Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Let's Embrace

Let’s embrace uncertainty,
Let’s embrace meaninglessness,
Let’s embrace the absence of life after death,
And the absence of a divine creator.

Let’s embrace the accidental nature of our being,
Let’s embrace randomness,
Let’s embrace loving each other because it’s a good thing to do,
Rather than a ticket to Paradise.

These are all good things.
They are gifts from no one.
Let’s embrace making the most of our time on this planet,
Before we all die.

Annette Greenaway

Monday, 30 May 2011

Nostalgia #2

My favourite bit from Doctor Who was when Peter Davidson turned into Colin Baker, even though I loved Peter Davidson and wanted him to be my dad. He was lying on his back having sacrificed his life to save his assistant, the American one, and all his previous assistants appeared in cartoon bubbles above his head saying “Don’t die, Doctor!” And Adric appeared from beyond the grave and said, “Don’t die, Doctor!” And I was lying on the carpet on my stomach saying “Don’t die Doctor!” because I loved him and wanted him to be my dad, and then the Master appeared and said, “Die Doctor! Die Doctor!” Then he turned into Colin Baker and the music started and my sister said “You’re not supposed to like Doctor Who because you’re a girl.”

Annette Greenaway

Friday, 27 May 2011

Extract of the Moment: Annette Greenaway

Taken from Annette Greenaway's poetry collection, Big Fish Little Fish Cardboard Box, which can be read online or downloaded for free here.

Accidental acupuncture

Jeremy was walking around barefoot
When he trod on a drawing pin
And cured his acne.

Norman fell down the stairs,
And landed on a knitting needle.
It went right through his eyeball.
His vision was never the same,
But it did wonders for his IBS.

Christina was reaching for the loofah in the shower,
But absent-mindedly grabbed the loofah-shaped cactus on the windowsill.
It hurt her in places too delicate to mention,
But her arthritis miraculously disappeared.

Jane’s asthma has seen a remarkable improvement
Since she’s been on the heroin.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Extract of the Moment: Frank Burton

This is taken from Frank Burton's novel, The Prodigals, which can be read online or downloaded for free from www.prodigalsnovel.com.

Rupert taught me how to link and connect.

I went to hypnotherapy as a way of making sense of the mess in my head. A friend recommended Rupert because he helped him quit drinking. I didn’t want to quit drinking. I just wanted to sort myself out up to a point where I didn’t feel the need to booze twenty four seven.

Rupert asked me what I was hoping to achieve.

I didn’t know.

He said, “Would you say that you’re depressed, Travis?”

I said, “I’d say I’m confused.”

I was working in a low paid job at the time, delivering leaflets door to door, and I just about managed to scrape together the twenty quid an hour he charged. Sometimes when I was a bit short, he’d knock the price down to fifteen. He used to joke that he’d never make a living out of it, but he preferred things that way. He was the one person who wasn’t trying to rip me off, or force some fucked up ideology on me. Rupert was a fucking saint.

To save me from paying him the money every week, Rupert taught me some self-hypnosis techniques. Anyone can do them. All you need is a quiet room and a place to rest your head. The resting my head part was fine, but the quiet part was difficult in the block I was living in. That’s why I wore headphones. I’d usually listen to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume 2, or Pomme Fritz by The Orb. Both of these albums have the power to simultaneously chill you out and fuck you up. It’s kill or cure.

Once you’re in a state of hypnosis, you can step outside yourself and finally be objective. When I was under, Rupert asked me to visualise myself at one of those times when I feel like lashing out at the world, and link and connect to a previous experience. The concept behind it is simple but mind-blowing: there are certain experiences in life that don’t just happen once. They happen a thousand times over, and determine the way that we think and feel. If you want to drag yourself out of that process, you have to understand it first.

So, here goes nothing.

Sit back, relax.

Quiet room. Aphex Twin. Glass of JD.

Link. Connect.

More info at www.frankburton.co.uk.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Found Pages #5: Japanese Fairy World - Stories from the Wonder-Lore of Japan by William Elliot Griffis

This is from 1887. Very interesting. More information here.

This is one of thirty four stories in the collection:


In among the hills of Echizen, within sight of the snowy mountain called Hakuzan, lived a farmer named Bimbo. He was very poor, but frugal and industrious. He was very fond of children though he had none himself. He longed to adopt a son to bear his name, and often talked the matter over with his old dame. But being so dreadfully poor both thought it best not to adopt, until they had bettered their condition and increased the area of their land. For all the property Bimbo owned was the earth in a little gully, which he himself was reclaiming. A tiny rivulet, flowing from a spring in the crevice of the rocks above, after trickling over the boulders, rolled down the gully to join a brook in the larger valley below. Bimbo had with great labor, after many years, made dams or terraces of stone, inside which he had thrown soil, partly got from the mountain sides, but mainly carried in baskets on the backs of himself and his wife, from the valley below. By such weary toil, continued year in and year out, small beds of soil were formed, in which rice could be planted and grown. The little rivulet supplied the needful water; for rice, the daily food of laborer and farmer, must be planted and cultivated in soft mud under water. So the little rivulet, which once leaped over the rock and cut its way singing to the valley, now spread itself quietly over each terrace, making more than a dozen descents before it reached the fields below.

