All Stories, Writing

300

Here we are as promised Week 300.

I think that needs a special mention!

We are just a couple of weeks by our anniversary which was on the 17th. So let’s get the couple of budgies with a brick!

I’ll get the reviews of the stories done first and then we can deal with these past six years!!

We had only one new writer, three who’ve been here before and me for your week’s entertainment.

Topics this week included; suffering, a tryst, excess, beauty and an awful chanter.

As always our initial comments follow.

We began on Monday with Shira Musicant.

She got us up and running with ‘A Cookie And A Glass Of Milk.’

‘This was really well done.’

‘I had a lot of sympathy for Joe.’

‘The way she expressed her love didn’t help him.’

Parachutes At Night‘ was next up.

Tim Frank flexed his imagination.

‘Quite thought provoking.’

‘Using parachutes as Chinese Lanterns was inspired.

‘A brutally honest piece of writing.’

On Wednesday, we had me.

I thank Diane for all her help.

This was a lot of fun to write. I incorporated two pubs that I knew well and the rest of ‘Karaoke at the Pincher’s Arms‘ found it’s own way.

Katie Ellen Lamb was our new writer. We welcome her, hope that she has fun on the site and most importantly, we want to see more of her work.

Endometrium‘ was our story on Thursday.

‘There are no answers to this. The reader is left with the questions the MC is considering.’

‘It’s a complicated story that is worth sticking with.’

‘You feel allsorts of emotion.’

We finished off the week with Jeffrey Penn May and his story, ‘The Scary Lady‘.

‘As humans, conscience is what makes us behave, if you haven’t that then it’s a whole new ballgame!’

‘The MC was brilliantly drawn.’

‘Their lives were all a bit of a mess.’

That’s us rounded up.

Usual reminders.

Comments – We like them.

No comments – Make Jesus cry. And that was the man who had to wear a jaggy bunnet and got plunged in the side with a big pointy stick. Not a tear was shed. So shame on you!!

We still ask for any suggestions for The Sunday Re-Run.

Pick a story that you have enjoyed, write a spiel or an introduction and throw in a few questions for the author. We’ll publish exactly what you send us.

Now onto the monumental event of our 300th posting and our 6th year anniversary. (From the 17th!!)

We always put together a few bits and pieces and this year is no exception.

A Few Questions On Our Celebration Day:

I’ve noticed that anytime I posed a question in the Saturday Post, we got a really good response, so I thought I would throw a few in for today.

It would be brilliant to see that comments column going into two pages!!

1. Without looking back or thinking too much, is there any favourite story per genre that spring to mind? (General, humour, science fiction, Fantasy…And romance, I suppose!)

2. To all those who have contributed more than five stories – What is your favourite story of yours that you are most proud of and why?

3. Overall, what do you get out of the site?

4. Is there any story that you’ve read on the site that you wish you had written?

***

Memorable Lines:

Each year we have published a list of lines that we thought were exceptional.

Some miss out because they are story specific. That is our only rule, the line has to stand alone.

We maybe have had a few less this year, but as long as we have one to put here, we will.

To all of these writers, a huge well done. We’ve read millions of words so to put a few of them together and to stand out is quite the feat!

How do you find words for something that words were not created to describe?
(Colours – Amanda Wright)

She was the real thing…I was just the voyeur.
(Ollie – Ollie – Marco Etheridge as pointed out by Harrison Kim in the comments)

Statistics don’t have a heartbeat.
(Caught Wearing The Rags Of War – Tom Sheehan)

Grown Ups Don’t ‘Tell Mum’ when people hurt their feelings.
(Leila – Commenting on Saturday Post Week 266)

Ain’t it funny how the people who aim to tell you how to live show neither the ability nor desire to control their kids or critters.
(Heisenberg And The Sapguile – Leila)

***

A Writer’s Heaven (A wee bit of relevance!):

We actually received this submission at the beginning of September. As soon as we saw it, we knew that every single person who had ever put pen to paper would understand the significance of this.

It is apt that it has come from this specific author.

Tom has supported the site since it’s early days and he has continued to send us quality stories in copious amounts.

We are delighted on this, the sixth year of our existence to squeeze in this little gem from the legend that is Mr Tom Sheehan.

A Writer’s Heaven by Tom Sheehan

A writer died and was given the option of going to Heaven or Hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh my,” said the writer. “Let me see Heaven now.”

A few moments later, as she ascended into Heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” said the writer. “This is just as bad as Hell!”

“Oh no, it’s not,” replied an unseen spirit, “Here, your work gets published.”

***

Re-Run

A big thank you and a surprise for the queen of the Re-Run Feature.

This isn’t so much a Re-Run as a tribute to the wonderful Leila Allison.

