I realised that I should really explain what The Wandering Tales is all about, so here goes:
The Wandering Tales is a collection of bittersweet short stories I have written concerning lost characters finding their way. At times sad, sarcastic, or funny, these stories don’t always have perfect endings, but they’re really about an individual’s journey. At this stage the collection mostly comprises young-adult relationship dramas, but I am aiming to expand it. (Most of my fantasy and science fiction ideas are being channeled into longer stories, but we’ll see.) Thanks for visiting, and please feel free to have a read. 🙂
Skynet is on the rise.
It begins with games like Pokemon Go. Games that tap into the GPS and camera functions on your phone. Your Smartphone. Is anyone else concerned about all of the intelligent technology?
People are actually working on inventing spiritual machines. As in, machines that can make decisions independently. Sure it’s clever, but I just keep thinking, ‘Didn’t you people see Terminator?!’.
I know, I know – I sound paranoid. And the truth is, part of me is super-psyched about Pokemon Go. I mean, it’s flashing me back to primary school days, running around the oval with my buddies at lunchtime, playing a game I called ‘Catch Pokemon’, where, funnily enough you…Well, you guessed it. And I’ve also been remembering dashing around the backyard and jumping on the trampoline with my sisters – pretending to BE Pokemon. (I was Squirtle.)
90s kids are going nuts for Pokemon Go because it’s a chance to play out a childhood fantasy. My friends and I used to project ourselves into the world of Pokemon, using our imaginations. ‘Look, there’s a Kangaskhan over there! No, behind THAT tree!’ Now, we can look at our screens and see two worlds collide. Yesterday, I watched a Charmander balance on the frying pan in my kitchen. At first I was worried about him getting burnt, and then I realised how silly that was. I mean, he’s a FIRE Pokemon. Duh.
And so, even though my natural inclination is to romanticise the past and distrust modern technology – and I keep thinking about the inherent dangers of allowing something to pinpoint my every movement – I have decided to embrace this new phenomenon. I’ve said, yes, please use my email account, track my steps, and plug me into the Matrix. There are Pokemon inside.
World domination was never so easy.
And being a willing participant in Skynet’s uprising was never so much fun!
A friend of mine maintains that everyone has someone who they want to punch in the face.
‘What do you mean?’ I ask. ‘Like an ex, or someone who bullied you as a kid?’
‘Nah – it could be someone you’ve never met. But you hate this person, all the same.’
I blink in confusion.
‘My person is Tobey Maguire.’
I’m sure I look as baffled as I feel. ‘Why?’
‘You don’t like his acting? I think that he’s pretty good. Did you ever see The Cider House Rules?’
‘If it has him in it, I’m not going to.’
Her expression is so serious, I can’t help laughing. But I still have to ask, ‘Why?’
‘There’s just something about him…’
Irrefutable logic there. Shaking my head, I try to decide if there’s anyone who I want to punch in the face. I guess the fact that I’ve never considered it means the answer is ‘no’. Sure, a few people annoy me, but I’m pretty sure that the only ones I’ve mentally beat up are fictional.
‘I’m glad we’re friends, Em.’
In my mind, I see a fist sailing through the air, and bloody teeth spewing from my mouth, because I did something that reminded her of Tobey Maguire. ‘Me too.’
I am currently being edged off my chair by my cat.
He jumped up behind me, acting as though he wanted nothing more than a cuddle. It was a clever rouse, because all he really wants is my chair. Instead of settling on my lap, he pushed into the gap between my back and the chair’s, and now he’s stretching out to nudge me away. While purring.
There are eight free chairs at this table. But he wants the one I’m sitting on. I’m in danger of falling off, since I’m too focused on getting important work done on my computer (okay, fine, checking my emails), to actually confront my own cat. I’m perched right on the edge. He’s winning the chair struggle. He’s grey, white, and fuzzy, and weighs about four kilos, and somehow he’s winning.
No. I’m not going to stand for this…or keep sitting in this ridiculously uncomfortable way. I slip off my chair, and move him to the one next to me.
