In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”
I think a lot about what life will be like in the future: ten years, ten thousand years, ten million years – the near and far future are full of so many possibilities.
I’ve always been interested in history – right back deep to Neanderthals and before – but studying what the future may bring has only been a recent interest.
How will people be living ten thousand or ten million years from now? Will there be world peace? Will we have reached a higher state of consciousness as a species? Will we meet people from other worlds?
The Universe contains the past, present and future. Could there be planets out there that are younger than ours yet more advanced?
These are some of the things that blow my mind. The thread of Time runs constant through it all.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Green-Eyed Monster.”
Dear Soccer Dog,
Yes, I know who you are. Popping up on either side of the pitch like the footballing hound that you are.
You may have beaten the English Premier League champions in your first movie; and won the European Cup in your second. However, your career is hopelessly flawed:
1) You do not wear regulation soccer boots. No right-minded referee would allow you on the field of play.
2) That ball you are meant to be dribbling is obviously an added special effect given the low budget of the movie. So, in fact, you are just running up and down – nothing else.
3) As a dog it is obvious that at any given moment you would not be able to resist the urge to wee up against a corner flag or goal post. The oversight by the script writers, producers and other individuals involved in the making of this film is not mind-blowing; it’s laughable.
In concluding, I suggest you stick to chasing sticks.
My cat would run rings round you.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man.”
Yep, I tend to not spend more than £20 on a pair of trousers; I spend no more than £10 on t-shirts and jumpers.
I much prefer to use the money to pay for trainers and comfy shoes – they are about my only excess in life.
I have a dilemma if I see clothes I like in a high street shop and I know that chain has links with the child labour market: do I buy an item of clothing knowing I’m funding the continuation of child labour?; or can I take solace in the possibility that a child gets a wage (even if it is low pay), somewhere (safe?) to sleep and food?
It’s something I’ve never been able to get to grips: if I do buy an item from an outlet of a company with links to child labour, then I imagine the fat cats at the top of the business and the factory owners laughing; yet, if I don’t buy an item, I think of the children having less of a (very minimal) wage and struggling to work long hours.
It’s a Catch 22 because there have been times when I’ve bought an item and times when I haven’t. I always try to do it with the kids in mind.
I try to keep informed about these sorts of things, but I’m not so sure I’m as clued up as I could be here.
I’m doing a double whammy with this post.
For ‘Be A Good Neighbour’, I left messages on the following four blogs:
Live to write, write to live
All four blogs are worth a visit – each article I read engaged me in different ways – and explore different areas of the writing world. As a result, I am now following all four blogs.
For the ‘Be Inspired By The Neighbours’ segment, I decided to post up about Bluechickenninja’s ‘The TBR Jar’ as it helped to solve the problem of what book I should read next. The author’s technique is to write the names of unread books on to separate slips of paper, place them into a jar and pull one out at random. (Bluechickenninja explained how it helped her decide between the sixty or so books on her shelves).
Choosing a book in a library or a bookshop is a rewarding experience that requires thought and time. However, for those of us who have a stack of books that, despite our intentions, we probably would never get through, this technique gives us motivation to do so.
My usual technique is to mix it up: something heavy, something light. Applying the TBR jar method to my own makes it all the more enjoyable when you select one of those hidden gems that has been gathering dust for a while.
My next read: a comic book version of ‘The Hobbit’.
Roast chestnuts, scented candles, perfumes and soaps all blended to invigorate my senses as I strolled round the Christmas markets each year. Either that or the glass of mulled wine I would knock back made me feel particularly nostalgic for the time of year. Regardless, the buzz of the festive season was here once again and I would wallow in the magic of it all. Set in the foreground of the abbey, the markets were given that Dickensian quality that you got in films.
It was always best to attack the stalls in a slow stroll; any other speed would lead to me being swept away with the throngs of people looking to nurture their festive side. I also took the opportunity to scout out those unique, stand-out gifts.
I followed this routine each December. It truly got me in the spirit for Christmas, until one day eight years ago when the markets took on a different feel: the energy, the smells and entertainment were still the same, but – and I have never really been able to put a finger on it – there was a curiosity to it all that gnawed at me. It was like everything had slowed down and I was being drawn in; but everybody seemed to be going about their business as normal.
A fuzzy sensation enveloped me, causing me to step down a side street lined with Georgian buildings to clear my head. In the distance I could hear flute music and found myself following it, the mellow tones easing my ache.
I bumbled into an alleyway. At the end I saw another market stall. This one was different to the others, though, and it was one that I had not seen in all the previous years.
“Greetings, stranger,” called the vendor. “Please come closer and browse my wares.”
I checked over my shoulder, curious to see why nobody else was at this stall, before walking closer. The transition of day to night in December was often seamless, but the moon and stars had appeared like a jack-in-the-box.
