For the first time in five years, I will be voting for Labour in an election. The last time I did so was actually when I lived in London as a postgraduate student and voted for Sadiq Khan for Mayor — it feels like a different decade, because it really was a different decade, a different era, a different life.
The Corbyn years left me bitter — an unconscionable verkrappt clique (some might call it the “post-left”) seized control of Brtiain’s centre-left party, led by one of the the dullest men who ever lived (yet still somehow the most unbelievably…
I came downstairs and found my mother digging in my school blazer pocket, watched over by some beast of a man, clothed in black rags and stinking of barber hair.
“Do you have any change?” she asked me nervously.
Horrified I shook my head, and she left me there with that monster while she went to her car. Left as a hostage! Her own son!
We exchanged numerous awkward glances, me struggling to suppress shrieks for him not to brutally murder us both, before she returned with some loose coins.
It turned out that he was the fucking milkman.
It’s raining again
We get that a lot here
We get all kinds of things around here
Mother might be worried
She often is
Sometimes to a fault
It’s not her fault though
She never got over being dead
The fruit cellar’s the best place for her
At least until it all blows over
Because it will all blow over
And things will go back to normal
And she can come out of the fruit cellar
And sit by her window
And we might even go for a little picnic
When the weather gets better of course
It will get…
I found the idiot in my building’s hallway: glassy-eyed, of few words, and oddly trusting. I took him with me to the Bone Orchard, where we went to the tree I had planted years ago, and I picked off the final bone, an occipital, hard to find by an untrained eye on a branch almost the exact same shade of grey. I fitted it to the skull of the skeleton in the body-shaped pit before the tree, at last complete.
The idiot did well to provide me with his heart, which I slid into the rib cage, and, with a clap of my hands and an incantation of the correct psalms, began to beat once more.
Yes, it was a shame that the poor idiot boy was dead, but my baby was finally alive.
My target for 2018 was to read 40 books; in late October I revised this after reading about Stephen King’s reading habits in his book On Writing to a “long target” of 45. In the end I managed to get to 41, which while exceeding the original was definitely not as much as I could’ve conceivable done. …
The 11th September is the anniversary for a lot of terrible things: the 9/11 Attacks, the 1973 coup d’etat in Chile, the release of the soundtrack to Mariah Carey’s film Glitter.
But for me, this day marks one whole year since my glorious returning to writing fiction. According to the Properties box of the Word document containing the short story “After ‘Ours”, it was created 11th September 2017 — and I know for a fact that I wrote the entire rough draft of that story in one sitting.
Since that time I’ve had twelve pieces of fiction published or accepted…
I personally define microfiction as any work of fiction of 500 words or less (as opposed to flash fiction, which is almost universally defined as fiction of 1000 words or less). However, microfiction frequently means short fiction of 100 words or less — often called a “drabble” — and that’s what I’m going to be talking about here.
For many new to creative writing, something like microfiction may seem cruelly impossible to create; the desire to develop characters, to add colour to scenery, to run actions and narratives all the way through to their logical (and illogical) ends may seem…
A few months back upon the death of Philip Roth, Open Culture published a list of books that he said had influenced him the most and when he first read them, and I’ve decided to do the same. His list is fifteen books long, but I’ve never been one to shy away from less when more feels right, so I’ve listed twenty-five.
My standards for what I consider to be “influential” is anything that:
a) Works I continue to think about in daily life years after reading them.
b) Works that I feel inspired me to be a a writer…
Whether you’re an amateur, a “prospective” professional, or a working professional (who is lucky enough not to have to work to solid deadlines), how much to write in a day, a month, or year is an eternal quandary. Of course, if you have deadlines to meet and word counts to fulfil you already have a parameter to work to (which could run from the highly reasonable to the downright enslaving), but for many, it’s a question of how much to write in order to:
A. Remain as productive as possible, while continuing to hone one’s skills.
B. Not to write…
…and now the thrilling conclusion!
For as long as I can remember, I was always interested in stories. Yes, up until the age of 13 or so, my primary interests were in mechanics and natural history: I loved trains, trucks, steam engines of any description, geology was cool, and prehistoric beasts were the best! But even as I indulged in books full of Bedford Vehicles, steam locomotives of the American Old West, and extinct animals, I often placed the “characters” of these works within in fantasy worlds of adventure. …
Political/literary stuff. Fiction. Poetry. Whatever I can get away with really.