Wednesday, 22 May 2013

An Old Elfen


This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

"...of course the word 'petrichor' means the song of the stone.  I think that is a word that is underused in these times.  So much of the language of Shakespeare has been lost.  Mind you, I only met him when he was drunk..."
Elaine and Steve exchanged glances.  As the elfen lord carried on with his pedantic monologue Steve whispered, 'He's got it wrong, you know.  It means 'blood of the stone'.  I looked it up once.  It's all the same with the older elfen.  They get odder with age.  The trouble is that as the elfen get older they get more and more powerful.   They get better at controlling weather and seem to know more magic.  I'm just grateful that they get a bit more caught up in the old stories."
Elaine looked around the room.  It had radiators but no central heating.  There was a television in one corner but it was surrounded by what looked like a lattice of hawthorn twigs.  What looked like a silk cloth was neatly folded over the top of the television.  Over the fireplace was an empty frame where a mirror would normally hang and the wallpaper, while new, was a pattern that hadn't been current for fifty years or more.  "So that's why we couldn't bring in anything made of iron."
Steve nodded.  "And why we have some clothes inside out.  It's a sort of protection."
"...of course nowadays the language changes so quickly.  That is why I watch my television, through a scry glass of course, and I am quite concerned about some of the things I see.  I noticed a programme on Tinkerbell, for one serious example..."
As the old elfen droned on, Elaine looked with concern at Steve.  "But he wants us to buy what without iron!?"

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Eurovision

Unless you are British you have no idea of the impact of Eurovision.  My view is, c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre and best seen through large amounts of alcohol.

Some really good songs.  I sometimes wish we were a bit less insular with music.  Then again I choked on my gin after watching the Romanian entry.

Tom Marlowe has just sent me a note saying that some of the entries do not accurately reflect centuries of proud warrior tradition.  On the other hand I think that some of the ladies' dresses show courage worthy of the finest military tradition.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Haunting Music

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.


Image from Write on Edge
DELIBERATE
1: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration <a deliberate decision>
2: characterized by awareness of the consequences<deliberate falsehood>
3: slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>


Elaine slow, deliberate and with great care checked and rechecked her internet banking.  The money was there.  It was a lot of money and that made it a lot easier.  Cancelling a wedding with a month to go was very expensive.  Selling her late grandfather's piano was a bit of a wrench, but it was time to let go of things.  If she had been less attached to her home, her keepsakes, her things then perhaps she would have listened to the little voice warning her that her relationship was not going well.  Being forced to look at evidence of Keith's affair had been a shock and it had made her look at a lot of things in a whole new light.  She was going to sell everything and travel the world.  She was going to sell everything and go back to college.  She was going to sell everything and, well, do something to change her life around. 
She looked at Steve.  Steve Adderson was once again acting as an agent for someone else. 
"You have the money?" he asked.
Elaine nodded.  "The piano is haunted, you know." She said.  "I've heard it sometimes at night."
Steve looked out of the window and gestured to the very specialist movers.  "It's not haunted, it's enchanted." he said. 
"Can I come with you?" Elaine asked impulsively. 
Steve looked at her thoughtfully.  "I need to check something anyway."  He rummaged in his pocket.  The small, dusty button looked incongruous coming out of the pocket of such a sharp suit.  Steve lifted the lid to show the keys and placed the button on top of the upright piano.  There was a click.  He pressed the button and suddenly a pair of ghostly hands were playing a wild, Hungarian waltz.  Steve nodded and removed the button.  The hands vanished. "Still want to come?"
"So the stories about my grandfather were true?" Elaine stared at the piano as the movers started to wrap it carefully.  "I am definitely coming!"

Despite my best intentions I am getting recurring characters.  You can check out more about them on the side bar here.  I hope you enjoy this story.  

Friday, 10 May 2013

Grammar


I was reading an article about Grammar in the Guardian online here.  I found it desperately depressing.  I didn't know what half of the words meant.  I was educated during the great educational experiments of the seventies and I was never taught grammar.  In fact during my first three years of school I wasn't taught to read or write either.  I was introduced to the whole idea of nouns and verbs aged eleven when I started to learn French.  I have never quite grasped some of the grammatical terms introduced by French either.

