So a little while ago I wrote a poem about how myself and my partner came to own our now beloved pet cat, Charlie (all quite by chance – he really did literally find us), and I would like to share it with you all in this post 🙂 He can be a cheeky little troublemaker at times, but we both love him – and I found myself getting quite emotional as I was writing this, truth be told! Has anyone else ever been inspired to write about a beloved pet of theirs? Would love to see any other poems about pussy cats, pooches or otherwise 🙂
Simply put, this is a collection of short stories about sex. But this isn’t as cheap and tawdry as you might imagine; the stories are all wonderfully inventive and each with delightful twists at the end. Indeed, you’d expect nothing less from Mr. Dahl. This was something of a bizarre read for me as well, as I’d only ever read his works intended for children (although they could get dark and twisted in places as well), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being a particular favourite of mine growing up. So reading one of his more adult-oriented works was certainly an experience for sure. What he does especially well in this collection is effortlessly make parts of the stories emotionally crushing yet hilarious at the same time, which is no mean feat.
Two of the stories, ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Bitch’ are told from the perspective of ‘Uncle Oswald’, presented as a notorious womaniser whose memoirs have been discovered by his family. ‘Visitor’ is particularly brilliant as, not to give anything away, a dream-come-true (for him) scenario of sleeping with another man’s wife and daughter becomes a nightmare, when he is cruelly, yet justly punished for his intended transgression at the end. My first reaction was ‘Oh….shit’ but quickly turned to hysterical laughter. ‘Bitch’ meanwhile is perhaps a little silliler and ‘out there’, the ending in particular, but it captures the sheer primality of our carnal desires very well. The character in general, despite his attitude towards women (he has a strict ‘one time only’ policy’, which he repeatedly stresses), and complete lack of morals, is one you just can’t truly hate, and his (mis)adventures are truly a joy to read.
‘The Great Switcheroo’ meanwhile, involves two husbands crafting a master plan to sleep with each other’s wives, without the wives actually knowing that it isn’t their husband in the act with them. If this sounds completely implausible, suspend your disbelief – the plan and how it is carried out is actually quite ingenious, and fully explained step-by-step, again emphasising the lengths we will go to for sex. Again, not to spoil things too much, but while the plan technically does work, it has devastating consequences for one of the husbands in question, but again, this is written in such a way that is darkly humorous.
‘The Last Act’, meanwhile, is probably the most brutal of the four – there is little comedy in this one, given that it deals with a woman contemplating suicide following the tragic passing of her husband. While this ends up being delayed when she lands herself a job, an encounter with an old flame quickly sends her falling into the abyss again, and I personally had to put the book down and process what I had just read after the ending, which really does show how cruel and callous humanity can be, at its worst. It pulls no punches, this one, and is a very raw and emotional read. Probably just as well, then, that the more light-hearted ‘Bitch’ is the story to close the collection.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection, and read it all more or less in one sitting – I was certainly hooked in. Would highly recommend it, and therefore will award it a 5/5!
Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!
noun: inner child; plural noun: inner children
a person’s supposed original or true self, especially when regarded as concealed in adulthood.
While I was working on my entry for the ‘Essex Belongs to Us’ competition yesterday, I found myself beginning a poem entitled ‘What Does Essex Mean to Me?’. Having been born in Colchester, and then growing up in Clacton-on-Sea (and then finding myself living in Colchy in adulthood), it is a county very close to my heart. As I started writing about my home town by the seaside, I found myself come out with the following lines:
The noise and lights of Clacton Pier
Bring to mind those simple times
Full of childish thrill and cheer
In arcades of flashing lights and signs.
As I then scanned my childhood years for other memories associated with the county, my mind then drifted further afield to Southend on-Sea…
Or sometimes further to Southend
Playing with pirates and Peter Pan
The sort of amazing, magical weekend,
That you’d wish never to grow into a man.
By ‘pirates and Peter Pan’ I am referring to the attraction known as ‘Never Never Land’, which is sadly no more. Modelled after the magical realm of the same name from the Peter Pan stories, it was a truly amazing and fantastical place to visit when I was but a wee lad. So many castles within an enchanted forest where various model characters told tales, it was truly a joy to walk around and experience, and never seemed to get boring no matter how many times we visited it. Sadly it closed in 2001, but its one of those fond memories that I can still always hold onto (and the fairy castle still remains today, as the site within the link shows).
Of course, growing up is inevitable; Never Never Land isn’t real, and you can’t be a child forever – but it did get me to thinking how important it is to hold on to that child inside of you. As the definition above conveys, in a sense it is your ‘original’ or ‘true’ self. I am the person I am today because of my childhood experiences, therefore they are not something that should be cast aside or forgotten. There is nothing wrong with indulging your inner child occassionally.
For me, I find I do this first and foremost simply through the medium of writing, as I have inadvedently demonstrated through my initial attempt at writing about my home county. It is essentially an escape into another world, creating your own inhabitants who follow your rules. This is especially true if writing science fiction or fantasy, or simply any story where your character goes on an unbelievable adventure. I mean, I’m currently working on a short story that involves witches and talking cats! If I didn’t have that odd indulgence into the fantastical and/or downright silly I think I’d probably drive myself mad. A lot of the poems I have written are quite childlike as well in a way, now that I think about it.
My job also affords me various opportunities to let my inner child come out to play. As I support individuals with autism, among the things I do is take them out to the local ‘leisure’ pool, designed with children in mind, that is full of slides, rapid rivers and all sorts of fun things like that. And at the age of nearly 30, I can still have an absolute rollicking good time at a place like this, and find it’s one of the highlights of my week. Going to a local trampoline park is something of a treat as well, even if I do find myself exhausted after bouncing about for only 15 minutes!
Indulging in nostalgia is also a perfectly healthy thing, I find. Well, I think we all do it. Play old ‘retro’ video games from when we were growing up, listening to old music we loved (that the grumpier of us may insist is better than any of the rubbish they put on these days). Heck, this is precisely what I’m doing when I write one of my ‘Years of My Life’ entries on this very blog! As long as we’re not permanently living in the past with our rose-tinted spectacles on, there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing back to simpler times when we have the spare time to relax and bask in them.
So remember the good times. Be a little silly now and then. Go and jump in a few puddles, jump up and down on a trampoline. Sit down and write about the imaginary world that you find yourself daydreaming about. You’re never too old…
So unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’ll know about the resurgence of the Pokémon craze in the form of mobile game Pokémon Go, where you can catch monsters that appear in the area around you thanks to GPS technology. I must confess to being bitten by the bug myself, having the app running while walking to and from work, to town or to the gym etc, and trying to ‘catch ’em all’. While Pokémon never went away, exactly (there have still been games made since the originals on the Game Boy, and the anime is on something like over 800 episodes now, and will probably outlive us all), it hasn’t been this much of a craze since its inception in the 90’s. Feeling inspired, I started to write a short story relating to the Pokémon Go craze, the beginning of which I am now posting here for your reading pleasure. Let me know what you think, and should I continue with it? Might be cool to post it in installments if there’s demand for it 🙂 Anyway, enjoy, and any critiques/comments/feedback are welcome – that’s how us writers learn and improve, after all. Without futher ado…
Pokémon Go inspired short story (no title yet) – Opening
As he neared the dark and foreboding alley, he was starting to wonder if this had been such a good idea after all. This is where the monster was supposedly lurking, if the rumours and mumblings had been true; yet his device had seemingly still not detected it. He hoped this would not turn out be a fool’s errand; he was alone, a mere child, deep in the heart of what was most certainly not a good neighbourhood. Continue reading →