being young,

And black

With a pellet  gun

Is the cue to saturate the hue.

50 Psi

Shouldn’t be anyone’s last memory

In the car park

In daylight or dark.

This,

is not one,

But many too many.

20140808-231326-83606071.jpg

A WOMAN, HALF leather, half low slung jeans does the cigarette shuffle, slowing briefly to light up before a puff of smoke appears above her dyed hair.

Loud talking in a serious tone approaches, louder with each pavement devouring brogue, every call a matter of utmost importance, unless of course it’s a family member. Cologne so expensive it smells cheap drowns all, emanating from his now already distant clean cut suit.

A young guy sporting his first facial fuzz and a lopsided cap leans cockily on a bus shelter peering expectantly up the road, drawing heavy on a rollie. He hasn’t watched a James Dean film but subconsciously he’s trying. A scrap of paper falls from his pocket as he finishes the dig for change. Is he picking it up when the street’s covered in litter anyway?

Two teenage girls walk side by side talking intently about the situation in Gaza; dissapointingly, through unintentional earwigging it becomes apparent it’s actually ‘Prada’. Primark bags dangle from their slender arms I guess they’re keeping a sweatshop worker in a job. One set of arm is fake tanned despite the summer heatwave. The way the sun strikes the arse of one of them, you can see the misaligned thong through the nylon leggings. It’s a barely forgivable misjudgement of the elasticity of fabric.

Pic to follow!

MY FIRST PROTEST in Edinburgh was a great experience. It was sad that the need to protest had arisen. The Israeli bombardment on Palestine is entirely unjustified and breaks numerous international conventions. As usual the UN is entirely ineffective, America is joined at the hip with Israel and the UK just stays quiet, trying to hide in the back row, shooting knowing winks at the US when it turns around. When genuine atrocities involving innocent people occur, Western countries have no care unless there is a natural resource to exploit, dictators like Mugabe stay in power for 0ver thirty years.

Back to the protest. It was about boycotting Israel as much as being pro-Palestine (NOT anti-Israel as the media will say). Was it peaceful? Entirely. Was there a diverse group of people? Yes. Did it get the message across? – sadly, no. Because none of the protests or rallies mean a dam thing to people in power; it’s a minor distraction, it’s not even a fly landing on their walnut desk, right next to the contract for heavy duty weaponry.

The reality is that protesting shows the discontent of citizens. Nothing else. Once upon a time in the West, protests led to revolutions at the extreme and change of some sort at the least. People had power, and we still do, but governments are now lapdogs to corporations who certainly don’t care about anyone other than a boardroom of grey haired men.

This post isn’t meant to come across as ‘anti-protest’. Joining hundreds of people for a common cause was great. Raising awareness of the injustice of Israel’s attacks on Palestine can only be a good thing. It is easy to be naïve in this era and think that politicians will jerk up out of their seats and do something good for people. There’s a genuine dire need for a top down change. Protesting can show public fury, but it doesn’t get rid of corrupt politics or war mongers and their friends.