It was quite reassuring to find that my regular sin of starting a sentence with 'and' isn't so bad.  Apparently it is okay to boldly split infinitives.  I was drilled never to start a sentence with 'however' but I learned later that actually it is quite acceptable.

My first aim when I write a story is to write something that people can enjoy, with believable characters, interesting plots and room for a reader's imagination.  When it comes to the technical side of writing my general rule of thumb is, 'can someone who has never met me understand what I have written?  Is it clear?  Are there places which are ambiguous?  Is it consistent?  I suspect that using grammar correctly will help me achieve these goals.

I picked up grammar through reading.  I write what I think sounds write, listening to the words.  If I am a writer (and I suppose I am) then I really need to learn these things properly.  It's like a decorator not knowing how to paint a wall.

I think I had better look out for some evening classes.  I am not enthused by the prospect, but I am quite determined.  Can anyone recommend any books?

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Strange Inheritance

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge andTrifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

Picture from the Write on the Edge Website


3
Elaine stood under the cherry blossom trees folding and unfolding the message that had brought her here.  Keith had proposed to her under a tree full of cherry blossom.  It was cherry blossom time again but today it seemed colder.
A BMW pulled up a few yards away.  Elaine watched a slim man get out of the car carrying a large brown envelope.  Cherry blossom petals fell around her. 
The man looked around, saw Elaine and walked over to her.  "Hi, I'm Steve Adderson.  We emailed about meeting, I'm glad you can make it."
"Why did you contact me?" Elaine asked.  She hadn't meant to say it.  She had planned quiet dignity but the words spilled out.
"Your grandfather was Herbert Pettigrew.  He did a favour for someone who..." Steve searched for the words.  "My client takes the matter of debts of honour very seriously.  Your grandfather died before he could repay that debt.  My client felt that the debt carried on in the blood, a strange inheritance.  As you are on the cusp of marriage he thought you should see this."
Elaine barely heard the words as she stared at the envelope Steve was holding out to her.  She had suspected but she didn't want to have proof.  Her fingers felt almost numb as she opened it and pulled out the pictures.
There were a lot of pictures.  One stood out, one burned itself into her eyes.  Keith was having a quiet drink in a bar with the fair haired woman who was in all the pictures with him.  It was the least graphic of them all.  They were not physically close, they were not touching, but the love in their eyes said more than any picture taken through a bedroom window.  Cherry blossom petals fell onto the pictures.
"Wait, who sent you?" Elaine called after Steve but he had walked briskly away and climbed into the car.  Elaine leant against the cherry tree and started to cry. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

When one Door Closes...

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

Door 3: a means of access or participation : opportunity <opens new doors> <door to success>



"It's just different ways of working, that's all."
Steven Adderson looked at the man from Headquarters and wondered why he was faking polite interest.  "Really?" he said.
"Did you know that once society ladies had maids who had to dress them?  Look at this."
Steve looked at the fake advert for automated closets.  "Hmm."
"So it isn't that you've been replaced by new machines, just by a different way of working, just like them.  We have to let you go.  It's nothing personal."
The plastic phrase was the final straw.  "Thanks for this chat." Steve stood and held out his hand.  "I appreciate your time."  Five minutes later he was in the car park next to his BMW and wondering what he was going to do now.
Steve looked down at the his key fob.  He loved this car, but how long would an unemployed man be allowed to keep a three week old prestige car?  He had only had it two of those weeks but he loved it with a passion.  A motorbike drove up behind him.  Steve turned round automatically and then froze as the biker took off his helmet.
"Steven Adderson, call centre worker, do you remember me?"
Steve nodded carefully.  "I remember you, Lord Marius.  You are one of the..." Steve searched for the right words. 
"I am one of the elfen, or faerie if you must, and you provided a coveted gift for Lord Cerdig."  Lord Marius put down his helmet and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket.  "News of your sale has travelled.  I have further requests from a number of powerful elfen Lords.  Lord Lothar requires a new variety of tea.  Lord Karum has requested that you find some wedgewood china.  Lord Laurentius has asked about your knowledge of mobile phones..."
As Lord Marius read the growing list Steve could feel his smile growing.  What was it they said?  As one door shuts another one opens.  It was time for a career change.