Monday, March 31, 2008

Down the Tube: II

Perhaps I should start with how I found myself here in the first place. I went to bed as usual one evening, though thinking about it, slightly earlier that my habitual hour. You know the sensation of falling you sometimes get when you are dropping off? Well that’s how I felt, I jerked awake and discovered that I was inside some sort of large tube, it was sloping enough for me to slide gently downwards propelled by my own weight. I wasn’t alarmed at the sensation, but more by finding myself in a totally unfamiliar situation. Alice in Wonderland occurred to me; Was I falling inside a technically designed rabbit hole?

The slide seemed uncomfortably long to me. My thoughts moved from amusement, fear, anger and back to fear again. Who or what would I find at the end? Why?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Down the Tube: I

When I was a child I lived in a village that was far away from any library. Fortunately my mother had a good friend who possessed bookshelves full of all types of books. I remember going home every Friday afternoon with armfuls of new books to read. At the age of 8 I already had a reading age of 13, according to tests which had been done at school, so it wasn’t long before I left childish books behind and was devouring science fiction and fantasy. I remember one day a school friend of mine looked up from the childish, illustrated book of Cinderella she was reading to tell me that science fiction was rubbish: ‘It will never happen’.
‘Why’ I wondered ‘did some people think that stories had to come true?’
Fortunately, as I was growing up I gravitated towards adults who understood my need to absorb new ideas and words.

Some of the books I read were collections of short fantasy stories. I think they might have appeared monthly and my mother’s friend had had a story published in one issue. A story I especially remember was written by an author supposedly shut in a room with nothing except a typewriter. He was expected to turn out reams of pages of writing in exchange for being deprived of day and night and fed tasteless purée. An interesting exercise if you think about it.

How was I to know that some stories do come true eventually and I was destined to take the place of that long ago writer? I wonder how many others have passed through here and how long they stayed, were they let out, sane or insane or did they die completely disorientated?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Betty Macdonald

Years ago I read a book; Anybody Can Do Anything. I think I found it in a charity shop and was drawn to it because of its title, I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered that the book’s author, Betty Macdonald had also written a book called The Egg And I. I’ve never read The Egg And I but I vaguely recollect having seen the film.

Yesterday I was listening to BBC Radio Four and had the pleasure of listening to a programme all about Betty and how she came to write the book. Some of her life was familiar to me because of Anybody Can Do Anything. All of the people interviewed for the program felt like I did about her writing. She had left a special mark on them. Now I’ve found my copy of Anybody Can Do Anything and I’m going to give it a long overdue reread.

I see that Wikipedia already mentions yesterday’s broadcast!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sleep in the afternoon

Emily arrived a few minutes earlier that she should have for their walk. She let herself in and burst into Luke’s study like the sunshine from behind the clouds. He told her that he was nearly at the end of the chapter and asked if she would she mind waiting. She smiled and said “good”, went straight to the bookcase, took a book from the shelf , kicked off her sandals and settled herself on the chaise lounge to read.

Luke continued working until he heard a soft thud, her book had fallen onto the floor, she was asleep. He took this as a chance to really study Emily. He started the journey with her toes; they’d been painted bright pink, the pink of English seaside rock with writing though the middle – peppermint flavoured toes – he smiled. The varnish was slightly chipped. His ex wife would never have tolerated chipped varnish. With Emily it gave the message that she had better things to do than worry about her toe nails.

Next he studied her ankles, slightly bony and tanned. He couldn’t see her legs properly because of her jeans, but he could imagine them. Long and strong and slim, they seemed to got on forever. He wondered why she never wore a short skirt. Perhaps there was a scar?

Luke followed the line of her thigh and hips with his eyes. Her shirt was white and showed off well the start of a tan. He could see the outline of her breast moving gently as she breathed deeply in her sleep. Her long hair surrounded her shoulders almost as if she’d studiously arranged it, a cascade of reflections from the afternoon sun coming through the windows.

He reminded himself that this fascination in her was nonsense, they were supposed to be ‘just friends’. When he’d finished his chapter he started a new document and sketched what he saw in the only way - the best way - he knew, with words. His long slim fingers caressing the keys as if to coax them into producing the best words that they could. Emily stirred in her sleep, her hip gyrated ever so slightly and her toes curled. Her lips parted and as she sighed he could just see the tip of her pink tongue. She opened her eyes and adjusted to her surroundings.

“Sweet dream?” he asked her. She looked sleepy and flushed and smiled, avoiding his eyes.

He wondered if he’d ever know her well enough to ask her who she’d dreamt about that afternoon….

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I know it’s been a while since I posted . If you’d like to read some more I recommend you go to visit Angie Brynner and Company, there is nearly a years worth of fiction there . My Christmas story is here.