short short story

Spe[aking] (on the purpose of writing)

By speaking he realised he could live, after all, without the physical affection he still would have clearly flourished round; even so, despite all, what hurt him the most was to talk about futures and find himself with people who found it so hard to do anything but look to the past that had haunted the ghosts of their ghosts.

It hurt him to think he could have another life, and maybe that life would not be just different but actually, objectively, better than now: but he had to limit himself to living in the real world where dreams cannot always fly as we’d like, and perhaps it was as well that this be the case: he had, in any case, hurt as much as he had been hurt, and the balance and credit of life could not be any other than this might indicate.

And speaking ameliorated in a way that ached slightly, for all his needs and the things he valued most disappeared in an understanding that people were worth more than the wants he had placed to that date at the centre of his life.  And if he could help others to realise themselves, in a sense he’d be realising himself.

And this was clear, and this was right.  And finally he realised, absolutely too, that he wasn’t half the man he had ever striven to be.

And this was clear, and this was wrong.  He still wished he could do far more than he had done.  But this wanting and then the doing traversed such an abyss that he felt to himself there was little he could do if it meant he was alone: without the support of someone, he really knew not where to turn.

And if his writing righted no wrongs at all, what was the purpose of writing anything?

trails of thought


One of the things I’ve discovered recently – discovered in the emotional sense, not intellectual – is that when, right at the start, you begin to blur the lines between what happened and what could have happened, and then again what might happen in the future – you discover a supremely powerful tool.  And like all powerful extensions of the human psyche, its power can overwhelm and terrify.

Lately (well, these past few days!), I’ve realised that whilst the job of the writer is to make absolutely credible everything they say, absolutely truthful even we might add, it’s not quite the same to go and do the latter as to be totally factual.

And the terror and horrifying nature of writing is when we immerse ourselves in the world of the author, sometimes quite despite ourselves, sometimes despite our better natures, and actually begin to believe and relate to actions we’d never – in our real lives – consider.

Now if this is possible for a reader to feel, imagine how the creator – wrapped up in the creative process for hours, weeks, months, maybe longer – gets to experience the realities slowly honed up into the credible truths I mentioned earlier (where not factualities).

So although I’ve been writing for most of my 53 years, I’m a very recent convert to the right of a writer to explore almost everything – without then feeling obliged to put it all into practice.

That is the dividing line which I always knew intellectually existed – but emotionally is only something which now I am beginning to properly appreciate.

trails of thought

My job as a writer



Had a gently strange day today, wandering around from coffee to uncoffee, and then back to coffee again.  My imagination is clearly getting the better of me: at least children and parrots seem to respond to my advances.  A lovely young man ruffled my hair near Sainsbury’s whilst he was with his family and me with my SO.  An impulse you don’t often see people expressing these days: stranger danger makes us so retiring, and occasionally rightly so; but the downside is that the physical contact and affection we’re frequently starved of continues to be absent in so many contexts.

Anyhow.  We talked of old days, mainly in Burgos; how humour did infuse quite often large swathes.  Life takes its toll, of course; of course it must and will.  But being good friends is much kinder than continuing to be a confused opposition.

I have to add something else as well.  I’ve been writing poetry and prose (mainly poetry, to be honest) for the past four months or so: quite frequently, quite persistently, quite randomly maybe too.  And this process of free and untrammelled writing has unlocked – unbolted – so many memories I was unable to access for such a long time, making me realise I’m almost like I used to be in Burgos before all that horrible shit went down.  To return to a time when life looks forward instead of looking back is so beautiful to feel, experience and transmit, that I can only give thanks to the artifices of the project – unless of course it’s happened by itself, in which case I must give thanks to the greater universe.

I’m still not out of the woods, of course: my imagination still runs away with me; and I often find it challenging to remind myself that what I think and what I see are never going to be one and the same thing.  The other grand issue relating to being a writer who draws on their personal experience in order to create is that the fusing of reality and fiction often doesn’t leave a very clearly marked frontier.  And for the imagineer, as much as the public, this may sometimes be both disconcerting as well as distressing.  But the truth of the matter is that writing which plays safe is the kind of writing which doesn’t need to be written.  And if I have ever hurt anyone with what I have written, I can only say I try to be honest and fair with what I say all the time.

I love many people in my life.  Not all of them know it, nor even that they remain in my life after so many years.  But they do, and I would never have it any other way: the things I remember from day to day, from childhood and adulthood both, have marked me, as I am sure they have marked us all.  If I can both recover my semblance of reality by describing the things which are so important to me as well as helping others understand their own, then I think my job as writer will probably be done.



short short story



He’d spent his life trying to understand the world.  And the truth was he still was unable to.  But the nearest he ever got to understanding it better was writing it down on a page.  It wasn’t enough that the page be on computer, either: if that had been the case, the quandary would’ve been non-existent.  No.  The real issue was that he needed to feel that – in however a limited way – at least some people would stumble across and connect with what he said – all the things he said; that at least some people might even reply.

But he was also aware, all too fully aware, that on starting out on the project which had then helped him survive, his survival was going to be at the expense of other people, whose memories and beings were frankly theirs, and whose permission had not been obtained.

To what extent, then, was his survival quite wrong?  If this was the only means he had to recover from fairly mad actions the year before, was the alternative simply not to survive – to continue to fall into the sin of wasted practice, and co-exist until the end arrived, sooner or later, to the lives he did experience?

He guessed there was little he could say any more on the matter.  He had not proceeded justly; he had not proceeded fairly; instead of writing his love and real affection for the people who had touched him through private acts of joy so great just his writing about them had cured him of so much pain, he should’ve had the balls to call them up one by one, and tell them equally privately the impact they had retained on him.

And maybe it’d be crazy, and perhaps they’d have considered him crazy – but crazier still was to think that art in itself could save the day where discretion clearly had not.

The discretion of family can be a terrible thing, of course: the private forums that involve family debate on many occasions lead to hateful pursuit of weakest member.  But the private forums are private either way, and a persecuted member does always have the opportunity to get away.

In a world where government now watched our every move, he was still a little curious as to how this might pan out.

But if the reality was actually that he’d wronged the people in his thoughts, perhaps the ultimate sacrifice did have to be contemplated: perhaps the art of thoughts – the art primarily of writing – demanded he no longer had or communicated them.



Why writers don’t EVER make jackass phonecalls (any more)

Writers, even when ever so desperately in romantic love,

don’t ever make jackass phonecalls to anyone.

If they did, they’d be salespeople or alpha

execs – or other dumbly besuited trollops

of capitalistic-like endeavour – whose selling of

ideas before they were fruited would clearly be seen

smarter than a fruiting of the ideas

with a due maturity, adequate for the

circumstances to hand.


And such writers, even when desperate for love with homely SO,

won’t ever make jackass conversations any more –

unless they’re damn drunk (at which point it’s got to

be said not all writers are drunkards by the

stretch of any writerly imagination …).


So if you want to make fun of a writer for not

doing the kind of shit which salespeople do,

then ask yourself what’s the point of your

writer, if you need them to make abject

idiots of themselves – especially when you’ve got

alpha execs or the aforementioned trollops

to dollop in spadefuls

the idiocies of salestalk.


Just remember that, then: a good writer is good

precisely because they find it fine to write on

electronic ream the words that come rhyming into

their heads, and consequently end up spending

far more time doing, like this, the solitary stuff

than laying themselves wide open to

the awful ignominy of communicating privately

the words and thoughts and loves and imaginings

their writerly muscles do inevitably produce.


Especially when rejection already came their

violent way.  Either romantically speaking –

or prosaically at home.