Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Archive for the ‘Now for something completely different’ Category

The Telepathwriter – Using every opportunity #amwriting

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An elbow to the ribs in the middle of the night, as hubby woke suffering excruciating cramp, got me thinking. He was asleep ten minutes later whereas I didn’t drop off again for another four hours. I read a bit, usually a sure fire way to drop off, but not this time. I scribbled a bit, in the notepad by my bed by torchlight, and worked on some 100-word stories as well as drafting this blog post. After two-and-a half hours of lying quietly growing ever more frustrated, I thought about getting up and making myself a drink and hitting the laptop. However, hubby and I live in a very small space with creaky floorboards and I would have woken him. While he says I’m like a bear with a sore head with no sleep, he is worse.

I was starting to get delusional in my imaginings when I began to wonder how long it will be before the Telepathwriter is invented. The Telepathwriter needs another name obviously, but insomniac writers the world over need it. As we lie waiting for sleep and brilliant ideas weave their way into our minds, we need the electrodes taped to our temples to capture and transmit our thoughts straight to a document file. All those wonderful pre-sleep notions and incarnations will be caught forever. Over-writing will be a thing of the past as immediacy and freshness are caught on the page. No longer will those brilliant story plots be lost when we wake. I haven’t actually planned the machine besides the basic concept. Someone with a more technical or scientific bent needs to draw up some blueprints. Perhaps during another bout of insomnia I might come up with an outline design… if only I can remember it in the morning.

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Written by Sarah Ann

November 20, 2017 at 11:35 am

Learning Keeps You Young, or Busy – #amwriting

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I have realised this week that I am better at practical learning than book learning.

Readers of my Friday Fictioneer posts might know I recently started tap dancing. I didn’t dance as a child – I was too fat and my parents didn’t have the money to pay for lessons however much I pleaded to go to ballet classes with my best friend. Eighteen months ago I started Bollywood dancing and learnt that for year. It was lovely to move elegantly and learn more about Asian film music, but the classes ended.

I have always hankered to learn to tap, probably because of the noise and my imagining that it was easy to stamp around. It isn’t, and I am having to practise between lessons to keep up. I am a complete beginner compared to the others who are re-learning or have at least a term behind them. I am improving, but don’t imagine I will ever be fast enough. I have also taught myself basic crochet stitches and am about to attempt my first piece of clothing, albeit a relatively simple scarf.

However, my online Italian course, which I started last June, is languishing uncompleted. And I have pulled out of the writing MOOC I signed up to complete over the next 6-weeks because I don’t have the time to do it justice. The University of Iowa have run a number of writing MOOCs and I participated in How Writers Write Fiction 2014 and 2015, as well as How Writers Write Poetry 2014. They are professional and stretching courses, but post new classes on a Thursday and I am unable to keep up now work has become busier.

At tap, I have peers in front of whom I don’t wish to fail. With crochet I have physical evidence of my progress. However, with Italian there’s no one to practise with, and I’ve enough of my own writing to get on with without committing to more. So whether I’m better at the practical, or the things I enjoy most, is open to question.

How do people learn without peers, teachers, or projects to keep them on track?

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Missing inaction

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Writing, blogging and reading have taken a back seat as hubby and I rush to get a friend’s house painted before autumn arrives.

 

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Currently busy elsewhere.

 

Oh, and then there’s Dad to look after while Mum’s in convalescence care for two and a bit weeks.

Hoping to fit in some flash fiction, but I’m already exhausted and we’re only four days in.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Poetry. Yes, really.

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Over the last few months I have taken part in a number of writing MOOCs, primarily to receive feedback on my writing from peers. This has happened with a varying degree of success.

I have really enjoyed the University of Iowa, International Writing Programme’s, How Writers Write Poetry. I would encourage anyone to take part next time it runs, or even log in now to see the video lectures. I didn’t know any of the writers – Robert Hass, Mervin Bell, Nick Twemlow, Lucy Ives, Sridala Swami, Alexandria Pearyor, James Galvin, Kwame Dawes, Larissa Szporluk (to name a standout few), or the course leaders, Christopher Merrill and Mary Hickman (although this might be simply because I am UK-based), but I am going to read more of their work. The course really has been fun and an inspiration.