Leila does a helluva lot for the site and on a personal level, she is a breath of fresh air for all of us.

No matter what, when we see some contact from Leila we know that we will smile.

This is our thanks to Leila.

Hugh’s Choice

Well Leila’s thrown the odd curve ball so I think I’ll do the same.

I started looking through her stories and it’s impossible for me to pick any on quality alone, they are all flawless.

So I thought a bit deeper and this is what I came up with.

These three stories are not only accomplished pieces of writing, they are heartfelt human stories.

To me the reason that these stand out is that there is an honesty in them that only occurs when a writer has the courage to expose that little bit of themselves.

All Leila’s work is complex and intricate. They are all beautifully linked with ideas, exploration and more than a few touches of scepticism. That is what makes them so readable. There are so many ‘subliminal’ subtleties that no matter how complex they are, they are recognisable in a sub-conscience level.

No matter what the plot, she has a wryness in her delivery. Depending on how you take it, this can seem to be there to distance the writer from the story. But to be dry, to be subtle, to seem off-hand, you really need to know the subject intimately.

These three stories touch on every emotion we have and that is a skill that very few writers can even begin to tap into. It’s easy to write one thing or another. Only the greats can hit you with them all in such few words.

I am delighted to recommend for a Re-Run:

The Crossed Star Of Bethlehem.

The Dreampurple Light.

Attending The Mote.

The questions I have for Leila are probably more general than story specific.

1. As I’ve mentioned, all your stories are complex yet the narration never wavers, it’s smooth and accomplished. Do you need to revisit your plotlines throughout to accomplish this or does the narrative find its own voice?

2. Political Correctness is everywhere, we can’t avoid it. So with that in mind has any of your writing been affected by these ideas?

3. Which stories do you wish that we had chosen for this Re-Run and what questions would you have asked? (If you want to give us the answers too, that would then me be five for three!!)

Diane’s Rerun

I can’t add much to what Hugh has already said in praise of Leila Allison. Since her first submission to the site she has been a true delight. As editors we have the added bonus of swopping emails with the lady and those alone are enough to brighten your day. I’ll be honest when I see a submission from Leila I do tend to save it for a wind down moment because I know it is a pretty safe bet that it will be entertaining or moving or enthralling and intriguing often all of those together and I can sit back and just enjoy the read. Thanks for that Ms Allison.

Choosing just one for a Rerun is just about impossible and so I let my mind take me to wherever and it is one of the more serious works that pushed forward. I love the funny and quirky ones but there are some real heartrending things in the canon as well and this is one of those. Not wishing to be a party pooper I think this story deserves a Rerun so without apology I suggest All I love Dies Alone – save it for the late evening when you’ve cracked open the single Malt.

My questions for the author:

1. Some of your work is so immersive that it leaves the reader emotionally wounded how do you cope with the after effects of writing such a piece? Does putting it down on paper do enough to ‘get it out’ of your system or do you then need to recover in some way?

2. I have an image of your writer brain and it is full of turkeys and ducks and all manner of critturs and persons. It amazes all of us that you can pull out the relevant inhabitants from the depths. Do you have a spreadsheet or notebook with all of their foibles and fancies in or are they indeed sloshing about in your head.

***

Nik’s Rerun

If it was tough for Diane to add more thoughts just imagine how tricky it is for the guy coming third. Still, I’m on the podium and bronze is much more my colour than garish gold and shiny silver.

Faced with the impossible choice of narrowing down Leila’s stories I decided to revisit what I loved about her work from day one – and that’s the sheer brilliance of her imagination and the ability she has to make me laugh. I’ve been known on occasion to conjure some weird moments with imaginary characters but I can only marvel at the idea of riding on a pimped out golf cart with a fictional character through an imaginary turkey pen. The sheer scale of imagination is only beaten by the size of Casper the more-than-one-hundred-thousand-word-turkey.

Admit it, you want to find out more don’t you?

Out in the Turkey Pen By Leila Allison

And my questions to Leila are:

  1. Do you view it as a blessing or a curse that you are able to (seemingly effortlessly) flit between genres and emotions and are not easily pigeon-holed?
  2. Given your writing output, level of comments and commitment to scouring all the nooks and crannies of the LS basements, you seem to have stumbled upon Hugh’s secret method of making more hours in the day than exist for normal mortals. Any advice on how to gain more productivity as a writer?

***

Thoughts From Us:

I can’t believe that we’ve reached this milestone.

My life has only changed for the worse over the past six years so it’s brilliant to have something to celebrate.

The great thing about having a shite life is you expect nothing and death isn’t as worrying as it used to be!!

I am so proud of this site and what we’ve achieved. It makes me smile when I think on how many folks from different countries know our site and our authors.

