THE WRITER’S LIFE
An email arrived at the Unfinished Literary Agency today. Entitled ‘Reintegration into human life for aliens,’ it asks:
As a guest in another person’s living space, how do you position yourself on the furniture?
There’s no indication of whether the chair is the only one in the room, let alone the most nonchalant to be found in, so I went with 9. It continues:
Arriving as a visitor and finding another human guest already present, consider your assumptions and first impressions: indicate the most likely relationship of the guest to the host for each diagram.
I went with:
1. Police / The queen
2. Mum / Leonard
3. Dad / Sheldon
4. First date / Penny
5. Second date / Raj
6. Third date / Howard
9. Someone who understands them
The email ends:
Each diagram could be any of the answers you gave; they can all be inter-changeable, if you can imagine such a place. Others may not be of similar mind. What’s considered normal where you’re from might seem eccentric on other worlds. Be yourself, wherever that is.
The second volume of short stories from The Unfinished Literary Agency is available in paperback.
PROSE FROM THE PENCIL CASE
While I’m addressing various things in the wider world, and with much planned but little published, I’m collecting prose from the thoughts written in my longhand journals. Much of it’s the kind of stuff I’d record in old notebooks when I was living on the streets, philosophical notes-to-self as I wrote by candle light to my inner world. Some are writing prompts, this one ‘Smile’…
An illustration of social isolation, when my real and virtual lives overlap to be almost indistinguishable, what’s on my mind is easier to paint with mixed media. Often – like this one – they’ll give me ideas and become the bases for new fiction, still works in progress in my journals. I like doing it, and people are happier when you smile.
THE WRITER’S SKETCHES
The pocket notebook my kids bought for me has three inserts: a lined pad for writing, squares for finances, and plain paper for sketching. Rarely the artist with anything other than the lines which form letters, I idly sketched a story in a lost moment.
A line is a one-dimensional figure that’s made up of an infinite number of individual points placed side by side. In geometry all lines are assumed to be straight; if they bend they’re called a curve. A line continues infinitely in two directions, much like joined-up writing.
The first – and probably last – in an occasional series called Adventures in One Dimension, I transcribed my line drawings into neon tubes, non-venomous snakes (nope ropes) via The Gimp (a freeware alternative to Photoshop) in some further idle minutes.
A message in three frames, told by two lines with speaking parts. A human story told by snakes, at an individual and existential species level, this one’s called ‘Staying over’.
It’s just pausing stop-animation, where two lines can illustrate something better than most humans.