Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Prompt Set 0,007

A - A Gardener's World

B - I'm only half a vampire

C - Various Ski Resorts

D - With a bit of luck I could have..

E - The road is long, with many a winding turn

F - A Thousand thanks, effendi

G - Throwing peelings to the dogs

H - Jupiter, just about

I - The road sweats, breathes slowly

J - The humour! The humour!

K - November is a cruel month

L - I am of those things that linger. I do not go away

M - Hurry up please, it's time

N - The boy with sand on his feet

O - In the summer time, you got women, you got women on your mind

P - It could have been the end

Q - Tongue and Groove

R - Come see me under the old clock

S - Marathon

T – What is the root, what is the branch

U - Known as the Czar

V - A star in Australia

W - Originating in India

X - Not all shadows are the same

Y - It means something in french

Z - A French Stick

2011 Prompt Sets 0,006

A - Boy, Beach

B - Not walking the dogs

C - We called, you were not in.

D - Abracadabra

E - Hi Ho Silver Lining!

F - Absolutely, Madam, Of Course

G - As if

H - Juno

I - Barely alive does not mean dying

J - The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Underworld

K - Before I was alive

L - But there again, I could say yes and confuse them

M - The attendant

N - Five Men, two boys and a woman watching

O - Keep on Running

P - A second later

Q - Mortice and Tenon

R - If i had lived on Olympus

S - Cold Feet

T – Another Way

U - The neighbour's dog will not stop barking

V - Tom William's Story

W - Reading Billy Collins

X - Tomorrow could have been another day

Y - Tiramisu

Z - Will you love me yesterday?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Prompts Set 0,005

A - Slate Quarrying in Wales
B - A re-hot cast-iron stove
C - In character
D - And stretched their hands towards the warmth
E - How to Be Alone
F - And unbuttoned their padded jackets
G - As if it were the god of fire
H - At their benches
I - Barely managed to open
J - The Pocket Guide to Love
K - Before the stove’s open door
L - But were not able to feel it immediately
M - Coats and hats
N - Five carpenters were working without
O - Keep me Handy
P - In a minute Grigoriev and Potashnikov knelt
Q - In the middle of the carpentry shop stood
R - One of man’s first gods
S - Since their hands were numb
T – A Cambrian Way
U - The frozen door
V - The new arrivals knelt
W - They threw down their mittens
X - Together the two of them
Y - Took off their hats
Z - What are you doing here?”


If you write a flash a day, a poem if you can, a longer short-story every week
then the "this one" anxiety begins to go.

You know you wrote seven pieces last week, that you will write another six this week
and next week another seven

it's this SEPARATION, this sense of "This is just me learning to write, THIS story doesn't matter"
that removes fear and opens the unconscious

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Risky Business (1)


I recently read Al Alvarez's "Risky Business", his second set of collected essays (BUY IT!) and have just read his chapter on the concert pianist Alfred Brendel. Yesterday I posted an article "Rembrandt and Raymond Carver" and this morning the Brendel article goes to the same places. I feel an epiphany coming.

When I teach it is very intense. It's a commonplace reaction for writers on my courses to say their head has been turned to mush. More than one has been nervous about driving home (which is why we always suggest an evening dinner on the Sunday where we just laugh and chill.)

I usually say to writers that immediately after a course (ha, I typo'd CURSE, there!) that they may very well have difficulty writing, and if they do write, the writing may appear to be inferior for a while.

I liken it to going up a difficult, dangerous, mountain. Sometimes the route you are on cannot EVER get to the top. Sometimes you have to climb DOWN a little either to find a new route, or to get extra equipment, or maybe, to talk to a Sherpa Guide who knows the way.

That's only part of the problem!

I often say things like: "You must write totally, completely "on theme" where every word is building in the same way."

But I ALSO say, "But you must ignore the theme! Never write thinking of the theme." and I say, "Get the right characters, and the right opening voice, trust the characters to guard the theme."

But how can I force myself into the strictures of theme at the same time as ignoring the theme?

When discussing the writing art we often have to use the art of writing (I mean beyond competent journalism) to get closer, ever closer, to the meaning we are trying to impart. For example in my article "The Seventh Quark: Finding the story" I wrote that I, "Write with light hands."

