I (sometimes) call myself Mr. Pondersome. I'm a rather wordy, weirdy person. I say hullo a lot. I write a lot more. While you're here, why not give some of it a read?

Friday, 31 December 2010

"Plot Arc" - The Song and the Poem (a.k.a. My Last Remnant of Fiction of 2010)

Hullo all,

How've you been? Got all the presents you wanted? Watched all the festive telly? Bored yet?

Okay, enough of the unusual question-posing. I've had a very good Christmas (thanks for asking) with lots of goodies. Well, mainly books and DVDs, but they count as 'goodies' for me. And now, the new year approaches.
I don't know about you but, everytime this happens, I start to pine after the previous year. I suppose I have a thing for nostalgia and the past: always wanting the thing that came before. So, in order to savour what is left of the year, I've decided to display what will probably be my last piece of work for 2010.
I've been composing "Plot Arc" for just under a month now and I haven't been quite certain what to make of it. I know the message that I want to communicate, (i.e. break-ups on television shows and how they reflect real life relationships) it's finding the genre and form that is the problem. I say 'is', because I'm still not quite certain. But, maybe you could help.
Below is "Plot Arc" the song and "Plot Arc" the poem. The song is more explicit in terms of the message but it is ultimately very cliche. The poem uses features of screenplay script-writing for comedic effect but doesn't clarify the relevance of the title. Now I'm no expert when it comes to lyric-writing but, having re-read the song, I think I may be on to something. And that inevitably causes me to rethink writing it as a poem. However, I equally think the poem is worth a damn too.
So, without further umming and ahing, here are both respectively. I'll let you be the judge of which is better.


PLOT ARC (THE SONG)

Now you've gone,
Exit Stage;
I should really feel hurt,
should feel hurt by the rage,
but I don't.
No, I don't.

Now you've gone,
turned the page;
I should really feel old,
should feel old for my age,
but I don't.
No, I don't.

'Cos you're a plot arc -
you're purpose is served,
the emotion has curved.
You're a plot arc -
the interest has gone,
time to be moving on,
'cos you're a plot arc.

Now you've left,
shut the door;
I should really want you,
should really want you the more,
but I don't.
No, I don't.

Now you've left,
crossed the floor;
I should really feel robbed,
should really feel robbed and poor,
but I don't.
No, I don't.

'Cos you're a plot arc -
you're purpose is served,
the emotion has curved.
You're a plot arc -
the writer's know fluff,
they've got better stuff,
'cos you're a plot arc.

Now you've passed,
played the game;
I should really remember,
should remember your name,
but I won't.
No, I won't.

Now you've passed,
had your fame;
you should really get out,
should get out of the frame,
and you will.
Yes, you will.

'Cos you're a plot arc -
you're purpose is served,
the emotion has curved.
You're a plot arc -
the writer's are done,
time to be moving on,
'cos you're a plot arc.


PLOT ARC (POEM)

I noticed you leave
like a flick of a page...
LOOK OF GRIEF,
EXIT STAGE.

I noticed a tear,
shed a moment too late...
FOR NEXT YEAR -
SCRIPT UPDATE.

I noticed the cracks
as they swallowed you whole...
NO CALLBACKS,
FIND NEW GOAL.

And I'll keep falling down to cry...
UNTIL THE SCRIPT COMES THROUGH ON FRI.


And that's about it. It's quite ironic really; my last proper piece of fiction of the year and I can't even decide how it should be finished.
Any suggestions? I'm really open to any kind of reasonable interpretation. If not then, ah well. I'm sure I'll find a way. It may take me into the next year, but I'll find a way.
Anyhoo, go off and have a good night. Have a drink on me.

A MERRY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!!! XD.

Mr. Pondersome

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

"Tales from the Heart of Christmas Cards" (a.k.a. Something a Little Bit Festive)

Hullo all,

Like many people, I've been gearing up to Christmas for a while now. I suppose that you could say that I'm a bit of a sentimental old soul during the Yuletide season and maybe I am. However, that doesn't normally reflect in my writing. I've that nasty habit of soaking up Christmastime cliches and general cheesiness (which I love, by the way) only to produce something equally cutesy and predictable. But this time I think I've done it.

