Erraticism @ OblongMagazine.com

Previously featured in Oblong III, the current print version of Oblong Magazine, my short story Erraticism can now be read online at oblongmagazine.com.

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Thanks to Oblong editor Jo Beckett-King for liking my work enough to put it in her magazine.

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Day #10908

February Round Up

Yes, January went to the wall.  February is here.  Soon that will expire.  It will be March.  Here’s what’s been going on:

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Story production slowing at the moment due to studying.  However, expect fictions exploring whimsical applications of digital technologies any time soon…

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Exciting news from my local library, which now boasts a copy of the Bristol Short Story Prize anthology, which features my story (I may have mentioned this previously).  Very pleased to see the book has already been taken out by someone – I believe it is due to return on the 7th March, not that I’m monitoring it at all.

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Due to the aforementioned studying, I’ve temporarily stopped reading novels.  This means I needed to stock up on short stories to keep me going – the above shows what’s currently on my bedside reading pile.  I got the Sean O’Brien and Zoe Lambert books through Comma Press, who publish some great stuff and who I’ve always found very efficient to buy from directly, and the Tania Hershman one from Tangent Books – another good little independent press.

Meanwhile in blog world…

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Teresa Stenson of This Writer’s Life included me in a Liebster Award.  Thanks Teresa!  But what is a Liebster Award?  Well, that’s what I wondered.  As Teresa explains it’s a bit like a chain letter, except it’s a bit more discerning than that as you are only invited to send it on to six people whose blogs you like.  There are questions to answer, then you have to think up questions of your own.  We’ll see… maybe tune in next month and I might have answered some questions and actually participated!

I did enjoy checking out the blogs of the other folk Teresa Liebster-awarded, including Dan Purdue’s Lies, Ink, which I’ve mentioned here before.  Also Rachel Fenton’s Snow Like Thought –  which has some comics, lots of links to short story successes and also some neat photo pieces which feature pictures of one thing and then words telling a story about something else which might seem unconnected but isn’t (I didn’t explain that very well… anyway, I liked them).

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And finally… I’ve been running Digestive Press for six years this month.  As I now have (slightly) more readers than I did before, I thought I might be all big-headed and link to some of my favourite pieces of work from a few years ago, so they don’t become fossils.

So here’s a quick selection of work from 2010, starting with a poem entitled 2010.  Until I went back to look, I’d forgotten all about Bop Pity, which briefly featured an old man buried in bourbon biscuits, and in March of that year I asked the question What Makes Less Noise Than A Statue?   In October I managed to spin a whole piece, entitled Rsplndnt out of some trousers I had seen and coveted but – crucially – didn’t buy, whilst November 2010 saw a short murder mystery simply called Whodunnit.

Lets catch up again in March?

Notes On What Happened When They Tried To

The plan is to continue their journey, but there are no trains going south.

At the station there are just people everywhere.  The employees of the rail network who have the misfortune to be on the information desk are surrounded like prophets.  On a television screen they see footage shot from a helicopter but it’s difficult to use those pictures to put the flood in context – it looks too much like a movie, too much like something that’s happening to other people.

Outside they find water coming from the sky and water all over the floor but in this town the water is still draining away – whether by geographical design or geographical accident, they feel sure the reasons are geographical.  They squash into the pub across the road and find themselves sharing a table with other travellers who are all trying to think and plan their next move.  Nobody seems sad or frustrated.  Yes, they had wanted to see the other city, the one that was now under water, but really this was just as good – when they get home and people ask if they had gone there, they’ll be able to tell the story about the flood instead.

It’s difficult to find somewhere to stay in the town that night.  Everyone in the pub is phoning round the hotels, hostels, inns and bed and breakfasts to enquire about the remote chance of a room, or they are remembering forgotten friends and text them to beg for a berth on a sofa – all in this together and fending for themselves.  They drink and joke and discuss their lives with these new people, people who seem just like them.  They are disappointed when some of their new acquaintances move on and the group begins to thin out.

Those last remaining few are the ones most like them, the ones who have been slow to plan their next move and are by now just glad of company and over-eager to forge new friendships.  Now the flood is not an exciting event, just something to get through.  They eat in the pub then go to the cinema where an all-night triple-bill is showing, and that seems like a good place to stay, a place where they can either sleep or watch the films.  Or stay awake and stare at the screen, thinking about their situation.

When they finally emerge into the broken new morning, the rain is still falling, but softly now, and the news is that the flood situation in the south has improved.  They don’t want to talk about it, not straight away.  They don’t want to decide what to do next.  They want to spend some moments in silence in the soft rain, thinking their own thoughts.