When I started the course I didn’t know how to write poetry. Apart from the WWI poets, I have never really understood it. I am still clueless as to the rules of poetry writing, but the enthusiasm exhibited by these writers is infectious.  I’m not sure I’m any closer to being able to write poetry, but I’m throwing caution to the wind and posting a couple of my course efforts here. Criticise away – it’s feedback that I need.

 

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I wrote the below following a lecture on free verse and prose poems. Mervin Bell described writing free verse poems using a sentence as a line, a line being a sentence. This is the form I adopted. He now writes poems in paragraphs.

 

I wonder did he ….?

Does he really want children?
With you?
I don’t want to upset you, but I have to ask, did he stop drinking?
When you were taking the hormones to bolster your eggs, feeling weepy, getting heavy, did he stop drinking?
You know why I’m asking.
Excess alcohol is the primary cause of middle-age infertility, creating drowsy, lazy sperm, or ones with their tails missing.
And excess weight.
Are you heavy now with hormones, alcohol or despair?

I watched you both the other night, enjoying the delights of yeast and grape, and I wondered.
I wondered how much you wanted a mewling babe.
How much you both wanted.

My mother criticised my 16-year old niece for having a child.
‘She only did it so she had someone to love her,’ she said.
I wondered then and wonder still whether we have children for any other reason.
Why did you want children?
You say you’ve given up now, that you’re too old, but I have to wonder why – not why you’ve given up, but why you wanted.
Do you want someone to love you because he doesn’t?
You know he loves only himself.
He’d deny that, of course, you both would.
He loves his children, the ones he had by her, and of course he loves you.
But he doesn’t.
Not properly.
Not in the way you deserve to be loved.
So, I ask again, but expect no reply, when you were filling with hormones, creating the perfect nurturing womb, did he stop drinking?

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Two-thirds of the ways through the course, the lecture was entitled, Poetry as Pleasure. We were encouraged to find the delight in our writing. Hmm, well, I’m not sure this covers it at all, but it was fun to write.

 

Yogurt

Empty cold fridge.
Reach in, withdraw thin plastic pot.
Portents not good.

Pulling back lid.
Silver inner layer reflects
pink-flecked putty.

Hint of rhubarb.
Fibrous threads mashed to sweetened pulp.
Resistible.

Spoon dives in;
Rises overloaded with light;
Hovers, takes flight.

Lips held apart.
Tongue startled, teeth stripped, maw tingling.
Senses heightened.

Swirling around,
Overworked palate starts to heal.
Haltingly smooth.

Timid throat waits.

Creamy unctuousness passes through,
Drops to centre.

Taste and texture
Engender comfort and feeling.
Soul satisfied.

 

 

Author spotlight: KZ Morano – 100 Nightmares

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Because it takes me so long to get around to everything, I’m too late to take part in the blog blast cover reveal for KZ Morano’s new e-book of little horror stories – 100 Nightmares. It’s out already! However, my tardiness does have positive consequences – I’m able to provide the links for you to buy, as well as telling you about it.

KZ’s desciptive qualities are awesome – her 100-word stories for Friday Fictioneers regularly leave me squirming in disgust, desolated by pain, and generally feeling very envious of her talents.

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100 NIGHTMARES – OUT NOW!

 

100 nightmares x900

 

100 NIGHTMARES by K.Z. Morano is a collection of horror stories written in exactly 100 words, accompanied by over 50 illustrations. Inside, you’ll find monsters—both imagined and real. There are vengeful specters, characters with extremely impaired psyches, dark fairy tales and stories and illustrations inspired by bizarre creatures of Japanese folklore.

 

It takes a brief encounter with death to cause enduring nightmares.

A single well-placed blow could maim you for life…

One well-placed word could haunt you forever.

 

Micro-fiction is a blade—sharp, swift…

Sometimes it goes for the jugular, killing you in seconds.

Its silver tongue touches your throat and warm blood hisses before you can scream.

 

Sometimes, the knife makes micro-cuts in the sensitive sheath of your sanity, creating wounds that will fester throughout eternity.

 

Take my 100 words daily like a slow-acting poison or read them all and die of overdose.

Your call.