Having received my first Christmas card a month or so ago (a very sweet but slightly overeager gesture), I glanced at the printed message inside and got to thinking: 'What if I could fashion this typical little message into a title for a relatively interesting and festive short short story?', or something along those lines. And I did.
Well, in a manner of speaking. I swapped the "Merry Christmas" message for three slightly more ambiguous messages - "Seasons Greetings", "Happy Holidays" and "Best Wishes". I know the latter doesn't technically count as a Christmas card message, but I definitely found it in one. They're all "Tales from the Heart of Christmas Cards" and I'm sticking to that story.

So here they are: the teeny tiny tokens of my festive sentimentality. I know that I wimped out a bit in the end but you'll forgive me. After all, it is Christmas...


TALES FROM THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS CARDS


SEASONS GREETINGS

The fingers are first. They slide off the walls, creep along the grass.
Next are the knuckles. Snapping forward they nudge the flesh of nature; press through, lock in place.
Then comes the palm. Laying down to pat the earth, it leaves a pale powdered print and drags on till daylight.
The white hand of winter arrives. Few reach out to shake it.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Harold was merry. As merry as two six-packs of lager and a bottle of communion wine can get you, anyway. He stumbled and slid.
The walk was treacherous, but Harold didn't care. If Jesus could walk on water, he could bloody well wind his way home on ice.
But Jesus and ice didn't matter tonight. Tonight he wasn't a priest; tonight he wasn't a man of dignity. Tonight he was a drunk, and a happy one at that. A jolly old fool chasing the blinks of pretty lights. And if anyone noticed the dog collar, twisted out of shape, and stopped him; he'd just tell them to bugger off. He deserved a break. It was a holiday, after all. And why did they care? Why would anyone care these days?
Harold hiccuped and skidded forward. Mary was probably waiting up for him. She was in for a big surprise.

BEST WISHES

Having finished her last mince pie, Nicola turned back to the telescope. Dusting the crumbs from her lower lip, she rested an eye on the eyepiece and started scanning the heavens. It wasn't a particularly good night for stargazing; there was a thick veil of mist stretching across the atmosphere, but that didn't matter. She stopped the scope and beamed. There it was.
Polaris. The last star in the tail of the Little Dipper. The North Star. Her favourite star. It gleamed through the whirling black.
For years on Earth, this particular star had been a source of guidance and navigation for countless travellers. And yet, every time the planet changed the direction of its axis, the star would always move accordingly. In many ways it reminded Nicola of a hope or wish; always aspired to yet forever distant.
Much like her own wish. She'd been stuck on this space station for just over a year now, many light-years from home. Home, where Christmas was still traditional and not just a tolerated expression of faith. Home, where families and friends gathered for warmth against the bitter chill.
Nicola moved away. Home and all it's traditions were a long way away now. Still, they were somewhere. She'd just have to wait.
Thousands of light-years away, the North-Star winked in the dark.


And that's about it. Well, there is something else. I'm kinda a published writer now. Well, actually some of my work is published in a collection of short stories and poetry. The book is called "Born Listening" (£5 retail price, sold in specific bookshops around Sheffield including the Sheffield Central Children's Lending Library and the Rare and Racy bookshop on Division Street) and it's rather small but filled with truly wondrous pieces of literature from the very best of Yorkshire young writers. In fact, I'd go as far as to suggest it might make a good stocking filler...(hint, hint).

Anyway, that's enough out of me. I wish you all (loyal readers and casual visitors alike) a very Jolly Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!!

Until we meet again...

Mr. Pondersome

Friday, 17 December 2010

"Ahead" (a.k.a. A Generally Well-Meaning Story that I'm Sick to Death with)

Hullo, all!

I've been rather busy lately, for which I apologise. Uni work's been trying to run me down and has, in a way, succeeded. Thanks to a mixture of stress, chilly winds and open jackets I've got a cold. Hardly astounding or worth sympathy, I know, but it's certainly made everything a lot more frustrating and difficult. But enough of my pathetic whittering - let's get on to this story that I'm 'sick' of.