What follows might be partly random (I hope so.)

In the Brendel article, Alvarez states, "One of the most important lessons Brendel taught Imogen Cooper was that there is a tension that goes all through a piece of music and never lets up. He used to talk of a long silver cord that one pulls on. "He'd crouch down beside the piano and say, 'Go on, pull, pull.' Sometimes there is a little kink in the cord but it never sags. There's always a force irresistibly pulling it from the first note to the last."

THINK THEME, and the tension in a good voice.

"He used to say, 'You've got to get the audience from the first note.' I'd say you've got to get them from the moment you come through the door. How you command the space between the door and the piano makes the audience listen in a certain way. They listen with their eyes and their ears."

Think! Think about presentation. Think about fonts, font-size, single, double or 1.5 line spacing, white space for time-breaks, the size and boldness of the title, the use of italics for emphasis. Think how, the moment that editor or judge sits down with your piece. ALL of it matters.

You are trying to create "A mode of acceptance."

Think how the start shapes the whole. That's why I can predict the final score a story is worth from the opening. That is why 99% of editors and judge know as soon as they've read two paragraphs.
But remember I'm really talking about paradoxes in how I say we should write (if we want to write anything worthwhile.) Paradoxes, or apparent contradictions…

Brendel says performing is a risky business and the concert pianist who wants to make a work new each time he plays must live life dangerously. (Alvarez)

"As a performer, I have become aware of the paradox of my profession," Brendel said. "You have to be in control, and, at the same time, lose yourself completely. You have to think and feel in advance what you want to do and, simultaneously, to listen to what you are doing and react to that. You have to play to satisfy yourself and also play so that the people in the back row will get the message." In other words (Alvarez says) the concert platform is where his two worlds of intellectual control and inspired nonsense interconnect."

Are we talking genius here? No! Of course Brendel is a genius, and Alvarez probably is a genius, but quality craftsmen have to go to this place also, the greatest sportsmen.

We train the body and the mind and then trust the spirit.

I always forget who for sure, but I think it was Harlan Ellison who said we must write and write and write and absorb technique until it runs in our blood.

It is when it's in our blood that we leave room for extra imagination, room for our angelic inner self to speak. Ray Bradbury (I'm pretty sure it was him) said we need to write a million crappy words just to start being a writer. That first million words is our scales, our music theory classes, our hours at the piano, our weekend courses in music, the summer schools, the endless rehearsals.

Then after the million, we start to find ourselves.

We no longer have to think about dialogue, or speech tags, or whether a noun-adjective here is needed for the flow and balance. It is part of us, the hands know where to go. If we apply thought now it's "beyond" it's expressive, it's extra.

Briefly, this is why I believe in the Boot Camp process. I believe that at least 99% of wanabee writers write far too little. In surveys I've done the average was 147 words a day (and remember these are committed writers and they are probably exaggerating their word-counts.)

Stop RIGHT NOW and work out exactly (not roughly) how many creative words you have written this month. It is the 29th December 2010. If you haven't written 14,000 words, if you haven't written a paltry two pages a day, what the fuck are you doing? How can you call yourself a writer if you are writing the odd 200 words when the mood takes you?

Don't cheat. Don't cheat yourself. You are the one that gets hurt. What fresh work did you write yesterday? What fresh work did you produce on Monday? Did you have the weekend off? Were you going out to lunch Friday and never got into the mood? Was there a "really interesting" thread on some noddy web-site and you just had to get involved? My recent favourite in a writing forum not a coffee-shop was "Favourite Handbag?"

Tell yourself the truth.

A RISKY BUSINESS (2) Working Hard & Sitting Still

A RISKY BUSINESS (2) Working Hard & Sitting Still

I intend to write a million words in 2011.

I started 2011 on Boxing Day 2010, to (a) warm up, (b) start to flex my writing muscles, (c) get a few words started of “cushion, (d) to inspire the Boot Campers.

For personal reasons I have had a rotten, miserable writing year. I don’t really deserve to call myself a writer. I could wallow, I could give up. I could pretend that I am burned out, when in reality I’ve just got lazy and my writing muscles have lost their tone. In terms of fiction, since Dec 26th I have only written one piece. It’s not my best, but it is WRITING and by the end of January 2011 I will have written something that I can be proud of.

