Week 221 – Stereotypical Stereotypes, Norman’s Take and A Saturday Special.

It’s time for another Saturday Special but Diane will come to that later.

So not so much nonsense as normal.

I do have a bit of an inspiration and that was due to a submission and a subsequent question.

The question is something that we have been asked many times and the gist was,

‘What are you looking for?’

I wish that we had a clear answer. This is what makes choosing stories so difficult.

We could refuse a story due to the topic being bland. But then we may receive the same topic looked at a different way and we would accept it.

Stereotypes by their very nature should be avoided but if this becomes a believable plot with the stereotype being realistic and for that ‘type’ being unavoidable and acceptable, then again this can be considered.

When dealing with stereotypes; if it is a stereotypical stereotype then we would probably refuse but if there is a difference / a tangent / an opposite emotion within that stereotypical stereotype, then we will give it some consideration.

Clear as mud, I know!

NB – There is no saving a stereotypical romance which is really just a romance as they are all the same, which is and always will be shit!

In general, I would like to quote Norman Solomon who has sent us a few submissions in and it was his question. I tried to explain to him what we were looking for and it was actually Norman who came up with this.

‘You want stuff that stays in your mind for a few days, something with that elusive WOW! Factor that is so hard, as you say, to define’

(Cheers my friend!)

So without us analysing the crap out of what we want, I think that says it all no matter the subject or character or genre.

Your writing can be of the highest quality but we still need that undefinable spark that lifts it from good writing to a story that we want.

Now that’s all cleared up, onto this week’s stories.

We only had one new author this week, an old friend, an absolute belter of a writer getting close to a milestone, Diane and me.

Our topics this week include; dementia, Jack, loss, a wee dig and loss again.

First up on Monday was Jim Freeze.

This is Jim’s third outing for us. He is a tenacious writer who works hard at his craft. Jim’s stories are touching and personal.

Minimal Loss‘ began the week.

‘A very moving piece.’

‘This is emotional and there is an honesty about it.’

‘Enjoyable and poignant.’

On Tuesday we had Leila with her 48th story for us.

We are in a bit of the cream puff with her as she has used a comment in a crap Saturday Post to come up with this piece of…Brilliance.

Versatur Circa Quid‘ was next up.

‘Leila’s imagination is out there in a place where no-one else is.’

‘This made me smile all the way through.’

‘Absolutely stunning.’

Our new writer was published on Wednesday. We welcome Cass Gross, hope she has fun on the site and we look forward to reading more of her work.

The Sixth Victim‘ was our next story.

‘I liked the tie-in with the ‘issues’ at the time.’

‘Well done and a different approach.’

‘It’s obvious that Cass knows this subject.’

Diane was next up on Thursday with ‘Through The Curtain.’

It has been far too long since we last saw a story from our delightful Mrs D!

Both myself and Nik mentioned that this was a superb lesson on writing emotion. Diane cuts back from far too much description which so many do, to beautifully observed and heartbreaking understatement.

And on Friday, it was me.

The Last Of My Friends‘ finished off the week.

I think most would consider this character being an addict, I don’t think that is always the case.

That’s us for another week.

The usual reminders folks.

Please have a go at commenting, it keeps the site alive. We thank all those that do.

And please have a look at The Sunday Re-Run. All you need to do is find an older story that you enjoy and write an introduction or a spiel on it, we will publish exactly what you send us. Oh and if you want to throw in a couple of questions for the author, we’ll try and coax a few words from them.

The snooker beckons, I’m hoping for a John Higgins win.

So now over to Diane:

***

Hi

Big treat this week. We have a Saturday Special for you from no other than the esteemed Editor, Mr Hugh Cron, himself.

This piece has a different tone to many of Hugh’s pieces and when he submitted it (yes, as we have said many times we go through the same submission process as everyone else.) erm – oh yes, when he submitted it we knew that we wanted to put it up on the site. But, we didn’t feel that it had enough of a ‘story’ feel to it and, as we have rejected pieces in the past for just that reason we didn’t think we could post it during the week. But, when you read it I think you’ll agree that it was just too good to miss.

It is deep and sad and such a wonderfully understated look at a life being wasted or lost or whatever, that it is very moving.

These are a couple of comments from the discussion thread:

The pathos and hopelessness are so palpable

There’s so much hopelessness throughout this piece and it’s probably heightened by it being told in such a matter of fact manner.

