Ideas come from…

…the strangest of places.

A university student is studying English as a foreign language and wants to take the B1 (CEF) level exam.

One of the writing tasks was to write a short story – basically a piece of flash fiction – in about 100 words. The story had to begin with these immortal words – “I’ll never forget the day I met…”

I thought nothing of it until I found myself with a whole quarter of an hour to spare.

Then… in ten of those minutes, I wrote this :-

My Fate

I’ll never forget when I met my fate.

He was small and ugly, with a twisted body.

Yet his smile was the most engaging I had seen for a very long time.

“I do apologise, but I have come for you.” His smile softened with sadness and the truth of what he had said struck me hard.

“Me? Now?” It was a struggle to control my outburst. “But…”

“There is nothing you can say, or do about it. It IS your time.” His smile became affable once again. He shuffled close and whispered. “It’s much, much better than most people deserve.”

And that was it. My life was over and I’ve been at this tropical holiday resort ever since.

*** End ***

That was what the lightning strike of free time caused me to write in response to the start line of a writing exam for English.

Is it a masterpiece? Don’t know, don’t care.

It was fun to write on a whim and, I hope, it is fun to read.

Owen

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The King’s New Clothes

Is there anyone who doesn’t know the Hans Christian Andersen tale of a gullible king who takes to wearing the latest fashion, because he doesn’t want to appear stupid?

Sounds like so many of today’s fashion victims.

I refer, of course, to the ridiculous concept of trying to appear to be fashionable by purchasing damaged goods. Perfectly good jeans, being deliberately torn – hence damaged – and with prices hiked above those of undamaged goods.

Jeans with torn legs were never a matter of choice in my youth. People who wore torn jeans usually had no choice but to wear their jeans almost to the point of destruction.

I would love to laugh at the ridiculous number of “kings” that exist in the consumer market and the number of con-men who are soooo ready to take advantage of the gullible public.

But I won’t laugh at them. At best I pity them for their lack of foresight, at worst I despise them for attempting to make the appearance of poverty a fashion accessory.

I won’t ask anyone to forgive my condescending sneer… you kings are all victims of your own stupidity – long may you reign!

Owen

 

The Uninvited

It came, uninvited.

And follows me wherever I go.

It is polite, of course.

Condescending.

Patronising.

Mocking.

Critical.

Needling.

Frustrating.

Provocative.

Annoying.

Infuriating.

 

To beat it

I must ignore it.

Be calm.

Be patient.

Be kind.

Because…

 

It’s not every day you get a review from an idiot who knows not the difference between “critique” and “critic”.

Owen

Love me, love my book?

Heard of “Breakfast Club”?

Many people have and with good reason. It’s an intriguing film.

Heard of “Book Club”?

No? That’s because “Book Club” is more like “Fight Club” and we all know the rules of that particular establishment, don’t we?

Ok… colour me biased/prejudiced/unbalanced even, what the heck… but it seems to me that being a writer (aka an author – published/represented or not) has developed into a buddy system. Not just a buddy system, but a rather gushy, sychophantic buddy system in which people get overly excited (I’m pleased for you, really), or they sing the praises of the agent/publisher who’s just taken them on and they make like they know that this is a lovely person – which they may well be – despite the fact that they have only exchanged a few emails, perhaps even met only once.

Sad to say these people (agents/publishers) are business people and if you can make them money it’s obvious that they are going to be nice to you. Be honest with yourself. If that same person met you, as a stranger in the street, they wouldn’t spare you a glance.

From my own perspective I take my writing seriously enough to continue to try to improve my final stories, but I don’t take myself so seriously that I will cause anyone to have to get their clothes cleaned because I squeeeeeee’d all over them!

My stories are my product, I am not. I’m just a guy who writes because I want to. I self-publish because I want to share my stories on the basis of their merit, not mine.

Owen

 

Another Item Off The Bucket List

 

In 2016 I published this…

nhntcover4corel

It has taken this long to get into close enough proximity for this to happen…

NHNT Signed

Not world-shaking stuff… no fancy trip to a bookstore to slap my John Hancock on the book, just a simple face-to-face meeting with a couple of fans of this particular work.

Small fry? Sure, but soooo rewarding.

Why? Because I have achieved my primary objective – I have entertained the reader – and that’s enough for me.

Owen

Annndddd here it is…

Ok… it’s a proof copy – and for more accomplished writers, it’s no big deal. But, let me tell you, it’s a rush to see a story in the hard-copy, book format.

I have a faint smile that refuses to go away. Am I proud? Let me see… hell, yes, I am! It’s a relatively small adrenaline rush I grant you, but it’s still a buzz.

It arrived – via a courteous neighbour – like this :-

AFE Packaged

How it got from my neighbour’s place to mine without me ripping the package open, I really can’t say. My hands were itching something fierce and I kept looking at it with a burning desire to shred the cardboard flashing across my mind. As you can see, I resisted that particular temptation…

I got home and took the picture above.

Then I relented and removed the packaging. My faint smile became somewhat radioactive and I’m sure that it would have glowed in the dark. Once again I was patient enough to take a couple of snaps before leafing through the pages.

What I feel about this delivery can be summed up in a single word. NICE!

Working my way towards my next (small) adrenaline rush. Which story it will be? All I can say is be patient and watch this space.

Owen

 

 

A Fool’s Errand

Well, I’ve done it… enjoyed all the work – though it took me a while to get into the rewrite, cut, polish, add and delete (editing) phase of the work… and now?

I’ve gone and published the story and that’s all I have to say about it.

However – someone who has read it (one of my peers and they know who they are) has this to say about it – “I finished Fool’s Errand last night.  I think it’s an excellent story with a poignant & moving ending.”

I hope that it is as enjoyable for others to read as it was for me. The link below will take any interested parties to Amazon (of course).

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1986539946/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522183815&sr=1-4

Ho hum… on to the next project!

Owen