Apr 30th

His First 100 Days

By JB

We've had the 100+ days of President Trump. No doubt there are many people out there writing articles (and even manuscripts) on  the subject. If you had the inclination would you opt to write a work of fiction on the President's next 100 days, what genre would you choose:

Political thriller

Comedy (Satire)

Si-Fi (Body Snatchers etc)

 

Having fun...

 

regards

JB

Apr 30th

Twisted Disney

By Monica Handle

 

“The wonderful thing about lovers … is lovers are wonderful things.”  So didn’t sing Tigger in the Disney animation of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  But what if he had?  How much of the rest of that memorable earworm of a tune would have made it uncut into the adult version?

 

 

As it turns out, nearly all of it, and with every justification.  Let’s begin at the beginning:

 

 

“The wonderful thing about lovers

 

Is lovers are wonderful things!

 

 

We take this as read.  Mere scene-setting, but all of a piece with Tigger’s irrepressible personality.

 

 

Their tops are made out of rubber

 

Their bottoms are made out of springs”

 

 

So far, disturbingly accurate.  We go on:

 

 

They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy

 

Fun fun fun fun fun!”

 

 

Speaking personally, I’m particularly keen on both ‘bouncy’ and ‘pouncy’.  Not a great fan of ‘flouncy’, but each to their own.  The quintuple repetition of ‘fun’ is almost in needy, obsessional territory, but we can let that go as a mere excess of enthusiasm.  To return:

 

 

But the most wonderful thing about lovers is

 

I’m not the only one”

 

 

Only a dedicated and entirely self-regarding onanist would insist on keeping unchanged the line ‘I’m the only one’.  It surely has to have the addition of ‘not’ (emphasised, of course, and we can imagine Tigger giving a joyful leap as he belts out this word) if the altered lyric is to hang together.  Pun intended.  Next coupling couplet:

 

 

Lovers are cuddly fellas

 

Lovers are awfully sweet

 

 

Now, lovers are not always ‘fellas’, but we could perhaps accept that this is a generic gender term in some circles, not unlike ‘guys’ or ‘chaps’.  Lovers can be ‘awfully sweet’, but here we see Disney at his cloying, mawkish worst, side-lining completely the possibility that lovers can also be argumentative, vengeful, weepy, hot-headed and tiresome.  However, none of these rhyme with ‘repeat’, so, again, we must bow to the Disney Corp.

 

 

Ev’ryone ell-us is jealous

 

That’s why I repeat and repeat”

 

 

The genius of the twisted mind of Disney, or the hired hands who served this up to the great man, lies in these two lines.

 

 

Ev’ryone ell-us is jealous.  Of course they are.  But who is jealous of whom?  A Freudian perspective would be that the lovers are jealous of their primogenitors – jealous of the very same carnal acts, as practised by their mothers and fathers, which brought them into the world, eventually to be obliged by hormonal pressure and social expectations to repeat the cycle of sin.  The parents got there first!  They are also jealous of each other, jealous of the unknowable inner world of sensuous pleasure which each evidently possesses but can’t (or won’t?) fully share.  Finally, they are driven to provoke the jealousy of others, the friends, family members and complete strangers who are permitted to see and hear the signifiers engendered by the lovers’ behaviour, but are frustratingly excluded from the actuality of the echt sexual experiences.

 

 

That’s why I repeat and repeat.  Quite.  ‘nuff said.

 

 

 

  

 

Apr 30th

The Green Man

By David

In Celtic mythology, and legends from other cultures, there is a figure known as The Green Man, sometimes also as The Green Woman, and occasionally as The Green Beast (s). Most commonly depicted as The Green Man his face - leafy in appearance, symbolising communion with nature - can be seen in carvings and sculptures in places as various as Roslyn Chapel and Chartres Cathedral (and many more churches across Europe as far as Russia). Although a pagan figure, The Green Man was co-opted as a Christian symbol because he was thought to represent the Resurrection, coming as he did from a tradition which valued regeneration and rebirth.