Now this is not to tub-thump or blow a trumpet over my own hard work. The obvious response (always wrong) in that quantity is achieved at the expense of quality. Not so! Not so! And even if it were so, and from a month's work I got just a single story of quality (I mean real quality) that's 12 great stories a year.

But the millions of words I write have taught me a new language. I can move around tenses and Points of View, appear and disappear as a narrator, do tricks I never dreamt of when I began writing, stuff I couldn't do after five years.

At their own rate, on their own scales Boot Campers are doing the same thing. They are first learning to speak so one day they will be able to sing.

Singing will mean insight, language, a fresh expression, depth of character.

But what is "depth"?

Quoting Alvarez on Brendel again:

Brendel thinks Beethoven's last piano sonata, Op. 111, is a "premeditated conclusion, a last word leading into silence forever."

Discussing a performance of a complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas in Munich Alvarez talked of "depth" and then quoted Isiah Berlin.

"Depth is an odd word. It's a metaphor but you can't translate it into other terms. Depth means penetrating into something very basic in oneself, and touching it, and feeling an electric shock."

At the time Alvarez wrote, Brendel was suffering physical frailties that were beginning to restrict his playing. He was getting old, but still learning.

"One does not stop learning," Brendel said. "I've learned how to control certain silences. They depend not just on what you play but on how you look. After the last chord of Op. 111, I don't move. I don't take my hands away from the keyboard, because directly I stir, they applaud. Each time I play the Beethoven cycle the silence gets longer, because I know how to relate to it. I know how to sit still."

On Sitting Still

I once wrote an article (you can read it at The Internet Writers Journal) called Theme Music: Tone is Not an Accident.

NOW, it's not. But when I began writing, long after I was being regularly published, there was tone over here, character over there, and a bit of plot somewhere if I can just find it, and the all important theme which was down the shops buying cigarettes but would be back in five minutes.

Tone is not an accident, not for an experienced writer. Nor is theme, and yet the best writers, those with the strongest, most gut-wrenching or intellectually invigorating themes, can write without worrying about their theme. How?


When we begin to get a feeling that a story is coming. I should add here I mean real writing not superficial trivia with a "clever" twist-ending, or that womag bumph or intricately-plotted shoot-em-up, or Dan Brown. I mean writing that matters a little, right now, writing that we return to, dwell in, savour.

When we begin to get a feeling that this kind of story is coming, what happens? If you get an idea, a plot-line, some clever tricks to post here and here and here, then I'm sorry for you. Oh, you might well publish. You might even be flavour of the six months, but you won't be writing.

What about the feeling, what about the ache?

What about that sense of pressure, of something deep in you or way back in time, or maybe some part of your life that only makes sense if you don't ask it questions? Don't you want to know who you are? Why you're here?

Don't you want to know what this is all about?

If we use the brain exclusively – I mean the logical left-brain, the bit we plan with, we cannot get "fresh", we cannot get "insightful". Instead we get the same old same old. It might be re-jigged (if we are really crafty) but it's still the same old. The active left-brain doesn't put things together that don't belong together.

The active left, interfering brain doesn't write:

I used to sit in the hall and stare at the geese on the wall, fascinated because one was chipped and had a white chalk beak. I am not sure I know what love is.

Because all those boring shapers, the life-police, told you that plaster of Paris ducks are nothing to do with "love". If you try to write that paragraph it doesn't happen. You have to let a better, more dangerous, more unpredictable person write it.

If we aren't using the left-brain. If we learn to sit still and let things rise up and emerge, those things are always better, truer, than what we do deliberately.

Think, most importantly about the many constituents of an opening. There is a setting, a tone, a voice, a level of complexity of language, a "colour", a timbre, probably a narrator, a character or characters, some air of musicality.

Where did they come from? Did you sit down with a team of advertising executives and Simon Cowell, and "thrash this thing out"?

Did you go to some stainless city office and listen to a Powerpoint presentation on the commercial viability of the darker character?

Or did something come to you?

If something comes to you, just comes, if you have feelings, these are the things, the powerful things that will matter. But you have to stand aside, trust the spirit, allow the souls of your ancestors if you like, allow the angels and demons to create.

