A Year of Writing: Days 181-190

Day 181 of #ayearofwriting and I spend twenty minutes submitting individual stories to magazines and zines. Then I return to my story, how they drag their cubicle partitions out onto the car park for Ahsan and build him a mosque. It’s a lovely image, a sign of love at the end of the world but as one character points out, the world didn’t end, just a lot of people ended.

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Day 182 of #ayearofwriting and I am into draft two of my story. I don’t want to jinx it but this tale seems to be going easier than the last one. The structure and voice came in one draft, now it is matter of bringing in certain images and themes that have to be in the story. I am at 4,000 words, so this story feels like it will end up around 2,500 words which fits with old person narrating it though we know from the start he is an unreliable narrator. I like the function and technique of the narrator’s that do not tell us the whole truth. The unreliable narrator is a tool that works well for me, it embodies everything about climate change, because we are never sure who is telling the truth and even when we know we are right, there are those telling us that we are unreliable. So, even after the end of society, there will still be sense that it did not happen.

 

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Day 183 of #ayearofwriting and yesterday I used an image that has been doing the rounds from the Saddleworth fire. I have spoken on this and climate change with the New Statesman (though according to them I am climate change scientist, which is a thoughtful but misguided quote, you can see the full article here https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/06/saddleworth-moor-fire-army-manchester-blaze-residents) and yes, I do believe this is the beginning of such events. Maybe it’s because I am about to start my Doctorate on climate change and how we have no fiction to deal with these strange times that I am looking more and more for things that concern me. Please feel free to share such stories with me, if you see it in the news then share it here. You see, I think the rise in the right wing, is a direct response to climate change. Displaced people always cause friction, the war in Syria, at it’s heart has been placed firmly at the foot of climate change. We need to stop seeing displaced people as a problem, we need to find what displaced them and act on that because no one ever wants to leave their home. The UK is not a wonderful place to live in but it could be. However, in the coming years we will start to suffer more and more from people in our cities, towns and villages being displaced. How will we respond to them?

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Day 184 of #ayearofwriting and I am bringing out the idea of memory more, like threads being broken, hence the title, Knight of the Thimble, they are trying to sew back the events of the past but they cannot agree. Driven mad, alone, watching the city burn and then living with the ghost of it on the horizon, cut off from the rest of the world because the bridge that joined them to the mainland is gone (a nice horror trope). Now old, they have survived in ways we can only guess but now images of the past and present merge, while those that discovered them believe that they can predict the future.

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Day 185 of #ayearofwriting and the others have arrived with their shopping trolleys piled high with tat from the old world. There are laugh out loud moments when one of the oracles mentions Dale Winton, he explains tenderly what homosexuality is and the others are appalled. The oracle rants at them about how he has gone through the end of the world and will not allow anyone to be a fucking Tory after that shit. I like this character. I like this little commune of old people, with mixed religions, fluid sexuality and senility. God bless, Dale Winton, he says, and the others chant it back like a new religious mantra to replace Amen. I know it is tongue in cheek, I know it is crass, but sometimes when you are writing you have to be brutal with satire to show how stupid people can be. Don’t you agree, darling?

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Day 186 of #ayearofwriting and it is the power to name things that is at play here. If you had the chance after the end of the world to tell people about the world gone would you tell the truth or name things as you saw them. Discuss with the following image.

Day 187 of #ayearofwriting and over lunch I write out Joe. Who is Joe? Joe is a clumsy plot device, goodbye Joe.

Day 188 of #ayearofwriting and when coming home down a country lane the other day I had to squeeze past a jeep. I said thanks and the guy gave me the finger. I parked up outside our cottage a few hundreds yards away and the driver came past twice to shout obscenities at me, it appears I am a grizzly c**t and a sweaty bitch. Even in our anger we are confused by gender. I just smiled because frankly this was his problem, he screamed at me one last time and sped off with his kids in the back. We wonder why society declines, our anger grows, our kids see and replicate. We are the machine as John Bruner points out.

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Day 189 of #ayearofwriting and I am constantly amazed how what seems a simple story complicates itself. Here is my frustration or constipation, you choose.
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Day 190 of #ayearofwriting and I am into draft three of Knight of the Thimble and things have been axed, I have gone from 4,000 words to 1,900 and the confusion I felt yesterday has receded. I think it is just the ruthlessness of the cuts that have revealed the story, so today I feel more like this.
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