Down to the present day, with revivals of pre-Christian traditions, there are still traditions practised which commemorate The Green Man. Most focus on a symbolic killing, after which The Green Man comes back to life, coinciding with the turning of the seasons from winter through to spring. He is thought to represent also fertility and similarities have been drawn to Dionysius in Ancient Greece and Isis in Egypt.

I discovered this myth when there was a revival of Spring festivals across Scotland during my University years, and was intrigued. The Green Man seems to resonate with some archetypal part of the mind. In some countries, their still-existing rituals at this time of year figure him as an eight-foot high tree man, with someone dressing up in leaves and being symbolically killed, with participants then taking off a leaf each for good luck. In Picardy, to this day, such rites are incorporated into Easter church services, with The Green Man appearing on the altar.

I wondered if any of you had heard of The Green Man, and if you had any stories . . . ?

Apr 30th

Second thoughts

By mike

 I have just read Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God in Ruins’ and there is an interesting afterward where she explains the book and her writing process.  The main character is the pilot of a bomber during the second world war, so I suspect Word Clouders have read it. 

 

    I had recommended a visit  to the ‘Globe‘  by the  Thames in London.  I have had second thoughts.  

     Last Thursday,  I saw the first play of their new season -  ‘Romeo and Juliet‘ 

      A sound system and lights have been installed.  

       I think the Globe might have abandoned a ‘Shakespearian’ audience. But  I am  not a Shakespearian scholar and have no critical abilities.  I am sure the Globe knows its audience and produces the plays accordingly.    The dancers show their knickers and shake their stuff and a male actor strolls around his underpants and his willie is clearly defined.

      The Royal Shakespeare Company does London productions at the Barbican, and other theaters often stage Shakespeare, so there are plenty of alternatives for Shakespearian scholars. I would recommend these productions rather than the Globe. 

      I am undecided about The Globe’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and will see it again.  In theory I should have enjoyed the production as it encompasses the theatre of the absurd.(*)   I think Juliet’s mum was the bunny rabbit, but I am not sure.  Someone wandered around the stage with an eyepatch and a meat chopper.  It was not until he was killed that I realized he was Tybalt.   One actor spoke so badly his words are incomprehensible but this must have been deliberate.

        The musician’s gallery above the stage is now closed off with a sheet.    Snippets of recorded pop music are used instead and are broadcast through the speaker.  It would not matter if there were live musicians because of the sound system.

         If you go, I would not get a pit ticket.     In the second act, roses are placed along  the front of the stage - these bouquets about one foot in height. The Globe has a thrust stage which is some five feet of the ground.  If you are in the pit close to the front, the actors are  hidden from view.   The sound is also confusing as it seems to come from one speaker high to the left of the stage,  so words no longer come out of the mouths of the 

actors.  I would have enjoyed the production more if it had been performed in a circus tent as clowning seemed the intent.  But there is little comic relief apart from that provided by Romeo and Juliet who only want to fuck each other. But I am not sure of this ,as the actor with the eye patch and the meat cleaver rolls on the death bed with them -  which suggests a  three some.   I suspect the production is too deep for me.

     I think the Globe is advertising for a new chief which is a shame.  Perhaps the Globe has not got enough money to stage Shakespeare and has to  productions with recorded sound.  This seems the most likely scenario. 

       .      

 (*) Some years ago,I took my mother to a production of ‘The Barber of Saville’  It had been directed by Dario Fo - another writer in the theatre of the absurd.   it was performed at my local theatre.  I remember the production, because my mother was totally confused.  What was a giraffe doing in the cast?   This was not forgotten by my mother!

    I think the same production is available on a  DVD.   However, the opera  -the music and the plot   - is unchanged.   You can re-imagine Shakespeare in the same way but Romeo and Juliet  did not do this.  I had thought Juliet’s dad was a waiter and it was not till the end of the play that I realized he was the king.

Apr 28th

Something for the weekend

By AlanP

I thought a little bit of a group activity for the weekend. Add a verse if you like.