“I imagine that you come here out of intrigue, hoping to find that unusual gift for a loved one.”
“Well, yes, I’m always on the lookout for something a little different,” I agreed.
“Good, good. I’m sure you will find such a gift here.”
The stall owner had long, matted grey hair and matching beard. He wore a rainbow-patterned kaftan and a pair of half-moon sunglasses. His voice had a wizened quality to it, much like a studious professor. I suddenly found myself taken in by all manner of strange objects that any previous thoughts of my headache were fast disappearing.
He presented me with a glass ball to which a pipe was attached; inside swirled a multitude of colours in a smoky haze.
“Before you blow on this you should think of a situation in your life where you were wronged. It will take you back and help make things right.”
I nodded my head and raised my eyebrows, but gently placed the glass ball back on the table. Was this guy telling me he could make me travel back in time?
“If that is not of interest, then how about this?” he said holding out a piece of velvet cloth with gold leaf patterns on it. “If you hold this close to your heart and think of your one true love, then they will be yours forever.”
This sounded tempting, and being a single man, I guess I could have thought of anybody to be with – but that would mean changing mine and somebody else’s life path in an unnatural way. This whole encounter was beginning to take on an eerie feel now and I found myself wanting to leave; even going back to the people swamp of the market sounded like a better idea than getting stuck here. But then, the enigmatic gentleman cast my eye to a tinderbox at the back of the table he stood in front of. It was positioned very discreetly behind joystick holders, ornate mirrors and other paraphernalia. Again, it had the same rainbow pattern as the old man’s kaftan.
“Marvin senses that this has roused your curiosity.”
I should have known better than to trust somebody who refers to themselves by their own name; I was, however, transfixed for reasons unknown by this box.
He took it in his hands and released the catch. Inside was a baby blue powder that smelt of freshly washed linen.
“When you use this you will be able to know what others think and feel. For the advancement of your own life and to avoid certain situations this is a useful substance.”
“Well…” I mumbled. I was not sure he was telling the truth now or if he was trying to fob me off with a small tin filled with washing powder.
“A small demonstration is in order for,” Marvin said.
Before I could summon my voice in protest he blew some of the powder in my face. I winced as my eyes, throat and nostrils burned. I coughed as if trying to remove a chicken bone. The whole effect lasted maybe three or four minutes and then stopped. The pain I had experienced was no more; the tears dried instantly. As I focused in on my surroundings I realised that I was alone: the old man and the stall had vanished. Next to me I found the rainbow coloured tinderbox and a note scrawled on parchment next to it.
Consider this a gift. Enjoy it. May you have a wonderful Christmas. From Marvin.
I shook with anger as I rose to my feet. This old codger had tried to spook me with a load of bogus magic items before blowing powder in my face that left me gagging; and now he was gone. I took the tinderbox with the notion of depositing it in the next bin I came across; however, as I stepped back into the crowded market new sensations pushed that thought far away.
For now I could hear the voices of the people I looked at. Yet, there mouths were not moving. I was able to tune in on one person to another as if I was turning a radio dial. I thought it best to get a coffee from a side stall. But anything I did to cram the thoughts out did not work. Hearing the barista curse me as she took a big handful of loose change made me want to scream. I sat down on a nearby bench and attempted to focus on the thoughts of just one person. But it was no good as people mingled in and out and became lost from sight. Within a few minutes I was drained.
I walked home, barely looking up as I made my way back through the streets.
“Spare any change, please,” I said to a woman passing by. She responded with a thousand-yard-stare.
I pulled my blanket up closer, watching the hordes stampede by the stalls. The clatter of change made me lift my head as a child put money in my tin. I smiled weakly.
Nowadays, this time of year made me reflect on all I had lost in those eight years. What was once a happy vibrant scene, the markets just seemed empty and soulless; swarms of people too preoccupied by their own agenda to consider those around them.
I was not now sleeping on the streets because hearing voices had made me go out of my mind. It was quite the opposite. After I had returned home from my encounter with Marvin, I decided to keep the tinderbox. I went back to the markets each day that Christmas in the hope that I would see him again – to gain further knowledge or to give the box back, I do not know – but he never appeared. However, in the next few days the voices wore off and I put the box in the back of a drawer.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that the tinderbox crossed my mind again when I was going for a job interview. It was a management job for a well-known high street bank. I really needed this. I reckoned that if I could read the interviewers’ thoughts, then I had a good chance of getting the job – even if it meant putting up with the burning sensation and hearing the thoughts of other people for a few days. Well, I succeeded in the interview and I managed to avoid human contact for a few days after too. But as soon as I started the job I realised the powder would help me reach the top: I honed into the thoughts of others, stole their ideas to improve products and presented them to senior management.
