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Literally Stories – Week 60 – Censorship


I know that there will be tears all round as you begin to realise that Mr West is tied up and not able to do this week’s round-up. There will be even more tears when you read this and realise that it is me who is filling in! Adam is excellent at tying up the weeks and giving us some excellent meaningful meanderings relating to the said week so I thought I would do the same.

So week 60! What is important about 60? Well when I was a kid, it was the age that a lady would retire. That’s not that interesting. It’s not even relevant now-a-days. The poor souls have to work on. This is our government’s idea of equality! Never mind equal pay or progression opportunity, let’s make sure that everyone works until they drop.

The next fact I have about the number 60 is that it is the value when hitting the treble twenty on a dart board. This is only relevant to those who can hit treble twenty on a dart board. Most of us have to do with fives and ones. Again not very interesting, just a sad fact about my dart skills!

Last fact, and please don’t get excited as you may have come to realise that I am mince at this. The number 60 is mentioned in the 40th verse of ’99 Green Bottles, Hanging On The Wall’.

Well I bet you are all under-whelmed. So to make up for that pitiful effort, I thought that I would give you a bit of an insight into our selection process and explain the issues that we debate most. They come down to the same three topics.

Firstly censorship.

I was watching the news a few weeks back about those poor whales that were washed up on the east coast of England. This was a scenario to help consider censorship. It is all about preference and reasoning. Some folks think that this is a way to see animals that they would never get the opportunity to see whereas others think it is sick. I am with the latter as the poor beasties were dead. That choice, to look or not, is our own personal self censorship and that is the way that it should be. If something is distasteful, simply don’t read or watch. If you read it and then moan about it, well it is more about the moan and your reasoning could be questioned. Censorship has always come down to a few individual’s opinions. The film classification board for example, was for years guided by those in power and their ideas of what was acceptable. We try not to decide on any story due to our own personal preference. I think we will all admit that this isn’t easy. We try as much as possible to make sure that the quality is there, the content is subjective or objective to the reader. We leave it up to them to read or to pass on. We can only hope that our readership now trust us enough that if they do pass on one story, they will come back and have a look the next day.

Secondly what qualifies as a story?

This is a doozy. We argue about whether an idea is a story. Is a piece of work a story if it works towards a one-off punch-line or is it just a long joke? Is a skit a short? Or something that can be read as a sketch? What about a slice of life? Do we need a traditional start, middle and end? Does a descriptive poetic text have enough merit? We look at all of these. We argue. We agree. We disagree. And to ask us if we have a formula to decide we would have to say… NO. We simply have to go through all of these questions each and every time it is necessary to do so.

And thirdly writing or story?

We all insist on quality writing. However, this can be let down by an unrealistic or boring story. So I would say that even if something is beautifully written, but the story is pants, then it won’t get through. On the other hand if we have an engaging or unique story and it is written very badly, then again this won’t be accepted. Ideally we want both!

So on to our mix for this past week. We have had none that have been censored. All that are deemed (This week!!) to be stories. And all are beautifully written with interesting plots!!

We had one newster on Monday and that was the very witty and feline perceptive Nicholas Roth. Welcome Nicholas and if you haven’t read ‘A Cat Explains…’ please do so. I also think that Nicholas has given us one of our longest titles!

There is no introduction needed for the poetic Mr Tom Sheehan who had ‘Skink, The Town Drunk’ published on Tuesday. His continual excellence is a joy to read.

Wednesday gave us the pleasure of reading Christopher Dehon’s beautifully written short ‘Across The Universe’. We are happy to see him back.

Onto Thursday and the enigmatic style of Mr Louis Hunter was there for all to read with his ‘Coming Home‘ tale.

And as always, that brings us to Friday. Adam Kluger gave us A Lost Cause Part 4′. Very funny and something that is for anyone who has ever sent any work away.

So folks, that is it for week 60. I can’t say who will be doing next week. But if it is me, I think I will leave the interesting facts for Adam, because off the top of my head, I can’t think of bog all about the number 61!!


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