"Ahead" is a sci-fi short story I've been working on for a while now and let's just say I've had a rather hot-and-cold relationship with it. Essentially it's the tale of a 1970s Glam-rock group ("White and the Beamers" - I know: inspired...:P) and a particularly memorable gig for them. I won't say anymore. I guess you could say that it's to get you to read on, but it's more because I'm sulking at the thought of even displaying it here. Although its on its eighth draft (this tends to be the point when I put the pen down and walk away) I still feel like its rough and stolid. It feels like I'm throwing a lump of coal onto a conveyor belt of relatively-shiny diamonds, and it makes me squirm.
Then again, this is just the writer talking. The writer who has been staring at the same three pages of narrative for well over a month and a half. You, the reader, may have a different opinion. In fact, I kinda hope that you do.
Anyway, enough of this perpetual self-sabotaging; time to lay it on the line. Please be gentle.


Ahead

            "Chrissakes, Fobbers! Put it away!" Wyatt squirmed and wafted his hands.
            "Not until you admit it!"
            "Alright, alright. Your armpit hair does have a quiff!"
            And it did. There was a distinct curl at the tip of the red hairy clump, glistening with flecks of sweat. Everyone at home knew Eric Fobeson for his insane pride in his body hair. What little drumming skill he had paled in comparison.
            He lowered his flabby arm and grinned.
            "Told you!"
            "I had a quiff a couple of years back." Jez chimed in, from behind a thick plume of cigarette smoke, "Looked nothing like that."
            At the other corner of the room, Nick strummed on his guitar absentmindedly. It was a tune he'd been composing for over three months now. He hadn’t bothered to write it down though yet.
            "Shouldn't we be getting ready or something?" He mumbled without looking up. He was wearing shades on account of feeling ' a little light-headed'.
            "Yeah." Wyatt replied, getting up, "Norm will be along in a bit to pick us up."
             He moved towards the mirror, shuffling along in flared trousers that were an inch too long. He'd tripped up on them three times since arriving, but he didn't care. It was all part of his 'look'.
            Gazing into the mirror, Wyatt started to adjust his hair. His silver locks were looking a little too droopy at one side. Nothing a little hairspray couldn't fix though. And what about his make-up? The mascara was starting to run down his right cheek. It looked quite good actually; it made him seem angry and misunderstood. He smudged the other side for a similar effect. A risky last-minute move, but he could pull it off. After all, he was ‘White’ of ‘White and the Beamers’: lead singer, sex god, fashion extraordinaire. Tugging the hem of his sparkly white jacket down across his waist he winked and clicked at his reflection.
            "You done preening yourself, White?" Jez inquired, approaching him, "Good. Some of us need to the use the mirror too, you know."
            "Says Jez the pretty boy!" Fobbers snorted, "Anymore lipstick on yer face and they'll cart you off for being a poof!"
            "Oh, get your head out of the trough, porky!"
            "Porky?" Fobbers jumped to his feet. "I eat bloody pigs for breakfast!"
            "You could never tell." The lead guitarist added more blush. "Porky."
            Wide-eyed, Fobbers jumped up towards him and stumbled over the corner of the table. Jez let out a nasal cackle. Nick raised his shades and peeked out with one blood-shot eye. Before Fobbers could land a punch, Wyatt stepped in.
            "Alright, lads! I know we're all feeling anxious and a bit narky about the room, but let's not fight, eh?"
            Still glaring at each other Fobbers and Jez moved back to their places; Fobbers carefully resting his aching foot on the glass table.
            "What is it with this place, anyway?" Jez grumbled, "It's got nothing in it. Not much of a dressing room."
            "Probably all that’s available." Wyatt remarked, "They did book us in at the last minute."
            “Still, it was nice of them to drive us here.” Fobbers added, “Funny looking minibus though. Did you notice how all the windows were blacked out?”
            “Yeah.” Jez lit up a second cigarette. “And what about those noises it made? Kind of a whoosh, a bing and ‘We’ve landed!’”
            “It was quite quick, wasn’t it? Almost as if we never moved.” Wyatt found himself staring thoughtfully off into the distance. He shook himself back to reality. “Anyway, we’re here now and that’s all that matters. So what if the room is a little empty? Things could be a lot worse.”
            "What the hell is this thing?" Jez picked up a light blue rocket-shaped crystal and held it in a dainty grip.
            "Whoa! Funky lemon juicer!" Fobbers snatched it. "Far out!"
            Entrapped in his sausage-like fingers, the crystal began to glow faintly.
            Resting his bass guitar on the table Nick lowered his shades. "Should it be doing that?"
            "Sure!" Fobbers laughed, "It's probably some sort of lava-lamp thing too!"
            Wyatt pried the crystal from the drummer's hands and stared at it.
            "Nah, that can't be right!" He brought it closer to his eyes. "What is it?"
            "Please put that back on the table!" A gaunt pair of hands reached out for the crystal and lowered it down onto the glass surface. The rest of the figure was thin and squat, including its pale sharp-featured face.
            "Norm!" Wyatt beamed. "My main man!"
            Norm was the events manager; a strange yet stable figure who only ever dressed in one particular manner, it seemed. He looked virtually no different from when he had visited backstage at the end of their previous gig; formal and rigid as ever. Maybe it was the suit; it was the exact same style, the exact same shade of grey.
That night Norm came round to compliment them on their ‘rhythmically diverse’ performance and to offer them a slot at an upcoming event at his club. He had told them outright that they were ‘destined for significant future popularity’ and, with an almost sly thin-lipped smile, he then gave Wyatt his card. Shortly afterwards he disappeared and did not return till a few days later. None of them had ever seen him before, not even whilst performing that night.
            "I apologise for the abruptness of my actions but the crystal must never leave the table.” He continued with a neutral but resonating tone, “If it were to be disconnected from its place for longer than thirty seconds the room would immediately collapse inward."
            "Yeah, yeah.” Wyatt nodded. “Feng Shui and all that. So, how're things?"
            "Sufficiently consistent."
            "Yeah, cool. Look, uh, we have a little complaint to make about the room. It seems a bit sparse, y’know, not quite what we expected."
            Norm's head made a very gradual 180 degree turn before returning to Wyatt.
            "It appears that the Chrono-Environ Translation Device is not working to full capacity. On initial observation it appears that there is fault with the syn-fi link. Further analysis is required. I will notify the appropriate technicians and they will fix it immediately. I apologise for the inconvenience."
            "Cool. Don't worry about it. So when're we on?"
            Norm tilted his head slowly.
            "Y'know, the gig?"
            His black eyes glimmered with a slight spark of silver.
            "Ah yes. The 'gig'.” Norm repeated the phrase like a harsh echo. “Your slot in tonight's proceedings will begin imminently. The current act, ‘Lady Nettles’, will be finishing in approximately two minutes and fifty four seconds. I will lead you to the stage."
            Wyatt looked to the others. "You ready, boys?"
            "Always!" Fobbers roared, slapping his hands together. The other two grumbled but stood up anyway and approached the door.
            "Right then! Let's get out there!"
            Norm slid swiftly and silently out of the room. With considerably more noise 'White and the Beamers' followed.