Instead off grabbing at, or "considering", instead of planning why not ask (without asking) what's here, who is she, what does she sound like, what language does she speak? Stay low, don't frighten the visitor. She may have been in the dark for a long time.

This woman, this girl, this gift is incredible. You ask, how can I not control and yet write a controlled work? Surely it's impossible?

Of course, without help. But you have help. Look! She stands there, slightly bewildered. But all she wants is the tiniest of nudges and she will talk, exactly as you imagined, she will act in a way that always seems right, and because she came without force and emerged as a welcome visitor (from another place in you) she will now look after your theme.

Let me be boringly "straight" for a minute. Presume, temporarily, that what I say is true. We have a feeling about a subject. Maybe it's "something" about the cruelty of childless couples here, contraceptive abortions over there. It feels wrong, somehow but it's not as simple as believing abortion is always wrong, and not merely a rant against God. You feel the complexity of the issue, you almost feel you can express it, but it's so hard.

Then one day an abortion clinic is burned down and a passing child is killed. How confused? Or you read of a child who did not abort and is now a famous concert pianist. Something uncaps the ache. You need to say something.

I realise all this seems vague, but it's only "vague" because most of our lives we deal in greater certainties (which are false) and things which we believe are solid (when they are not.)

If you deliberately "take on" these issues, you are not going to access your deep feelings. You are going to access the front of the drawer where sound-bytes and simple fixes are kept.

I wrote a story once when I realised that my socks and underwear drawers each contain maybe fifty items, yet only the front five or ten are used, washed and re-worn. Think of the back of that drawer. We should be accessing it. Most of the time we live in the nearby, the simple, the quick and superficial.

So, instead of diving in, what happens if you close your eyes and see if anybody walks by? What might happen? A young girl who's pregnant? Her mother who's also pregnant? How about the unborn child or the recently aborted? I have no idea, because HERE I'm conscious, talking to you.

If you relax you might see a red sports car, a Frisbee, a line of Keats, and yet know they all combine and say something about abortion. If you learn to be still, someone will step forward.

If you learn to be still, someone will step forward, and that someone knows your point, she simply knows. If deep in you, despite what you might say publicly, something nags and says "wrong, wrong, wrong" you will NOT choose a real character who argues right, right, right.

Your inner self chooses the vehicle of expression. Think how often, when characters have just come, they feel known to you, like old acquaintances.

When I talk metaphorically I say that these characters are guardians of the theme. If they are spontaneous manifestations then they champion a real theme. If they are forced characters they are crude, obvious vessels for an obvious theme, and very probably the story will read like a polemic.

Damn! It's 12:30 and I have things to do.

OK let's try another tack.

When I see a set of flash-prompts posted that look "clever" and conscious, cold, cute. I expect fewer Boot Camp flashes to be written and a lower overall standard of story.

But when I see a load of lines or part-lines from great poems, a few odd break-the-spell words (the more bizarre the better) I expect more stories and better ones. The mere resonance and open-endedness of the poetic snatches seems to "set-off" the unconscious. Something is stirred.

That is, poetry and its effects are disorientating, mysterious, they come at us by entering through the foot or the elbow and bat us round the inner ear because they can. No frontal assault needed.

I believe that it's this subversive, playful, unusual "accent" in poetry that tends to release wilder (from the unconscious) emotions in those who read the prompts. Thus the resulting work is better.

We live in an age where we are inundated by clevernesses, but the very glibness and ease of these cute sound-bytes, the sit-com quips, the quick-fix knee-jerk, the tabloid headline crap (even Panorama cheats now), the pre-planned endings (but if you don't like the film's finish, we'll change it)… an age where shallowness is all. We escape by going under.

Billy Collins said: Poetry seems to provide, more than ever, an alternative to the din of public language (advertising, politics, etc) and a more admirable set of values than we find in consumer-mad society. I read recently about a poetry competition held in Barcelona every year. The third place poet receives a silver rose, the second place winner receives a golden rose, and the first place poet – for having written the very best poem – receives a real rose. So take that, all you fans of bling.

Arthur Polotnik said:

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. You edit to let the fire show through the smoke.