I’d like to thank all those involved whether they write, read or comment.

I do think a special mention needs to go out to those who have continually sent us quality work that has helped keep the site alive.

Tom Sheehan, Leila Allison, Fred Foote, Adam Kluger, Dave Henson, Harrison Kim and James Hanna to name but a few continue to send us in work and their stories contribute to a hefty slice of the site.

I harp on about comments and we love to read the astute commentary from the likes of Leila, James McEwan, Harrison, Dave, Doug, Jennie and Stefan, again to name but a few.

We have evolved through the years and The Sunday Re-Run is a well read feature. To all those that have contributed we thank you. Leila has monopolised the yellow jersey in this discipline brilliantly.

Nik changed the look of the site this year and we’ve only had positive feedback about this. I say fuck all as I’m colour blind so as long as I can read it and occasionally work it or in reality, bugger it up, then I’m happy.

I think people asking for feedback has increased this year and we try to help as much as we can. Sadly even after this being requested some writers have a problem in using one wee word and that word is ‘Thanks’.

But to all that have given us feedback on the feedback – Thank you – It is our pleasure!

This site and all of you have become a very important part of my life and I need to acknowledge everyone who has kept me relatively sane and given me a purpose that I’m honoured to be involved in.

Going forward – Who knows.

At this moment in time, we are happy to carry on and continue to showcase the longevity of those writers already mentioned and just as importantly, find those new folks who are putting those first few thousand words together.

But I refuse to go down the route of a fuckhead politician and promise the earth. We don’t know how anything will pan out – Well except for the continuity that is those lying politician bastards bastarding lying no matter what country you live in. (And me moaning about them)

As for us, we treat the site like we treat the submissions, one story at a time.

I will toast you all today.

I may even have a wee drink for Miss Anderson!

All the very best my friends.

And to my fellow editors past and present, I send you all much love and a lot of thanks for giving a dour cynical Scotsman a purpose in life.

…What the hell, if I’m squeezing in another drink – A bottle of malt is tanned in your honour Diane!

Hugh

***

I am aware that this post is becoming quite lengthy and so I will just say that – for us, as for many people, 2020 has been one swine of a year. I will say no more than that about the last twelve months, my fellow editors are more than aware of the hurdles we have clambered over between us – but – in the words of Elton ‘We’re still standin’”. It’s only worth while because of the authors who grant us the privilege of  allowing us to read their work and the readers and friends of the site who come back time after time to read and comment and keep those visitor numbers respectable. So – thanks as ever to my dear friends, Hugh and Nik and to you out there – keep coming back and as long as we can we’ll keep publishing great sort fiction.

I’ve got the bottle if you’ve got the glasses, Hugh – Oh sod it I’ll get another bottle and we’ll eschew the glasses. Six years is pretty impressive in this day and age!

Diane.

***

On a scale of measuring the suckiness of 2020 on a scale of one to ten there have been periods where it hit 11 for me. Writing and stories have often been very far from my mind and yet strangely close at the same time. My dear friends Diane and Hugh have been there for me personally and also for my family whenever I’ve needed a kind word, or a laugh. Changing up the look and feel of the site was a welcome distraction, and a couple of reruns from Leila boosted my confidence and spirits at the exact moments I needed.

So while 2020 has been a shit show, I’m heading out of it on the up and with a lot of positivity.

There’s a story in there somewhere.

Today I’ll be clinking glasses virtually with Diane and Hugh and with everyone who has given their time and their words to the LS family.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

19 thoughts on “300”

  1. I am overwhelmed. I haven’t been asked so many questions since the law came round wondering who…Well never mind. I’ve just finished a rerun and both my mind and device need a recharge. I will reply to the class questions in this file by tomorrow and do my best to answer the rerun questions AT the stories the Eds. so kindly selected, as not to hog space here. But before I go I’d say that there’s nothing wrong with Henson’s “A Very Bad Santa” (I misremeber the title–sorry), Hugh’s “The Personification Of Religion,” Diane’s “This Face,” or Nik’s Storm Crow stories. Oh…anything by Kim or Haglund or Foote or Sheehan…
    Happy sixth to all. Crack a fifth. Goddam battery light’s binking red…Gotta run…
    LA

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Leila,
      Looking forward to your answers!
      It was a pleasure to put that wee tribute up for you, we all jumped on it!
      Oh and thank you so much for the kind words and the nod to one of the more positive stories that I have written even with the sick as fuck real life circumstance!
      All the very best to you and the fiends!
      Hugh

