Writing stories

How do you find a home for your short stories? Some folk put them on a blog, some people go in for competitions and others look out for opportunities on line. Of course one could always collect them in an anthology, or try sending them to “Scribble” and a lucky few get accepted by magazines.

It can feel good to get them onto a website on line, but then one is exposed to comments, or, even worse, one may still be ignored.

I tried one this month and I’ll let you know the result. Meanwhile I have almost completed my new talk on Sussex in Fiction and will try it out on the Sea Scribes at the next meeting of our writing group. I really need to concentrate on verses for the upcoming anthology but Brexit is getting in the way. I don’t seem able to concentrate on anything else at present. I am trying to write a story for an American competition but it’s crime and I don’t know how to do it so that both sides of the pond have nothing to criticise. The use of firearms is so different that I’ll have to find another method!bookwormclipart

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Christmas 2018 verse

Santa surveyed the map of the world stretched out before him, a canvas unfurled.

This year, he told Rudolf, we’ll have a new route, but I’ll still be dressed up in white fur and red suit.

We are going to travel o’er mountain and hill, stopping first in the South, where I’m certain we will

Enjoy the warm night times and fly through the air, giving our gifts to the good children there-

From the East to the West , as the evening draws on we’ll spread the good cheer as we gallop along,

From deserts to jungles, high up in the air, and then we’ll swoop down with those parcels to share,

But as we turn Northward I fear we shall find that we’ve been forgotten, our time left behind-

As nations are squabbling about who’s the best and marching and shouting in bright yellow vests.

There’s fires in the streets and the children all cower, afraid in their beds, still awake at this hour.

As countries divide and the people despair I wonder if any still know that we’re there.

I wonder if stories of an infant birth, designed to bring peace to the people of earth

Can be heard in the clamour of hatred and fear, if the presents we bring will remind them, this year

That nothing is gained by ignoring the news that the whole world relies on the different views

Of the people on earth being able, one day, to agree what is best, so to them all I say

Be kind and be peaceful, there’s plenty to do to keep this world beautiful and safe for you-

Look after the land and the rivers and seas and, at Christmas time, be loving and giving, please.

bookwormclipart

The Powers that Be

What is wrong with the world today? You can’t believe a word they say.

They tell us they want to stop a war and then go off and bomb some more.

They tweet and jeer to not lose face until we fear a new arms race.

Yet still parade like special friends as if sport all the trouble ends.

There’s poison smeared upon a door, something we’ve never seen before.

Two people almost die and still we do not know who made them ill.

It’s frightening how we do not mind if no more elephants we find,

If all the trees are felled and burned and calls to save the planet spurned.

And while we all pollute the sea with plastic, they cannot agree

To treat our world with love and care knowing this is the earth we share.

 

The Corruption of Truth

The written word has now become so unreliable that it would take a Hogarth to demonstrate Truth as a Prostitute – attended by Social Media, Television, Newspapers, Petitions and Tweets.

From not being concerned about accuracy in schools, to sloppy research and dependence on hearsay, the art of Journalism has become corrupted far beyond the lurid headline to the realms of fake news and disinformation.

We all know that editors of newspapers have their own political agenda – read the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Evening Standard and somewhere in their pages you might glean the truth, but honest, factual reporting does not sell newspapers and even Presidents resort to threats and challenges instead of rational discussion.

How, then, are we to expect sensible negotiations to result in amicable agreement?               Has the ability to see the other person’s point of view been lost for ever?                               Must we erase everything from the past that we disagree with?

Is it not our task to learn from the mistakes of the past, adjust to circumstances, change, evolve, improve? Where is the honesty, the willingness to listen and communicate with tolerance and understanding?

If life carries on in the present direction there will be no truth, no belief and no humanity.

Poem – WAR

“What did you do in the war, Daddy?””It all depends which war you mean.”

“They said there was mud and tanks, Daddy.Did you hear the wounded scream?

“Was it terrible in the trenches, Daddy. Did your friends and comrades die?”

“I wasn’t alive for that, son, but it made your Grandma cry.”

“So, what was the war you were in, Daddy? Did you march, or fly a plane?

“Did you struggle home on a boat, Daddy, and who was it to blame?”

“I was only a baby, then, son. I was far too young to fight,

But the enemy sent some planes and bombs that gave us an awful fright.

The battle then was won, son. The wars are different now.

There’s still folk who want to harm us and I’ll try to warn you how.

If people tend to disagree they no longer compromise

Instead they use weapons of hate to distribute their lies

On internet across the world  -so, they are with us, here.

We all have to be vigilant, our enemies are near.

We want to trust the folk we meet, but even those who care

Find ignorance and greed combine to bring destruction there.

For many weeks the news has led with terror and with pain

It makes one wonder if our wars will ever end again.”

 

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Wowee, what a revelation! I can remember being charmed by some of the poems in this book when I was little, especially ” The Land of Counterpane,”and “From a Railway Carriage”is still a classic but I hadn’t realised how dated it is. My copy has very sugary illustrations and I found the constant reference to “nursie” irritating but there is a severe lack of political correctness, partly, I believe, because it was written from a boy’s point of view and partly because, in an effort to include other countries Stevenson could not help but show the attitudes of the time (1920) The poem “Foreign Children” is offensive to modern eyes and there is a mention of the word “negro” which I would argue should be left as it is true to the period and not meant in a derogatory manner.

“The Lamplighter”could start a history lesson. “Windy Nights” could be the inspiration for an English lesson and there would be a lot of mileage in asking why so many poems were full of marching and drums and fighting. When I was young we all played war games, cowboys and indians, lead soldiers. I even used chess pieces as armies. That was then and this is now.

Thanks for making me look again at a book I treasured .