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?

Monday, 28 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 7: A SECRET NEVER TO BE TOLD (The Alternative Ending)

Hullo, all!
A brief note before I show Part 7.2. Having gathered some constructive criticism from some friends and fellow writers (you know who you are, m'dears) and having looked it over myself, I realise that the last ending may have been a little too extreme. I was testing out my capability to incorporate shocks and stings into narrative flow and obviously, for this particular writing experiment, it failed.
So, as to compensate for the disappointment which some of you may be feeling, I have made a second alternative ending. I promise that this one is much more nourishing to the human mind and soul without all the bird-chomping yuckiness of the original. I hope that it is, at the very least, a more tactful ending:

I came back that way again, this afternoon. I know the cobbles too well and they know me. I’m not going to look at the place any differently now, though; don’t need to. I got her back and in the sweetest way. A night together. Enough.
            I don’t see her anymore. She eventually got away from me. Flew off in the morning, like the rest. I hope to catch her again sometime. I won’t.
            The magpies have gathered in their favourite spot. Never seen so many. As I approach them, six fly away. One remains on the grass, laid down on its side. It has been there since the evening, it had stared at us. Indignantly. I tried shooing it, but it didn’t move far.
            I pick it up with spotless palms. Maybe a little bit of it went with her. I bring it close, brush aside the feathers. I gaze into its black bead eyes; all glazed over, and see it. See her lips part open, see her fist reach out, see her fall under. It’s all too shiny, these curving reflections. Shiny and upside down. They’re boring me.
            I carry the dead thing to the bin and drop it. A little feather clings on, curling between my middle fingers. I blow it away.
            Her giggle passes overhead, but it’s just the birds.

So, what did you think? Aside from a few bumps and knots in the narrative, I'd say it was quite a fair success. Who knows, I may even broach the world of (semi)realistic contemporary serial fiction again sometime. Maybe...

Mr. Pondersome

"Among the Magpies" Part 7 - A SECRET NEVER TO BE TOLD

            I came back that way again, this afternoon. I know the cobbles too well and they know me. I’m not going to look at the place any differently now, though; don’t need to. I got her back and in the sweetest way. A night together. Enough.
            I don’t see her anymore. She eventually got away from me. Flew off in the morning, like the rest. But there will be more, of course. Plenty more chances.
            The magpies have gathered again. Never seen so many. As I approach them, six fly away. One remains on the grass, laid down on its side. It has been there since the evening, it had stared at us. Indignantly. I tried shooing it, but it didn’t move far.
            I pick it up with spotless palms. Maybe a little bit of it went with her. I bring it close, brush aside the feathers. My teeth sink into the exposed white underneath. Slowly, of course. It tastes so sweet and pretty and soft. That’s her, alright.
            Her giggle passes overhead, but it’s just the birds.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 6 - SILVER

            She came. It’s getting to be a routine, our little run-ins. I stepped out and smiled for her.
            “Excuse me.”
            She looked up from her phone. Those eyes.
            “Is this your umbrella?”
            They sparked. “Oh, yeah! I was wondering where that had gotten to. God! Where did you find it?”
            “Over there, near the bushes.”
            “Oh, wow. Thanks.” Her phone chimes at us. “Sorry, just gimme a sec. Could you hold this?”
            She passed it back to me. I turned away and gazed over her shoulder. The bottom of the cobbles. Five magpies forming a ring. Closing.
            “Oh, hi, babes! Yeah, I know, I’ll be along in a minute. You know the path up from the back of the station? What? No! We came this way three days ago! Remember now? Well...”
            Three days ago. Here. Him. I clutched the gilded handle. Fake metal on tightening skin.
            “Chat soon! Bye!” She closed her phone. “Right then. Where were we?”
            I raised the umbrella. Light. Quick. Cheap. The gold flaked away and revealed a bare shine. Nothing but metal. Nothing but silver.
            I like to think she didn’t feel it much. Just the right amount. I brought her home. I carried her all the way.

