All 15 entries tagged Prose

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April 05, 2010

Leaf Writing

Leaf Writing


April 01, 2010

The Writing Process

I have a blank sheet before me. Letters, unformed, uniform lie upon the page, waiting for me to colour them in. I weigh them up, deciding which are worthy of the black blessing of my inky dye to bring them to life.
         Slowly, the tributaries of black printed letters start to flow together to form streams of words, phrases, broadening out into a midnight river of fluid sentences, punctuation marks glinting like the reflections of stars.
         It is beautiful.
         A force of Nature.
         A torrent of language so pure and brilliant that I weep with it, thinking that it cannot stop – must not stop – and neither must I. And so I work at it, and add to it, playing around to see which linguistic chemicals I can introduce to the mix that will brighten it further, make it luminescent in its own darkness.
         I look at it again: and it is still good.
         And so I carry on, adding colours and textures and taste, swirling round in a sweeping vortex of thought and complexity and character – until I find that I present myself with a shit-filled brown Thames of a paragraph, sluggishly coursing through its concrete-bound banks in a thick tide of infected letters, swollen now into blackened corpses of once breathing sentences.

           I crumple my coloured page and start again.


March 23, 2010

Perfume

The scented lake quivers: a Moses soup of sensual temptation; a cloying swathe of florid accents and the peacock flag to an idle god. Skin is coated, alcoholic film greased over like a second fur, every filament primed and ready.

And Shining.

The peacock struts - female feathers fanning this time - an age old trick stolen from the men and elegantly refined. Flower colours brighten the senses, trawling back through Neanderthal red into a whole spectrum of scarlets until the brain screams with aortic warmth.

The fragrance lingers still: wafting into every cavity, every open pore; invading the core of being and seeping out in languid swimming -

      the epitome

      of lazy sexuality.

Peacock Perfume

Photo from I series I did to accompany this piece.


February 09, 2010

Weird Fiction exercises 2.

Here's last week's homework for the Weird Fiction module being run by China Mieville. Not had this one back yet, so no idea what it'll come back like, but I have a feeling I may have stretched the guidelines to the limit in terms of supernatural content, so a little uncertain of it making a good impression. On the other hand, it was very late at night when I wrote this, and I found it most entertaining to write at the time, even if reading it back now I don't feel nearly so confident!

The task: Note the point in Blackwood where tips from everyday to strange/monstrous. Half a page, that stops before that supernatural. Description of a place or a thing that has a sense of being strange, unthinkable – awe, numinous wonder – terrifying somehow. But not supernatural in itself. Can reveal or not reveal what it is, it’s up to you.

I stepped under the canopy and into the green shadow-murk. The trees towered over me, their black bodies reaching up to the sky in straight-backed salute, ranks of sentinels lining the way. My footsteps were rendered soundless on the needle-shrouded floor. I continued forward, one step, another step, so many silent steps – and still the trees rose impassive above me. I moved close to one, placed my hand carefully on the thick-paved mats of its bark, and the nerves in my palm thrilled at its unresponsiveness. I trailed my hand along the wood and the battle-roughened swords of splinters nicked my skin, until my reflexes forced discomfort upon me and I shied away. I leant back my head as my skull registered a hollow tap; the trees were shedding their cones upon me, as though they had allied with the wind to pluck out their own cone-orbs of eyes and were now casting them down in a show of distain: they did not need to see me, had no need to notice me, I was insignificant. The cones pitter-pattered on my coat; false blows. I bent to the floor and picked one up, spinning the ridged mass between my fingers. The forest was still silent, trees remaining in an alert solitude of muteness. The only sounds that would ever reverberate through this eternally young funereal road were the noises made by the breathing trespassers. Off to my left I heard the panicked crackling chirrup of a cock-pheasant as he whirred through the mummified undergrowth and I jerked into movement, the cone slipping from my fingers to nestle at the mould-rusted feet of its owner. I stared up at the branches, scything overhead in an iron-black arch, and quickened my pace, feet padding faster now between the regimented columns of Nature’s soldiers.


Weird Fiction exercises.

Finally kicked myself into gear and joined this class this year, and so far am enjoying it immensely. Felt, then, that I should blog some of the stuff I've been doing as the homework, simply because they caught my imagination and gave me some interesting results, even if my attempts were not always entirely successful. I am not going to blog the first homework I did, as it involved translating a passage from an author's work into Lovecraftian style, and I don't feel I have the right to copy out chunks of other people's texts on this page, even if it is just as an example of what I was working from. However, I will blog everything else; all the stuff that's completely mine.

So here's the first of those other exercises:

The task: We were each given an Exquisite Corpse drawing that had been created during the class, and had to write a passage about it, supposedly taken from a hypothetical novel we were writing. We were allowed to mean whatever we wanted with our interpretations of the creatures thereby revealed, but we had to appreciate it for its self, its newness, the way it is. This passage was to be the scene from the novel where we see the creature for the first time. We were allowed to write this passage in any style we wished. I'll admit that I far exceeded the given limit of half a side of A4, but I was having too much fun and so pushed the boundaries just a little. A copy of the drawing I was working from can be seen at the bottom of this post.

