Does the title count? – #writing 101

“There. It’s done. One hundred word flash fiction” I said.

“Err … actually … it’s a hundred and four” he said, the smile spreading across his face. “Count them. A hundred and four.”

“No, there were ninety-eight until I added the two ‘buts’ and that made one hundred, exactly.” It was my turn to smile.

“You forgot the title” he said. “That’s the extra four.”

“You can’t count the title” I shouted. “It’s not part of the text.”

“It’s still part of the story” he smirked. “So it counts.”

“Bloody challenge” I said. “I hate this stuff. Hate it all.”

Writing and Not Writing – #writing101

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

Well I basically get on with life. Writing is something I do to fill a gap in the day, but it’s not at the top of day-to-day list. The small amount of writing I do is just a hobby. One of a number that do. I’m not such an accomplished writer that it can be anything else but a hobby. One of the reasons for my joining this challenge, was to improve my writing, and I think it is beginning to work.

But I enjoy …….

  • Reading (fiction and non)
  • Walking
  • Social media
  • Listening to music
  • Cooking and eating

Then the more unusual ……

  • Knitting
  • Ironing (clothes)

The rest of the time is spent working, sleeping and coping with life in general.

Sunday Write-Up – August 2015

This is for the August Sunday Write-Up. It’s a couple of weeks late, but at least I eventually did it.

It completely threw him. So much that he ended the call without saying anything. He had no idea why she would say something as stupid as “Hello handsome.” I was not a voice he recognised, and he knew all the receptionists quite well. Since his operation, he had needed regular blood tests, to ensure that his Warfarin was doing its job. It was not just the words that she said, it was the way she said them. It was almost as if she knew him personally. It was quite erotic.

“She must be new” he thought. He tried to picture what she might look like, but knowing the other receptionists well, it proved very difficult.

“I’ll have to go in to the surgery to arrange my test” he said to himself. He knew that they would not be able to test straight away and it would be at least a week later. They would, of course ask why he didn’t telephone. What would he say? How could he explain his rudeness when they asked about his call? It would be all on the phone records. No! There was no way he could go in to book his appointment. He would have to ring again.

He picked his phone up and tapped the Contacts app. The app opened and he tapped ‘D’ into the search screen. It should have found the Drs number straight away, but no! What the search found was an entry called ‘Date Me’.

It then hit him. His brother had used his phone while he was staying with him. His recently divorced brother. The brother who was looking for a ‘friend’.

Update your readers over a cup of coffee – #writing 101

Hmmm, I thought when I saw this. It’s not something I would normally do. Then I decided to ‘think outside the box’ as the saying goes. So this is my imaginary video conversation with an imaginary friend.

“Well hello there. Finally got this video call thing working. Thanks for the help.”

“No, no I was really struggling. I thought I was going to have to get an Apple. I never thought you would have Skype what with FaceTime and that.”

“So how’s the coffee?”

“You’re having tea? I didn’t think you Americans drank tea!”

“Ah. Of course. I had forgotten you were at Uni here.”

“Me. Yeah coffee is good. I bought a new machine last week. I just need to learn how to make anything but espresso.”

“Noooo. I love espresso, but I can’t drink more than two a day”

”I was just going to ask you that.”

“Well a couple of things since the last time I emailed. I’ve been doing more on my blog.”

“I’ve had it a couple of years now. It’s just starting to take off.”

“It’s a WordPress one.”

“Yeah, I tried Blogger but it was bit of a pain to set up.”

“Err … it’s not really about anything in particular. It’s just what I think at the time.”

“Like I say, it’s just beginning to take off properly now.”

“I’m  following a couple of challenges.”

“Yeah, you get a prompt or something like that and you post something that relates to it.”

“I suppose it does do away with the spontaneity, but it has increased my readership and it does kind of force me to do something.”

“So, how’s the family ………….”

This is the point when I thought I had gone on long enough.

Reinvent the letter format – #writing 101

Dear Knees,

I appreciate that you may be feeling a little left out at the moment and I know you’re missing the cod liver oil capsules. However I feel that you may not be aware of the reasons for my discontinuation of that Omega 3 supplement that you so cherish.

I am unsure if Brain actually mentioned this, but in June of last year Heart went through a bit of a traumatic experience. Brain did assure me that the correct signals had been issued, but he is getting on a bit, and may have missed you off the list.

To cut a short story even shorter, Heart had a procedure undertaken in a medical establishment. This procedure meant that Heart had one of his valves (I understand it was a Mitral valve) being replaced or repaired. I am reliably advised that you would have been informed at some point. At the end of the day, the procedure and resulting medications mean that the Omega 3 supplement (that you know as Cod Liver Oil) has had to be withdrawn. Now, I am not aware of the full reason for this, but Mouth says (and this is in Mouths words) that “… it buggers up your INR and messes with the Warfarin …” Eyes had Googled this and it seems that the information is accurate as far as Wikipedia is concerned.

So that is it in a nutshell. In order that Heart keeps up its proscribed function, it needs this Warfarin stuff. For that to work properly, the Omega 3 supplement has to be forgone. I can understand your reluctance to accept this, but I hope you realise that without Heart, your position as Knees are untenable.

