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'Tis a special Friday Flight of Fancy, dear friends!

Extracted from my current work in progress, Seven Worlds Will Collide. 'Extracted' as in 'removed'. It's a shame, I originally wrote this piece at least five years ago and it's one of my favourites. Enjoy!



You won’t see hide nor hair of her again in this tale, but Mavis Suet from this end of Gladstone Street doesn’t understand why people would want to go into space.

“Space is empty,” she told her late husband Wilfred in 1957 when Gagarin went into space and the whole of Gladstone Street crowded into the Cadge family's front parlour at number 27 to watch the news coverage. “It’s Earth that’s full.” But oddly enough it may even have been Mavis, who was the first woman on a Mars bar in Shirley’s paper shop on Melford Road but only because Shirley’s son Phil dropped one beside the counter and evacuated the shop in a hurry.

Incendiary, it was. Like Napalm, it was.

Shirley later confided to Mavis that she was just grateful that her auburn frizz of hair didn’t catch light that day and leave her as bald as a moorhen, particularly since at that moment she’d just sparked up a fag out in the back room.

Life on Gladstone Street is something quite unlike life on Melford Road, which abuts jauntily with the former by way of Charlie’s Legendary Chippie and leads to worlds unknown in this lunchtime. Perhaps one day Mavis will pack up a modest bag of sandwiches and follow the one-way road against the flow of traffic up Gladstone Street to find out the source of the Tomato Ketchup.

But then everyone likes a bit of sauce with their cod and chips, especially Lovely Rita Meter Maid, who’s always desperate for a dash of slap and tickle up against the elm tree by the pond on the water meadows on a moonlit night in May. Her bosoms heaving against the thin cotton of her blouse and her bare buttocks scraping up against the raw bark…

But then again, who wouldn’t?
Brothers and sisters! I have seen the light!

Or rather, this "seemingly talentless halfwit" has seen the love! THE LOVE!! Get down on your hands and knees, and PRAISE THE LOVE!

You don't need to hide behind anyone to praise the love. You don't need to label yourself as this or that religion. You don't need a personal saviour; you just need to open your black little heart up and let in the warmth of love. Most especially if you've been shit on from a great height by other people's careless actions.

I implore you; keep your heart open, brothers and sisters! Find the joy in every waking moment! Let your walls tumble down and give every man the benefit of the doubt! If that man harms no-one then Praise be! He's let the love into his heart and shall help save the human race.

Don't stab at a good man from the black heart of hell, brothers and sisters! Treat every stranger as your own. Help a troubled man as he falls. Take the needle from his hand, take the booze bottle from her lips; bring them to their feet and bring them the warmth of LOVE!

Though someone strikes at the heart of you, don't let them bring you down. They need the love more than most, even if they are threatened and afraid and run away at every approach. There is good in every human soul on this planet, to be unearthed. Some people need a helping hand; LIFT THEM HIGH, BROTHERS AND SISTERS! Bring them hope and joy and show them the way to the LOVE!

HALLELUJAH!! PRAISE BE!!

*passes out*

*comes round*

You don't have to believe in anyone or anything else, just so long as you believe in LOVE!

Remember:



Did you think I was MIA, didyer? Hmm?

Fear not! I turn up once again, like a bad penny.

In the interim; I've been to West Suffolk, into Essex briefly, stopped off in Ipswich and rode up the spine of Suffolk in a Ford Focus and back once again, with the ill behaviour, with the ill behaviour.

I must confess to not writing a single word on my Nanowrimo project for 4 full days. However all was far from lost as I'd been two days ahead up until that point. I've clawed a full day back over the course of yesterday and today and am on target to hit 25k tomorrow.

Providing I can concentrate.

We all struggle to concentrate. I find myself creating a Pink Floyd bubble to shut out the random street noise that filters through our abode and can fly along merrily in hot pursuit of the story, the sequel, the endgame and the equal. Much in the style of Nyan Cat, if you will.

For yes, I am also now part Pop Tart, too. Raspberry with pink icing...



You'll thank me later.


Day Four.

10024 / 50000.

Woohoo!

I'll keep this brief, this time.

Yesterday was disrupted by various goings out and a drastic late afternoon downwards trend in my mood and so the daily wordcount came in at mildly disappointing 1200. With urging from 'Im Indoors, I was up-and-at-'em this morning. By my calculations... OK, by my SPREADSHEET's calculations, I'm an eyelash under two days ahead of the bare minimum calculated from the daily 1667 average*.

And I'm still managing to do the washing up! *the slumping sound of 7 billion jaws dropping*

The best thing about this, is disciplining myself to write daily and at length. I'm not setting myself a target, other than to outdo the 1667. I'm keen to see how long it takes me to polish off a first draft of Volume 2, if I keep hacking away at it like this.

I will be away for two nights visiting my family next weekend and am not planning on taking my laptop so will most likely have a couple of days break. I'm writing it on Google Docs though, so I'd still be able to access it from my parents' place if I really couldn't leave it alone.