Caitrin trailed her fingertips through the water, feeling the oily slide of the residue that floated on the surface slip nastily against her skin. Below the surface, the water flowed more freely, retaining some of the vitality it had had when it was young, before the city started purging itself of all its filth, and it ran swift as ever it had done, but even then it was not pure. The texture was grainy, little shards of material that would take centuries to degrade mixing in with natural grit and peat to kiss her palm in a rude caress.
         A few feet in front of her, Pedro carefully punted the boat around the rusted iron carcass of an old range rover, mindful to probe the water ahead with a paddle in case of hidden spars of metal. This was not water you would want to accidentally end up swimming in.
         Caitrin raised her fingers to her nose and sniffed them, sinuses closing off in disgust at the rank stench of the brown gunk that held shimmering onto her digits, and wiped them thoroughly on her jeans, careful to get every bit of the stuff off her skin before the itching got any worse. She hadn’t thought that it would be this bad.
         Just as she was reaching for a bottle of clean water to pour over her hands, just as they passed through a half-matted mess of reeds and litter that sheltered in the upstream lee of the abandoned car, she felt the boat come to a juddering stop as Pedro thrust the oar hard into the deep silt of the riverbed, putting his fingers to his lips in a sign for silence.
         Beckoning her up the boat, he put one arm round her shoulders, leaning in close to help her see where exactly it was that his other arm pointed.
         She couldn’t see it.
         Somewhere there, in the dark.
         Somewhere in the murk of the tree-shade that lined the bank, but she couldn’t see.
         And then the shape broke the water again, ripples spreading and waving sluggishly, and she did see it.
         It was the one thing she had been coming here in hopes to see, the one achievement that she had wanted to make on this trip, its whole purpose. To prove that these things still existed, that they were not yet entirely gone. And here it was.
         She thought it was beautiful.
         The creature cutting the water was mammalian in nature, a huge bulk of an animal that spent its days in the water feeding on the long weeds and its night laid up on the shore, digging a shallow pit in the sand to sleep. She caught a glimpse of slicked down black fur, fur that should have been buoyant, fading out into grey leathery skin. The shape ducked beneath the water again, trailing a long body after it before the movement ended in the small slap of a flattened tail, and Caitrin dived for her camera, scrabbling frantically through her rucksack to rip it from the bottom before hurrying as quickly as she could back to the edge of the boat.
         It still hadn’t resurfaced. She could feel her breath coming short and sharp in her anxiety, chest compressed in a worried knot as she prayed to see it again. There were no ripples on the water, and so many hiding places in all the junk.
         And then they felt a small bump to the side of the boat. Just a gentle nudge, nothing dangerous; a curious prodding; and then a grey appendage snaked its way over the side, sensitive nose feeling its way across the new surface. Caitrin raised the camera to her eyes and took a couple of silent shots. Finally she was seeing it. The elegantly curving trunk receded then, slipping gracefully back into the water without a sound, and seconds later two large prehensile paws took hold of the side of the boat, heaving up the top-half of the rest of the animal’s shape after it and making Pedro and Caitrin scramble to the other side in order to achieve equilibrium. The animal peered over the narrow deck, deep set eyes fixed unblinkingly on them in the patient regard of a creature with nothing more than base instinct to guide it. Its wide ears, thin membranes held tight against the round skull up till now in order to streamline, fanned out on either side, perked in their direction to pick up what information they could; and as the creature leaned closer to them, trunk questing out again to edge its way towards them, Caitrin felt a thrill of sad horror curl in her belly as she noticed not only the half-rotted weeds draped over its ivory tusks but also the frayed polyester remains of a once beautiful floral hat, since thoughtlessly discarded, caught behind one ear. That shouldn’t have been there. The rhythmic sloshing of water behind the creature distracted her, and she followed the line of the body to find the flat of its tail, ridged with a regular interlinking pattern of epidermal scales, oscillating up and down through the water, twice the width of that of a manatee, each section of scaled skin clinking back into place with every downward wave before flexing outward as the movement stretched up again, water shearing off as the tiny plates guarded the creature from the biting chill of the water.
         The creature was getting nearer now, oiled-clumped triangles of thick black fur dripping pools of brackish water all over the wood. The paws reached out, stubby fingers hooking themselves into the ridges of the planks and dragging the heavy torso slowly behind it, until the flat mass of the tail lay heavily on the lip of the deck, glistening like living chain-mail in the sunlight.
         The creature stopped then, ears flapping back and forth in nervous agitation, paws twitching nervously back towards its body, scraping in a pre-occupied manner at its own fur in a futile attempt to rid it of some of the gunk that coated it. The trunk twisted, hesitating between reaching out further or rolling back to hide against its chest, and as Caitrin brought the camera up again, Pedro leant his weight forward on one leg and extended his hand out in front of him, fingers reaching to stroke at the deep ridges of the creature’s faded skin.
         With that touch the animal reacted instantly, once immobile tail thrashing down in a powerful thrust to catapult the creature up and backwards, sending it crashing back into the river with a filthy rush of stinking water. The two people fell to the bottom of the boat, hanging on to the nearest bit of wood as the vessel rocked violently from side to side, clinging hard until the upsetting waves faded away, and then gradually pulled themselves to the side, where they watched the grey form fade silently away into the murky expanse of the river. Silence.
         Pedro let out his breath in a whoosh of air and looked sideway nervously to Caitrin’s unmoving face.
         “Well, looks like maybe it didn’t want to be friends after all.”
         “Frankly, Pedro, considering the state of things, I’m amazed it let us even get that close.” A pause. “But it was amazing, wasn’t it?”
         Yes,” he replied. “Did you get the pictures you wanted?”
         “Yes, I did.”
         “Good,” he said, and rose to take hold of the oars once again. “In that case, I think it’s time we got our proof back to the lab. This place isn’t going to hold out much longer.”