            "So what kind of crowd are we playing to tonight, then?" Wyatt asked, trying to keep up with Norm.
            "During my last observation of the audience I counted eighty five members: 70% humanoid, 25% automaton and 5% 'other'."
            "Sounds better than our last gig." Jez remarked from behind.
            "Where was that again?" Nick mumbled.
            "That pub, 'The Nobleman's Cape'."
            "Can't remember."
            "Well that's probably 'cos you were completely out of your head; especially during the second half. You suddenly decided that it would be great idea to ride your guitar off the stage. Ended up falling on some girl, spraining her arm."
            "Oh yeah. Paige." Nick smiled through streams of straggly hair. "I remember her. I think."
            "How far is it now?" Fobbers groaned, "Feels like we've walked for ages."
            Jez turned back to him. "We've only just reached the end of the corridor."
            "My feet weren't made for this much walking."
            "Then what were they made for?" Jez looked down on him from behind his hook nose. "Filling boots?"
            "Well, if anyone would know, it’d be you, princess."
            "Piss off!"
            "Come on, lads." Wyatt peered over his shoulder. "Keep it together.    We're nearly there now. Isn't that right, Norm? Or is it Mr. Fort-fief?"
            "‘Norm’ will be sufficient. And yes, we will be approximately four metres away from the staging area when we turn the next corner."
             
