Saturday, 20 March 2010

Submissions and Rejections

Just a short note to say that I've submitted some of my poems to Brittle Star, Poetry Review and Poetry London.  With any luck I might get something more published.

The short story I submitted just a week ago came back to me as a rejection in the middle of the week, after having been "carefully considered". They must have had it for at least an hour.  Never mind, i've got some more ideas for places to send stories and will keep trying.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Patrick and the Snakes

Not too much to report right now.  This week I have been collating poems in order to send them off to different magazines.  I have a good selection to choose from and so it has taken a little time.  I have also been working on ideas for a possible novel.
On Saturday I went for a walk with my best friend along the south coast between Seaford and Eastbourne.  The weather was lovely, no rain and a little sun.  Unfortunately I didn't have any battery left for my camera, but I've found a lovely website with photographs of the walk (which are probably better than any I could have taken anyway)...walk

Today is St Patricks Day obviously, and so here is a flash story connected to it:

Molly was shocked when she had been asked to speak to the Head.
'Is my George okay?' she asked, full of panic. 'Is he hurt?'
'No, your George is fine', Miss Conrad had replied.  'But he has been causing trouble I'm afraid.'
'Trouble?  But he's usually as good as gold.  His teacher says...'
'I know, Mrs Smith. I know.  That's why I wanted to speak to you, because it is so out of the ordinary.' She paused.  'He's been fighting wiht Patrick O'Regan.'
'The little Irish boy? But I thought they got on well?'
'So did I, but it seems that Christian has been causing some trouble between them.'
'He's a new boy, and seems to be desperate for both their attention.'
'What set it off? The fight I mean.'
'Well...'  Miss Conrad smiled in puzzlement.  'Apparantly Patrick completely cleared the tuck-shop of fizzy snakes by eating them all.'

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Movie Identity

Kept myself busy again this week.  I've been writing poems which I do plan to submit at some point in the next few weeks, as well as a children's story which I have submitted for a competition to Smories.  I've also printed out a short story I wrote two weeks ago, which I will submit to People's Friend, in the first instance.
On the subject of the poems I need to obtain some magazines to be certain of where to send them.  I've read back copies of some but plan to go out today for the new copies.  One I've already sent off for over the internet, as well an anthology of "cross-over" short fiction which I will check out with the possibility of submitting something there.
On an unrelated theme, today is the first day of the first test between England and Bangladesh. Since the start time of 3.30am was a little early I decided to set my alarm in time for the post-lunch session.  But weirdly I woke up of my own volition five minutes before it was due to go off.  I've obviously missed Test Match Special more than I thought.

Back to writing now, and here's a new flash story inspired by the fact that today is the 9th anniversary of the death of Robert Ludlum, creator of the Bourne books.

'It feels weird every time I come here now.  Ever since they filmed that film here, you know...'
Tom turned to Steve.
'No I don't know actually...'
'You know.  That film.'
Steve's face was creased in thought.  Tom turned away and began scanning the electronic departures board again.
'Next train to Guildford is in ten minutes.  Come on, let's board.'  He said.
'What is that film?  You know...Wait..there, there...'
Tom stared at Steve in astonishment as he began pointing at a wine shop.
'He ran in there..the main character ran in there.'
'Just now?'
'No!  In the...Are you mocking me?'
Tom grinned.
'Would I do that?'
'He ran in there and into that cupboard', Steve was pointing again.
'To hide?'
'No.  It wasn't a cupboard in the film; there was a staircase behind it.'
'You know sometimes mate', Tom shook his head.  'You really need to get a life.'

Monday, 8 March 2010

Home Again

Been back since before the weekend, but only got around to doing this today.  Had a great time last week, and my girlfriends dad discovered a liking for Marmite (not available in Sweden) and for english beer.  Here's a photo of him and my dad savouring pints in one of the locals.


It has now come to the time when I have to think about replenishing the coffers so to speak.  It's not at desperation stage yet, but thinking ahead isn't a bad thing.  As such, I applied for two jobs over the weekend and in all likelihood will be applying for more over the next few weeks.  If nothing comes in a month or so I will revert to temping for a bit.
Today though my mind was elsewhere, so I visited the cinema to see MicMacs, from the director of Amelie.  It was good, but not as good as his previous films.  Although it still had the range of odd and quirky characters, they were less believable, as was the story itself.  Still it was a fun piece of escapism.

Finally, I also submitted a piece of writing to Smoke, a London based semi regular magazine containing articles and stories about London.  I did submit a piece a few months ago, but it wasn't accepted for reasons that it didn't quite fit with the magazine (a perfectly valid reason I think).  However, that doesn't mean I can't publish it here as it's quite a fun piece.  
Oh and yes, there will be more flash stories to come as promised.

Smoke and Ashes

It’s Sunday.  The fourth day of the Oval Ashes Test.  The sun is streaming through the window, a Bolognese sauce begins to bubble on the stove, and Australia are still only two wickets down.  Ponting and Hussey are keeping the England bowlers out.  I’m getting nervous.  I need a distraction.
Suddenly I remember one of those back copies of Smoke that, between falling in love with a gorgeous Swedish girl and moving house, I’ve neglected for a few months.  She doesn’t yet understand Cricket, but I plan to hook her.
I begin to read the first sentence, but immediately my brain is distracted.  Aggers has gone crazy; surely Ponting hasn’t got himself run out again?  Indeed he has.  Tears stream into my eyes, remembering the feeling of the win four years previously, celebrating with my friends in the pub in Euston and then joining in with the singing in Trafalgar Square.  Are the Ashes coming our way again?
I listen to four more balls of commentary, and then cast my eyes back to the magazine.  But wait...what’s that?  Another run out?  This is getting ridiculous.  I’ve not even started reading yet but suddenly I begin to look at the magazine in a whole new light.  I try reading again, still with one ear on the commentary, but all is quiet for a while.
In between stories of pregnant mothers, crime waves and Alexandra Palace, I stir my Bolognese a few times and Australia score a few runs, eating away at some more of those overs.  Surely we’ve got plenty of time to bowl them out?  My worries are short lived as Prior’s neat work produces a fifth wicket.  We’re halfway there.
Tea comes and goes (I decide to suspend reading during the interval since I’m certain now that it’s having an effect and don’t want to waste words) but Australia are just about hanging in.  I read about unusually decorated fish and wonder if my sauce is ready yet.  The wine I bought following an early morning stroll across Hampstead Heath is opened.  I eat, but there are no more wickets.
I’m back in my armchair and pick up Smoke once more.  The Brockley monastery intrigues me, but only for a moment as one, then two wickets fall.  Surely it’s all over now?  I continue reading, wondering if I should slow down or speed up.  Will England stop taking wickets when I finish or are they waiting for me to reach the end so that they can reach the end themselves?  It’s too much for a Sunday afternoon after a filling dinner and some red wine.
I’m nervous now.  I’ve reached the back page.  Still no more wickets.  But just as I begin...BANG...BANG...and Harmy’s on a hat-trick!  I’m wishing I was down in Regent’s Park, but only for a moment.  Having experienced the sprawling mass of people the day before, I’m sure it could only be worse today.  Besides, it’s far more civilised being able to drink out of a glass bottle in your own home with TMS on the radio.
I’m still on the back page, just below the Walrus picture.  There’s still one more wicket to get.  In comes Swann, I notice Catford mentioned, what is it about all these animals?  But then that’s it, it’s all over, we’ve regained the Ashes and, strangely, I’ve finished the magazine.