Cleanliness – SHORT STORY

      YOU CANNOT CLEAN your hands in dirty water – 0h, and how long I had been trying. All that scrubbing, inspecting my only skin under all the light, all that soap, lathering up into a froth, until every speck of dirt was purged into the filthy basin that looked so pristine once, slurped at by the gurgling spoked sink hole.
Turning the tap off, I dared to look in the mirror dappled with toothpaste and flossing collateral. I dry my hands and look at them, front and back, with a detachment as if viewing exhibits in a museum of sickness.

Nobody ever told me, you can’t clean your insides but I tried. I’d been bleaching the hallways of my within vicariously, gallon barrels kicked over, scorching through the dead life, cleansing with harsh notes, a burning sensation without degrees.
And so I stood outside, with clean hands and a book – of matches. The quickest quick read. With the reek of petrol fresher than destruction coating the paintwork of the building, I lit three on the strip, tossing them into the flammable.

With each change in colour I felt cleaner, and by the time the building caught the entire attention of the fire, my mind felt lighter as demons exited through solid bone. Burn in hell is a common phrase. Seems a little distant. Now is better.

Patient confidentiality with my psychologist, let me tell the stories. I think they were eager to assist me now we had worked through several sessions. Eager was the wrong word – perhaps, bound? Underneath my confessions, I sensed fear. Of their workplace. Of their car. Of their possessions, all going up in smoke.

And I learned every issue I had could be neatly summarised into one word: transference; my inner fury had to have an outlet, I had to get clean somehow – fire – the other soap. Fixing years of damage would not be easy Dr. S. Galloway assured me. It would be a long road to recovery. All I could think was, are roads flammable?


lion around 2



THE WEEKLY SIX: It’s back, alarmingly early, and you’re excited. And if you never knew about it, you just didnt know why you were excited. I’m going to shut up now (in typing terms). Enjoy! (P.S. If you want to post your own six word story in the comments go for it.)


Shop lights blacken. Manikins vacate windows.

Spiders entering mouth. Awoken – screaming… EIGHT!!!

Petroleum soaked linoleum – for insurance purposes.

Life knocked. Death answered. Mailman error.

A family member lived in basement…

Shrek recoiled, horrified at mediogre reviews.


lion around 2


Books vs Other Media

      book vs film

      WHEN I THINK of writing as a whole, I think of art, film and music as well. Each has a complimentary aspect to the writing craft. A picture can inspire a story. Even film at it’s foundation is not the moving image, but the written script. Music can evoke emotions that can enhance the writing process too.

Just for fun I want to take a look at what each medium brings to the Table of Story and what comparisons can be made as my analytical mind is let off the leash:

  1. Art – A picture either talks to you or it doesn’t, something about the colours, the subject matter and lay out. A picture is quite an immediate thing – Bam! – you see it, and you like it or you don’t. I have no science to back up how long that process is, but I imagine it is within the first few seconds, much how we appraise a new person we meet.
  2. Music – A step up from a picture or painting, one record tends to last around 3 minutes, a short time to assess it. Writing is often a 50% partner to the beat in forming the lyrics. Again, we tend to know by the end of the song, if not ten seconds in whether it is for us or not. But the time it takes is relatively fast, and music is probably the most virulent form of entertainment in terms of number of people it reaches.
  3. Film – A feature film is like a condensed book (and often is!). We have to watch it for over an hour+ in order to get the story, and we are breaking down the good and the bad as the run time expires. Time is invested and essential to determine how we rate a movie. In other words we have to spend time immersed in watching it to appreciate it fully, whether that is good, bad or mediocre.
  4. Books – Writing takes times to digest. I’m not sure what the average time to read a book is but I’d guess around the 8 hour mark. That is a severe investment in time. Novels are time hungry compared to the other media listed above and only you can read and turn the pages (forgetting audible etc). It takes longer to reach the reward of the end.

So, from art’s immediacy, you have musics’s accessibility and equally short digestion time. Film, takes us on an extended journey but with a significant investment of our attention, and books follow on with an even greater need of our time and the scale of a story can take us places unreachable by any other media.