Friday, 25 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 5 - GOLD

Guess what I found today, wading through the tall grass? Her umbrella.
            I was chasing away the recent infestation of magpies (six – numbers seem to be growing) and I stumbled over something shiny. I recognised the gilded handle, slightly scuffed in places but intact. I pulled it out, opened it up and checked if it was alright. No tears or anything.
            When I see her again, I’ll pass it on. She will say thank you. I’ll say something funny with regards to the situation. She will laugh. Then, if I did things right, she will ask me out for coffee or lunch or ice cream or something with her. If not, then I have my lighter with me.
She can’t say no. She will have to talk with me now. She must see me.

"Among the Magpies" Part 4 - SORROW

They’re all gone. She’s left me. The birds have left me. All except that one. He’s perched on a pile of rubble, on the edge of a brick shard. I know how he feels.
            Her kind, they always leave suddenly. They flutter off in search of the loudest tit with the biggest nest and leave me wondering.
            I hate having to wonder. She might be back, she might not; but I have a right to know which it’s going to be. Don’t you think?
            If I see her again, I’ll catch her. Pour the contents of my heart all over her face and see what she’s got to say then. She’ll break me, but at least I’ll know. And then, I’ll behave accordingly.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 3 - A BOY

            The third returned and he brought a friend. She brought someone too.
            I don't know his name, nor do I want to. He looks like a Steve. I've learnt not to trust Steves.
            Her shoulders kept bumping his. He was getting in the way. He just carried on talking.
            She giggled. And grinned. Uncontrollably. What's so funny about him? He looks normal and dull and as plain as anything. He'd look funnier with a face dripping in red. Embarrassed and wet. Very wet.
             If he touches her arm like that again, I don't know what I'll do. But I'll do it.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 2 - JOY

She asked me for a light. She smokes and she turned to me for her cravings. I’d give her one, but my hands are empty. I don’t smoke.
            “Sorry.”
            “S’alright.”
            But I would for her. I’d light up. I’d light up this paper-thin world for that smooth face, that whispery laugh. A flame for every day I’ve crossed her path. Unnoticed. I’d burn and take it all. Just for her.
            A pair of birds danced and squabbled overhead. I remember wondering where the third had got to.
            “Okay...um, well, thanks anyway. See you around some time. Maybe.”
            Absolutely. Next time, I’ll bring a lighter.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

"Among the Magpies" Part 1 - A GIRL

            It’s not every day that I see her. So when I do, I’m about to fly. A sudden burst of wings, a flutter of black then white, then I’m away. Like those magpies that lurk round the bushes. Three of them, there were. As far as I could see anyway.
            They were there when she came up from the station. She was on the phone, that tiny pink phone of hers, and grinning.
            She shouted “Oh my God!” and I shrank. I’m not flying anymore, I’m spitting feathers and they won’t settle. They just won’t.
            She’s gone now. Gone with that little soft giggle of hers. Gone with that little pretty mouth of hers. The lips. The tongue. Tasty.
            I kicked the bushes. Wings flapped and started. Why should they be happy? Damn birds. Damn wings.

"Among the Magpies" Introduction (a.k.a. Me Dabbling in the Vast and Expansive World of Online Serial Fiction)

Hullo all!

For the next few blogs I thought I'd try something a little different.
Rather than blab on for a little while about where and when the story first transpired and why I'm such an uber-talented young writer (y'know, the usual guff), I thought that I'd just give you the fiction. And, what's more, I thought I'd give it in such a way that it's gradual and comes in bitesize chunk that may or may not keep you guessing. So that's what I'm going to do.
After this rather minor soliloquy, I will give you the first part of "Among the Magpies"; a short story of seven parts. I know seven parts may not technically be much of a serial (more a 'serial bar' than a 'serial box' - c'mon, you were expecting that pun to creep up just as much as I was) but that's how I'm going to do it. One day at a time. I know I technically should have started on Monday for it to coincide with the week, but, by then, I'd only just finished the damn thing.
Think of it as a genre experiment, if you will. If you like it and think it works then please feel free to comment and I'll see what I can do in the near and, indeed, far future. You are my audience after all, I must try my best to please you before you start throwing e-rotten vegetables at me.
Aside from this I shall say no more about the story itself. You reading it and working it out all for yourself is half the fun.