Exquisite Corpse


October 03, 2009

Society's Prism

I can hear screaming outside my window again, the same drunken idiots staggering out of the pub at some ungodly hour of the morning, just opposite my window. If the eyes are the window to the soul, do my eyes looking out beyond this pane of glass show me the soul of the world? Is this small square image just a fraction, one colour in a broken prism, or is it a microcosm of all that is? When I hear the clinking rattle of a tumbled beer bottle, do I hear the axis of the earth sent spinning?

         There’s a girl standing there, mascara smudged all round her eyes, giving her a look more punch than her drink, the only smoky look now being that of the cigarette fumes curling up from inside her boyfriend’s hand. She’s laughing so hard she’s almost sick, and she’s spilt lager all down her front. I wonder which part of the world she represents? The part that isn’t afraid to laugh at herself, or the part that despairs so wholly that everything becomes amusing? I hope that whichever part it is, I never go there. I think I’ll leave off travelling the world, and sit behind my window where the light glances in, giving me my reflections.

         I can’t decide if the light I’m seeing is white.


Battle ground

War ends with whimpers, not banging; as the guns expelled the soldiers expired, a soft sighing in the wind, the carrion caravans crawl home and the government grovels prodigal before its divine congregation.


July 26, 2009

An Entirely Different Type of Cannibal

I eat the world. I consume and inspire and absorb. The thirst is no better, sucking in all that will unwillingly flow through my lips. It does not bother me. I am constantly hungry, and so why bother denying that desire, that peremptory driving force? I am relaxed in this way of life, quite suited to it, although my body is always tensed and coiled as I follow after the next piece of prey. The only downside to this world is that my meals are always moving. Targets and aims, the stalker and the watched, the criminal versus the cop. Ambition is a beautiful thing, is it not? Obese and crushing, it has clambered to the top of the heap of undernourished people, the ones who did not take feeding themselves seriously and so latterly became starved of all opportunity. I have fed myself reasonably up until now. There was a time, a brief few years of doubt where the sheer mass of all that I had consumed played upon my mind, and my skin felt unbearably stretched - but I have since come to appreciate the hunger again, to stop trying to fight that which my blood believes to be right, even if my heart is straining at the thought, and to carry on eating. I can feel my weight starting to settle, starting to get too comfortable at this particular resting point on the mountain, although the view from here really is quite spectacular, and so I give a sigh and hoist myself up again, placing one foot before the other as I continue the trudge, my mind soaring ahead of me to that most glorious peak, the one which seems unreachable. I’ll get there. I’m bound to get there eventually. Even though it kills me.


Separations

I am packing my bags. I am getting ready to flee from the prison which has held me for so long. No more steel bars, no more unbreakable glass walls.
   I am returning once more to the long-familiar lands where I grew, and where my roots remain firmly planted, no matter how much I myself have branched out. I am going to where I can once again hear the whispering rumours that the trees beg to tell me, and where I can place my feet to the whooshing waltz tune of the river.
   The world in which I live is totally different to the one I work in. I am running far away from this man-made woodland of grey sixties concrete.
   I don't think it will mind if I don't say goodbye.


April 13, 2009

Whoever said the dog had to be a Corgi?

The views in this are not my own; it was a just an idle bit of contemplation. It’s in no way stunning, and to be honest I think the most interesting part is probably the title, but I thought I might as well put it up anyway.

xxxsjcxxx

Whoever said the dog had to be a Corgi?

This is the way things are between us. Have you honestly not worked that out yet? You’ll always be the pet poodle, there to look pretty and be obedient and engage in social interaction, but for all that you are distinctly unimportant. You are something to distract the paparazzi crowds whilst we negotiate in the background, bringing things to pass that rule the running of your life and making sure that you are safe without your ever knowing you were in danger. Master and dog.

Who’d ever marry a Royal?


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