Jorge Mendoza was the last man to receive a call. As he picked up the phone, he was still debating whether to go to work or not. If he went, what would the other men think? If he stayed home and lost his job, no one in the valley would hire him. And if he got deported, he would lose everything.
We’ve had some great comments regarding last week’s post with the stats. Nik did a brilliant job collating them. We do hope that they offered some useful insight and maybe encouragement to those of you who might have been thinking of submitting again.
But now on to Week 111.
There is a vast difference between a story teller and a story writer. If you are both, well, you are in a minority. It’s a bit like script writers and actors. If you know a comedy and you read the script, you naturally hear the actors’ voice in your head. If you didn’t you wouldn’t find it so funny. It’s very difficult to write timing!
So in that aspect, you think that the story teller is skilled. But get him to read the code of practice from your work place and I guarantee that they won’t be able to make it funny! You need the material and when the two of them come together, there can be something magical.
The reason that I’m mentioning this is because we had a story submitted to us this week that I commented on. I mentioned that it would be enhanced by being read around a camp fire. This is an old dying art as well as conversation, making Paris Buns, and getting on with a fecking job. No-one talks, no-one makes Paris Buns and no-one can do their work for red-tape, recording and analysing the shit out of it.
If you are of a certain age you’ll have sat around a fire as the old yins of the family told a story. You’d have heard it a hundred times, but there was something soothing about your grandfather’s voice. And I am not talking ‘soothing’ as in those creepy Werthers Originals Adverts! I bet that auld guy had some puppies for you to look at!
Even at your first job just after leaving school, you always had some colourful characters who would tell all your workmates a story. Their timing was impeccable as they waited until the laughing died down, silence prevailed and then they would ask in a loud and happy voice ‘Are you still a virgin?’
Oh how everyone else laughed!
The same with a pub. There was always someone holding court telling stories. They were the guys who never had to buy a drink. They could also get out of fights due to their wit. And on the odd occasion that this didn’t happen they had all the locals to back them up.
Ignoring the clergy and politicians – The truly great story tellers are the 17 year old boys who talk about their sex lives. Frequency and exaggeration replace fact. Their brag of ‘The next time I see a ….’ can be interrupted with ‘Don’t you mean…The First Time you see a ….’
I enjoy writing but if I ever had the guts to do it, I would love to do an open mike. But that won’t happen as I am setting myself up for a fall. My material could be good but my delivery could be terrible. My material could be terrible and my delivery good, or let’s be truthful, them both being crap is more than likely. And if I want to be booed, I’ll show my wife my bank balance or my mother, well, basically anything!
Onto some very good story writers.
This week we have a very literal bunch. The topics are all in the titles. That actually doesn’t happen often for the whole five days. But every story we’ve had this week, the clue of what it is, is in the title.
Two newsters to add to our ever growing family of authors. And as always our initial comments follow.
First up was an old friend. The wonderful Tom Sheehan added to his amazing stats with ‘A Soldier’s Crusade‘ which was first up on Monday.
‘When Tom is in full swing, his knowledge or research is awe inspiring.’
‘I was utterly and beautifully lost in this.’
‘The last line was a cracker.’
On Tuesday we had a returning author. Lawrence Buentello had his second story ‘The Kite People Of Ang Thom‘ published.
‘This had the rhythm and feel of an old folk tale.’
‘I loved the imagery of the kites.’
‘I think in the Far East they fly kites to entertain the Gods and have a good harvest – I guess this is what he has based this on.’
Another returning author but for the fifth time. The quirky Ashlie Allen added to her back catalogue on Wednesday with ‘I called My Alcoholic Friend Sad Satan.’
‘A very strong last paragraph.’
‘Ashley does give us some very interesting work.’
Thursday followed Wednesday, so no difference there. We had our first new writer of the week and we extend the usual greetings, pleasantries and appeal for more stories to Mr Tom Roth. His short, ‘A Day In The Life Of A Sandwich Artist’ was next up.
‘Good atmosphere and tone.’
‘This appeals to me and the writing feels real.’
‘Tom captured the hopelessness very well.’
Our next new writer was Debra Brenegan. We hope that she enjoys the experience and also sends us in more stories!! ‘Shaking Hands’ finished off the week on Friday.
‘A powerful piece of flash fiction.’
‘This was full of fear and emotion.’
‘Different and very vivid.’
That’s us again folks. And not a statistic in sight! I actually think we are all the less for that. (Based on a survey of the one person who is writing this! So if that is classed as a statistic, then ignore this paragraph)
Back to story tellers, I may look out for John Laurie as Private Frazer telling the tale of ‘The Auld Empty Barn…
There was nuthin’ in it!’
But I reckon I’ll really spoil myself and dig out an old CD and listen to the greatest story teller who also wrote the material. That’ll be Mr Billy Connolly doing ‘The Crucifixion’
…We are the Romans
…We hate the Christians
It really is murder to try and write timing, but I’m creasing myself as I can hear the words in my head!!
Banner Image: Pixabay.com
They said Nimol could walk on water, and perform other miracles, in his youth; but when he went blind and failed to regain his sight, the villagers ceased believing in his divinity and derided his words. He retired alone to the hills beyond the farms.
When he returned to the village as an old man, most of the people who knew him in his youth were dead. He descended the hills and emerged from the trees beyond the fields, and many watched his progress along the road, which he achieved with the assistance of a staff carved from the root of a banyan tree.
The cowman Oliver Weddle sat his horse on a small hillock, looking out over his ranch, the grass running off to the hills, Texas itself stiffening his backbone as it always had. He tried again to count the help he’d need to get the ranch back in prime order after his return from the war, wishing that some of his command had come along with him when he separated from the service. They were good soldiers, good riders, and courageous and loyal to the duties; but had their own visions of search. Three foremen in a row had failed him and their mission, one or two of them he suspected had complicated issues on purpose. So glaring were the failures that they cost him a good deal of his money. Now he was contemplating what would happen if he did not get a good man for the job.
It had happened again and bright-eyed, thick-chested Judd Farro, half clad in the yellow foul weather gear of his trade, couldn’t remember how many times it had happened over the years. The sea, obviously, has its own rules and regulations, he thought, its own machinations, and you don’t really count on them. But here, in its own great mystery, the lobster with the bold X on its backside was caught anew in one of his traps, big as life, healthy, and as if daring to say Here I am again. The X was indelible, unmistakable, and struck him with an awed intensity.
The Union of Pennames, Imaginary Friends and Fictional Characters (UPIFFC) has gone on strike. The reasons for this are unclear, but there’s a bunch of them outside my office window at this very moment alternately singing We Shall Overcome and making unflattering chants that feature my name and the accusation of miserly behavior on my part: “SAY HEY FREEMAN/HOW ABOUT A FEE MAN.” Don’t blame me, I didn’t say these were good chants.
Anyway, my penname, Ms. Leila Allison, seems to be the brains of the outfit, which is the only good news I have to report. Until she either gets bored with this rebellious activity, or the situation is in some other way resolved, I am forbidden to use the alias. Until that time, however, the show must go on.
I’ve been wondering this week about how addictive writing is.
Addiction comes in many forms. I have one brother-in-law who is addicted to Dysons and the other is addicted to Jaffa Cakes. It’s hysterical when they get together as one pisses off the other as there are never any crumbs to hoover up.