THE WRITER’S LIFE | POETRY
I prefer doorways to doors, things which hold others, yet with no equal reason for being there. I favour skirting boards to taking the floor; and here I am, foot in hand, talking to my door about why I don’t like it. Talking to myself and feeling old:
I find doors difficult to walk through, like Patrick Swayze did in Ghost
People knock on doors
Many doors are closed when I’m awake
People don’t hold doors open much now
Apart from garage doors, all are ‘Push’ or ‘Pull’. None say ‘Lift from the bottom’
If you leave a door open, anyone can get in. If the door’s not there, you’re equal
Doors with locks are a human construct
I fear the next shit sandwich through the letterbox. If I only had a dog. It’s a frame of mind I’m in…
Image: Lawrence Manning, from OzTypewriter, The Wonderfull World of Typewriters (blog)
This was actually prompted (perhaps a coping mechanism) by a particularly nasty individual it wasn’t my pleasure to encounter on Twitter during a debate about Brexit:
Cats scratch, carpenters carve. I wasn’t going to be so short-sighted as to wish them a slow and painful death in return, so I let them have the last word. Better to knit rope than go fishing. While the fishermen of ancient Britain gained the family name of Fisher, Lakers sat on the banks and made nets. Possibly.
Rebuilding this planet will require not just carpenters but many trades, or possibly occupants of interplanetary craft
Who’s afraid of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings?
CAT PEOPLE (PUTTING OUT FIRE)
As Glastonbury revellers leave thousands of plastic bottles despite a ban, there was an itch on my arm I yearned to scratch. Someone had let the cat out…
Big problems require the finest minds to co-operate.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL CAT
I got an SMS from the fascist regime today, commanding me to call them. After queuing for 47 minutes and listening to messages on how I could otherwise fuck off, I was told I may need to provide photographic evidence of how that might make a criminal begging for their human rights shit in an envelope. In other news, the cat came home:
The antonym of motivational is unmotivational. Positivism through pessimism and procrastination. If you’re a cat counselling humans.
THE WRITER’S LIFE | BOOK LAUNCH
A Girl, Frank Burnside and Haile Selassie, available in paperback
About two years ago, when I was still homeless, I stayed with a family. Sometimes, the end of one story is just the beginning of another. A Girl, Frank Burnside and Haile Selassie was written when a family member was lost: A dog.
While my little cloud of a housemate was becoming a cloud, I left the family and decamped to the pub (where I ended up living illegally for a year), and wrote a story. With the family’s permission, I entered the story in a “Life-changing” short fiction competition: I won first prize and moved a judge to tears. To be honest, it gets me every fucking time.
So this one’s for Jake:
The book is the story of Ellie (“Sparks”), aged 9 ¾: A girl dealing with life changes with the help of her talking dog (Frank Burnside), and both of them ever aware of the family cat (Haile Selassie).
“Every one wishes for things. That didn’t work for me, so I wish for not things. When I wish for not things and things don’t happen, that’s wishes coming true.” (Ellie). The story was then illustrated by my daughter, who is the same age as Sparks.
“…The best thing, I thought, was the Voice. I don’t mean the voice of your character (Ellie), although that was brilliantly well done. No, I mean your Authorial Voice. Of all the books I’ve read over the years, whether they were classics or popular fiction, the stories that have stayed in my mind have all been written by authors who had a distinct, individual style …Jane Austen … Charles Dickens… Agatha Christie…the Brontes… Enid Blyton… many others… and there was a heart in their writing that captivated the reader. Well, I found that your story captivated me in much the same way as theirs.” – Amanda Carlisle, Warner Publishing.
It was a story worth writing.