The point of this ramble is that to write about what's burning inside, we need to allow it air, to stand aside and let it burn us up. We have to learn to stand aside, be still, listen. We have to, though, trust our writing ability, which is why we must write, write, write, every day, every week, every month, so we can turn off consciousness. And then:

Somewhere, I know not exactly where, a grey campfire is kicked up, the flames catch again and are let loose. All catches alight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011, Prompts 0,004

A I have a theory. If you do not love someone, you never loved them

B Sunset

C We will visit our dead and apologise for previous absences

D I am reading about a wife, a husband, and pure hatred

E I have lost all the data

F Mary Lee. Ding-Dong!

G The men of Our Valley, and Oh how they sing!

H Trust me, I'm a plumber.

I Firs time, ever I saw your face

J Melody Smith's idea!

K Sometimes I go out at night and try to look between the stars

L It will rain. It cannot be dry forever

M Sixty-three years ago, give or take...

N There's probably an app for that

O My second brain transplant was more interesting

P When did it start? When will it finish?

Q Theoretically it's a game, yes.


S She has a plastic ring, a perspex stone

T Mary Ellen at the Pawn-Shop Door

U A story beginning, "I suspect you will not like this, but..."

V I've just found out she came from Gillingham

W They are arming the professors

X A story ending, "And no, I do not need or ask for your forgiveness."

Y But if you DID fall in love with a ghost?

Z Burkha

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Prompts 0,003

A There are no more flies

B In general, if you want a job doing properly

C No, it doesn't make me laugh

D All the squares are numbered

E What could be prettier?

F I could always go to Hull

G I heard them singing, singing of home

H Once I lived like you

I The Oozing

J Margaret's Malaise

K Run over by the truth, which did not stop

L Nothing was said, but then the lights went out

M Fatal Error

N She fills herself with Indian Meals

O The dust thickens

P It's been going on a long time

Q Those who are out try to get those who are in, out

R I would say it but a lady is present

S Not all Catholics are Irish

T One-One was a race-horse. One-Two was one, too.

U A story beginning, "Stop reading. Now!"

V Kicked the bucket etc

W It will not do, it will not do, it will not do.

X A story ending, "I could do no more, I could do no better."

Y Diary of a Dead Man

Z Blenkinsop's Invention.

Why I Teach What I Teach

My son is a snowboard fanatic and was watching some youngster (21)
who is the world's best snowboarder.

This guy is so much better than the second-best in the world, he often
scores 100% when 87-88% is good enough for Olympic Silver.

I forget the term, but SB's go down a "pipe", using the overall downhill
and their own generated momentum to do various tricks.

The ting that is special about the world's greatest snowboarder is that he
DOES NOT plan or practice his run. He simply relies on "muscle-memory"
and his instinct for play. He says that when he DOES think or plan, he is rubbish.

In Football

it's much the same. Players practice "generalities" like pass and move
and get the ball back, but on match day they need to be freer. The science
of a curving 50-yard pass is quite amazing, but for some reason it's more
likely to come off if you just let the body do its own thing.

Which is why

in Boot Camp I keep telling you all to WRITE DRUNK, to totally ignore all the rules, to forget editors, to not even look at what you write, just write-write-write as fast as you can. That is how the subconscious gets free, and it's THEN that you surprise yourself.

The moment you stop, pause to think, consider, plan, you awaken the left-brain, the logical, the me-too, the formulaic, the obvious, the copy-cat dull-as-ditch-water left brain.

But HOW?

Do you learn the rules of writing? How do you ever manage to write well even if the ideas are magic from the subconscious?

By CRITIQUING hundreds, thousands of stories.
By engaging every single day with good stories and bad.
By reading EVERY day about craft.
By questioning everything you read.

THAT is where you do the solid work.
That is where the "rules" become imprinted.

STUDY, slog, BETWEEN stories, but write as free as a bird, drunk, high, aroused

Harlan Ellison once said you must ABSORB technique and work work work until it is natural, instinctive, until it runs in your veins.


write every day, and I mean every day. Wake up every day and say, "I am a writer. My prime object today is to find time to write something."

Ideally you should always write something (ideally 500 words) before doing anything else.

Writing first thing does a lot. You are the least cluttered and your left-brain is at its quietest. The other good time is very veery late when you are tired and the left-brain needs to rest, but morning writing does one other thing. It reminds you that YOU ARE A WRITER and you will therefore go through your day thinking, seeing, understanding with a writer's perspective.

