Archives for posts with tag: writing

I wrote over a hundred mediocre bits before my grandfather died just over three years ago. I wasn’t particularly close to him, but I think the piece I wrote in his memory in the days that followed his passing was my hands down best.

And since then I’ve managed to sputter out a meagre six.

It’s hard to shake the feeling that attempting any more poetry somehow trivialises him or his life and/or death. Or that I can encompass any topic as wholly or honestly as I felt I did with that piece. Or that any other topic will ever compare to such a man, who was – in his own way – a giant in his day. I find myself thinking about him more than I assumed I would, post-demise.

It’s strange. I wouldn’t have considered this greaving. But what else can it be? The man has complicated an entire artform for me in his wake.

Sadie released the tight grips with which she held onto the bottommost cereal shelf behind her. She had been sat, legs splayed, smeared across the floor and into the shelving for minutes that felt like hours. Her head turned to one side; her eyes glued to the other, to the boy who hovered in her periphery.

“You’ll be able to move soon. I’m sorry for that. I always am.”

The invisible pressure that trampled her let up enough so she could breathe again. Sadie’s hands dropped to the floor and she turned to face the floating boy. She pushed herself more upright and tried to compose herself, a hundred thoughts running past her as she gasped greedily for air.

“You say you know me.”

His feet daintily touched the floor one at a time. “In this moment in time, yes. Maybe better than anyone you’ve ever known.”

“And you’re not here to kill me.” Sadie looked around her. The people in the aisle were frozen still. Or moving too slowly to be perceptible. One woman was caught in the process of dropping a soup tin from overhead. It still levitated above her eye-line.

“No. Just needed somebody to talk to.” The boy blushed and looked away.

Sadie wiped her clammy hands on her jeans. “Sure. We can talk. About what? Why me?”

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know why. Out of all the people I’ve ever encountered… You’ve always been the easiest person to talk to. Now, I mean. I’ve tried later and earlier. It never works the same. Even when we’ve met before.”

Sadie got to her feet and looked at the boy. “What’s your name kid? You some kind of time-travelling alien robot?”

“Something like that. My name is Ayo: it means ‘joy’. And I’m the last – or only – of my kind.”

Sadie squat down until they were face to face and held his hands. “I’m so sorry. What happened?”

“I don’t know. There’s no way to ever find out. They just stopped existing. All of them. I go back and forwards but none of them ever were any more. But I remember them. I remember my parents. I don’t think I made all of them up in my head. Or else how would I exist?”

Sadie tried to hide her mental gymnastics. “You exist, Ayo. I can see you.” She looked into his eyes and squeezed his little palms. “And I can feel your warm hands.”

Ayo looked at her like an adoring puppy, waiting for her to say all the right things. Apparently again.

“How many times have we met? Ten? Twenty?”

“Hundreds. Maybe thousands. I don’t count. You’re my best friend.” Ayo considered his next words. “We don’t talk about the same thing.”

Sadie stood up too quick and paid for it with a faint head. “Oh Jesus.” She walked up the aisle unsurely. And then down. Up and down she paced. Thinking. All the while the little boy Ayo waited silently. Expectantly. The woman in the aisle still stood under her tin of soup. She’s stuck and doesn’t even know it, Sadie thought. That’s me. “Ayo. You can’t just keep me trapped here. It’s not right.“

“You’re not a prisoner. You live a full life after this.” The boy seemed startled. “I don’t understand. You’ve never reacted this way before here.” Perhaps he was telling the truth and this wasn’t her prison, but only his sanctuary. If so she had shattered it.

Ayo seemed to grow taller before Sadie’s eyes. His hair stood on end and his shoulders lifted. Sadie realised his heels had come off the ground and he was beginning to float again. Higher and higher.

“What’s happening? Ayo?”

The air became heavier. The boy’s eyes began to roll up as he spoke. “Something’s not right. I have to do it again. I’ve got to run it back. You always say the right thing.”

Sadie reached out, through the thick air, grabbing Ayo by his trouser pocket and pulling him back down to the floor. “No!” The boy’s eyes returned to normal as Sadie shook him. “No more do-overs.”

Ayo’s dainty feet touched the floor one at a time.

“Ayo. Listen to me. I know you’re lonely, but you have to let this moment go. You can’t live in this safe memory over and over. You have to move on.”

They both hugged each other wordlessly for a time. Ayo cried into Sadie’s shoulder. And then he left.

(The tin of soup hit the woman in the eye.)

It never got any easier. He only got better at dealing with it afterwards. Sonny took a deep breath in and put the point of his knife to the stranger’s cheek. Perhaps the man would wake up; some did, others didn’t. It ultimately made no difference. The message was clear either way. As plain as the nose on their faces. They would never bother him again.

None ever retaliated or reported him to the authorities, just like his brother had told him all those years past. The best defence is offence. Sometimes Sonny’d cross paths with one of them by the markets. They were always men. And their gaze would immediately fall to their feet. Sonny would pretend not to see them, ashamed of his still-visible handiwork. And they would go about their days without bothering the other.

Sonny penetrated the skin and pulled down the face in a slow wide arc, his other hand pushing the stranger’s face down and away from him. The man twitched underneath him and moved. He didn’t wake. Sonny adjusted his position to accommodate the movements, riding the chest and shoulder with his knees.

