Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s gloriously ghoulish and curiously cat infested parlour located somewhere within the alimentary canal of that splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.
True our psychotic landlord may have banished us to this dank and dingy dungeon, but anyone who would be crest fallen by such a turn of events has obviously never stood in their night dress fighting off flesh eating Liver Birds with nothing but a teapot and a book of mostly awful poetry.
Hm? Yes I have a night dress…. well how the hell do you imagine an octopus can fit into trousers? Really! A-hem….
You find us this morning in outrage because our puppet mistress, Penny, is keeping a very dark and dirty secret. At least she thinks she is. But we know what is going on. Having been very loudly and vociferously against the notion of National Novel Writing Month since its inception, she has decided to turn traitor on us and sign up for this year’s event. She has told no one. She is hiding her evil nano-notebook inside a waterproof zip lock bag inside the toilet cistern, ready to fake daily bouts of dysentery in order to complete her ridiculous writing goals in secret. But she is fooling no one. Least of all us.
We should state that our collective objections thus far have been that, while there is no harm in a person trying to have a bit of fun and create something fabulous along the way, to stipulate what a novel can and can’t be is to cut a huge number of people out of the novel creating and consuming world. So why is she doing this? She has obviously gone mad through lack of tea.
Max has optimistically suggested that she is only trying a splash of espionage and has cunningly infiltrated the machine to bring it crumbling to the ground from within. But personally I consider even such a move to be highly treacherous, traitorous, untrustworthy and utterly unacceptable and I for one cannot bring myself to look her in the eye. Which is making the whole morning routine very difficult indeed.
But never fear! We in the parlour remain stoic to the cause and so, to combat this fever of driving oneself into an early tomb trying to write 50,000 words or more in a month, we will instead be exploring and celebrating absinthlutely everything that a novel can and should be other than a book of 50,000 words or so.
A lot of our time this month will be spent working with urchins who process audio and visual information differently from most other people, and helping them to explore and celebrate their own writing and story crafting, so we will be posting activities that are inclusive and open the world of ‘novel writing’ to a much wider field of participant and audience.
So to kick us off on our Nano-free-November, we give you ….
TEA BAG NOVELS
(didn’t see that coming now did you?)
These are teeny weeny tight little tales that can be stapled into a book using tea bags as pages (or if you are very clever, a single tea bag!) Dry out your used tea bags on a plate (different teas will give you a variety of coloured pages, strawberry -red, blueberry – purple, Matcha – green, Redbush – orange, apple – grey, turmeric – yellow)
When dry, cut along one edge with a pair of scissors, then carefully scrape out the dried tea inside.
Write your novel in fine line ink pen or ball point, being careful to use the perforated edge as a margin.
When you have finished, pile your pages on top of each other in the correct order and stitch or staple your book together along the margin edge.
Voila! Will be ding this today with our little Lancastrian urchins and so here is our ‘one we did earlier’ example…
And in case you can’t read the awful tentacular scrawl, here is the text…
We met under a gut-punched sky, the raindrops racing down the tight screen of slipped out breath that caught in the space between our two neon egos – spitting sparks in the downpour.
Through a fudge of boiled rice conversation, I reached inside your brine and found the chalk of you ; graffiti-scarred myself, in fingernail wounds, into your smoothness and laughed .
“Give me back my soul,” I said, “I dropped it into the amber jewel pool of your eyes, while I was playing with your innards.”
“That’s not your soul,” you said, “that is only the sun, a bright gold ball reflected.”
I called you, “Toad,” and ran. The grass, like bottle glass, cut my feet and you, Hunter, licked up that garnet trail all the slow way to my door.
You dined on my defeat. Delivered up on plates of gold: pomegranate, passion, fig all patulous ; ‘Cuisses de Nymphe a l’Aurore’.
Ever after then, you bound me in a forest of words, so that I lie now: Ophelia and inked-over by your own tongue.
I blink out, through the black-string bars of a story that I refuse, still, to claim and reach for each new princess as if, through her, I could regain a purchase on the world and stand again – under that bruised sky; a spectrum of spilled blood, pooling under porcelain…
If, then I would make my order quick – ‘Cuisses de grenouille’ – end you with a finger lick.
We wish you a fiendishly festive Halloween / Samhain / All Saints / Souls / Day / Night / Thing whatever it is you humans are celebrating right now (so confusing) and hope you survive the night and will join Mrs B in her soup kitchen tomorrow, until then
Please be always
Good evening and welcome to my awe-inspiring aethenaeum of praiseworthy pamphlets…or as some ridiculous personages have dubbed it – my lovely library.
I am Perilous Wight and here in the bowels of the city of Lancaster, in the disused tunnels of an underground train system that never was, I have made it my mission to collect every book that our self-proclaimed ‘supreme ruler f the universe’ and his mincing minions have banned from the bookshelves of The New World.
But this is not a ‘lending library’; if you have wandered in here on the ill-advice of a ludicrous Tea Fiend and their rampant octopus, let me assure you that you will find no frivolous fancies or biscuit-based buffoonery here. Here there is only the dark and the damp, the flickering of candlelight and the ceaseless toil of a man who did not re-animate from the dead to be pestered by people wanting bedtime stories!
But wait…what’s that you say? Late Bottled Vintage Port? Ten years eh?…. well, yes perhaps it is about time I put my feet up for a while, pipe and slippers and a little drop of something to fight off the chill. And I suppose I could read a very little something,
like this splendid piece of flash fiction, by steampunk author and druid, Nimue Brown …
TAKING IT EASY
by Nimue Brown
After the divorce and the late onset midlife crisis, Dave married a much younger woman. He just wanted life to be fun. And easy.
The much younger woman wanted a child. This had not been mentioned pre-marriage, which he wasn’t best pleased about. There were rows, and Dave soon felt that a second divorce would be more unpleasant than humouring her. After all, if she wanted a child so much, she would look after it.
Aged five, Dave’s high maintenance son set his spoiled little heart on a puppy. After a week of tantrums, Dave decided that a puppy might be less trouble than the endless howling. And anyway, if the lad wanted it, the lad could look after it.
Sometimes, while walking the dog in the rain at six in the morning so as to be back in good time for the school run…. Dave wonders if he should have gone for the motorbike instead.
And if you would like to read more of Nimue’s marvellous work you can find her on the aether-web here:
There now, marvellous piece isn’t it? One of my favourites in fact… But as I said, this is not some nursery bedtime story hour I am running here! You can tell that miscreant octopus, when you see him, to stop sending people down here to bother me with their reading requests I have serious work to be getting on with. Now go on, out with you, shoo, no I don’t care if there is a curfew and you are worried about getting eaten by Carnivorous Liver Birds, you should have thought of that earlier. Good night.
Oh, er, leave the bottle though….