      Like

  2. Congratulations on 300. We need at least 300 more so keep up the good work. I enjoyed the well-earned tributes to Tom and Leila. In response to the four questions: Favorite genre — magic realism. Favorite stories of my own— My Powdered Friend and The Real Bad Snowman. What do I get out of the site? Entertainment, education, and some virtual camaraderie. Stories I wish I’d written? Many. A Fair Amount of Ghosts by Zach Murphy is one. I liked its quiet elegance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks for the congrats!
      ‘My Powdered Friend’ is a brilliant choice and a story that I always remember.
      Another three hundred, well I reckon if you asked us within the first ten or so postings, if we thought we would be here after three hundred, I don’t think anyone would have been confident. The site feels so much more stable now.
      Thanks for everything over the years my fine friend. It is a continual pleasure to have your company!
      Hugh

      Like

    1. Hi Stefan,
      Thanks so much for the toast and your involvement on the site.
      I do believe that the wonder that is the sunrise should be toasted every morning – It would be rude not to!
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Like

      1. As an unreconstructed South African friend of mine is fond of saying, you can never start too early: the sun is over the yardarm somewhere in the Empire. Really enjoy your site, and it has given me the confidence to write fiction. I’ve been particularly inspired by your use of dialogue. Haven’t sent anything your way as I’ve been writing longer form material. My last ‘short’ was 6,600 words after much pruning.

        Like

  3. My answers to the questions
    Q 1: I like funny people. Henson, Toews, Cron and Hanna excel at humor.
    Q 2: I’m like a mother dog with my stories. Mother dogs do everything for their pups until some kind of alarm goes off in mama’s head at six weeks. After that the kids are dead to her. “Get the hell out of the box! You’re six weeks! Time to chase cars and steal pot roasts of your own.” This means whenever one of my pieces meets its fate, it no longer exists in my mind. But if I had to pick one, I’d say it is The Crossed Star of Bethlehem because it just missed being very very good, and I still don’t know what to do about it.
    Q 3: I love the site because of our five year relationship. As we all know writing is a lot like wandering the streets with no place to go. Literally Stories is that warm safe place in my mind. Almost everyone else shoes me off with a corn broom.
    Q 4: Many, like Henson’s “Real Bad Snowman” (whose title I hell fucked up yesterday), “Three Bars” by Hugh, “This Face,” by Diane and anyone of those fragile little sad stories Nik does so lovingly. If I had to choose just one, “Friday” by Jane Dougherty is it. It opens with “There are some lives that don’t begin in earnest until they are almost over.” You can do as well as that, but not better.
    (As promised I will comment on my rerun questions at the stories listed sometime this week.”
    Thanks to al,
    Leila Allison

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leila,
      Cheers for the answers, I am honoured to be mentioned in such fine company.
      Regarding your frustration with your story, I understand. I wrote a poem decades ago that is in an anthology somewhere and everytime I think on it, there is one sodding word that annoys me but if I think about having changed it, that annoys me to. Sometimes you just need to go with what it was you went with.
      We have developed some brilliant relationships, like the one we have with you and that has become such an important part of the site to us.
      All the very best and many thanks once again!!
      Hugh

      Like

  4. Recently, I enjoyed that story “Wingsy” by Tom Sheehan and that Dave Henson tale about the Yeti. Those Ayr pub stories are pretty interesting. For Leila Allison, I liked that story “Circles,” really captures a time and place. Most stories I read on this site are quite absorbing and intriguing. So many different styles. That’s what I get out of the site, the variety of styles, and the differing perspectives on the human condition. I also like the Saturday comments. The site leans towards the dystopian, that’s fine with me. The site looks better now, less blue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Harrison,
      Thanks so much for all your kind comments.
      The variety of the work is something that we are proud of. In a way that was why we bombed out a few genres, we didn’t want inundated with the one type and we hoped that keeping it with the five or so that we accept, would give us more chance to showcase that variety.
      And we need to thank you for all your involvement on the site – It wouldn’t be the same without you!
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Like

  5. I love this site and will be forever thankful for the wonderful and in depth feedback I have received from the editors, and for being given the opportunity to have other writers read my nonsense.
    Thank you literally stories and well done to all of my fellow authors.
    You made my year.
    Alex Sinclair

    Like

    1. Hi Alex,
      Every now and then we find a writer who has a distinctive voice and becomes part of the site. Some move on after a while but they leave their mark. Some continue to send which, obviously, we would prefer. But all of you are the site!
      And I say you as you are included in amongst those writers!
      It has been a pleasure reading your work and we are delighted that you are enjoying the experience.
      Thanks so much for the kind comments.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Like

      1. I have replied to your, Diane’s and Nik’s rerun questions at “Attending the Mote,” “All I Love Dies Alone,” and “Out in the Turkey Pen.”
        I am honored and humbled by the attention.
        LA

        Liked by 1 person

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