They are related however. Books tell us stories, but so can a painting, a music track (especially hip hop) and film of course is predicated on doing what books do also. Are books the ultimate story telling format, because there is nothing extra beyond the words. No music can be added to add meaning or build tension. Your imagination builds the story world, all images are copyright to you. Everyone who reads a story, will have a different idea of what it looks like in their mind which in itself, is pretty incredible.

Disagree? Think I’m talking out of a certin place other than mouth? Have something to add? Please do.


lion around 2

The Things They Do – SHORT STORY

the girl who drew a phoenix simon and schuster


      THE PHONETIC SOUNDS of Vivaldi (just as he intended) echoed off the walls of my skull. Our phones had been ringing incessantly the whole morning.
In a rare moment of silence, I opened up my emails and clicked on a video link accompanied by, ‘You’ll love this Eve, Diane x’.
Within minutes the entire office; Doug, Jenny, Clara, Melissa, and Pauline were huddled around my work station as the cat video played, leading to laughter, Awww’s!, and declarations of cuteness.
Just as a once-fluffy white cat styled like a lion was batting at a glass on the edge of a kitchen counter, while the owner deplored it not to, yet somehow couldn’t stop filming… a collective groan greeted my ringing phone, my mobile this time.

‘Oh god, is she ok?’ Blood drained from my face, a hand on my mouth. I felt someone place one on my shoulder. ‘Ok, I’ll be there as soon as I can.’ My tone had gone flat and weak. ‘Something happened at home, I have to go…’
I didn’t wait for permission but vaguely recall somebody offering to drive.
I just hoped it wasn’t serious, they said Ashley was fine.
Home was ten minutes drive, and countless speed limits were broken as I floored it, windows open, trying to counter the high noon sun.

Within a mile my blood drained again, seeing a spire of thick black smoke rising from the midst of the sprawl of houses.
How many times could a heart sink in the time it took to drive Gilligan Street?
Cars were parked up on the pavements as I navigated the narrow roadway. Three fire engines were outside…my home, what was left of it.

Slamming the hand brake I ran towards my driveway, in numbness pushing past the onlookers until a fireman in a yellow outfit blocked my path

‘That’s my house!’ I yelled, nearly in tears. ‘Where’s my daughter? Where’s…’

‘Wait here!’

I watched, my body shaking, as firefighters on either side of my two-story house, fired water into the remaining one story, flames curling out, orange streaks flickering, the same fire that had destroyed everything precious to me.

Well, not everything…

Ashley was shouting, running along the pavement as if in slow motion; skipping over swollen hose pipes, wearing a wide gap toothed grin, her pigtails with blue streamers flowing behind her, the yellow jumpsuit she loved marred by black marks.

On my knees I stretched my arms out and when she nearly knocked me over I felt so relieved, hugging her tight and peppering her with kisses until I collected myself.

‘What happened my precious?’

She looked up at me as innocent as you like. ‘I wanted to make a phoe-nix appear!’

Dumbfounded, I looked at the remnants of home through watery eyes, tasting smoke every time I breathed. All I could think to say was, ‘Couldn’t you have burnt something smaller?’

She looked at me dead on, didn’t miss a beat. ‘The baby sitter is smaller! But Mum, I been thinky, bigger fire, bigger phoe-nix!’

Something went still on my left hand side.


lion around 2

Size: Entire Childhood – POEM

They wore wellies*,

For an entire childhood,

Spent until bankrupt, growing down,

Because, even when,

Predictable storms stopped raging,

Puddles, of unthinkable depth,

Were left in it’s brief wake,

Muddy, never-clear surfaces,

Cast rippled reflections,

That reminded them of their past,

And future…

Nothing ever changed, and doppelganger pallbearers,

Carried the coffins of dead selves,

But at least their feet were dry?!

No. Not even that.


* wellies are rubber boots or wellingtons

WordPress Tip: Tags

BORED OF TYPING in the same tags over and over again?