Yours sincerely


Hook ’em with a quote – #writing101

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

“Well,” she asked. “Did you get it?”

She knew the answer before he spoke. “Of course you didn’t. How could you? Dressed like that!”

“Like what? What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed?” he said as he looked down at his feet.

“Cheap. That’s what’s wrong with the way you dress. Cheap and nasty,” she said.

“But this is how I always dress,” he answered. “It’s not cheap. This suit cost nearly a hundred pounds.”

“Like I said … cheap. Tesco’s finest. Off the peg. You’re never going to impress anyone like that,” she said. “These people know that kind of thing.”

She turned away and walked toward the window. She was angry. Angry with him. Angry with herself for letting him be like that. She had told him that the job was important. She hadn’t told him why it was so important. Why that extra £4,000.00 a year raise was important. Then there was the annual bonus … and the car. God how important would a car be now.

“It was just a job,” he said. “I’m not sure I really wanted it in the first place.”

You wanted…” she said. “Not sure that ‘you’ wanted it.” She turned, “Have not even considered what I wanted? What I needed. What ‘we’ needed.”

She walked back to the coffee table and picked up her wine glass.

“Do you know who got it?” she said.

“Daniel,” he replied. “Daniel Lofthouse ….”

“I know who ‘Daniel’ is,” she snapped. “I know his wife. She’ll not let me forget this. It’ll be all over the golf club by the morning.”

“Like I said. It’s only a job. Daniel was always going to be favourite to get it. I didn’t stand a chance really.” He swilled the whisky round in his glass, then drank it down in one.

“God,” she cried, “you simply don’t get it do you? Daniel got the job because of who he is. What he is. How he acts. What he says. What he does. He got the job, because he is Daniel.”

She walked right up to him and looked him straight in the eye.

“Why can’t you be more like him?” she screamed at him.

He turned, and walked to the door. “Because …… because …… I’m not Daniel. I’m me.”

The space to write #writing 101

What are your writing habits?

I don’t really have any particular habits. Unless I’m taking part in one of the WordPress challenges, I write whenever the fancy takes me. However, I suppose that I usually write, when the rest of the family have gone to bed or on a Sunday

What equipment or supplies do you use to write?

For writing to my blog, I usually use the Blog template in Word 2013. I tend to write up and post it as a draft. Than gives me the opportunity to re-read the post and correct any glaring grammar mistakes. It is also useful when formatting the post. I used to use Windows Live Writer, but I now favour Word.

As for any other writing, I simply use Word 2013. I have tried using software such as yWriter, but I found it too distracting to use. I tend not to make notes (although I am in the process of changing that) but if I do I use the Windows ‘Sticky Notes’ for brief ones or a piece of freeware called Notepad++. However, I’m reliably informed that Microsoft OneNote is really good for note taking with its ability to synchronise across multiple devices. I’m tempted.

What do you need and want in a physical space

I have never given this much thought really. I have my desk with my laptop, and that’s about it. It’s in the living room with all its distractions, which is the main reason for the times when I write. I suppose, that ideally it may be better writing in a place that had no distractions, but apart from a soundproofed windowless room away from everyone, there are not many places that offer that ideal. Then again, I think some distractions may actually help the writing process move along.

Just to awkward though, I am typing this up on my computer at work (lunch-break before anyone asks) and I will reformat it and post it later tonight.

Do they not know anything?

A friend reposted something on Facebook today which could not help laughing at. It’s not there now, as I deleted from my timeline. It was not something I wanted to see, but basically it showed a great deal of ignorance. The post went like this:

There was a picture of the Union Flag (the UK one if anyone is in any doubt) and with went the words

“Bolton council are encouraging schools to fly the Union flag (as opposed to the ‘Union Jack’, they got that right) and sing the national anthem at assemblies.”

The comment that went with it was ‘At least Bolton is English!’

My main problem was the bit about Bolton being English. Surely, if they were English, then they would fly the flag of St George. That being a red cross on a white background. Then there is the problem of St George himself. It is now widely understood that he was a soldier on the Roman army and that he was either Turkish or Syrian (hmmm … interesting in todays climate!)

We often see nationalists (to give them an actual name) marching with the Union flag and claiming that they are English. You’re not. You’re British under that banner.

Let’s be social – #writing101

I have been a huge fan of Judy Garland for many more years than I care to remember. There are many words and statements that are attributed to her and I think a great number of them were possibly the studios putting the words into her mouth. However this one became her voice, I care not. The sentiment is one I like to believe in. It just makes complete sense. Why be anything else but you? It doesn’t mean that you are a perfect. Nobody in their right mind expects you to be perfect. You just have to be you. Warts and all!

A story in a single image – #writing101

He stared at the window. That was the only way. But it was impossible. Even if the window was open, he had to get out of the bed. Could he somehow break the bindings that prevented him from moving. Then to climb up to the window, he would need to move the bed. A plan began to formulate in his head. He would tip the bed on its end. That way he could reach. But the bindings. There was no way. Maybe he could rub the bindings against the edge of the bed frame. Might be able to wear it away so it could snap. He tried to move his hand against the bed edge. Was it working? It would take a long time. Would she spot it? All the time staring at the window.