2011 Prompts Set 0,002

A It's broken again, take it back.

B It was a miracle, absolutely incredible

C Late January, the first signs of thaw

D Sometimes we had it for tea

E Generations have walked, have walked, have walked

F Running Bear, Lovely Little White Dove

G I should rise, I should rise

H Shane did it again!

I If there were not mountains, if there were not sea


K She calls it love. I call it wanting food.

L Ironing, the Armistice

M So, apart from that, what did you think of the show?

N One upon an evening droopy

O I have been old and didn't like it.

P I knew her before she was a virgin

Q Robin Banks

R Or peanuts if you prefer

S The winter evening settles down, nuts roasting, something, on the air

T Hoo Flung Dat?

U A story beginning, "I would prefer not to write about this, but..."

V Lemon-Lycra-Tights

W I think I should speak to her. I think I should speak to her.

X A story ending, "Perhaps this explains things, perhaps it doesn't."

Y A Mouse Story

Z We the dead, demand the right to be heard.

2011 Prompts 0,001

A Nobody heard him

B I am not there, I do not sleep

C 12 Identical Pencils

D Now waving, but drowning

E With Amber Eyes

F We come from dock and shipyard, we come from car and train

G I will go now, the sun is rising

H My daughter will come. My wife pays to be alone

I Old beggars under sacks


K The foulness of Christmas Day

L Washing up as an act of war

M Tell me of your plans

N The cows wind slowly home

O When I was young and easy and drank cider

P Not all chains are metal

Q The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees

R Had we but world enough and time

S The sea is calm tonight

T Where the anvil, who the hammer?

U Stop all the clocks, cut off the phone

V Wearing Purple

W Come on, come in, like a river flowing

X It may be short; it may last for years

Y "Is there anybody there?".

Z All dead, and none that mattered

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Prompts 011

A story beginning, "Really, it's quite simple..."


A small wodge of twenties

Dead Battery

Too quick, too quickly

Wedding, black-tie

He's something big in the city, very big

Charles? Camilla!

Collected Stored Shorties

Extra milk to cool it down


Twentieth Century Pottery

No, it really is, JUST A TREE

Run it under a cold tap love


It tells you what you really want

First of a few more

Hidden Lives, Public Deaths


Ace Boys...

Last of the many

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Transvestite

A Faraway War

Hard Frost

Various methods of persuasion


Thursday, December 09, 2010

December Prompts 009

I have decided to be a dog

The soft eyes close

We take our shoes off at the door, we smell lavender

A small English boy wearing a German helmet

Can you move the Mini?

Mr and Mrs Wales are Dead

Digging up Bones

An island of Apples

Press button for laughter

Barely thirteen months after

We have sold the horses and bought a tractor

Yellow Peril

Should we kill the chicken or wait for eggs?

Do not expect applause

How long does the sound of an accident linger?

Wearing Shorts

December Prompts 009

I have decided to be a dog

The soft eyes close

We take our shoes off at the door, we smell lavender

A small English boy wearing a German helmet

Can you move the Mini?

Mr and Mrs Wales are Dead

Digging up Bones

An island of Apples

Press button for laughter

Barely thirteen months after

We have sold the horses and bought a tractor

Yellow Peril

Should we kill the chicken or wait for eggs?

Do not expect applause

How long does the sound of an accident linger?

Wearing Shorts

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December Prompts 008

McBee found a girl

He had skin like stripped wallpaper

Billie is three and his Mum ought to love him

This morning I thought I saw a Puffin

I woke, naked, in Marks & Spencer's


We need to go in, we need to go down

Love makes old things look different, coffee taste better

The had a log-cabin in a place called Swastika

My brother is asleep downstairs

We suffer and it is just below the surface


About four o'clock the child wakes, car headlights run round the walls

Wales closed this morning

Here is a not-very-poisonous apple

I stumbled upon a tribe who only laughed


Long, long ago when the world was wild

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

December Prompts 007

Old Devils

Warming up the Car

The Complete Dramatic Works

A Wild Justice

Pictures of my great grand-mother

Red Leather


I can climb this

Blenkinsop's Theory of Survival

Mary, Mary

China White, Charcoal Black

The air is thinner, but it's still air


in Hell's chance

A Faraway War

Twinkle, Twinkle

The sound of a satisfying murder

Monday, December 06, 2010

December Prompts 006

PS Anyone toying with the idea of joining BC in 2011 remeber there's a half-price deal close December AND you dodge the VAT rise