If you’ve been using WordPress for awhile you’ll know about tags. The words you use as tags identify the type of post you have written, and the key words used will help readers find you. For those new to blogging, tags are crucial to drive readers to your site. Using ‘book reviews’ as a tag will alert people who search for book reviews as your post will show up in the WordPress Reader.

Right, to ‘business’. A very quick hack for tagging in one click. Simply copy the tags of a post on your sites page, and then paste them into the ‘Tags’ box in your New Post. Done!

wordpress tags

Above: Copy every tag from the post. Then…


wordpres tag tip

Paste the tags into the Tags box of a New Post. And you’re done!


lion around 2



      IF YOU’RE A regular (or a blogular…) you know the drill. If not, you’ll soon see by diverting eyes downwards and reading left to right in a typical English fashion:

One punch. Hospitalised. Boxing still. Still.

Left for dead. Revenge…brr, so cold.

Cutting, stacking, burning; The human sawmill.

Carbon dated. It shouldn’t exist – yet.

The rusty gate squeaked: evil entered.

Bobblehead motionless, by time firefighters arrived.


lion around 2

Her Name (No More) – SHORT STORY

tattoo gun2

Part 1
Part 2

“Pretty good for free,” she said, traces of a smile still there.

I buttoned my shirt, thanked her again, and was about to leave when she said, Sleep well. Exiting the shop I heard loud uncontrollable giggling which made me pause once I was outside.


After 2am I awoke. Eyes opening with encouragement, they wandered down from greyscale walls to the white sheets: blinking, awakening. Something small and black raced across the end of the bed and hit the floor. It was about the size of a tarantula I’d once held as a child at what was termed a ‘petting zoo’ by my parents.

Sitting up, feeling sudden 7am alertness with a double espresso, heart in a quandary on whether to get excited or not decided it would wait. I put the bedside lamp on. Leaning over the side of the bed on both sides I looked for it, whatever it was.

I put my feet on the floor, the coolness pleasant, stood up and began searching, kicking and prodding at piles of clothes, searching for some proof I hadn’t hallucinated. Then I walked past the wardrobe, the mirror door reflecting me. But it was wrong! How could a mirror be wrong? A mirror was always truthful. I stood next to it and twisted. Underneath the see through wrap, I saw her name once more. And the wizard? The wizard was gone…or!? – looking at me from the floor behind me, the eyes lit up in blue, the crystal ball glowing orange and the wand…was raised up as if electrified and was swinging down, aimed at me, as I stood helpless as if made of stone.

Every night for the next three weeks until I had to call in sick to work from exhaustion, that fucking wizard woke me up once I fell asleep. I thought I was going crazy. Maybe I was crazy before anyway. So crazier? Even five diazepam couldn’t keep me asleep. In the depth of night the wizard appeared and began destroying things. The damage he inflicted was usually minimal due to his size, but have you ever taken a thunderbolt to the temple? Or been temporarily blinded by a crystal ball? Once he found his way to the kitchen glasses began to break, walls and cupboards became like ancient castle walls, peppered with dents. I’d tried capturing him. I’d tried everything. And when I eventually fell asleep once more he was there by my side, as if nothing had happened. Maybe I hadn’t tried everything?

I spent an afternoon going through the phonebook, of calling up and being hung up on, being asked if it was a prank, or hearing sarcastic responses, some of them even putting the call on loudspeaker and clowning me without remorse.  “Hi, I’m looking for a tattoo removal service…yeah, but literally…from my apartment.” Maybe I needed to change the angle.

Only as I lay on the sofa in my second week of sick leave, my face more resemblant to a panda by the day, did the obvious slap me across the face. I’d have to get a third tattoo. And hope.

Honestly, if it wasn’t Margaret Thatcher, it was a wizard. Glancing down in my shirtless malaise, I pulled the skin to look him in the face. My very own gremlin. “Your days are numbered!” I said. There was no recognition, no movement, just beautifully crafted shades of black.

*For any that don’t know Margaret Thatcher is a much hated one time Prime Minister of the UK.

lion around 2