He stopped. She was coming. It must be time to eat. She came into the room and sat down down. He wasn’t hungry, but he needed to eat. Needed to regain his strength. She checked the bindings. Still secure. A spoonful of the food was pushed towards his mouth. He swallowed it quickly. The faster he ate, the quicker she would leave.

He knew that the drug would be next. He knew she wanted him to be still. Did she know his plan? He tried to avoid looking at the window. He felt the needle enter his arm. It would soon take effect. He would soon be unconscious. She smiled. She always smiled. She was enjoying this. Then she spoke.

“Doctor says that the bandages can come off tomorrow. You’ll be back home in a week or so. You’ve done really well!”

Then he remembered the accident.


One word inspiration #writing101

When I saw todays topic, I groaned. I find it quite difficult writing to a prompt. I have tried many online creative writing courses that try to inspire ‘creativity’ by the use of prompts. All have failed up to press. I even had an app on my tablet that ‘produced’ a daily prompt. I just don’t get them. I will look at the prompt or prompts and can spend hours trying to build a story around those ideas, with no success. The few short stories that I have posted on here, and those that are buried deep within the hard drive of my laptop, have come from ideas that seem to happen.

I suppose that if there was one word that I could use, it would be ‘regret’. I have always wondered what I would have been, if only I had paid more attention to the English teachers I had at school. I know it’s probably more my fault, but back in the day teachers were different from what they are now. My first English teacher was a rather flamboyant character who I think may have modelled himself on the archetypal public school teacher. He always wore a suit, with a waistcoat, pinstripe trousers and a bow tie. He only needed a monocle and cigarette holder to complete the picture. The second one was more strict and rigid and made everything a chore. Some of us seemed to absorb very little and so now, I find things like punctuation difficult to get right (you may see that this is probably littered with incorrect commas.)

So yes, not taking English more seriously at school is a regret.

There …… did it!

(BTW this will be post 600 …. Yah!)

Make a list #writing101

I must firstly say, that I don’t like making lists. My dislike goes back years to the time when I was first asked for a ‘Christmas List’. For those who have never heard of this, a Christmas List (and in the same vein a ‘Birthday List’) is basically a wish list of things I would like as Christmas presents. I always thought it a strange idea that getting a present was expected. Probably just me. Anyway here is my list, which is not in any particular order, but it is interesting that wine and whisky seem to have found their way to the top of the list:

Twenty things I like!

  • Red and white wine (still only)
  • Whisky
  • Beef rump steak fried or grilled (not such a fan of fillet)
  • Pork (any kind)
  • Reading fantasy novels
  • Writing my blog
  • Working with Excel (other spreadsheets are available!)
  • Craft beers (Ales as opposed to lager types)
  • Knitting (not crochet)
  • Cycling (when I get fit again ……)
  • Driving my car (when I know where I’m going)
  • Old classic films (movies)
  • Old classic radio comedy (mainly British)
  • Reading other peoples blogs
  • Photography
  • Creative writing (a work in progress)
  • Detailed instructions (for anything)
  • Ironing clothes (sad, I know)
  • Cooking
  • Finding bargains

Why do I write – #writing101

Why do I write? I’ve never really given the subject much thought. Well that is until today. I’ve thought about it a great deal. What conclusion have I come to?

I suppose I could come out with all the old clichés … ‘I write to express myself!’ … ‘I need to leave a presence!’ … ‘I have a burning desire to be famous!’ … ‘it is just something I need to do!’ … ‘I do it for art!’ None of them are true of course. If I had to analyse it, I would probably would have to admit, that I write just for something to do. There’s no deeply buried reason for writing, I just do it when I want to. It’s not even a hobby. I will one day just have an idea and then I write it down. I mean of course, record it on my word processor, my handwriting skills are not something to be proud of.

I have never been what you might call a committed writer. I don’t set deadlines or anything like that. You can probably see from my posts here, that there is no set time frame for my blogging. It is basically when the fancy takes me, and that applies to my writing also. So what kind of writer does that make me? I don’t think that’s my call.

Difficult evening – more to follow I think !

R*** has been on respite for the past two nights. It’s usually a bit tense when he returns, but for the past six or seven occasions, everything has been fine, with no issues to speak of.

However, tonight has been different. Tonight was the night when he decided that he wanted to watch a VHS video (anyone remember VHS?). He has many many VHS tapes, both pre-recorded and self-recorded ones. You may remember me blogging about having to buy a refurbished VHS player on-line last year. Well tonight, for the first time in over six months, he decided he wanted to watch a video. Now I do not know what has happened, but it seems that the tape is now stuck in the machine and will neither play nor eject. This has of course caused him, because of his Autism to become very distressed. There is no way he can understand that the video has a problem. He just wants it fixed. Fixed now! I will of course give it a try to fix it, but I don’t hold out much hope.

* * * Update * * *

Immediate danger has passed. At some point, between writing this post and 09:30 today, the little devil has somehow managed to release the jammed tape and the VHS player is now working again. All is good, but I have no idea what he’s done with the tape!!