He twisted the knife and arced back to make a giant S, that bled into the man’s eye. S for Sonny.

Their eyelashes always fluttered before they opened their eyes. Sonny waited uneasily, patiently. He felt most nervous at this point. What if he’d flubbed the dosage and they just bench-pressed him clean off? The man took a long moment to register his situation: gagged and immobilized, with a blade to the face.

‘Evening.’

He made throaty sounds with his voice and his nostrils flared frantically. Sonny swapped his hands over, keeping the man’s jaw firmly faced away from himself. He lined the knife with the stranger’s eyeline.

‘You settle down and behave if you want to see to morning.’

He could feel the man’s heart beating away under his right knee. His hard breathing blew gloopy strands of red blood across the floor. But the man didn’t resist.

‘You, sir, have only yourself to blame for this predicament. You prey on the feeble and weak. Do I look weak?’ Sonny turned the man’s face to him with the flat of the knife. ‘Look at me.’

The man shook his head and tears welled in the congealing pooling of blood about his right eye.

‘I swore to my brother that I’d never be prey again. That I would choose to never be a victim ever again. And that means sending a message to predators. Would-be predators.’ Sonny slowly undid the gag on the man’s mouth.

‘I ought to take an ear or nose right now.’ Sonny stood up and pulled the man up with him. ‘There will not be a next time.’ The man was clearly in shock, dusting his patterned shirt off even as fresh blood dripped down his face. ‘Say it.’

‘There will not be a next time.’

‘Good. Now fuck off.’

Sonny waited until the stranger fucked off before tucking away his blade. He got as far as a lamp-post before he had to throw up on a tree.

It never got any easier.

Screenshot of Netflix's Punisher season 1 finale, subtitled: "When you looked at your ugly, mangled face, you're gonna remember what you did."
on that note, Punisher season 2, let’s go
fun

The trouble with ideas are they’re a dime a dozen whilst their execution is a slow arduous process. You can come up with a grand thought in seconds and then spend years before it ever reaches fruition. And that’s if it ever get there. There’s no guarantee that it does. The real easy fun lies in the daydreaming honeymoon phase and not in making the sausage. Making the sausage is kinda fun, but you spend of a lot of time tearing your hair out too. Daydreaming is painless.

So you work, day in and day out. And all along, you keep seeing newer, tastier ideas. Shinier balls to play with. And it takes all the discipline in the world to say no, and get back to your one sausage you’ve been mucking about with for years.

But you take note, you know. “I’ll get round to you one day,” you have to say. “Until then, get in line.”

So. ‘As Worlds Bleed’ multiverse sci-fi series coming 2050
#AsWorldsBleed

You cannot give a shit about originality. You’re not going to invent a new genre or movement any time soon. Just be authentic and enthusiastic. That is enough.

Your craft will eventually pull you through a fresh take on an old thing. You can’t replicate someone else’s shit if you tried, but why would you want to? Be confident in the knowledge that likewise others cannot replicate you.

Do your own work without putting on airs. Put the hours in, of course. But experiment. Play. Be real weird with it.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Get free.


INT. HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER
TOHIDUL enters. Music is blaring from the TV. It sounds
like the sugariest pop you've ever heard but it’s foreign. 
All the furniture has been pushed aside or onto the couch 
to clear the floor space. PINKY and SHOHID are dancing along
to a K-pop music video - SHOHID terribly so.
                    PINKY
               (still dancing)
          How was the wedding?
                    TOHIDUL
          Same old. Nobody at this one. Met
          that guy from Oxford near the
          end.
TOHIDUL hangs his suit jacket on the corner of the door
and sits on the table - which is precariously placed on
top of the couch.
                    SHOHID
               (also still dancing)
          Who? MINTU?
Yeah that’s his name. Not that it matters any more.
                    TOHIDUL
               (undoing bowtie)
          Yeah him. How do you know his
          name?
                    SHOHID
          Because he told me it.
                    PINKY
          You’re an arsehole sometimes,
          baya.
                    TOHIDUL
          I’m just bad with names.

                                                  (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:                                        14.
                    SHOHID
          And faces. Details.
                    PINKY
          If you gave a shit you’d make an
          effort.
The song finishes. PINKY and SHOHID take a moment to catch
their breaths.
          Did you stay for the whole thing?
          It’s only six.
                    TOHIDUL
          I did actually. It was just a
          very punctual wedding. Maybe
          that’s just how Leeds do.
                    SHOHID
          Not likely, baya.
SHOHID gestures towards the TV.
          Pinks.
The next song starts playing. The two get to dancing
again.
                    TOHIDUL
          Room smells salty.
                    PINKY
          Don’t be annoying.
                    TOHIDUL
          I didn’t do anything yet.
                    PINKY
          Go away if you just wanna talk.
TOHIDUL hops off the table-on-the-couch, nearly toppling
it over. He rolls up his sleeves and stands behind his two
siblings.
                    TOHIDUL
          Slow the video down for me then
          at least.
PINKY grabs the remote and slows the playback speed down,
making a face as she does so.
                    PINKY
          You’re so annoying.
The trio dance to the band choreography to varying degrees
of success. TOHIDUL is the worst.