Week 105 – Stories, From Us And Happy Holidays

First and foremost, we send all our thoughts and sympathies to Adam and his family at this sad and difficult time.

As much as he can, we wish him and his  family a peaceful Christmas.

A wee bit different once again folks.

This weeks stories first, then a message from us.

Only two new authors this week and the usual mixture of topics. We have everything from abuse, the beginning of the inevitable, a mind trip(?) some questionable social skills and an unfortunate truth.

As always, our initial comments follow.

It is relevant that at the beginning of the week we had an author who is just beginning with us. Sean Crouch was first up with ‘A Silent Playground.‘ on Monday.

We welcome Sean and as always, wish him all the best and appeal for more of his stories.

‘I enjoyed this very much, he painted the scenes very well.’

‘The tension was built throughout.’

‘Very unsettling.’

Tuesday came and a dread is building from the wonderful Leila Allison and her beautifully written story, ‘The Inescapable Touch Of Sunset.

‘Isn’t it wonderful when you only read the first paragraph and know that it is going to be an easy yes!’

‘These are superb stories.’

‘These characters have become part of the site for me.’

On Wednesday we had the multi-talented Adam Kluger adding to his extensive back catalogue with his story ‘This Is The End‘ ironically in the middle!

‘Most who write would get the sentiment.’

‘I like this, the prose is very good.’

‘The relevance of what we do is what sways me with this.’

Our final newbie of the week was Fred Vogel. As always, we want him to have fun, get involved and send us in more work!

Thursday had us publishing ‘From The Mouth Of Peter Dowd.’

‘Dry and amusing.’

‘Unusual structure and cleverly done.’

‘This is original.’

Friday came and it was an absolute privilege to publish one of our fellow authors. Nik was last up with ‘And A Crow In A Pear Tree.’

If you haven’t read any of Nik’s stories, please give them a go. He is one of our most intelligent and adaptable writers who always leaves the reader with work that they will instantly recognise and remember.

Well here it is, Week 105 and it is only a day before Christmas.

I have decided to write my own tribute (That is writer speak for getting away with ripping someone off as you have given the person a mention) to the late great Rikki Fulton. So here it is:

Hugh’s Christmas Greet! (Tobias you inspired me!)

HO! HO! HO…HO! HO…

You get fair sick, so you do!

A time of good cheer and goodwill to all men…That will be shinning bright. Tell that to the poor old boy who dropped in M&S some years back and the goodwill and cheer only went as far as the masses stepped over him as they tried to grab the last turkey.

HO! HO! HO…HO…

Whit’s the point of the lie?

All our little darlings getting more and more excited and even more and more obnoxious. You threaten them with behavioural blackmail for presents and they still become mutants as they throw a snot excessive tantrum until their cretins of parents give in and say, ‘Of course Santa will be here’.

What would work a lot better is telling them that you have had a hit man garrote Santa and his knife is still sharp if the little shit didn’t start behaving themselves. They wouldn’t care about getting a Power Ranger fecking then!

HO! HO! HO…

Relations! And I don’t mean a quick fumble of the baubles. I mean those Neanderthals that you are related to. They turn up, eat all your food, nuke your toilet, cause an argument and are sick over the dog on the way out.

HO! HO…And the music! Feck me! Christmas Carols are pre-school hymns and they all reek the big one. No realism. Nothing about the wean shitting itself, having an attack of impetigo or Joseph having an itchy arse due to catching thread worms off the unhygienic little messiah. Just cause it has a halo, doesn’t take away these problems and they should be sung about.

And let’s not forget about the New Year…Finally I have to say OH! OH! OH!

I am fifty next year and I don’t know about other countries but a male of fifty has three wonderful things to look forward to. His doctor gets to know him inside out as he gets to know his doctors finger. He also gets the wonderful experience of crapping in an envelope. It is supposed to be for a test but I reckon they just do it for a laugh. And finally, and here is my writing context…I will get a free pen as a fecking gift when I join the British Seniors Over Fifty plan to payout my relations when I fecking die!!

TRAA…LA, LA, LA, LA… LA, LA, LA, LA!!!!!!!

I worry about Mr Fulton spinning so much he pops up in China!

All joking (??) aside folks, please remember the true meaning of Christmas and that is to get as pissed as possible, as quickly as possible!!!

Adam, Diane, Nik and Tobias, you all know my thoughts and wishes for you!!!!

I will toast everyone who has been involved with the site just before midnight on the 25th!!!

All the very best my friends!

Hugh

***

Well, it’s been a funny old year hasn’t it. Shock following surprise and then more shock. Ah well, as my old granny used to say “It’ll all come out in the wash”.

I quite like Christmas, but I think it’s lost a lot of the magic over the last couple of decades. Possibly some of that because I am older and my children are grown up but I think more because so much of it seems so fake these days and is of course overly commercial and puts lots of people under huge pressure. I rather like the Icelandic idea, I understand that they traditionally give each other books and then they all go off to bed with mugs of hot chocolate and read. It even has a special name Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood.  Now as a lover of all things fiction, well nearly all things, zombies aren’t my favourites, although it has to be said that the zombie version of some of the Christmas films could be interesting) anyway as I say the Icelandic tradition sounds like a stupendous idea.