A blessing be upon your house

I am sure I have known this before

The Humbling

We could, of course, simply ignore it

The A-Team

The Broccoli Issue

Advanced Mail, Second-Class

Losing the Dogs

Where I'm Calling From

Citizen 14356

The Baker, the mother, the child

Poems for Strange Times

I have it! I have it!

The Women's Century

There were five amazing sisters. There was a brother

Voices of Silence

The Rise of the South

In the interest of consistency lesson five and six will come before three

Every person find something and be ready

There is no music now, in the whole of Oklahoma

Sunday, December 05, 2010

December prompts 005


I have patented, 12 million smells


I have patented where lines meet lines and captured a corner of the market


Slowly, but surely, the 11:39 leaves town

Almost a star

Cold? No, it's not cold.

It's nebulous, but then it is a nebula


From here you can see the village, the roofs glisten

Glass Slippers, one off

We got married as a protest against convention

Oh no it isn't!

Drip-charge, over-night

Nothing has been broken, nobody has been disturbed

The various uses of massage-oil

Like a patient under anaesthetic, meat

Just a hundred, but maybe it will help

I will go to Prague


Forgotten Voices

Can you hear the people sing?

I have been thinking of ways to kill my wife


I shouldn't keep the shrunken head, but

My Uncollected Stories

Death in Life

Saturday, December 04, 2010

December Prompts 004

Our FREE DECEMBER and half-price 2011 offer is still on (closes Dec 30th)..

remember VAT rise in 2011


Walking with the dogs on Watership Down

Rice & Beans


Not that much ice


How the music changes, how it falls

The sound of feet upon the stairs

'Night everybody, Love You!

Signed: Officer of Revenue & Customs


April 24, 2009. Lens Protector

Tail End Charlies


Includes all thirteen episodes

Going out of your way for the hitch-hiker

Peas or Beans

One day it will come back

Dear Sir, please find enclosed


Here's an idea. Build a tower for the dead and make it taller for each of the killed

Friday, December 03, 2010

December 003 Prompts

Why not join us at BC for a month of flashes and stories.


Email to Aimee

What a joy to climb into bed


Five and half million white plastic bags


I don't have a best side, take my picture in the dark


It's hard for a girl being rescued


Two sided triangles going cheap


In the falling heat of a late August night


Who's turn in the barrel?

I know it, you know it

His anger pervades this place

Class 4N made Daisy cry

Known to bite.

Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up

The winter evening settles like talcum from a child


One Saturday, we went down to the river

Thursday, December 02, 2010

December 02 Prompts

Let's face it, God isn't exactly bright


We drove to down, our pockets full

A mouthful of ashes

Distant something, it might be thunder


The children have brought their things, mostly dead

Hold this

About John McInnes

Just as it was fading, he turned and waved


One thing about him, he never let hopelessness worry him

We sow, they grow

I will stand here, something will come


Sex makes the world a little better. Briefly

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Join BC for Our December Flash

BC is free for the whole of December 2010

Why not join us for our December "BLAST" where we all attempt to write at least one piece a day, or 31 in the Month, refusing to wind-down for the last month of the year.

Prompts every day, flashes and poems and stories posted anonymously via a secretary, feedback from everybody on everything posted.

TRY IT (You know you want to!)

December 01 Prompts

A Landscaper's Dream

A fine smoke drifting

Once I heard a woman cry, a baby singing

Every day we re-create our world

The thing with pi

The Logarithms of Love

I will assume, Your Majesty, with the humblest air


He was a man of very few parts

Every second, a hundred billion neutrinos pass through the heart


He is very short and writes a lot on message-boards


Life once, by day, and perhaps by night


The Life and Times Of Gertrude Emily Grissom


I have been here, I have been here, I have been here, somewhere very close


They have invented a new fruit


Far off, an animal scream, a bark, a rush of something

The juice explodes and sinking, all flashes past