********

 

Mine to kick off:

*********

Are you just a pile of rotting wood pulled up hard beside the shore,

Does it make your heart ache when you hear the ocean roar

To end your days of roving so painful and so slow

This wasn’t what your builders thought those many years ago

When they built a ship high in the beam to rove the ocean wide

What bought you here, I wonder, upon this riverside?

 

Apr 27th

Little Dog's Rhapsody in the Night - a poem by Mary Oliver

By BellaM

"He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I'm awake, or awake enough

He turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

Tell me you love me, he says.

Tell me again.

Could there be a sweeter arrangement?
Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell."

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Little Toddy Pug (in my avatar) got to ask over and over last Thursday night. He knew he was dying, I think.

 

On Tuesday all hope was lost and I had to say goodbye.

 

I don't get to tell any more.

 

Apr 27th

Low cost housing

By John Alty

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

The mill was located on the river to the east of Bangkok and to get to it I would turn off the main paved road and drive along a dirt track through a new industrial area. The track cut through palm trees and lush foliage and within this semi-jungle setting there was a small village of wooden shacks. Children played in the dirt while their mothers cooked and cleaned, dogs snuffled here and there and woodsmoke hung in the treetops. 

I realised these shacks were the packing cases in which the milling machinery had been shipped. A sifter, for instance, is shipped in three crates, each the size of a large wardrobe in a western home. By laying one on its side you had a four foot by eight foot room you could just about stand up in. Block off the open side with whatever you could find – corrugated iron sheets, cardboard, plywood – add a curtain for a doorway and you had a luxurious abode. Well, luxurious compared to the homeless alternative. A rollermill crate made a smaller home or an additional room tacked onto a sifter crate. There were probably thirty cases of various sizes and they made a bizarre sight in their new role as low cost but very robust housing, for these crates were export quality and lined with waterproofing material. 

On what basis the crates were distributed I don’t know but it was clear the inhabitants were the families of labourers working on the mill and adjacent construction projects. I wondered if those that lived in the sifter crates looked down smugly on their neighbours living in rollermill crates and if they in turn adopted an air of superiority when encountering those who had to make do with a bran-finisher box.

 

Apr 27th

Colonial Compromises is now published on Kindle

By stephenterry

First of all, I am indebted to Debi and Emma in guiding me through the self-edit course a few months ago. It wasn't easy - bloody hard, if truth be known - but I persevered, and carried out a complete edit and overhaul of the narrator's voices.

Then, when I felt it was the best I could manage, I made submissions to 30+ agents I found on WC Agent Hunter. Long and short synopses, first 3+ chapters, varying cover letters, a bit about me drinking red wine on my balcony in Chiang Mai,  and I awaited the feedback (if any).

I wasn't disappointed. 27 rejections, mainly thanking me (a surprise), but the message was clear. Couldn't sell it. One agent actually stated it was a very emotive beginning, but...

It's happened before - I attract rejections like confetti at a wedding ceremony - so I took my escape route and uploaded it on Kindle. Seems like Kindle have eliminated bugs in the process, even helped me choose a royalty-free cover, requested book description rather than blurb (which in CC's case is a better way of providing readers with a story outline) and my novel is now living its life.

I would be delighted if only one person read it, and said they enjoyed it in a review - well, we'll see.   

Here's the link. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colonial-Compromises-Stephen-Terry-ebook/dp/B071YJK2XS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493092649&sr=1-1&keyw

 

 

Apr 26th

Our differences?

By Hilly

Last train. Not to Lhasa unfortunately, but to Dalston.

There's a girl asleep in the seat in front of me. I always choose seats where I can see someone else, especially as late as this is. There's no one else visible and I settle back into my seat and study the girl.

Different. Green dyed hair, tattoos curling across pale bare skin, various piercings, scuffed leather bodice and mini-skirt. Looking down, I notice torn tights the colour of summer leaves, knee length laced stiletto boots. Oh, and let's not forget the whip. Yes, I said whip. Her make-up is pretty (and pretty Goth) but it's her rings I focus on most. One on every finger, intricate and so individual, I actually recognise who made them. I worked in Covent garden Craft market for years. I know the jeweller well.