Stop playing with yourself, Hooper.

* Yeah, I've done a spreadsheet. I only have to put in the overall total, and it tells me how many words I've done today, how far ahead/behind I am with the 1667 average and what percentage I have written. I am a nerd; I do not refute this!

Be advised that the title of this post has no bearing upon the subject matter. It was just something that our dear friend Michael said last night and made is still making me giggle stupidly.


Another decent day of writing; Vol 2 Draft 1 looks like a football score but the word count happily, does not. 6462 / 50000. According to my feeble calculations on the back of a crumbled wet Waitrose receipt, I am nearly two days ahead of schedule.

Nice.

Now I feel I must say that whilst I'm proud of my progress, I don't want to make anyone feel bad about it. I have no job so time is the one thing I have oodles of. I am aware of people who are taking part alongside their full-time jobs and families, and to you, I fall down at your feet and worship because ANY kind of distraction is enough to send my concentration south with a bursting suitcase and a sombrero to Acapulco.

(Cushy.)

The thing for me is that I want to make writing my career. Not smegging retail. I've paid my dues in retail. I've been snotted on and drooled on; mopped up urine, cleared up dogshit and rinsed away vomit; been shouted at, been personally insulted, been told I was stupid, been told I was unprofessional... But I've met so many people who were fabulous and kind and funny and chumly. So I've gained a wealth of insight into the human condition. I've seen so many people on the up; others clinging on in desperation... The day Ada fell into the stack of baskets because she could barely stand and yet she'd come in to pay her milk bill. When Mrs H came in, Boxing Day morning and I clung to her hands because she didn't think her husband would see nightfall. The last time I saw dear gentle Stan, bruised and defeated by a terrible fall. The people I've seen struggling ever onwards quietly, trying to keep their dignity. There's more of them, so many more. I am someone who feels other people's pain very keenly.

And conversely, this is why I present myself as a grinning idiot always looking to make people laugh. Life is; life can be utter shit for us all. It can drag our noses along the ground, grind our faces into the grit and defeat us into cowered submission.

So let us no waste another moment being maudlin and laugh! LAUGH! Laughter, the samurai! It kicks the droopy slumpy arse of crying any day of the week...


You cue 'em up, I'll nod 'em in.

So about a week ago, Muggins here decided to do Nanowrimo.

I think most people who've been around the Internet block have heard of Nanowrimo. National Novel Writing Month was begun by certified delightful loon Chris Baty back in 200-some-odd. The time is the entire month of November, when a globally strewn bunch of the slightly deranged who like writing and are sometimes cursed with what I call "Written Word Diarrhoea*" *raises hand* try to squeeze out a 50000 word novel in thirty days.

(50000 words is technically more like a novella, but I'm not about to piss on their parade because I'm cool like that.)

I've attempted it before; oh yes I have. I'm none too shy when it comes to writing novel length works. This is my fourth crack of the whip. In 2005 I thrashed out 32000 words, 2006's total was 14k, 2007 was around 10k and I hadn't done it since so my account disappeared. With regard long writing projects, November's not a great month for me as my birthday is the 20th and I tend to get distracted by a shitload of delightfully wicked social exploits at a very fragile point in the month.

But, BUT!! A week ago I became overwhelmed by a ridiculous urge to write a first draft of the second volume in my fancifully postulated trilogy. To amputate a tale that threatens to overspill; 42 Post-It Notes of frantic plotting stuck to our laminate floor later... 4185 words down on the page after day one and I am cruising towards 10% complete.

In all honesty, I'm not that bothered about reaching 50000 words. I'd just like to get as much down as possible in the next thirty days, as I'm making minor tweaks to vol one as I write vol two. To have a first draft of vol two waiting to be attended to once vol one is put to bed, will be ace.

And I'm loving it. It's so great to be pushing my set of characters and their stories onwards. I like to play with them; they've been around a long time (some longer than others). I particularly enjoy baiting Meg. One day you might find out why.

Like Whats'isname said, y'know, that thing I have on the bottom my emails. Flaubert, yes, that guy. "It is a delicious thing to write, whether well or badly... to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating." - Gustave Flaubert.

You get a bit obsessed. Sometimes you don't quite live in the Real World but that's cool because the Real World can seriously suck the big hairy balls of Goatboy and why should you drag yourself down with all that shittiness?

I say no, No, NO! to Real World shittiness! And if it's wrong to dream a bit and walk the streets with your head in the clouds, I sure as hell don't wanna be right.

Just don't get run over by a bus.

Which isn't easy on Market Street...


* Thanks to Richard Polhill for putting my spelling right!

[BLOG] Top Five Suitably Sexy Men of SF

The magnificent Madame Guillotine has been writing a series of blogs about fanciable historical fiction characters as portrayed on TV and in films, and y'know: I think there's room for an SF Heroes one too.

