Pushing on towards the woods as his moment with the hens faded, Martin had an unfamiliar sense of confidence and control. He could hear running water before sudden shards of memory sliced sharp and brutal through his senses. They wiped out images of feathers and dust and warm sunlight and instead he felt his mother’s touch and heard his own whimpers drowned in the sound of running water. Close by a cow was drinking from a water trough with an automated filler on it. In the hissing gurgling sounds a long-dead voice whispered, ‘Let me help you.’ Martin felt again her touch steal wet and cold across the picture. An arctic cold bathroom, glittered with white tiles, the cold tap running, chilled menace. The voice. The sound of the water. Martin stopped dead in his tracks. He heard the surging sound now easing, as the cow finished drinking and stepped away. Martin was on his knees.
He’s a man who is always alone and who functions mostly in his head. For him sex belongs in an abstracted part of his psyche, a need rather than a dimension of his identity.
The world is awash with writers, fitness trainers, dog walkers, chefs and book bloggers. And around each of them is a web of service providers, sales channels and even sometimes paying customers. As a début author (#The Draftsman) I am totally drowned in an ocean of other writers and overwhelmed by the expectations of what one must do to stand out and build a following in the wild, wild world of XXX where XXX means whatever you want. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the work, the actual book, but everything to do with how skilled you are at managing the online channels, from Amazon to Wattpad (don’t ask). And I am absolutely crap at it. I don’t want a relationship with algorithms or the XXX anons.
The credit card companies had cancelled all his cards. His wife was degenerating rapidly and he couldn’t pay the carers, and the signs of dereliction showing in the house were too many to ignore. The post didn’t bring bills any more. Those had stopped coming and now it was just legal letters, angry letters fromContinue reading “A Little Black Book”
The whisper went around the classroom, every time Miss turned to the board. Fight. They’re going to get him. After school. That’s what John Carter said. Little new boy‘s gonna get it. But Mrs Vurley didn’t hear it as she turned back to her year 9s and reminded them of the homework. Pointing to theContinue reading “Delete #2 New Boy”
The morning seemed to start later than it should – that meant it was probably a Sunday or maybe a Saturday or maybe one of those weird random days, the ones that followed no clear pattern. These random days were the days Hotpot most dreaded. The Sundays and Saturdays, as far as the sheep couldContinue reading “The Sheep & the Grey Horse – Ruby”
After his rapid and highly effective escape from the new field, Hotpot decided he needed to find his own kind. Frantic calls to the neighbourhood friends and farms came up with the same theory, although it was fundamentally flawed: “he’ll seek out other sheep, don’t you worry, he’ll turn up”. But of course Hotpot wasn’tContinue reading “The Sheep & the Grey Horse – Hotpot Comes Back Home”
The sheep sighed. Off in the near distance they were coming. He turned to the small Shetland pony grazing idly nearby: “here they come again Max, only this time there’s more of them” he said, barely moving his black sheepy lips. The pony looked up with mild interest and blew a lazy breath, soft andContinue reading “The Sheep and the Greyhorse – Hotpot Comes Home”
Getting through the publishing process, or not? It’s taken weeks to get over the trauma of the structural edit of the Draftsman. And in between then and now, life and the outside world have weaseled their ways into brain and heart to make it even harder to think fiction.
Trepidations aside I did really enjoy this book. It helps that technology plays a big part and although there were a few holes, for the most part the technical stuff’s convincing. More significantly this book exploits everything it’s possible to do with digital technology for page layout, composition and printing. Hughes uses typography and exploits the precision of inkjet digital printing to convey the characters’ experiences, often in ways not possible in the pre-digital imaging age.