Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Introducing my new project - Blue Skunk's Dream Shack

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read some of my previous posts or fiction, that I have been fascinated by the malleable nature of reality and perception for some time. What we see, what we experience is so individual. To the exasperation of at least one of my (more) rational writer friends, I believe strongly in the power of subjective realities and inner worlds.

Apparently time and place seem to be the two things that keep humans confined to a matrix like physical reality, that only allows movement in certain directions, in certain ways. But how would our minds behave and react to the sudden removal of such restrictions. What if time is not linear but random... what if we lived an existence where we are continuously and concurrently aware of other versions of ourselves and our worlds and could shift back and forth between those worlds in the same way as we shift from three o'clock to four o'clock, from Monday to Tuesday.

Time locks us to cycles of beginnings and endings, births and deaths. We think of heaven and infinity as something that happens AFTER life, but what if it is merely our addiction to logic, to timelines that forces us to observe a cycle that can only end in one possible way, with our demise. There are various philosophers who allege that the universe is born within the moment of now. That both past and future are a figment of our imaginations. That we can change our lives by changing our memories. Blue Skunk's Dream Shack is my attempt to play with that. To break the attachment to one world, and release as many probable worlds as I can imagine. Above all, the idea is to teach me (and any possible readers) how to stop thinking in lines and to start thinking in all the colors and shades of feelings instead. To create a life that navigates a dreamlike path from one moment to the next, without necessarily adhering to the co ordinates of past or present.

Therefore, Blue Skunk's Dream Shack poses the question: What if you were continuously and concurrently aware of more than one reality, more than one version of yourself. What if you don't know where the next moment will find you. The first instalment, was uploaded earlier today and can be found at this link. It is meant to loosely follow the format of a #tuesdayserial, although I'm not sure what the #tuesdayserial people will make of it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Not quite #fridayflash fiction - Alice in Sepia

She's an uncaptioned portrait in sepia. Wild eyes. Beautiful wild hair. The type of woman you could imagine riding stags in fairy tale forests. A forgotten scandal. Except, she left the boy, who was me. A secret so well hushed up, a tale so often rewritten that nothing true clings to it anymore.

Who was Alice? In a dream, she gave me a key. Upon waking, I found the missing lock, but here is the riddle. How do I open what is in this realm, with something left behind in that realm.

"I am both sides of the door," said Alice.

"I know," I replied. "That is why I cannot see you at all."

I am an uncaptioned portrait in sepia. I have my mother's wild eyes and hair. Alice separates the film from the page to look down at me, but I cannot make myself smile or talk.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"I cannot eat your fire, I can only eat your flesh"

This is an encounter that takes place in the realm of the subjective. My imaginary friend (IF) and I were visited by a large brown bear. It was very amiable, but when the bear licked my face, I flinched, thinking This is a wild creature, it could eat my flesh. The bear was surprised by my reaction and IF pointed out that this should not be a problem in a supernatural realm. We experimented. I let the bear eat my hand and grew a new one. But I discovered that it was harder to let it eat my face. I seem to indentify stronger with the brain and the face as "me" than with the hand. We tested this, by giving the bear my brain as a meal. IF said that, if the astral body left the physical body, I would still be intact and the bear would have a meal. The real me, it seems, is the energy of the astral body. At this point, the bear said. "I cannot eat your fire, I can only eat your flesh." Those were his exact words.

The above incident "took place" about a month and a half ago and I am writing it pretty much as I experienced it, but I've been paging through old journal entries of lake and discovered something equally dark. This was something IF said early in the year, "If the mouse connects to the snake, it's never a happy ending." He was reminding me that there is a darker side to the universe.

One such story can be found at this link.

Interestingly, though, the universe did kick up one exception to the rule.

The video clip is about seven years old and the best I could track about what happened afterwards it seems that the snake and the hamster were later separated and the facility where they were housed later went out of business.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Creation of Fiction (a story of the universe)

Once upon a time, the great pools of energy that whorl and moved about, were like a canvas and all souls used them to create the ever-changing art of lives and worlds. Change was the only constant. If one soul said, my hair is purple, it was so. If another said, I want rain, it was so. All were like gods, co-creators in the playground of the universe. Anything was possible.

One day, one of the souls did not like the way things were going in another's world and said, "You are dead." The other soul was snuffed of its life, but someone else observed the interaction and said, "He will be alive once more." And, because all stories were equal, the one who was dead, became alive again. But his enemy was furious. He muttered and huffed and puffed, searching for a way to permanently destroy his rival. One day he found it. In the presence of all, he declared, ONLY MY STORY IS TRUE. ALL OTHERS ARE UNTRUE.

A shudder went through the fabric of the universe. There was silence for a long time. Eventually, someone tried, "I have a farm of dinosaurs." Nothing happened. The world had changed and reality had lost the ability to flow and alter with the thoughts of all. Will it remain permanently locked, or is there a way to fix this? This is my riddle and another koan. What words will undo the creation of fiction and liberate the universe to become once again, like it was, a world drawn by the stories of all?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Sea and the Mountain (on the interconnected-ness of things)

The mountains say "look, the sea" and the sea says, "look, the mountains", but they are part of the same landscape. You cannot really tell where the mountains stop and the sea begins. The sea could rise up and climb the mountain, when possessed by a tsunami. The roots of the mountain extend deep below the sea. And they are beautiful because they are together... (t.y.m.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014


What you need to remember about perspective is this. It works differently for everyone.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Most people are irritated by ignorance, but I make a point of not being one of them. Ignorance is my clown and my muse. Ignorance makes me smile like fireworks at New Years, because from the dark earths of unknowing, some of the most beautifully impossible flowers are spawned to delight me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Not quite #fridayflash fiction - The reflection and the echo...