The powder and its power gave birth to a whole new me. I only needed a small amount each time. I reasoned that, as I shot through the company ranks, I would be on a fat enough salary by the time the powder completely ran out, so it wouldn’t matter anyway. Even though I kept an eye out for the old man at subsequent Christmas markets, as long as I was earning I was not bothered if I saw him or not.
Four years on, the day came when I ran out of powder. Although I was looking forward to no longer hearing voices, I had learnt not to let the stream of external thought bother me. However, I had not realised how addictive the powder was. The withdrawal effects consumed my very being: I began suffering with uncontrollable shaking and sweating, memory loss and palpitations. I received no sympathy from colleagues who were certain I had stolen ideas from them or that I had been ruthless to; I had even isolated myself from certain family members because of my change in personality. My work suffered, but due to my service to the bank I was put on an indefinite career break. The truth was nobody knew how long it would take me to recover.
At first I had to sweat this sensation out. Eventually, and surprisingly, the effects wore off. I decided not to return to work right away, opting instead to search for the old man. All manner of combinations of words did not help me on the internet. I asked local new age shops and other local businesses if they knew of this character, but nobody had. Often, when I asked about a magic blue powder, I was asked to leave premises.
I spent time in a number of countries considered mystical. Every person I spoke to said the same thing: they did not know of Marvin or the powder. It was utterly useless, but I had to try it; I needed that powder to help me in my job, in my life.
Within a year and a half of leaving work, I had spent out and fallen behind on my mortgage payments. Former colleagues, who I thought I could depend on, were not interested in giving me my old job back – I had not stayed in touch and I’d been away far too long for them to even want to take me on again – or giving me a place to sleep.
And so, here I have been ever since, watching people as I trudge through the streets.
Still, at least I don’t hear voices anymore.
Hi All, I’ve got to admit that I found today’s assignment really tough. I hope this offering is okay:
Title: Read this if you like reading (and writing)
My name is Wayne. I’m an aspiring writer on a journey to fulfill my dream of being a full-time author.
From time to time I’ll post up stories and poems; I’ll post up the odd football/soccer-related article too. I’ll also use this site as a platform to share any useful info and resources I find related to creative writing.
Through the development of this blog I am hoping to forge links with other writers and lovers of fiction.
As my journey is in its infancy I expect that what I currently know will be pulled apart and re-shaped. By keeping an open mind I am allowing my writing abilities to be enriched by progressive learning.
I hope you get something out of this too. It would be great to share ideas and thoughts with you.
Thanks for reading,
My name is Wayne Mullane. I work in Customer Services for a local council in the United Kingdom. I’d really love to be a writer.
I’m new to the world of blogging, so being on this course is an exciting opportunity for me.
I’m using my blog in order to keep me focused as a writer. By posting my thoughts and feelings I am attempting to publicly commit myself to self-imposed deadlines for the stories that I write.
I mainly read Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels. My favourite authors at the moment include Jessica Grace Coleman, Craig Zerf and Robert Rankin. The stories I write seem to have a flavour of ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ or ‘Tales from the Crypt’. I’ve always been drawn to stories that have a supernatural element and this deeply influences my own writing.
I also love football/soccer and will occasionally put a post up about something that catches my eye.
I think that blogging is part of a mission of self discovery: I’m hoping this blog will inspire me in my journey through learning the craft of short story writing as well as the stories that I write. It would also be great to share the experiences and journeys of other writers too, as well as talk with other bloggers about books in general.
In the next year it would be nice to think that I could get published somehow. I know it will take a lot of hardwork and a lot of vision; WordPress is going to be important to help me maintain that focus
Good luck, everybody!
Sadly, such fixtures do not come by as often these days. We only need to look to the world of rugby to see the fervour that is generated each year when England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales face-off against each other as part of the six nations. Surely, it’s time to reinstate a home internationals tournament in the football calendar?
A set of universal laws with regard to international games was drawn up between the participating countries in 1882, and this paved the way for the first Home Championship in the 1883-84 season. The competition was played annually – except for during the World Wars – and survived for a hundred years until the 1983-84 term. Hooliganism, fixture congestion, lower attendances, England’s desire to play other teams and troubles in Northern Ireland were among the reasons for the demise.
However, these days there is less hooliganism and crowd attendances are higher. Such a competition now could renew the rivalries for the current generation of fans. Younger players may use it as a chance to shine at international level. The competitive factor may give teams an edge that friendlies would not.
Fixture congestion is still a concern that may hamper the re-emergence of the tournament. Also, if one or more of the home countries qualifies for the World Cup or European Championship, such talk of a revival is hampered further still.
But there may be a solution: a home nations’ tournament could take place once every two years over the course of the domestic season. Competitive matches could replace some friendlies. Rivalries will be kept alive, there will be no extra fixtures and there will be plenty of opportunity to play other teams.
Ongoing talks, careful planning and appropriate marketing could all help to make this a success.