Yet after all his toil for a score of years, working every day from the first croak of the raven, until the stars came out, Bimbo and his wife owned only three tan (3/4 acre) of terrace land. Sometimes a summer would pass, and little or no rain fall. Then the rivulet dried up and crops failed. It seemed all in vain that their backs were bent and their foreheads seamed and wrinkled with care. Many a time did Bimbo have hard work of it even to pay his taxes, which sometimes amounted to half his crop. Many a time did he shake his head, muttering the discouraged farmer's proverb "A new field gives a scant crop," the words of which mean also, "Human life is but fifty years."

One summer day after a long drought, when the young rice sprouts, just transplanted were turning yellow at the tips, the clouds began to gather and roll, and soon a smart shower fell, the lightning glittered, and the hills echoed with claps of thunder. But Bimbo, hoe in hand, was so glad to see the rain fall, and the pattering drops felt so cool and refreshing, that he worked on, strengthening the terrace to resist the little flood about to come.

* * * * *

Pretty soon the storm rattled very near him, and he thought he had better seek shelter, lest the thunder should strike and kill him. For Bimbo, like all his neighbors, had often heard stories of Kaijin, the god of the thunder-drums, who lives in the skies and rides on the storm, and sometimes kills people by throwing out of the clouds at them a terrible creature like a cat, with iron-like claws and a hairy body.

Just as Bimbo threw his hoe over his shoulder and started to move, a terrible blinding flash of lightning dazzled his eyes. It was immediately followed by a deafening crash, and the thunder fell just in front of him. He covered his eyes with his hands, but finding himself unhurt, uttered a prayer of thanks to Buddha for safety. Then he uncovered his eyes and looked down at his feet.

There lay a little boy, rosy and warm, and crowing in the most lively manner, and never minding the rain in the least. The farmer's eyes opened very wide, but happy and nearly surprised out of his senses, he picked up the child tenderly in his arms, and took him home to his old wife.

"Here's a gift from Raijin," said Bimbo. "We'll adopt him as our own son and call him Rai-taro," (the first-born darling of the thunder).

So the boy grew up and became a very dutiful and loving child. He was as kind and obedient to his foster-parents as though he had been born in their house. He never liked to play with other children, but kept all day in the fields with his father, sporting with the rivulet and looking at the clouds and sky. Even when the strolling players of the Dai Kagura (the comedy which makes the gods laugh) and the "Lion of Corea" came into the village, and every boy and girl and nurse and woman was sure to be out in great glee, the child of the thunder stayed up in the field, or climbed on the high rocks to watch the sailing of the birds and the flowing of the water and the river far away.

Great prosperity seemed to come to the farmer, and he laid it all to the sweet child that fell to him from the clouds. It was very curious that rain often fell on Bimbo's field when none fell elsewhere; so that Bimbo grew rich and changed his name to Kanemochi. He believed that the boy Raitaro beckoned to the clouds, and they shed their rain for him.

A good many summers passed by, and Raitaro had grown to be a tall and handsome lad, almost a man and eighteen years old. On his birthday the old farmer and the good wife made a little feast for their foster-child. They ate and drank and talked of the thunder-storm, out of which Raitaro was born.
Finally the young man said solemnly:

"My dear parents, I thank you very much for your kindness to me, but I must now say farewell. I hope you will always be happy."

Then, in a moment, all trace of a human form disappeared, and floating in the air, they saw a tiny white dragon, which hovered for a moment above them, and then flew away. The old couple went out of doors to watch it, when it grew bigger and bigger, taking its course to the hills above, where the piled-up white clouds, which form on a summer's afternoon, seemed built up like towers and castles of silver. Towards one of these the dragon moved, until, as they watched his form, now grown to a mighty size, it disappeared from view.

After this Kanemochi and his wife, who were now old and white-headed, ceased from their toil and lived in comfort all their days. When they died and their bodies were reduced to a heap of white cinders in the stone furnace of the village cremation-house, their ashes were mixed, and being put into one urn, were laid away in the cemetery of the temple yard. Their tomb was carved in the form of a white dragon, which to this day, in spite of mosses and lichens, may still be seen among the ancient monuments of the little hamlet.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Hyperland by Douglas Adams

Ten years on from Douglas Adams' death, I thought I knew everything about him having frantically read all of his books as a teenager.

Then I discovered this.


Friday, 13 May 2011

Extract of the Moment: Mr If

This is taken from Mr If's first poetry collection, Entertainment.

Not on Facebook, not on Twitter

Not on Facebook, Not on Twitter,
Haven’t got a computer,
Haven’t got a phone,
That’s not what I do for entertainment.