Anyhoo, keep your eyes peeled!

Mr. Pondersome

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Blog Post for All the Lovers in the World (a.k.a. A Heady Mixture of Hopeless Sentimentality and Bitter Anguish)

'I fell in love once. Deeply. It got right up into my shoes, it did.'

Hullo again!

As I'm sure you know, it's getting awfully near to Valentine's Day (goodness knows, all the greetings card companies and chocolate distributors of the world will have made sure of that) and, thanks to my little quote above, you'll probably have worked out just how I feel about it. Now, I'm not exactly what you'd call a big hater of love but nor am I its greatest fan. I'd say I was more of a bitter romantic about it all, if such a thing is possible. Nevertheless I find that I have quite a bit to say about good ol’ lurve this year.

Well, two poems - one old and probably already done to death, the other completely new and perhaps a little too general to be just about love. I was contemplating doing a small bit of semi-experimental prose on the side but, as these things so often turn out, I ran out of time.

The first poem is “Ode to the Love Song (Playlist)”. For this I took the title of numerous love songs including the word ‘love’ itself and strung them together to make a relatively clear, interesting and, admittedly, quite passionate piece of poetry. I know that this has probably been done many times before in several different places (like Moulin Rouge, for instance) but I quite like how it came out. In addition to this, so as to appease any copyright infringement, I will put up the names of all the original contributing artists afterwards at the end of the post. Who knows, you may not have even heard of some of them.

The second is called “Keep Me Running”. This is more my own work, formed by my own sometimes-erratic thought process. Starting off initially as a free-writing activity, I plucked out random sentences and phrases and pieced them together to form the first stanza. From that point onward the rest of the poem just rolled (if somewhat awkwardly) out. Now, although I originally envisioned it as a more general discussion on life and the paths of destiny that we take, I can now see how it can be applied to matters of the heart as well (by the by, that’s the last time I draw on the love-heart analogy – as age-old clich├ęs go, it makes me cringe quite badly). You can imagine just how happy I was to know that I could just throw this into the bundle.

Anyway, that’s more than enough soliloquising from a lonely ‘bitter romantic’. Onto the poems themselves. Whether in love with the day or in loath, I hope you can appreciate these words. Whether with ‘the one’ you love or without, please, feel free to enjoy them. I really do insist :).



ODE TO THE LOVE SONG (PLAYLIST)

I Wanna Know What Love Is,
I Believe In A Thing Called Love -
The Power Of Love,
All You Need Is Love.

What's Love Got To Do With It?
Songs Of Love,
Love Letters -
Love Story.

Ever Fallen In Love?
Gimme Some Lovin',
Gimme All Your Lovin' -
How Deep Is Your Love?

When I Fall In Love,
I Will Always Love You -
Delirious Love,
Love In The First Degree.

Love Changes Everything,
It Must Be Love -
Love Is The Drug,
Love Hurts.

Love Is All Around -
Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
I'm Not In Love -
I Love To Boogie.


KEEP ME RUNNING

keep me running,
see what happens -
                         I'll run in - to walls,
                      smash my-self to sliv-ers
                                                                 roll away,
get              LOST                           down corridors

                                                       lithe gasping halls
that will                                         SCOFF
                                                like shadows,
                                                  with elaborate flash-shows
holding me with hope

branding me with hope
                                  and doors and
PRIZES                   I could have won if
                                I could turn back, if
                                I still had                 the legs

but I don't,
      I won't,
      I won't ever if
                                                                 you keep me
running --- rolling --- holding
without a                                                   CRUTCH


'With this, dear lovers, I leave thee for home,
to wind my own way from the land of alone.'