It’s been a great year for us here at Literally Stories, we have gone from strength to strength and it’s wonderful to watch this family of wordsmiths growing. We were privileged to publish some stunning work and if your piece didn’t make it please keep sending us your stuff, because we prefer saying yes.

Tobias and his lovely wife, Sophie had a fairy tale wedding and though we couldn’t be there in person it was lovely to share it “virtually” and I hope their first Christmas as husband and wife is wonderfully happy and the first of many, many more.

I don’t think I can say much more except – thank you – authors, readers, commenters, and friends for making the hard work that is Literally Stories such fun and so very rewarding. As for my fellow editors, I hope I don’t need to tell you just what this place has come to mean to me. You are pretty much part of my everyday and though we still haven’t quite made it to the pub yet, you are truly some of my best friends. Adam, I send special thoughts and love to you and yours.

A Peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Diane x

***

Tobias couldn’t be here in person so I, Mr. Santa Claus, his next-door neighbor, will write a Christmas message on his behalf. I used to enjoy Christmas. I was working 24 hour 364 days and then finally I got to leave the factory. Now, the managerial staff decided to lay off all long-term employees and instead offered us short-term contracts. Just in case. What if one year, children would be naughty and the managers would stand there with a full time staff, getting paid in candy without really being productive. This is much better.

Tobias wanted to wish you all a merry Christmas. The following part is what he wrote. Did you know Swedes say “god jul”?  It shockingly means Good yule. Yule was of course the tradition that Christmas replaced in most of the world. But not here. Not us Swedes. We’re stubborn about our medieval traditions. That’s why our buses charge forward with giant lances. You just never know when a mass-transit joust might pick up. You just never know.

Traditionally Swedes dance around the tree, drink alcohol and wear silly shirts with pictures of moose. And Christmas  is no different.  Tobias’ family doesn’t dance though. Nor do they drink. If it weren’t for their silly shirts, they’d be thrown out of Sweden.

A lot of people call 2016 one of the worst recent years. I got married this year, so I couldn’t possibly call it that. But my wife seems to agree. (that joke was sponsored by DAD – Divorce Attorney Delivery.) She is Belgian (no silly shirts requirements for Belgians, but she’s integrated well in Swedish society and now wears the silliest shirts) and we will travel to Belgium for the New Year’s. We’re starting our first calendar year as a married couple. We are full of dreams and we’re not stopping. We put more and more dreams into our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if we did this? Wouldn’t it be great if we visited this place? Wouldn’t be amazing if I became this person, knew how to do this, could accomplish that etc. ?

This is only for the reader: because even though times seem dark, you could always do…

Mr. Claus.

 ***

Hello. My name’s Nik and I’m a (lazy-assed, excuse-laden, procrastinating) writer. Most of you won’t know me but I’m the guy who reads stories, maintains a stats spreadsheet and occasionally fixes our editors voting/discussion forum while Hugh and Diane do all the easy stuff like replying to emails, setting up daily posts, creating author pages, fixing last minute editing issues, handing out feedback, choosing artwork and writing weekly roundups.

I’m very glad that when we set up Literally Stories we chose a URL (that’s the web address technical-thingy Hugh!) that included the year of our inception as it’s a constant reminder to me just how far we’ve come. It’s been a privilege once again to be able to read so many wonderful stories and I’m already excited to see what 2017 has in store from our regulars and from people we haven’t yet met.

What? I’m supposed to write something about Christmas? Ah. Bugger.

Christmas is a bit of a weird time for me. I grew up in Wales and so Christmas for me basically involved shit weather, tons of chocolate and, in later years (once I’d turned at least 13), a shedload of booze.

A decade ago I moved to South Africa and now my home is in Cape Town. Try as I might, it’s nigh on impossible for me to feel Christmassy when it’s boiling hot outside – and swimming, after the obligatory Christmas sprouts, is at best rude and at worst chemically dangerous to the pool water. Nothing quite prepared me for the idea of air-conditioned shopping malls, laden with fake snow belting out Michael Buble tracks. And don’t get me started on the price of an imported Terry’s Chocolate Orange (dark chocolate if you please) or a soddin’ After Eight mint…

After ten years of fighting it however, I’ve finally worked out that it’s time to forge new memories. To tell new stories. To share in experiences with my kids that may be different from my own but are no less special. So this year Christmas marks a time of change and of possibility. Something I hope to carry into my own writing and in the stories I will read on LS throughout 2017.

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped to build this place into something that I believe holds a special place in many writerly hearts.

As for those fellow editors…I’ve grown quite fond of you all y’know. One day that pub night will happen Diane…!

In true Afro-Welsh style I wish you all Nadolig Llawen en ‘n gelukkige Nuwe Jaar.

Nik

2 thoughts on “Week 105 – Stories, From Us And Happy Holidays

  1. What I like most about Christmas is domesticating my company’s interns with the giving and withholding of chocolates. Upon the completion of such training I send them to the mall with my shopping list. I have more interns in captivity than anyone else in this company because I know that you can’t buy a decent toady with a cheap-ass candy cane (although most of my colleagues fail to get this). I feel that practicing mind control over underlings with controlled substances falls in line with the precepts of organized religion, even if some bleeding hearts consider my actions less than Godly.
    I hope that the new and the familiar have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ve got to run. I have a date tomorrow and I need to brush up on my people skills.
    L.A.

    Like

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