Already they could hear the muffled sounds of lively conversation, stumbling footsteps and drinking glasses clanking down harshly on creaky tables. Wyatt grinned. Familiar sounds. Welcoming.
            Norm reached for one velvet curtain and pulled it open. Striding through he approached the microphone.
            "Thank you for your courteous show of approval.” He announced, “The previous act was the genuine 1964 rock band 'Lady Nettles', consisting of…"
            "Blimey," Nick muttered, "Not much of a show-man, is he?"
            "It's probably just the crowd." Wyatt suggested, "They probably don't like the usual introductory stuff we're used to."
             “I hate stiff-lipped toffs.” Fobbers growled, "I bet they’re as dull as anything."
            "Nah." Wyatt smiled, "This is just a change for us, a step-up. Face it, lads, we've arrived!"
            "Ssh, listen!" Jez whispered, "He's introducing us!"
            "The following act of 'Nostalgia Night' will be the 1976 'glam rock' band, entitled 'White and the Beamers'. Please show your continued appreciation through further rapid physical hand movement as they ascend to their appropriate positions in the staging area."
            "Our cue!" Wyatt leaped out through the curtain and made a bee-line for the microphone. Still somewhat dubious, the rest followed.
            "Woo!" 'White' assumed his role energetically. "Evening, everybody! Are you ready? Are you ready to be blown away?"
            Silence.
            "I told him that line was shit." Jez muttered, tuning up his guitar.
            "I said, are you ready?"
            More silence.
            "I said-"
            As the stage-lights lowered in brightness, 'White' froze up. He just stood there staring; his mouth shrinking and his eyes widening. Noticing the lead singer’s unexpected pause, 'The Beamers' followed his gaze. They froze too.
            True to White's predictions, the audience was different to their usual crowd. Surprisingly different. For one thing their usual crowd wasn't as big as this, and certainly nowhere near as quiet.
They didn't look like the typical glam rock crowd at all. Although they were dressed in the most intricate and shiniest outfits the band had ever seen, these punters did not look at all like typical rockers from home. And it wasn’t just the humans. The robots and alien humanoids looked just as out of place; varying in colour, shapes and even sizes. They looked nothing like they did in the B-Movies. No zippers, no tin foil. All real. Rows and rows of impossible things watched the stage intently.
            "Far out.” Fobbers mouthed.
            Inside his head, Wyatt screamed. Where the hell were they?
He’d suspected from the start that there was something a bit off about this entire situation: the oddly-shaped minibus, the empty white dressing room. Now Wyatt was staring into an audience of people who might well have been from ‘the future’. There were no more attempts at positive spins; his head was too sore. Instead he turned to Norm at the side of the stage, hoping for answers and perhaps some sort of reassurance.
Come to think of it, Norm didn't look quite right either. The event manager’s fingers moved with unusual dexterity and his eyelids shut in a movement similar to a camera lens. How hadn’t he noticed that before? Gazing at his grey jacket, Wyatt read something on the lapel; something that he’d overlooked. 'NORM-45', in big blue capital letters. So not ‘Fort-fief’ then. He must be a robot too. Impossible, surely. Norm looked too much like the real deal. He had no antennae, no silvery parts. He looked human. He was human. Wasn’t he?
            Wyatt glimpsed something in the distant corner: a gigantic computer screen. He’d never seen anything like that before either. It had the date and time on it. He focused on the date. February 29th 6791. 6791. The future. The distant future. The very very distant future. Oh.
            Wyatt moved his attention back towards the audience and continued to gawk at them through streaming sweat. Every pair of eyes, eyestalk and visor lens were trained on his face, waiting patiently for him to continue. There were no words.


And that's it. Wow, I thought it would've hurt a lot more than that.
Once again, please feel free to comment; even if its nasty. Then again, scratch that. I'm too highly-strung right now. Time to lie down...