(I just cobbled that together. Sounds pretty decent, doesn't it? Move over, Shakey...XD).

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

P.S. Here are the singer/song-writers in the same order as their work has appeared above:
Foreigner, The Darkness, Huey Lewis and the News, The Beatles / Tina Turner, The Divine Comedy, Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift / The Buzzcocks, The Spencer Davis Group, ZZ Top, The Beegees / Nat King Cole, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Bananarama / Andrew Lloyd Webber, Madness, Roxy Music, Roy Orbison / Wet Wet Wet, Elton John, 10CC, T-Rex (I know, quite the playlist...:D).

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

"That Spark, that Single Spark" and "Frank the Tranq" (a.k.a. Competition Entries too Cheesy to Win and Being Insane in the First Person)

Hullo all,

Sorry that I've been away for a while; work piles are rising not-so-steadily and I've often been distracted by other means (Damn Facebook...). However, I do have a certain something that I'd like to display to you. Two certain somethings, in fact. A poem entitled "That Spark, that Single Spark" and a madcap little short story I'm gradually knocking together called "Frank the Tranq".

"That Spark, that Single Spark" is essentially a rhyming, semi-rhythmic little poem, but it has some spurts of prose within it too. I wrote it for a competition linked to my Creative Writing course, with particular emphasis on the 'Creative'. The project behind it is called Project Spark (I don't really know enough of the details to advertise them officially, but feel free to look them up if you like - they're based in Sheffield Hallam) and it is looking for a short piece of fiction (poetry, prose, virtually anything) to help promote the importance of creativity. This is what I came up with, on roughly the same day I first heard about it. Having read it through again though, I feel that the poem may have been a little hasty and rather cliche in parts, and so probably won't get picked up. Either way I thought that it might be good to show it somewhere. It still has a lot going for it. I'll let you know if I hear anything more about it.

Meanwhile, "Frank the Tranq" is purely my own creation. I'm certainly not going to hand it over to anyone else; partly out of potential embarassment and partly out of paternal pride. If you'll forgive and surpass the obvious cheesy nature of the title ('Rhyming AND incorrect abbreviation? Really?!'), you'll find quite an odd little tale told from the perspective of a bounty hunter with a thing for tranquilisers and sedatives, as well as a dualistic personality. The thing I love about Frank is that he doesn't know what he is: sometimes he thinks he's a cold psychiatrist with a biochemical research specialty, sometimes he thinks he's the half-crazed patient that escaped. He is both and neither. Frank also has half a bleached white van dyke beard but that won't come across in the extract I'm about to give you. Nevertheless I hope you like him and/or are disturbed by the very thought of him. One or the other, I think I've done my job as a writer.

Now, let us commence...(A tad overdramatic? I agree.)


THAT SPARK, THAT SINGLE SPARK


Without that spark;
ink can't sing,
art can't win,
words are dust,
love is lust,
light is cold,
fresh is old,
hands are small,
white is all.


Without that spark,
without that single spark of creation, renewal, life,
there is no sign of us.