One of the best final lines I’ve read in a story Hugh – what an absolute gem that one is

So, without further ado – here it is:

***

Phil’s Diagnosis by Hugh Cron

Phil didn’t think that he’d the right to complain or change anything.

He compared his life to four inches of snow. It wouldn’t kill him and wasn’t a disaster but it was fucking annoying.

He’d kept his head down as much as he could at school, found a desk job and even managed to marry.

Most guys in his situation would gush about their wives and how the little lady had saved them.

Phil didn’t feel this way. He knew she felt the same. There was a safety in their companionship but this led to resentment and underlying hatred.

And like everything else in his life, Phil did nothing about it.

He recalled a line from a film that stated, ‘You’re a man waiting for something to happen’ and Phil thought he was that man.

He didn’t have a fucking clue what he was waiting for. But he waited. Continually.

He sometimes considered his wife but ended up thinking on nothing. In a moment of kindness, he had even wished that she would find someone else who would ring her bell and make her happy, but that moment was fleeting and he didn’t think on it again.

He didn’t like thinking.

Phil didn’t have any sexual urges. He forced them if she didn’t switch the bedside light off within ten minutes.

He thought that a stranger had come onto him once but he ignored her. He wondered if he was gay but he felt the same indifference towards any man.

Phil thought about going to the doctors. He had read about depression and how it manifested itself and how it could affect, but he honestly couldn’t be bothered.

He carried on with his life and tried to understand how surreal manifested as real. He didn’t feel a part of anything. He watched himself at work but didn’t want to look when he got home.

Phil hadn’t considered his parents for so long. He wondered how he would feel if he got a lawyer’s letter and a cheque one day. He reckoned he would feel the same way if he didn’t.

Phil knew he couldn’t love and he couldn’t be bothered hating or resenting. He worried about nothing. He didn’t want to live. He didn’t want to die. He was unhappy to go on but that was how it was going to be and he had made peace with that.

Phil wondered if he died and she got a cheque, how she would feel? He thought that she’d be happier with a cheque than without.

Phil gave up on choosing food. He wouldn’t ask her to make anything and she wouldn’t ask what he wanted. Whatever was there, he ate. The food all tasted the same. He thought about offering to cook but she didn’t complain so he left well alone.

They did speak to each other but said nothing.

He tried to do something about his existence but nothing excited him. He had no passion, nothing. The epiphanies that he read about that others found, never came to him. There were no revelations, no meaning of life signs, nothing.

He decided one day to self diagnose.

He diagnosed himself as being Phil.

The symptoms were him being dead but his heart forgetting to stop.

***

Banner Image: Pixabay.com

 

6 thoughts on “Week 221 – Stereotypical Stereotypes, Norman’s Take and A Saturday Special.

  1. The last line of the Saturday Special is wonderful, but to me, this one’s the money shot:

    “He compared his life to four inches of snow. It wouldn’t kill him and wasn’t a disaster but it was fucking annoying.”

    Nice work, Hugh, but maybe something a little more cheerful next time? Now I need to go lie down and think about my existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks so much for the comments and the pointing out of that line.
      I can promise that my next story has a few lines that I really enjoyed working on and I do hope that they will make you smile.
      It’s great to see you commenting and I am looking forward to seeing your story on the site this week!
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dave!!
      Thank you so much for the kind words!
      As always, it is a helluva kick to see one of my stories on the site and read the comments.
      It was a bit of bad planning that we had two of mine in a row but honestly, that wasn’t meant, it was just the way it went. Friday’s story had been scheduled weeks ago and if we have a stock of any that we are going to publish on a Saturday, we leave them a month apart. The next one will be one of Tom’s at the beginning of June.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Like

  2. Poor Phil had had his fill. Try writing that three times fast. The content is brilliant as always, but the technique of beginning every paragraph in the middle with Phil gives a tremendous, accumlative alliteration, which matches the bleak tone of his POV.
    LA

    Like

    • Cheers Leila,
      Your comments always give me something to think about.
      I hadn’t written anything for a while and somehow managed to come up with a couple of ideas. Well that’s not true, they came to me and whispered in my ear. Not sure if I have a muse or just multiple personalities who like to make themselves known!
      Thanks as always.
      Stay being you!!
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

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