Monday, 6 August 2012


Yes, I’m writing blog posts ahead of the game. So I still haven’t written the chapter of the blog novel that I made reference to in last week’s post. Last week’s post was edited seconds before I ploughed on into this file.
   Which raises a point, or three, concerning time travel. It’s June 2012 as I type, and August 2012 or later as you read. Kacey Vanderkarr collared me in May, inviting me to participate in the BLOGVEL hosted by Michelle Simkins at her GREENWOMAN blog.
   I applied for membership of Michelle’s supervillainous group before the deadline expired. Well, I had to. Kacey simultaneously invited and commanded my participation. I pushed her out of an aeroplane once. She was merely returning the favour.
   In playing pass-the-parcel with a story, which chapter would I write? My request was for chapter five. Why? Chapter five’s publication date fell close to the end of my last blog series. In short, there was a convenient gap.
   My ability to tell a chapter of a communal story was determined by the space in my blog. Not just by what Michelle wrote in chapter one, how Delisa Carnegie handled the follow-up assignment, why Mindy McGinnis turned the tale in another direction, or where J. Lea Lopez chose to run next.
   If I wrote close to the start, I’d have a great blank canvas ahead of me. The notion of being locked in – by what followed before – didn’t concern me. I could have written the second-last chapter just as easily. My blog determined the pace.
   The only thing I had to watch for was a surprise thrown in by J. Lea Lopez at the last second. For, in my head, I’d already decided what my chapter would be about once I read the very start of the story. Time travel, in action.
   This sort of thing prompts a few thoughts on news in the blog. I’m dashing through the fourth blog post today, having assembled the others in a Frankensteinian fashion.

Not for the first time, my blog was interrupted. By me, on this occasion. A chunk of chicken falls from an open roll and carries a glob of brown sauce with it. Sauce straight from the Houses of Parliament. Nippy sauce. End of advertisement.
   I had to conduct emergency surgery on the keyboard, to avoid electrical mayhem. Deep irony. I was about to discuss news on the blog. If I blog weeks ahead, and stick to that programme of publishing my thoughts, then there’s little or no scope for noting immediate news. Deep irony. Seconds later, news immediately hits my keyboard. And I’m forced to blog of it in the same post. Not a few months on.
   My BLOG NOVEL chapter is written in my head. It sits on this blog before this entry goes out – though this entry is written before that chapter is typed. Somewhere in the timeline, brown sauce drops on the keyboard.
   Raising the keyboard from my desk, I can smell the sauce. I’m getting a hint of vinegar, with a soupçon of pretension. Without dismantling the keyboard, I think I’ve managed to deal with the sauce problem. Now I merely have to shield the keyboard from radioactive rays, preventing the rise of an abomination forged in the crucible of sauce.
   If I stopped to think about all the ghastly things lurking inside my keyboard, I’d be grabbed by them and dragged into the keyboard. My only way out would be to smuggle a note to the world. A note written using my own entrails, spaghetti-style.
   Time was when people actually wrote things. Being a throwback to the Primordial, I am still capable of writing by hand. My fingers haven’t fallen off, leaving mitts with oversized texting thumbs. Primitive text message sticks known as pens and pencils ruled the prehistoric past.
   If nippy sauce landed on your pen, you just licked it off. Health? Safety? These were alien concepts, back in the day. Just as writing by pen and sending a letter are alien concepts now. How dirty is my keyboard? Averagely-bad, I expect.
   Cleaning. Once in a long while, I clear things out. Dusty corners are a problem. Paper files, no longer relevant, are shredded. I can’t quite eliminate a few persistent stacks. Herakles has stables to clear. I thought I’d write about those problem areas.
   Running an office generates clutter. I welcome it. Clutter colludes with unspecified events. Duplicate files exist. Long before office shredders became popular for home use, I had one. I was very careful about shredding material.
   In all this time, I’ve never shredded the wrong document. An entire novel was shredded. Making the decision to shred that novel was the right decision. I took great pleasure in eliminating rubbish. What was the shredded paper recycled into? More paper. Given over to better use than the use I’d put the stack to.
   I look around this office. An office I can step across with ease. Things were not always that way. Some of the furniture is the same. There’s that old dictionary. Printers came and went. Shredders have changed, as motors expired.
   What stayed the same? Me? No. Emphatically. NO. I discuss my work, now, in blogs. Has everything changed? There’s a basic thing that remains the same. A writer writes. It was ludicrous to suppose, as the world altered and many things improved, that the lot of the writer would remain the same.
   The industry turned digital. Conditions grew better. Opporchancities multiplied. We are all publishers now. Almost everything changed. A writer writes. That is a familiar point on the new landscape. Everything else?
   There are shadows. Reflections. Optical delusions. I still don’t run a paperless office. Though there’s less paper involved. I still use the shredder. And I’m just as careful as before, when it comes to shredding the right documents.
   I’ll scribble notes on paper. A taste of the old days. Those notes are swept into the computer. The digital notes are copied, for safety. Paper notes head to the shredder. Haven’t lost the wrong scrap yet. As far as I know.
   A whole novel went into the electric maw, and quite right too. If there’s nothing good in a piece of fiction, don’t grow precious about it. Shred the crap out of your crap. Be sure, before you go through with that. Unshredding is difficult. Especially concerning one of those cross-cut models.
   I’m left contemplating sauce, the paperless office, and a non-runcible spoon. The lot of the writer has improved. I was meant to ramble on about time. Of fiction, unwritten as I type…written as you read. I think of the change in weather. June, typing. Torrential rain. August, blogging. Torrential rain. Scottish. Get used to it.
   You can’t use a runcible spoon to remove nippy sauce from a keyboard.
   As authorly advice goes, that’s not the best piece of wisdom to hand out. I feel that you must bear the other view in mind. You can’t use a non-runcible spoon to remove nippy sauce from a keyboard. People often forget that.
   I am about to take a break for coffee. This will be stirred with a spoon of runcible or non-runcible nature. Brazenly, that is a lie. Rat coaffee wull be steer’t wi’ a spuin. No, no, it isn’t coffee made from rats. We aren’t barbarians in Scotland – merely degenerates. There is a difference.
   That coffee will be stirred with a spoon.
   Now if I’d said that rat coffee...
   Then, you might have called us barbarians. Or, in the world of outré cuisine, connoisseurs. Sewers being where you’ll find that rat coffee. Am I tempted to write an entire blog in Scoattish? Half a blog, perhaps. Wi’ rah ither hauf a dikshunry, but.
   This blog entry has survived sauce, coffee, and a flying saucer of a biscuit hand-crafted by robots in a lightless bakery. Shares in runcible spoons have risen. Strangely, shares in non-runcible spoons have also risen. Indicating, to my devious mind, that a cartel is in operation.
   I have deviated from talk of my BLOG NOVEL chapter. At some point in the loose journey provided by preceding paragraphs, I went away and wrote that chapter. Verdict? As a piece of social networking, the BLOGVEL left me cold. The writing occurred in a creative furnace. That, I enjoyed.
   Sometimes the point of a blog-entry is that there is no point. I wanted to write a jumbled, or jumblied, blog-entry this time around. (No change there, then.) For that, I required spoons of a runcible and non-runcible nature. Edward Lear is the name you were looking for. I’m saddened to say my flailing fingers added the letter k to the end of that last sentence. Edward Lear is the name you were looking fork.
   Absurd, of course. We all know there aren’t any runcible forks. Those were delayed by the non-runcible signal-failure halting all runcible trains. Where are the runcible forks, you cry? They all forked off. I think that’s my runcible cue to leave, with 1% of someone else’s dignity intact.


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