FRANK THE TRANQ


I could run for days. I’d like to run for days. But I won’t.
            If I keep running, I’ll miss him. He’s pretty damn fast for a fat guy. Whenever I try lining up a shot all I see is his big wobbling butt. Wobble. Wibble. Wobble.
            I’m gonna shoot him. I’m totally gonna shoot him! There’s a dart in here with his name on it. Here. You see it? ‘Wobble-butt’. That’s cos I’ll probably shoot him in the ass.
            But I’ll have to be careful about it. If I exceed the proper dosage I could easily take him to a point beyond resuscitation. 25ccs. That should be sufficient. Emergency precautions will not be necessary. Especially the kiss of life. Ain’t no way I’m gonna touch those fat slimy lips.
            There’s a certain grace to it, this chase. I am the mighty lion, my target the gazelle. No, wait; he’s too fat. The dude’s a water-buffalo. The buffalo is floundering down the path, stumbling over his oversized hooves. The lion has taken to higher ground. Watch the lion jump. See the lion snarl. Watch the lion line up his firearm with the water-buffalo’s toupee.
            Not yet. He’s a tricky bastard, this guy. He keeps finding nooks and crannies to slip down. But I will find him. This is my maze. I am testing him, and he is so predictable. He runs left then right, right then left, and so on and so forth. A distinctive pattern. So glaringly obvious. He will tire soon. A man of his weight and girth will need to stop and rest. That’s when I’ll get him. Get him with the barbiturate. Get him with the night-night juice.
            Keep running, Wobble-butt. Keep galloping, Buffalo-boy. It’ll be good exercise.
            If he keeps turning back to look up at me he’ll eventually hurt himself. He’ll trip up on something, maybe crack his head open. I’d tell him to focus on what’s ahead if I was sure that he could even hear me. Traffic’s pretty loud tonight. Hopefully he’ll get tired soon then - POW-POW! Buffalo down! Then, I guess I’ll call them in. I won’t be able to carry him all the way back to the facility. I will suggest that they bring a stretcher and a spacious van of some sort. Then a brief conversation with the client and - KA-CHING! $68,000 for one night’s work. Not bad. Pretty good.
            He’s slowing down. He’s reaching for the trash can. Oh, oh! I think Wobble-butt’s gonna puke! Whoa! And he has! Yeah, he ain’t looking too hot. I should get down there before he faints.
            There ya go, big guy! Now, hold still. This will only hurt for a second. Trust me; I’m a trained professional...
            One for the money. Two for the show. I should really just have given him one, but what the hell? He’s still breathing. If he stops, I will just have to resuscitate him. But I’m wiping his kisser first; I know where it’s been.
            How far is HQ again? Ah, to hell with it. I ain’t walking back. Phone on and call.
            Ring, ring. Ring, ring...
            “Hello?”
            “Ring, ring...”
            “Hello?!”
            “Oh, hey! Yeah, I got the buffalo, but not in the ass.”
            “What?”
            “Oh, yeah. Sorry, private joke. The target has been neutralised in the northwest alley along 21st Street. He’ll be out for a good few hours yet.”
           
            “Good. I’ll send out a team. Stay where you are.”
            Click.
            Hey! He cut me off without saying goodbye! Bastard! Why do they always do that? It’s not cool, it’s just bad manners!  And he probably won’t say thank you either. He probably will not even call me back. Ungrateful bastard. You put in hours of painstaking work and skill and they just leave you standing there without so much as a ‘We’re very grateful for all that you did.’ I don’t know, maybe I should just take my malpractice elsewhere.
            What do you think, fatty? Nah, sleeping like a baby. An iddy biddy buffalo baby. I’m so glad he didn’t start bleeding out; you can never quite tell what people are allergic to. They never tell you until it’s too late.
            What time did he say they’ll get here again? I didn’t realise before, but this guy stinks like a bitch. And now it’s raining. Swell. Swelly swell. Swell-a-rooni.  
            Ah man, sometimes I just hate working nights.


And that'll do. I hope "That Spark, that Single Spark" wasn't too cheesy. Though some of the images make me grimace a little bit, I still can't help but feel enamoured with the well-meaning and starry-eyed nature behind them. I hope that you liked meeting Frank too. If things work out the way I plan them, you may be hearing from him again quite soon...


Thanks for reading,

:) Owen :)


P.S. Psst, check this out if you haven't done already - http://steelmagazine.co.uk/. It's got some of my other work, both fiction and non-fiction. Oh yeah, and there are other great and interesting articles as well, if that's your thing...XD.