Sunday, 12 April 2020

Time flies when you're not doing much

Spent the last couple of weeks achieving not very much at all beyond expanding my baking skills hand-in-hand with expanding my waistline, hip circumference and watching my belly resemble a rising yeasted dough.
No Knead bread from Jenny Can Cook - a delightful, American woman who should by all accounts grate but doesn't and makes you want to try everything she demonstrates:

my raggedy but delicious hot cross buns courtesy of

To be fair on myself, my son in London got very sick - high, high fever, cough and general unwellness (all while locked down in a small apartment in London with his ever patient wife and two spirited children) - so you get the picture, fever, cough etc coupled with an ill-advised Skype chat with said son from his sick bed looking more ill than I'd ever seen him. Full scale panic/worry mode - for him, his family and the sheer buggery of being unable to jump on a plane and go help. We arranged a Covid-19 test privately, which came back negative but which meant he had a really bad flu (more than just man-flu) which he is still not over yet.
But the good outcome is a bit of grace and favour from the fates, where so many people are truly struggling with devastating results. Let's hope the gods continue to smile upon us.

Had a small piece go up in the wonderful Cabinet of Heed last week - a stream of consciousness flash called I See Your Looks which has some venom, some vitriol and perhaps not a lot of love but it came out of remembering my mother in her last years, so there was never going to be sunshine and light in the writing.

The Cabinet Of Heed Stream of Consciousness Issue Cover

I find my piece in Drawer Two:

Cabinet Of Heed SOC Drawer 31.02

A slightly encouraging note that my short story submission A Mile in Her Shoes made the longlist of the Flash500 short story competition

Another flash fiction Florence Owens Thompson, Migrant Mother 1936 ion the Reflex Fiction Spring longlist

Today is bright and beautiful, but through the week we had Biblical rains every afternoon, which decimated the pot plants but created beautiful visuals.

As with writing, I am finding it terribly hard to focus, so apart from two short story collections I dip in and out of: This One Will Hurt You - a collection of essays by the marvellous Paul Crenshaw,
and Clarice Lispector, Complete Stories but I have finished reading Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello. Paris, it's streets, colours, smells, and style lives and breathes on every page and Isabel Costello writes of the cultural subtleties of the French, English and Americans with an easy knowledge. She leads the reader by the hand through the moral and emotional turmoil of the protagonist. There was never going to be an easy or clean ending but the author,, manages an ending of grace and completeness.
Isabel has a blog The Literary Sofa at

I have now moved on to a more apt novel for these strange days: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
Early yet but it is oddly compelling and beguiling, and it is truly a window into another time and world entirely.
That's me up to date except for a bit of music: Chis Isaak and Wicked Game
Chris Isaak | Discography | Discogs

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Song of the day

The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band

The Charlie Daniels Band | Discographie | Discogs

Stories of the Day

This flash fiction of mine was long listed in the 2018 Spring Reflex Fiction competition and published in the Reflex Fiction Vol Two 2019: The Real Jazz Baby

This story by Tracy Slaughter a New Zealand writer is another favourite and was the runner up in the Moth Short Story Award in 2018.

New Zealander Tracey Slaughter   has received many awards for her stories and poems, including the Bridport Prize and two Katherine Mansfield Awards

It is startling, raw, an erotic riff that is like a tidal wave of sensory details in which the reader (well this reader) almost drowns. 

The Fantail or Piwakawaka- friendly little fellows will accompany ...

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Song of the Day

Ladies and Gentlemen, the wonderful Harry Nilsson:

Harry Nilsson (Music) - TV Tropes

My short fiction of the day and short story of the day by another writer

Image result for Athene (bird)

This is my short fiction called Athene Cunicularia was published last year in Into the Void magazine online:

In the current issue of Cabinet of Heed, curated by the inestimable Simon Webster is a short story by my unofficial niece Jody Connor and for someone who is recently discovering her talent and voice, I found it quite marvellous.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Song of the Day

Foy Vance - She Burns

Short story of the day: B (Dimitra Kolliakou)

Bee Change | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, technology and ...

This morning, I read this beguiling short story in an Australian Journal 

It is by a Greek writer Dimitra Kolliakou and her story of loss, neglect, grief is so gentle, kind and forgiving.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Song for the Day

Healing of the Spirit: The Genius of Leonard Cohen | Jewish Journal

Leonard Cohen and Dance Me to the End of Love

The world goes on without us.

Yesterday I struggled with mood. As I'm sure most people do these days. The day before, even yesterday morning, I was almost buoyant, only for all that positivity to dwindle over a couple of short hours. My heart lifted last night reading a message from my son about taking his wee cooped up daughter out for a freedom walk - I smiled and was so jealous not to have been with them in London. Not to be in New Zealand with the other grandchildren with their bursting smiles, exploding with life and joy at even the most mundane of things. God, it was so bad yesterday I felt compelled to take this photo of two tiny spiders (much as I hate the damn things).

Clearly social distancing is not on their agenda.

Out with the dogs yesterday and this morning, I continue to be struck how this  natural world of ours endures and thrives when we take a step back (think Venice and the return of fish and clarity etc to the canals). Everywhere I look, I see the smallest perfections - a tiny snail nestling in an appropriately named Lazarus daisy, the wonderful structures of grasses and composite flowers which if you bend down and look even closer at, have flowers within flowers like endless mirrors. On the cusp of the day this morning as the darkness began to be pushed back, bats and small birds in frenzied flight and loud with song - almost a cacophony and it is almost as if all of this is saying, fuck you all, we're alright.

I suspect we will all have roller coaster moods for the forseeable future.
On a lighter note, watched a Guy Ritchie film last night - The Gentlemen 

The Gentlemen (2019 film) - Wikipedia

with a pretty stellar cast and typically Ritchie script of violence, swearing and supposedly clever but authentic dialogue. But what stood out for me, was Hugh Grant as a sleazy private investigater called Fletcher, who won the whole move beating Matthew McCaughey, Colin Farrell, Michelle Dockery.
It ate up a couple of hours.