I can't help it; I'm all hormonal in a good way and here's the way to express it!

The All-Time Number One has to be the young Harrison Ford as the audaciously swashbuckling Han Solo. I mean, come on ladies; you SO WOULD, wouldn't you?



hot DAMN.

2. George Clooney in Solaris. A little bit vulnerable, a little bit muddled but all man and his bum in that tight silver spacesuit? MERCY. *fans self*



I don't usually go for older men but man! I'm hot for Mr Clooney.

3. Sam Rockwell in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. The gold lame boxer shorts, the pinball sharp grin and the swagger, THE SWAGGER! Can I get a witness?



I love Sam Rockwell anyway; he was fabulous in Moon and man can that man dance. (You've seen that YouTube vid, right?) This made me love him forever.

4. Chris Pine in Star Trek. Again, it's the swagger, the smirk; Chris Pine goes boldly where Shatner went before... Oooh baby. Honourable mentions to Karl Urban as McCoy and Chris Hemsworth who was Kirk's Father George.



There's a bit of a theme developing here, donchathink?

5. Chris Evans in Sunshine and the Fantastic Four movies. I seem to recall James May of the Top Gear team saying that driving certain cars gives him a fizzy feeling in his pelvic region. *pause* Sounds familiar.



So there we have it; the complete fantasy package for this buzzingly hormonal gal in her late thirties, currently hitting her stride, if you know what I mean *wink wink*

Anyone got anyone to add?

[BLOG] Let's Subvert Philip Larkin!

With reference to Philip Larkin's infamous This Be The Verse, and a tip of the soft-crowned fedora to Adrian Mitchell's delightful This Be The Worst, I give you...


These Be The Hormones by Me, Leonie Smith.
With fervent apologies and grateful thanks to that loveable old git, Philip Larkin.

They fuck you up, your hormones do,
They fuck with your sense of the sane;
They fill up your womb with angry blood
And rampage through your brain.

They fucked you up when you hit 12,
You cried when you found the blotch;
Your ovaries felt like a shot to the gut
and a knitting needle up the crotch.

Woman hands on misery to woman,
It deepens like a coastal shelf,
Pray God for the menopause to appear
and have some relief, for yourself.


I bet my former English teacher Martin Hayden is now whimpering and curled up in a foetal ball, if he's just read that. He reveres Larkin but I'm just an irreverent idiot and your favourite "Seemingly Talentless Halfwit" who can't resist mucking about with other people's work...

A word to the wise.

And to the downright witless too; this is an equal opportunities blog, dear friends. 'twould be churlish to assume otherwise.

I don't like to spread gossip or misapprehension or malignancy or measles, but something odd is springing up on Market Street. Shrouded in secrecy and furtive with frangipan, the former Old Mill Coffee shop has a vast sheet of MDF nailed over the front window and much crashing and banging is to be heard within. As it is, himself and myself happened to be passing the other night when they'd taken the board down and we had an impertinent nose as we passed.

Now, either they're setting up a Mission Control for a console a space mission on Mars or they're putting in a chip frying unit. I'm praying for the former. (Q: are Agnostics allowed to pray? It's a good one and another flight of fancy entirely.)

Houston, we have a problem. We've run out of ketchup packets and Nigel's fallen in the beer batter vat.

Better pop round the Spar then, Horatio! Ketchup is the opium of the fried food fanatic and 'tis surely a criminal offence in this kingdom to sell chips without ketchup!

And what about Nigel?

Frying Tonight!

[BLOG] Oh Anxiety, Up Yours

So how long is since I last posted? Looks like 3 weeks as the last posted entry is dated the day I missed my first Citalopram.

God, people. I can't describe the utter euphoria I felt on 10mg Citalopram, every other day. I was bouncing off the walls, I was unstoppable. if I'd had the ability, I would've been somersaulting repeatedly down Market Street and the High Street, whooping because THAT'S how great I felt.

And now I'm on stage two and have stepped down to one tablet, every three and a half days. If shit was warmed up, it wouldn't feel this lousy. But if I'm all mournful now, then Anxiety wins (the bastard) and I don't want that. I might feel sicky, and oh yes I feel dizzy and I might have to go throw up soon but Oh Anxiety, Up Yours.

To my credit, I am sticking my fingers up at Anxiety as I said I would. Despite feeling dizzy on Saturday, I made myself go out for a walk round town, hassled my Beloved and the other card players in the Townhouse, tripped on a dodgy paving stone on the Lane and after a change of footwear, I took my library books back. I then happened upon H and N in Caffe Nero and had a brief coffee with them, which was highly appreciated in it's unexpectedness. Even when I was on the Triperafluozine before the Citalopram, I tended to avoid going out if I felt a bit off kilter in any way. So now without the medication, I feel braver and more defiant when it comes to confronting anxiety and self-doubt.

Bizarre.

Twenty one years is much too long to let fear dominate your life. I'm still young, I still have a lot to do...

Three novels to publish, for a start!