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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Now available, my book in paperback
Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2qrRuvc

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2pndHwN

…(or as an ebook download)

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NIK_11893

How many times have you thought it or even said it when asked by someone else for an opinion and replied, “That’s a good idea”. And then much later, with the benefit of hindsight or the turn of events, thinking that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Yes, we have all been there; only some more so than others!

“That’s a good idea” was this week’s theme for a story for my Writing Group only I couldn’t come up with a good idea for a story. I did, however, come up with a few ideas that others had come up with (some of them good and a few that proved to be not quite so good!)

This is just a brief selection and I’m sure you can think of many more. Unfortunately there’s no prize for guessing who may have uttered those immortal words, “that’s a good idea”….

 

White Star Line announcing they were going to build an unsinkable ship.

The Italian architect before he realised he was constructing a bell tower on soft ground.

An editor who sacked Walt Disney saying he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.

The US Cavalry officer who decided to attack 2,000 angry Indians with only a force of 210 men having left his artillery behind at the fort.

Thinking you could invade Russia before the weather turns.

Plotting to assassinating an arch duke.

Constructing what you thought to be an impregnable defensive wall on your eastern border, only to see your enemy go around it.

The American chemist, Spencer Silver, who failed to make his new adhesive glue strong enough and caused a stationery revolution.

The cost conscious Kellogg brothers who rather than throw away a cooking pot of stale wheat baked it and put it through some rollers.

The 1,009 times Colonel Sanders secret chicken recipe was rejected.

The theory and concepts of Communism, Democracy and Quantum Physics.

The Scottish biologist who was so keen to get away on his holidays he left his dirty petri dishes in the  sink.

The unknown Chinese cook who mixed together charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre and accidently blew up his kitchen.

The customer in a restaurant who kept sending his potatoes back to the kitchen saying they were too thick and not fried enough. The chef, George Crum, eventually sliced them so thin and fried them so much they became crisp.

And finally two of my own…

Buying self-assembly flat pack furniture from Ikea.

The selfie stick and all those sellers who think it’s de rigueur for tourists.

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2015 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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He stared at me, pupils dilated to the size of ink spots either side of a hideous, bloated bulbous nose. Daring me to hold his gaze. His lips parted in a wide grin revealed a mouth of undulating broken teeth. Wild, unruly and unkempt long hair flared out behind him. He was a throwback to the Neanderthals, right down to the rock clenched in one hand, the stick held menacingly high in the other.

It wasn’t the first time we had met and he had barred my path. But today was different. Before I had ignored him. Now I couldn’t. He just kept staring, and I just kept staring right back. No words passed between us, nothing was said. That was the problem, the cause of the trouble. No words.

He wasn’t going to speak. It was not his way. He just stared, standing there barefoot, eyes unblinking.

Usually we looked at each other for a while, then I would smile and move on. Not today. Today I wasn’t smiling, and he never did. Deadlock. I tried a few words. Nothing. I glanced away trying to think, a way of phrasing what I had in mind to say, but the right words wouldn’t come. That was the problem, my mind was empty. I looked up again and of course he was still there, the rock held firm, the stick pointing in my direction.

I bunched my hands into fists, nails digging into the palms and tried again. A few words sprung to the fore, no gushing torrent as there should have been. A slow sentence dribbled out. Not that it made any difference. I knew it wouldn’t. He was still staring. He knew I was drawn to his ugly physog. He was right. I was staring. This time I knew he was winning.

I knew it couldn’t continue. It made no difference to him, he had all the time in the world and would still be there tomorrow. But I needed to be somewhere else. There were plenty of places I should be in, I wanted to be in, not here staring at him. Relax, I tried to tell myself, just ignore him and look away, take a step back. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, rubbed the tension out of fingers and hands and slowly exhaled. I opened my eyes and instinctively knew the spell had been broken, that for now he was gone, out of sight and out of my way. And of course that’s when the right words sprung to mind.

Fuck it, don’t you just hate it when you can’t think what to write!

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That’s it, it’s so easy, my new book. An instant hit, an ‘International Best-Seller’ and I don’t even have to write a word. A work of pure genius, a plot unsurpassed and a story to top all others and it’s as long or as short as you like. Available NOW, just send your cheque to….

At this point you are probably thinking, “What on earth is he rattling on about!”

There’s a new art exhibition at the Hayward gallery in London entitled ‘Invisible’ where visitors will be asked to “look beyond material objects” and “find that there is plenty to see and experience in this exhibition of invisible art”. Yes, I kid you not. It’s an exhibition of invisible art! Pay the £8 admission fee and you too can wander through empty rooms admiring empty plinths and empty canvasses.

Exhibits include ‘Invisible Sculpture’ by Andy Warhol, an empty plinth upon which he once fleetingly stood. Another ‘1000 Hours of Staring’, a blank piece of paper stared at over a period of 5 years by artist Tom Friedman. And ‘Invisible Labyrinth’ by Jeppe Heine where you can negotiate your way round an invisible maze wearing headsets activated by infra-red beams.

According to the gallery blurb, “works invoke invisibility to underscore the limits of our perceptual capacities or to emphasise the role of our imagination in responding to works of art.”

There’s probably more to it than that, there surely has to be, but that seems to be the gist of it. You can call me a philistine where Modern Art is concerned, I don’t mind.  I just don’t get it.

But it did get me thinking. I am a writer, so by taking the concept a step further…. As I said at the beginning, I have this great idea for a new book!

If only it was that simple.

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I have already mentioned I recently joined a local writing group and we task ourselves to produce a written ‘piece’. The brief this week was to “take a significant day in your life”, so I chose the day I met Sharanne Neidermeyer Armstrong. Some readers may already be acquainted with my dear friend, but for those of you who are not…

2nd August (a few years ago)

It was the 2nd August that Adolph Hitler became leader in Germany, Iraq invaded Kuwait, Peter O’Toole and Dutch Shultz drew their first breaths, Will Bill Hickok (shot by a drunken stranger) and Thomas Gainsborough gasped their last, and the day Sharanne Neidermeyer Armstrong entered my life.

I was standing on the platform waiting for the metro into Newcastle. A typical summer’s day with a monsoon wind blowing up the River Tyne forcing folk to huddle into their raincoats to shelter from the horizontal onslaught of the driving rain. All folk that is except one. And that one person, dressed in a pair of pink flip flops, tight jeans and an even tighter white Tshirt and clutching a plastic Netto carrier bag, was standing next to me like the proverbial drowned rat.

“Lovely day, I spent a fortune getting me hair done. Ruined. Would yers mind, pet?”

And before I could she had thrust the carrier bag into my chest and started wringing out her bedraggled tresses dripping more water into the pools congregating around her feet.

“Least I’ve kept me jacket and Prada shoes dry though me bra and pants are a bit wet an’ clingy. Don’t scrunch me bag, pet, me speech is in there ‘n all. I’m attending the Symposium on climate change at the Sage. It’s a bugga, this global warming. Missed the forecast for today mind. Ee, what’m I like. Where’s me manners. Thanks for holding me bag by the way. I’m Shazza or Shaz to me mates.”

Before I could reply the train arrived and I was propelled aboard and into an empty seat by the window.

“Will yers pass me handbag, it’s in there somewhere. Let’s see if I can at least salvage a bit of decorum before I stand up in front of all those bearded tweedies. I met that Deborah Meaden there yesterday. Yer knaas, the huffy one off Dragons Den. You’d think with all that money she’d make a better show of hersen. Hah, she’d have the last laugh today if she could see me now. Do yer like Shakespeare by any chance? I’ve got a spare ticket for the Theatre Royal tonight, Midsummer Nights Dream.”

It was the kind of day you don’t forget in a hurry. I was hooked. Shazza had suddenly crashed into my life like an invading army, a veritable blitzkrieg, a one woman Geordie ‘Wild West’ fully equipped for shoot outs like some prohibition gangster. She filled your stage with her screen presence and yet still found time to paint life with the gentle brush strokes of an old master.

And as I was to discover over the following years there was more to this statuesque girl educated on the terraced streets of Gateshead with a degree from Spearmint Rhino than met the eye. Hidden depths ‘Wor Shaz’, equally at home discussing who should wear the no 9 shirt for her beloved Magpies as she was analysing UK tourism trends with Deborah Meaden or quantitative easing with Mervyn King . As for her address book, you wouldn’t believe who she knows, or who has her number. But that’s for another day!

If you would like to read more of life with Shazza simply click the drop down menu on the right hand side under Categories and select ‘Shazza’.

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Another success!

Be amongst the first to download “A Funny Thing Happened The Other Day”…..

You can now read a collection of my humorous stories on Amazon. Currently available as a Kindle download and out soon in hardback.

“Twelve +1 ways to enjoy funny everyday moments throughout the northern UK, as told by a Yorkshireman who waded into; then, out of the customer service business, emerging with enriched storytelling talent for your reading pleasure.”

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Funny-Thing-Happened-Other-ebook/dp/B006PVVAZ2

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I have joined a local creative writing group. Once a fortnight we meet in an upstairs room of the Old Courthouse and for a couple of hours chew the fat on things literary and written (and on a few other subjects too!).

It’s a new group, we are slowly finding our way and hoping to persuade people ‘in the business’ to come and talk to us over the months ahead to pass on a little of their collected wisdom. Most of all it’s good fun, and that includes the homework. Yes, homework! Each week we set ourselves a short written assignment then read it out next time. It’s fun, honest.

Here’s one from the other week – everyone chose and wrote down a word and that word had to be included in the piece of writing. Simple? Judge for yourself. These were the words : “Vase: hammer: Ice cream: scarecrow: pencil: dragon: wristwatch: eagle: rocking chair: wheel barrow: pen: radiator,” and here’s what I made of themEnjoy the read!

Leaving

He would have to go. He knew it couldn’t go on like this. Enough was enough. Mike looked up from eating his bowl of corn flakes to the far side of the room where Tom was sitting in his rocking chair. He was rocking faster than usual today and the back of the chair was banging against the radiator. Annoyingly so. Mike looked away, his appetite suddenly gone. He didn’t even wish to consider what the old man was about to do with the pencil he was inspecting. Tom glared at him and swapped the pencil for a pen. Mike pushed his bowl away, slurped a few mouthfuls of hot tea and left the table.

Grabbing his jacket and car keys Mike shouted a quick ‘cheerio’ and ran out the front door. What the hell!  There was a scarecrow laughing at him in a wheelbarrow parked in front of his car. He sighed and glanced at his wrist watch. That settled it. The other night had been bad enough. Woken by the sight of Tom standing there in his underpants, hammer in one hand, a painting of a dragon and an eagle in the other. The situation was well and truly out of control now. This was the final straw.  He would say something tonight when he had more time.

Behind him the net curtains twitched.

“He’s gone, love. Didn’t even finish his breakfast today. And I don’t think he was too chuffed at having to move that barrow.” Rose patted the curtains back into place and moved the vase of freesias into the middle of the window. Their sweet scent filled the air reminding her of the first time she and Tom had met.  He had bought her flowers that day, freesias, and then bought her an ice cream. All those years ago. Her thoughts returned to the present. Soon there would be just the two of them. Perhaps she ought to say something, speak to Mike. Tom wouldn’t.

Mike skipped breakfast the next morning. Rose squeezed Tom’s hand and kissed him on the cheek. The suitcase was already in the car. Tom raised a hand in a final salute as the car pulled out the drive.

“Bloody good riddance, eh Rose. And no more lodgers. I’m not going through that again.”

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