The girl is still asleep when six young people board the train. Normal kids, you know? The boys are in Ben Sherman shirts and the girl's are in Top Shop attire. Normal.

I won't go into detail, as their words would horrify you. How six young people could work themselves up into such a frenzy, that it is only because their stop comes before hers that they don't attack her outright.

The girl 'slept' throughout their viscious verbal assault. I didn't intervene, in case I was the catalyst that triggered them but I knew, if I had to, I would defend her if it came to real physical violence. Six against two, albeit one with a whip. But the kids got off, swearing, with fists bunched in their outrage. But outrage at what? That she looked different to them? That she had the audacity to have tattoos and piercings and green hair? Why should they vow to kill her? Why did they believe that she should die?

I am terrified. For the both of us. But they get off... and in a sense, so did we.

I'm sorry but isn't it our differences that make us who we are?

When the girl opens her beautiful green eyes, she peers about her.

'Did you hear any of that?' I ask.

'Every word,' she grins at me. 'I pretended to be asleep in the hope they'd run out of steam.' She has a rich, posh accent. Very Chelsea or whatever. What did I expect?

'Lexi Dick?' I point at her rings.

'They're beautiful, aren't they?'

Yes, I think, as you are.

 

 

Apr 22nd

All wrong?

By Monica Handle

 

Third go, this time without 'i'.  It turns out that gerunds are very handy, and as a general rule it is unwise to banish that letter if you are telling a tale from a 1st person perspective.  A tough one - glad to have finished it.

*****

 

As dusk spread over our balcony, we found ourselves at the back end of what had been a fabulous meal.  We had spent the day as usual: some arch chat about our good fortune and the week just gone.  Our course through the world seemed blessed.  We worked hardly at all: our wealth flowed effortlessly from out-sourced commerce, so we could spend weeks, or months, at the homes of cultured, smart pals or on journeys to far-away places.  Our boys?    Clever, full of charm, successful.  Sound of, body, soul?  You bet.  Sex?  Never better!

 

But just when my gorgeous paramour offered to clean up the rest of our supper (that last chunk of Wensleydale looked so yummy), just when the sun’s last rays turned to the colour of a crème caramel all a-glow, there came the most unexpected moment of self-doubt.  So sudden, such a shock and really a nasty upset … not at all the same as the lost years of my unruly youth, nor the same as my company’s start up, when there were so many concerns about any chance of future success.  No – now there was a dreadful, all-round sense that my soul had been upended and damaged, perhaps even doomed. What an awful moment!  Just as an acrobat fears a broken trapeze or a dodgy rope, so my ego was thoroughly scared of one wrong foot.  Then: a cheerful gaze at a lovely landscape.  And now: a horror of the drop at the edge.

 

At the table, there was clearly a need to try to pull myself together and to get some oxygen down my throat, so as to express to my better half my moment of profound shock.  Amanda looked at me and clocked my sudden mood change; there was tender concern across her face.

 

“Jon, my love, what’s up?  You look pale.  Are you unwell?”

 

“Well … you see,” – the words tumbled out – “you  see … just when you spoke, well … have you ever had a moment when your psyche takes a fall?  Not easy to get across, my love, but as you spoke, there was suddenly a rotten sense that the world’s all wrong.”  After a momentary tremor, there was more to say.  “Unwell, yes, but mentally, up here, where there’s now an absolute sense of wrongness across the whole cosmos.  But how on earth to spell out what’s gone on!?”

 

 “OK,” responded Amanda, “how to help?  Can you say whether your thoughts were of us, or about the boys?  Your mother?”

 

“No.  My only thought, just before you offered to the clear the table, now seems so daft.  The cheeses looked so lovely, and greedy me wanted to scoff some more.  The Camembert, perhaps.  But all at once, zowee: my head was full of black doubt.”

 

The next hour or so was spent on recovery of my mental balance, Amanda of course at her helpful best.  But bed and sleep were soon at hand, and as darkness beckoned, the new real was only too clear: we would never recover what had been lost. 

 

 

 

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