It’s your suicide after all.

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Take your heart in your hands and BUY 100 Nightmares, but don’t say she and I didn’t warn you:

www.amazon.com/dp/B00JVRJNG0

http://www.lulu.com/shop/kz-morano/100-nightmares/ebook/product-21592369.html

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/431783

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About the Author

K.Z. Morano is an eclectic eccentric… a writer, a beach bum and a chocolate addict who writes anything from romance and erotica to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and bizarro fiction. Over the past few months, her stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and online venues. Visit her at http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/ where she posts short fiction and photographs weekly.

Like this story collection on K.Z.’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/100Nightmares

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Follow? Like? Comment? Works not in progress!

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Jennifer at elmowrites.wordpress.com recently posted about followers and converting readers of blogs to buyers of books. She posted her thoughts on 2nd September; I didn’t get around to reading them until the 18th, so was a little late to add much to the discussion, and it’s taken me until now to formulate a probably completely unrelated response.

I try to be a follower that reads. I might not always comment, but I do click though from my inbox to see what’s been posted. Since having three weeks off from blogging in the summer, things have been slightly out of control with my inbox hovering around 350 new emails – as fast as I read, like or comment, something new comes in to grab my attention. I tried starting my reading at both ends of the list to work towards the middle. I tried deleting everything over a week old. In the end, I had a good clear out before revising my ‘blogs I follow’ list. Most of the people who don’t like or comment on my blog, or even reply to comments I leave on theirs, I am now following in name only. For some others I now receive weekly rather than instant notifications of posts.

Trying to get to grips with 350 blog posts was taking time and effort. It took my focus away from my works in progress. Now, with fewer emails and posts to read, and having moved to an area with hardly any internet access for a week or two, I might be able to get back to work, as well as concentrating on the blogs I‘m still following and reading.

Written by Sarah Ann

September 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia!

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Last Monday’s Daily Post Writing Challenge caught my interest. Pity it’s taken me a week to get organised enough to post my thoughts. This is a second draft that needs more work but, if I don’t post now, I never will. A journalist responds to…

 

Big brother keeping an eye on you. Fighting to the death for a live TV audience. Being turned into meaty pellets of goodness when you reach maturity. Struggling through grime and smog while a rich elite quaff champagne and make with their decadent follies. Discovering you’re a robot and that all of your memories are implants. Falling in love and then realising that you’re a clone destined to be carved up for spare body parts.

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Death of the Smartphone

Parents have started to adopt the previously gang-only punishment of amputating thumbs. Doctor-recommended, medical amputation is becoming the first line of defence for parents who have been unable to communicate with their offspring for a period of 6-months or longer. Teenagers obsessed by social media, who spend the majority of their waking hours with their heads in front of a screen, are being stopped from talking to friends, acquaintances and strangers by the most drastic means.

The advent of the Smartphone, initially heralded as a breakthrough in human development, has, to many minds, become a curse, and the hours our younger generations spend online are no longer seen as harmless.

Children were initially given mobile phones for safety reasons – to call parents for a lift when the bus failed to turn up or a train derailed. This emergency-use phone became a pivotal tool in the arsenal of the cyber-bully.

The Smartphone’s contribution to economic growth (because one was never out of touch with the office) is now being questioned as more and more individuals are signed-off work with stress because they are forever in job-mode.

The phone became event smarter with the advent of Google glasses, but this was a short-lived phenomenon. Products were withdrawn after too many people died crossing the street, and in accidents, whilst paying attention to the feed in front of their eyes instead of the world around them.

The mini-computer we all carry around in our pockets has become the pariah of modern society.

Many middle class families are going phone-free and reverting back the desktop computer in an attempt to reintroduce family life. The cost of buying bulky table-top machines has been spiralling upwards. Laptops and Smartphones, once out of the reach of the pockets of the poor, are now chickenfeed for the lowest strata of society.

Crime figures are also changing. Muggings, brought down by the instant disconnection of any stolen phone, are on the increase as people begin to carry cash like their grandparents used to now they no longer have a cashless payment system about their person.

The well-worn argument regarding chipping human fingertips, as we do our pets’ ears, is once more on the agenda…

Written by Sarah Ann

March 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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