This is just a bit of experimental story-telling. I came across this website on a rainy Sunday afternoon and wanted to play a little with the form....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why other writers are NOT the enemy....

I'd like to think that I don't often create blog posts out of some reactionary impulse, but I guess I should own up to the fact that this one was sparked directly by the article at this link. Why? Because I disagree.

There is a huge misconception that one author's success somehow damages another's potential. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth and all it takes is a simple exercise in maths to bash this myth to smithereens.

After a bit of prowling around on google, I came up with the following output averages for a few better known writers: Isaac Asimov wrote 1700 words per day on average. Hemingway wrote 500 a day. Stephen King writes 10 pages a day. It took J K Rowling five years to complete the first Harry Potter book. Amanda Hocking writes between 5000 to 8000 words per day. Terry Pratchett wrote Dodger in 9 months. Lee Child works at a rate of between 600 and 2500, stating that the most he ever did in a single day was 4000. In fact, the fastest writer I've ever heard of, was Michael Moorcock, who allegedly finished off a trilogy in nine days, working at a rate of 15,000 words a day.

Now let's look at the consumption rate of readers, particularly those who would class themselves as word addicts. I can shed a little light on their habits, having been one myself for many years. A serious reader used to be someone who chose a handbag, based on whether you could fit at least one or possibly more books inside. A serious reader's absolute worst nightmare is being stuck on a two hour train journey without something to read, because they have become addicted to taking mini holidays from the physical reality, whenever they can get away with it. I'm fairly slow, though. Here are a few claims from readers, also taken off the internet. One person states that she read the whole Twilight series in half a week. Another person claims to read a 600 word book in 3-4 hours. Yet another reader claims to have read the last four Harry Potter books in a few hours, on the day they came out. A somewhat slower reader claims to read 2-3 books or around 400 pages in a week.

My point, as is often stated in independent writer circles, is that no single author, even an inhumanly prolific one, can write fast enough to satisfy the appetite of one serious reader. This is why we need each other. We all grow in the same forest. We are all part of the same eco-system. If one writer encourages more people to read, we ALL benefit. Writers are not in competition with each other.

Even if the so-called Big Five publishers are restricting their output to the surest bets, there are so many other paths to follow. It has been argued, that small presses in fact have more to offer, as far as individual development of writers. And, every day more and more established writers are beginning to dabble in self-publishing, raising its profile and respectability. Towards the end of last year, Amazon announced that over 150 of their KDP authors sold more than 100,000 copies.

So, keep reading. Keep writing. And stay inspired.

(Link to my smashwords page)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Revisiting To Kill a Mockingbird (searching for the worlds of Scout, Jem and Atticus.....*SPOILER*)

I suppose I have to start by saying that this blog post is a bit of a departure from the usual weirdness I post at this location. It began, when I found a link on a forum to the video below.

The clip is an amateur film taken documenting smalltime life in Groveport & Canal Winchester, Ohio. About halfway through, I realized, this is probably what town life looked like in the time of Harper Lee's classic book, 'To Kill a Mockingbird', which was based on an incident in 1936. Given, it is another state, but would the internet allow me to take a closer look at this world of almost 80 years ago?

I did 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee in high school as a prescribed book. It was a bit of a mystery to me, even then, that the Apartheid era South Africa of the early 1980s would include a book examining racial prejudice in its curriculum. I read the book again, several times as an adult and even speculated with a friend about the author, Harper Lee. It is a well-known literary legend that 'To kill a Mockingbird' was produced when Harper Lee was given a year's wages to take time off to do some writing. The book won various awards, but its author has yet to produce a follow-up. Her silence remains an enigma to this day.

The above video prompted me to search for more windows into the world of Scout Finch and her family. Here's what I found...

This is the Alabama of 1937. You won't see Mobile, but the video does includes a glimpse of the Confederate White House in Montgomery, footage of Selma and Auburn. It even features the dog who, unlike Pavlov's, rings his own bell. The clip is on the youtube channel of buyout footage, a website that sells a large variety of archived historical footage - at a price, of course.

Then I found it.

Yep, this is the Mobile, Alabama of 1935. You could almost imagine Miss Maudie Atkinson, Miss Stephanie Crawford and Aunt Alexandra walking amongst those azalea gardens or shy Boo Radley lurking in the shadows of one of those porches. While a large section of the video focuses on the harbour and the national parks, there is also footage from a prison farm near Atmore - perhaps the sort of establishment where Tom Robinson was shot and killed for attempting to escape?

In closing, here's a short slide show of historical Mobile...

... and a look at the Mobile of today...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bodies and Souls

Do we fall in love with bodies or with souls?
What if a beautiful body came to you and there was nothing inside?
Would you keep it around anyway, because it looked good?
What if a soul came to you without a body?
Would you pretend not to see it?
Or would you open up a door to madness without a moment's hesitation?
Do we fall in love with bodies or with souls?