He does not look impressed.
I’ve been waiting for a few months for my flash fiction (The Amber Light) to come out in the 2016 Winter/Spring issue of The Zodiac Review. Well, I’m pleased to tell you that my wait is over. If you’re interested, I can give you the green light to read my story at www.thezodiacreview.com/#!current-issue/nxo1t, or go to my ‘Links’ page.
The Amber Light is an introspective narrative about the challenges of renegotiating relationships. The amber lamplight represents the narrator’s hesitation about how to respond when his best friend declares she is in love with him, as amber traffic lights are associated with waiting. The Amber Light is a slice-of-life story that explores the narrator’s fears about damaging a friendship, and captures the moment where the nature of the unnamed characters’ relationship is considered and, ultimately, changed.
I hope you enjoy it! Over and out.
A short story I wrote in early 2015 has just been published online, in issue 8 of Number Eleven magazine. Number Eleven is an Irish literary magazine that publishes work from international authors, and I’m excited about my story finding a home in its digital pages.
My story is called The Dance and is a dialogue between two teenagers who are trying to decide whether they can sustain a romance after sharing a long friendship. I enjoyed writing Jamie, because she wouldn’t shut up and kept shooting off quips in a rapid-fire. Cole was an interesting character for me to engage with too, because he is so conflicted.
The lighthearted style of the story masks the characters’ deeper emotions, and the tension ebbs and builds as the conversation rallies back and forth between Jamie and Cole, as they argue about whether to break up. If you’d like to give it a read, head to http://numberelevenmagazine.com/the-dance/. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Thanks everyone. Over and out.
I felt just like Alice, plunging down the rabbit-hole.
The trapdoor beneath my feet flew open, and I fell. Water sprayed into my face and tickled my legs, and the tunnel arced and twisted, carrying me. The rounded walls stretched on, glowing with an earthy, red light. Where would this journey end?
Then the light grew brighter, whiter, and the tunnel spat me out into a body of blue water. Scrambling to my feet, I felt waves of adrenaline pound my heart. I waded out of the shallows, sunlight splashing onto my skin.
Well, this piece is my attempt at capturing an experience I recently had at a water-park. My friends and I conquered this place by trying every slide that was open…even the scary, we’ll-drop-you-through-a-trapdoor-into-a-mysterious-twisty-tube one! The brief free-fall was truly exhilarating. I really did feel like Alice.
You know how people talk about the ideal place to write? As though inspiration will surely hit if you sit atop a tranquil mountain, away from the pull of home and work, listening only to your characters’ voices and the gentle breeze?
Well, it doesn’t work like that. Not for me, anyway.
This morning I got up early(ish) and climbed a mountain with my sister and some friends. Well, I say ‘climbed’…there was some steep walking in places. Our conquest for the day was technically a mountain, but it’s more like a big hill. Anyway, standing at the summit(?) offered me a pretty view, but not a drop of inspiration. In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he describes routine as paramount to making progress with a story, and I’ve found this to be true with my own work. Inspiration is more likely to wash over me when I’m sitting in my usual spot at my computer than when I’m in a new setting, however beautiful it is. In fact, sometimes I find it’s best to get some writing done in a familiarly dull location. If I’m bored by my environment then I will want to be transported, and my mind will search for ways to breathe colour and magic into a story.
So, if you’re wondering about where to write, maybe look for a place that isn’t too stimulating. But don’t become a hermit, either. Experiences of all sorts can factor into your stories, and give you details to make them vivid. I guess I’m really talking about timing. While I’m on a mountain: zero inspiration. But who knows? Now I’m trapped in my room – and waiting for inspiration to come – maybe my ideas will be influenced by some echo from this morning’s adventure. The cursor in my Word document blinks at me. Time to spill out some words. Wish me luck!
My first post is up! I’m excited to finally have some kind of web presence. Thanks for coming and having a look. I’ll be updating the blog fortnightly while I work on populating the site, and then try to ramp it up to weekly once I’m happy with the other pages.