Don’t go to pubs,
Don’t go to clubs,
Don’t go to restaurants,
Don’t go the cinema,
Or the theatre,
Or to gigs.
Perhaps in another life, I would like to do these things,
But that’s not what I do for entertainment.

Not on Facebook,
Not on Twitter,
Sometimes I send emails from the library,
But rarely check for replies.

Don’t read books,
Don’t read newspapers,
Don’t read magazines,
I try to stay away from TV as much as possible.

I listen to music,
It soothes me.
Music helps to pass the time,
It’s always around, in the background, like distant voices,
But that’s not what I do for entertainment.

Not on Facebook,
Not on Twitter,
I don’t download pornography,
Or watch videos of people being tortured and killed,
Like some people do.

Don’t drink alcohol,
Don’t take drugs,
Don’t binge on burgers,
Don’t go to the gym,
Don’t play or watch sports,
Don’t go to church,
Don’t go to any classes,
I try to learn as little as possible in life.

Not on Facebook,
Not on Twitter,
I write poems in a dusty old notebook,
Like the screaming Luddite that I am,
And I don’t care if no one ever reads them.
I write them for my own entertainment,
Not for yours, fucker.

Read the full collection online or download for free here.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Nicholas Moore (Resurrected)

On Peter Riley's website, you'll find a brilliant PDF collection, no longer available in print, by Nicholas Moore.

Here it is - The Orange Bed.

Very interesting to see a series of poems all with the same title. It's such a simple idea but it works very well.

A note on the author and the discovery is here.

Peter Riley's website is www.aprileye.co.uk.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Obooko and Diesel Ebooks

Just want to draw your attention to a couple of websites on which all the Philistine Press titles are now available...

Two more steps on our relentless quest for world dominiation.

Obooko is a dedicated site for free ebooks, either direct from the authors or from online publishers.

Diesel Books offers both free and paid-for titles.

Both are definitely worth taking a look at.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Extract of the Moment: Kristine Ong Muslim

This is taken from Kristine Ong Muslim's flash fiction collection, Smaller Than Most:

How They Make Skins

Julie Nash, age 11, wrote the following on her notebook. The police found the said notebook inside her bedside drawer. Analyzing it for prints, the investigator was baffled by complete human handprints found on the glossy cover. The prints were too small even for a human baby's.

I told the three little green men under my bed to stop making fun of me but they just won’t stop so I told them that Daddy will be home anytime and that I need to finish my homework before dinner so I can watch 1 hour of TV tonight. But Russ the oldest of them won’t shut up and keeps tickling me. He wants another round of storytelling. Again!

The little green men really loves to hear about Alice. Especially the part when she had tea with the Mad Hatter. Tea makes me happy, Russ said. Tea tea quite contrary, said Annabel playing with a ball of string. I sure wish she gets caught in it. I hate her. She jiggles her big breasts like Aunt Molly while talking to Mr. Baker. That’s our neighbor who works downtown.

After 1 week.

I saw Jim in school today and he winked at me. Russ couldn’t care less. He said that I need to put some green powder in Daddy’s coffee. He said that it will make him smarter so he can earn more money to buy a pony for me. Russ was a liar liar liar. I put the powder during breakfast time when Daddy answered the phone.

Daddy is supposed to be smarter so he came home three hours earlier and saw Mommy and the salesman talking about bizness in the master’s bedroom. That afternoon the police came and took Daddy away. Then they put Mommy in a white coffin with some gold curly stuffs at the side. It was my fault. The other little green man Fred said that it was really my fault. I believed Russ and gave Daddy the green powder which made Daddy mad at Mommy and now I have to live with Aunt Molly. Russ was a liar liar liar.

Fred says I have to do something. Tea tea quite contrary said Annabel. Fred give me something to eat so I become small to look for Russ under the bed. Russ is hiding somewhere under the cracks and I can’t catch him. I eat the little stuff from Fred and sure enough I am becoming little. I write fast before the pen becomes bigger than me.

The little green men used to look so cute before when I was still bigger but now they are starting to look so ugly. I wonder how I look when I become small like them.

Read online or download the full collection here.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Christopher Khadem, The Secret Life of Chaos

Another great online chapbook by Silkworms Ink...

The Secret Life of Chaos by Christopher Khadem.

I think the best experimental writing is that which doesn't take itself too seriously, and Khadem's work definitely falls into that category.

Khadem is also the editor of the Disingenuous Twaddle blog.

Monday, 2 May 2011

LegumeMan Books

In the free online fiction world, there are a lot of short stories masquerading as full-length books, which I find kind of irritating, although it's OK with me if the short stories in question are top quality.

LegumeMan books have a range of free ebooks featuring short stories in attractively-packaged PDFs. Take a look at them here.

As an advert for their paid-for titles, this has sucked me in, and I'll be investing in some of their books.

If that's not enough for you, each of their full-length works are available to sample online as well.

Hats off to them for their skilled online marketing technique. I hope it's working out well for them and their authors.

More information can be found at www.legumeman.com.