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Webcam Video Test 1: Sweeney Todd's "My Friends" (a.k.a. Me Singing a Musical Number with a Relatively Sharp Knife in My Hands)

Here's a bit of filler.
I don't know when I'll post something new and relatively interesting on here so I thought that I'd treat you to a side of my personality that most of you have probably not seen before.
As well as writing and reading I like to sing. Most of the time my voice is really nothing special but occasionally I do find that elusive song which suits it down to a tee. This is one of those particular songs.
In case you're not familiar with it, it is called "My Friends" and it is from the classic musical "SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET". The backing track of this is taken/borrowed from Tim Burton's brilliant film adaptation as sung by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (you'll hear Ms. Bonham Carter dueting with me in certain parts of the song, particularly towards the end).
Oh, and, before I forget, I feel that I should tell you that I have a prop in this video. A very shiny, very sharp prop. A knife, in fact. Now don't worry, I was very careful when using it and (thankfully) I didn't maim myself at all during the process of the recording. Still, to all those who think it a little weird and perhaps sinister that I'm posting a video of myself singing with a knife in my hand, believe me, I totally agree. If I wasn't so proud of my singing here, embarrassment would definitely have prevented me from posting this thing in the first place.
Anyway, I'll shut up now. Here is the video. I have a final suggestion though: listen to the video rather than watch it. I don't do anything dangerous, I just look rather dorky.


video


Thanks for reading (and watching/listening),

Mr. Pondersome

P.S. I feel obliged to tell you that I have no firm plans to enter the world of acting or singing. I think you'll agree I'm better suited to writing :P.

P.P.S. About that suggestion I made before about listening rather than watching it; I think it's important that you do. The video itself looks awfully dark and blurry and the lip sync's off. Like I've said, I'm only just starting to understand how to use my webcam properly. Nevertheless that's definitely my voice. However I'm not actually cockney or indeed from anywhere in the South of England, believe it or not...:D.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Split Personalities of a Poet's Voice (a.k.a. Associating the Self with Mourning Widows and Kitchen Appliances)

Hullo!

I won't lie to you, I feel rather proud of myself currently. Today I managed the near impossible: I wrote two pieces of text which it seems that I'm genuinely content with (for the time being at least). Once again thanks to an obscure writing activity given by a module on my course, I have written two poems wherein I specifically adopt a different persona.

Now, as the title of this entry suggests, the difference between both poems is quite big, bordering on farcical. The first poem is called "The Ripples in His Face" and is supposed to be from the perspective of a woman who has lost her partner in a tragic water-based accident. For some very strange reason I couldn't help but smirk at some points in writing and reading this poem; more often out of the sheer ridiculousness of me writing about 'a tragic water-based accident' without a degree of irony or black humour. Let's just say I'm not really accustom to such a serious topic as this. I'm not a sadist. Promise.

The second is a far more entertaining piece of verse entitled "Oven Glove". After reading Sylvia Plath's delightfully picturesque "Mirror", I decided that I wanted to write something to a similar effect only much more sillier. So I scanned around my flat for an inanimate object and the first thing my eyes rested on was an oven glove resting on top of the microwave (it's still there as I write this, looking down on me like a blue heat-resistant prison guard) and, no matter how much I tried to move away from it, it kept drawing my attention back. After overcoming the initial ridiculousness of adopting the persona of the humble oven glove, I started to see a perfect analogy for the slightly bitter self-sacrificing martyr/hero. I guess it's that particular factor that endears it to me. I love unexpected irony, no matter what form it takes.

Anyway, enough of my gabbing, here are the poems. Enjoy! Oh, and do try not to laugh...


THE RIPPLES IN HIS FACE

I catch his face in puddles –
grey and sunken,
especially round the eyes.

I stumble forward for him,
cast out my hand,
watch the ripples shatter the glance.

He hated rainy mornings
in September,
just as the chill was coming.
                                          
He loved the riverbank,
his early strolls
just as the town was waking.

The wind had caught him with
open pockets,
his gloves tumbling to the edge.

Kneeling down and reaching out,
he couldn’t stop.
The waves lapped him till silent.

I won’t cross the riverbank
in September;
the water’s getting too deep.


OVEN GLOVE
 I may not look like much:
bulky,
too oddly-shaped
to go out and face the cold air,
but that’s fine.

You need me
indoors
to do the opposite,
to keep the fire within its box,
to save your flesh.

At the end of the day
I get burnt
in little ways
so you don’t have to risk it,
so you don’t have to.

I don’t complain,
got no mouth,
only a thumb
and a place for cool fingers
to hide from the heat.


Both of these poems are only on their second draft, so I may well improve upon them sometime in the near or distant future. If I do, then I will most probably put them up on here. Any objections?

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome