Monday, February 8, 2016

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    I was wondering today about Babs.

    You know Babs — she’s that girl.

    Time was, I never so much as gave her a call.

    She did not exist in my life.

    But things move on, and one day she showed.

    This is how it happened.

    We all know smartphones are inherently stupid.

    No matter how many times you switch them off, or transform them into cunningly encrypted vaults thanks to nefarious lockscreens and passwords, they always try to bust themselves out of the loop by making the next call.

    Back in the day, pockets and handbags served only as passive receptacles for loose change, keys, and every shade of lipstick, but since the advent of the smartphone, they have blossomed into entities blessed with basic powers of initiative.

    These vacuous sink-spaces can dial numbers.

    And when that happens, all charge whaps out of your phone and bulks out someone’s answerphone with two hours of unremitting mmmmmmfkkfkfhhhhhffffhpppphhffffkfkpfffhfhfh.

    Worse still, it’s always the same someone.

    He or she is right there at the top of your Contacts list, the default option for any calls made by your keys or sneakily hidden chocolate bars.

    “Hey, Whirl,” comes the eventual reply, “just calling to let you know it’s happened again.  What are you doing?  Swimming with dolphins?  Suffocating with elephants?”

    (This is Baz, btw.  He believes himself to be amusing.)

    “Fuck off, Baz,” I say, deleting the message as a Mongol executioner would dismember the bodies of his enemies.  “I’m renaming you Twatface.”

    That’s when I had a much better idea.

    Shuffling Baz deeper into the alphabetical pack would only mean subjecting someone else to occasional bursts of prolonged mufflepocketry.

    And because that someone else was Carl’s Muscle Studio, no way was I about to risk revealing my muffles to a tattooed maneater from Galway.

    Fate dictated I needed someone else at the top of my Contacts list — someone who would never, ever mind if I called them every five minutes.

    So I keyed in Babs’ number.

    No idea why I didn’t run with Aaron or Aardvark Carpets — that would have made much more sense.

    It’s as if I heard a hint of a whisper, breezing through a gossamer figment of flyaway blonde hair.

    Babs is as fictitious as her accompanying string of random digits, and now, whenever the contents of my pocket collude with chance and animate my smartphone, my muffles greet only an undisturbable abyss .

    Three or four times a year, I call up Babs for an accidental heart-to-heart.

    And three or four times a year, she never calls back.

    But I got to thinking this morning — what if Babs is actually out there?

    This blonde haired girl who would love nothing more to be the recipient of my muffles?

    Perhaps she also has a smartphone.

    Perhaps she also rings out, quite by accident, from her handbag.

    And perhaps, like me, she has a non-amusing amusing friend.

    Might even be this guy’s name is Walter.

    And instead of renaming him Twatface, she keyed in a fictitious guy named Whirl, who she rings from time to time for an accidental heart-to-heart.

    Only he never calls back.


Thursday, February 4, 2016


    You can’t move on the internet these days for writers offering writing advice.

    Seems everyone has a take on everything from the creative process to the particulars of publishing.

    And what about all those successful business entrepreneurs with big bucks businesses showing everyone else to how to become successful business entrepreneurs with big bucks businesses?

    They have the motivation, they have the aspirational funnel, they have the raw material to stuff down the wider end of the tube.

    Plenty of copywriters also will tell YOU how to WRITE to CONVERT.

    Their $3k mentoring programs transform noobs into sought-after professionals — all in the space of three 10 minute phone calls.

    More chefs than ever before have swapped the kitchen for the classroom in their zeal to grace more of the world’s dining tables with the perfect canapĂ© or ocelot jus.

    Their online stores are filled with signature hats, aprons, ladles, garlic crushers, chopsticks — and more.

    And let’s not forget all those masterclasses with prominent ex-polititians — if you can afford $30,000 for fucking dinner.

    What has happened to people actually doing things?

    When did we all become such gurumaniacs?

Monday, February 1, 2016


    The first snowdrops of Spring now dangle their blooms like Quasimodo swinging naked from Notre Dame’s pendulous clappers.

    In time, more will come — to be joined by daffodils and crocuses in a medley of floral abundance.

    Even for those of you who are cactus shaving enthusiasts, warmed only by the cultivation of indoor succulents’ beards thanks to technology’s finest hand-held buzzards, there is something so alluring about the snowdrops’ sprout that it is almost impossible not to want to race out amongst them and lick the rainwater from their petallic shimmery.

    Cold, wet, windy days await us as February marauds its way through Winter’s final moments, but we must all endeavour to brave her cruel lashes with the fortitude of sprouting bulbs.

    Our time to flower and flourish will come again when the Sun’s rays flick across the horizon like a porno star’s tongue tip over eager flesh, but for now it is necessary simply to snuggle down in the dungarees of bulby crustiness, the better to survive the icy cold and all the worms mistaking us for underground hotels offering cheap B&B discounts.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


    Desiring danger, I boiled me some eggs.

    This is big news right now, because I am knotted and en-bolused by the worst kind of intestinal mutiny.

    Too many eggs boiled too hard, and I will surely be sporting a camel hump below my rib cage just in time for Valentine’s Day.

    At the moment of pan-2-boil, such was the available narrative — uninterruptible, and spooling on into the future like a tapeworm playing red carpet — that I gladly cast eggs into water, unthinkingly consciously retrieved eggspoon from cutlery array, and readied the salt and pepper with the pre-emptive gusto of a pop hunk who insists he will “never dye” his ‘hair’.

    But this is not how things play out in the real world, where metaphor is as an Aussie simulacrum of Christopher Biggins — only with subtler florals.

    There was never any risk of increased abdominal bulgiture.

    Not from these eggs!

    Because these eggs were unpeelable, so fresh and spunky was the plasticity of  the membrane twixt shell and pre-breakfast.

    If babies got born this way, they would end up skinless, and pocked with more gouges than tentative chisel chips on a boulder intended to become an international monument.

    The future of my pseudo-alcoholic laxative guzzling spree went tits up the moment I committed albumenic genocide in my desire to neutralise the devastating effects of an overenthusiastic membrane by using the only available equipment.

    Because, yeah — I think on my feet like the rest of you.

    Quick as a flash.

    Bang on the moment.

    So, I grabbed the grapefruit spoon from my Cutlery Array (previously italicised, now it may be capitalised), and screamed Buggerpipes!!! Blitz the shell from the egg from the membrane from the fucking bastard fucking thing!!!

    ‘Twas warfare such as I have never known, the peeling of these eggs — danger on a par with deep throating a Mars bar in the company of wolves — but as I swell on here, cannonballular, I cannot help but think  that the poor baby’s lungs and kidneys I mangled in my wrath (the unseen feathers of some bright, new Miracle Drudgehouse Farm Bird) —  cut from my gut by petulant fancy —  constitute an inspired absence, an unsquirting of the previously constipated narrative so as to prompt subsequent future advance.

     I write here in the hope that perhaps you may be able to capitalise on my plight, just as I have capitalised on my own misery and stupidity to help me write this inspired blog post instead of leading with the one-size-fits-all pre-Valentine’s villanelle I had planned.

    Ever must we pluck our chances from the jaws of pre-happenstance, lest only previously written scripts be sung from eyries.

    (Someone tell me — is that hyperbole, or catastrophe?)

    I am blocked by abdominals to the point of being unable even to slip on my trousers without appearing to be a gymnast racked by poison, but, as of this suspended moment, all I submit here appeareth to be true.

    Even the fucking flash. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

How To Fix Up Your Plot Threads

    Plot threads are the worst kind of monsters to breed up.

    On the one hand, you roll a ball of narrative along the ground for a while, just like you were preparing the body of a snowman.

    But your other hand is free also, and because it pays to make with the ambidexterity deal from time to time, you roll another ball of narrative along the ground with it, figuring maybe you have the snowman’s head, or the beginnings of a whole new snowhorse.

    When the balls are rolled, de-leafed and de-turded, you can hang them up alongside one another on lengths of string — and this is where the weird stuff happens.

    So, in the spirit of weirdness, let’s leave those snowman parts aside and consider a more generative option for our analogical wombcraft.

    Because hanging from your creato-hooks right now are a couple of prime, bulbous testicles.

    Forget the scrotum for the moment, and all of the accompanying hair.

    Forget (even) the penis, or any possibility of an accessory hunk hung off the end of it by his pubic bone.

    All that matters right now is that you have two independent bundles of plot, attached by strings to a hook.

    So let’s fetch ‘em down and see how they swing together.

    If you hold your ball strings firmly between thumb and forefinger, gravity will take the weight of your orbiture, and the testicles will naturally kiss one another.

    Where they kiss is equally random and pre-determined.

    Depending on the angle of their dangle, each testicle presents a different aspect of its surface to the other.

    But in a more general ‘properties of physical objects’ kind of way, all dangled plot testicles obey the same rules.

    Such is the interwoven constancy and flux of ballpark science.

    Now you must jiggle your fingers and watch the testicles roll and bounce.

    It’s the only way to begin analysing their properties as you try to figure out how to merge one plot ball with the other to form a more complex and unified narrative.

    Looked easy when you thought you were rolling parts of a snowman (or -men) (or -women) (or even -horses), but now you have two live semen generators thumping and thwamping together —  unmasked — it’s a whole new jeu de ballon.

    And, who knows — perhaps magnetism will figure in the equation.

    Because these plot balls have their own unique gravitational properties — both to move, and be moved.

    That’s why sometimes, when the balls swing together, perhaps they kiss for longer than they should, or remain momentarily fused in place as if glued by viscous drool or possessed of Velcronic hook and fluff.

    Or perhaps they avoid one another, like each contained randomly strewn lumps of repulsive matter prompting only a need to flee from what they see coming.

    You’ll see that I just threw in testicular eyeballs there, because these plot balls are not blind.

    Only the finished product — your novel or story or poetic epic — has the luxury of blindness.

    Signed, sealed and delivered in a scrotum of self-contained completeness, your finished work has no outlook, and persists as a sightless salamander in a dark cave, waiting to be plucked  from the shadows and examined by the forces of Eyeball Central.

    At the plot stage, your plot balls are hoovering up all the available information, picking themselves over for holes and scouting around for anything to make them complete.

    So, yes, these are balls with eyes and ears and noses and trunks and tentacles and hairs and all the other sensory stuff —  thumping and thwamping together, tongueing out one another’s earholes, nostrilling one another’s spiracles, cornea charging one another’s muff tufts, all the time seeking out




until noses break off and swap over, rolls of velcro peel from one ball and layer over the other, glue squirts into holes and solidifies,







Finger Jiggle

Finger Jiggle

Finger Jiggle

until you are swinging a single, fully formed ball, with a few weird shaped blobs no longer featuring in the uberblendo.

That’s how I see the breeding up of plot threads right now.

As breeding goes, it’s not so much about getting adults together to produce children as rounding up the children and squishing them together into kind of human haggis, reaching out for the next available dangling testicle.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


    You are driven.

    You are a fiend.

    You are a writer

    You exclude everything in your world apart from butting proverbially in “the seat” and hacking fictional adventures from the cliff face of your keyboard with an imagination blunt and bold as a cloud.

    You do not eat, you do not breathe, you do not engage in unnecessary peristalsis.

    You are oblivious to the world and her machinations other than that they provide you with an interface for the delivery of your fiction, along with the occasional glimpse of a sparrow or hang glider or cat or blur of fence and lawn through the momentarily evident distractosphere you believe is called a window.

    You do not know who the latest hit boy bands are, and haven’t done so since 1677.

    You are a shaggy, unwashed monolith of permanently flexed shoulder muscles, feeding off photosynthetic organisms growing on your nostril hairs.

    You will never be abducted by aliens or have sex with members of your own species.

    You will die writing, and carry on hacking out page after inspired page long after other humans would have perished, like you were a wasp buzzing crazily round the room after being swatted, or a chicken running round the yard with its head cut off, or a jet that flies into a mountain after the pilot has choked on a bag of peanuts.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    You are a fool.

    Stop for a moment.  Take in the air.  Drink something other than your own frothy saliva.

    Chill out.  Brave a salad sandwich.  Masturbate.

    You are in danger of becoming more swivel-eyed and self-obsessed than a money market guy juggling 257 mobile phones with 763 overhead monitors spitting dollarbabble.

    Get the erectus out of your rictus, and scoot round a park in your hot pants.

    Procure and style a bear.

    Feel the whoosh of tree bark against your bared stomach as you jiggle subtly.

    There is more to life than swinging from loop of g to dot of i like some thrusting parcour enthusiast of the blank page.

    There is Boy George, atom bombs, a hundred different types of glue!

    Bagels, duvets, unnatural looking breeds of dog reminiscent of undersea shrimps!

    Toilet paper inscribed with hieroglyphs, peculiarly shaped bananas!

    All the stuff you used to enjoy so much before you encased your brain in the poly-layered limescale husk of drilled-down, wordcount-obsessed, writophilia.

    So, c’mon — take a break, willya? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The #1 Drink Boost For Writers

    It goes without saying that you should drink plenty of water while you are writing.

    Water is vital for life, vital for health, and vital for avoiding the kind of dehydration that prevents joints and muscles from functioning at their best.

    Face it, none of Shakespeare’s plays were written by a withered husk, and even Auden feigned something resembling movement when he scribbled out his impenetrable drivel.

    The last thing you need when typing out your opus operandum is any kind of joint stiffness, muscular tiredness or atrophy, all-body decay, imminent petrification or psoriasis.

    (Point of fact: that last one is a real stinker.  Keyboards are cheaper than they used to be, but there is no point eating into your measly writer’s income because your flesh has fallen from you as dust and clogged up all your keys, over and over, like an unstoppable snowstorm of exfoliated rot.)

    So — are we all agreed?

    Water helps to keep you mobile, functional, and free from atrophy or death.

    Also in the mix: brain power (which I will come on to later).

    It may seem like you can get away with drinking coffee, substituting nature’s crushed turd of a bean for pure water, but from a writing perspective, drinking coffee is full of more no-no’s than a failed Yes Man forced to divulge his expertise at gunpoint.

    Fact 1: Coffee contains caffeine — even the de-caf stuff, because the entire coffee industry is erected, one percolation at a time, on a sham.

    Drink just one molecule of coffee, and your brain will be whooshed into a nightmare arena of jittery agitation, there to do battle with a giant, pulsating maggot.

Fact 2: That last fact wasn’t actually a fact in the strictest sense, but I reckon you would be a fool not to trust me to be half right, especially the part about the maggot.

    All I am saying is — don’t drink coffee while you are writing, or you will churn out the most unbelievable nonsense, dictated more by the chemical aberrations cracking off in your skull than the intersynapsory full-on sex demanded of an act of creation.

    Also: coffee is more expensive than keyboards.

    Stick with water, and you’ll go far on the productivity deal.

    Water invigorates your body’s sub-cellular electrolytic fancy, and factors in automatic pee breaks throughout the day if you drink it by the bucketload.

    We all know how important it is not to become stiff while writing at a desk (because if you don’t, the only solution is to write at one of those funky new standing or treadmill desks and die 10 years earlier than you otherwise would have), and regular pee breaks kick in after the first hour if you are generous with your water.

    Truth is, if you hit it right and get into your stride early, your pee breaks will happen naturally every ten minutes, and last 3-5 minutes apiece, so you can save even more money by dropping the desk and chair, and typing everything out on the toilet.

    Fact: no one ever developed stiffness while sitting on a toilet unless they were taking part in a porn movie.

    (As an alternative, you may want to make like an astronaut and utilise a purpose-built urine retention sac, colour co-ordinated to match your study curtains.)

    Final word: Water is a vital component of brain power.

    In spite of history’s greatest ever philosophers and today’s life hack gurus, we still don’t know how consciousness works exactly, but if one thing is abundantly clear, it is water.

    Without it, brains shrivel and die, planets ossify, and fruits turn black and decidedly unsavoury of exterior.

    When you are writing, the number one bundle of anatomical kit you need to keep functioning at its best (after your fingers, your backside, and your lungs) is your brain.

    If you’ve ever been chained in a dungeon and deprived of water for two weeks, you’ll know how difficult it becomes to think clearly and cogently.

    Same goes for writing, only in miniature.

    Skimp on the water, and you lose the plot.

    It’s as if your brain flails helplessly around the inside of your skull, crying, “Noooooooo!  Help me!  Help me!  Urrrrgggghhhhhh!  Urrrrrgggghhhhh!!!”

    Do not do this to yourself.

    Do.  NOT.  Do this to.  Yourself.

    So: drink water while you are writing — and plenty of it.

    Stay productive, stay conscious, stay alive.

Image c/o typexnick @morguefile