Week 159 – Censorship, Statistics and Odd-Shaped Balls

There’s been a good deal of debate around LS towers this week about censorship. Self-censorship to be slightly less vague. The conscious and unconscious decisions made by authors to tone down content to be entirely more accurate.

Swearing is the main culprit but there are others – and in most cases what it seems to come down to is the ability (or inability) to separate author and character.

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Bomaru’s Quest, Part IV by Neil MacDonald

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The creature’s head punched round, leathery scales abrading his skin. Bomaru held tight, the sinews of his arms corded like autumn branches, slowly forcing the winged reptile’s head to the ground.  Teeth sharp as spear-points snapped, close enough for the clash to shiver through his straining grip, and the stench of the creature’s foul breath to taint his nostrils.  It was no ordinary strength that maintained his grip. He knew sweet Farlaine would die if he failed, and the knowledge lent him the force of ten. Bomaru twisted with a desperate might. With a sickening crack, the dragon’s body gave one last twitch and was still.

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The Dumb by Doug Hawley

Crazy Ed Mahoney went out the back door on Monday to urinate in his garden.  He believed, incorrectly, that he was saving on his water bill.  His neighbors had given up on changing his ways.  After seeing him in the act a few times, they learned not to look in the direction of his backyard at 7am, 1pm and 4pm when Ed would urinate like clockwork.  Whatever else was wrong with Ed, he had an excellent prostate.

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Literally Stories – Week 64 – Underwhelmed

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Hi folks, a load of nonsense before I get to a tip that I think most of us need reminding of (and I REALLY have to include myself in this!)

I was just thinking on some of the comments that I have read from my fellow Editors over the last week and one was the word ‘Underwhelmed’… Don’t panic.. .It wasn’t about a submission, honestly, it wasn’t. I don’t lie. I haven’t got the memory, intelligence or energy but I thought on this word. I am underwhelmed by so many things. Space travel, I don’t give a monkeys! Confirming that time ripples; well whatever a monkey doesn’t give, that’s my thoughts on that! An up-to-date phone… Ditto… In fact any phone! I haven’t got one. I hate them. Gwen once asked me if I wouldn’t feel guilty if someone had died and I hadn’t a phone? My answer was quite simple; ‘Answering the phone wouldn’t have helped.’ I am underwhelmed about the attributes (another word I read this week) of a phone! Argue all you want! Do we really need a camera, the ability to turn on the heating or being able to go online to order a curry with a thing that we could have used to call and ordered a curry with? I am forty nine in a few months and I have gotten here without a phone so as far as I am concerned, Nokia, Samsung, IPhone and Sony are about as useful to me as male make-up. I wonder about that also! It is beyond me. Live and let live is what I say, as long as I don’t have to moisturise before I do it. That brings me to another word I heard this week and that was ‘Dinosaur.’ And again before anyone starts to think back to what they have called me, it was me who called myself that! You’ll all probably agree, especially after reading these first few paragraphs that my self-analysis is pretty close.

Now back to ‘underwhelmed’ – (My links are getting worse! I think I will try to get a job as a local DJ) George Martin, who we were all sad to learn of his passing, took on a group that underwhelmed every other producer and they were ‘The Beatles’… I felt I had to explain that ‘just in case’ we have any Justin Bieber fans as readers. I don’t think so, as much as my understanding is, they will all be on their phones and putting on their make-up. Don’t know what the girls will be doing! (I know – You saw that coming a mile away!) Anyway, he saw something and heard something that he knew was special and that is a huge talent in itself. Marilyn Monroe was getting nowhere until a photographer suggested that she change her hair colour. Now the point of all this is that it is other people who see beyond our own ideas. Sometimes we go down the wrong road. We are so blinkered by our understanding of a story that we don’t consider how it comes across to the reader. Everyone who has picked up a pen will have had this problem at one time.

So – tip for today – try to separate your knowledge of your story when reading it back. Look at it and question if it is the finished article. If not, mould like Martin or at the very least, change your hair colour!

Now to this weeks stories! We had a strangeness about them all. So all good then!!!

On Monday we had Jonathan Payne with his story Surrounded. This was a strange tale that makes you think about the self.

Our fellow editor Nik had his story published on Tuesday. The Water’s Edge is an atmospheric, unsettling and beautiful piece of writing.

Wednesday had us publishing another multi-contributer. The talented Mr Fred Foote gave us a story that had his Author truly living his plot.

Another old friend and supporter of the site is James McEwan. On Thursday he showed how good weird can be with his tale Table By The Window.

And Friday, a story that touches on a horror that many live with, Bruce Costello’s thought provoking One Dick, Two Sheryls.

There is so much emotion and question throughout all these superb stories. They have been a joy to read. And unlike all you poor souls who are reading this, we have not been ‘underwhelmed’ by any of them! (Ayr’s West Sound Radio Station is getting ma CV!!)

 

Hugh

The Amalgamated Union of Pennames and Imaginary Friends by Leila Allison

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There may be organizations more useless in the universe than my union, but I’m at a loss to name one. Just this afternoon I was seated at the wrong side of my rep’s desk; and although the gent eventually professed sympathy for my plight, I could tell from his er-ing and hmmm-ing, uh-ing and you-don’t-saying, that when it came to fixing a grievance, he’d be as effective as a chimpanzee pitted against Einstein in an equation smack-down at Math Camp.

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