He said you had to work hard to be a novelist. You had to be curious, of course, and be able to write. But you had to knuckle down, dig deep, and plan, plan, plan. A novel took him three years: two years to research, and one year to write. Before he wrote a single word he knew what would happen when, to who, and how his story would end.
Some of his friends were poets. They thought he was mad. They could craft a poem in a single afternoon. This struck me as sensible. I left, caught the last tube home, scrapped my idea for a novel, and started writing poetry.
It was a big night, a great night, he’d swept her off her feet. And now it was time to go, she had to make a decision. She thought about her man, asleep and dribbling: the black ink on his fingertips smudging the sofa. ‘Well?’ She slipped off her heels, ran like the wind, and just made the last bus to Peckham.
My 12th #12x12x62, a great project conceived and run by Richard Pelletier, a Seattle based photographer. This is my last official one, but I’m going to continue doing it. I like the discipline of one shot and 62 words per month. I need a structure and a deadline or I wouldn’t write anything.
London, I love you, man. I say man as you are male. Alpha Male: a striding French rooster, an upstanding admiral, or an African lion; preening and confident, so dominant.
Many despise you, but I laugh with you, drink with you, and learn from you. You give me energy and life, purpose and pride. And Nelson’s phallic column, always makes me smile.
Part of #12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Seattle based photographer, Richard Pelletier.
John said, ‘A man looks better with a beer in his hand’, so I took one. It was 11.30am. I drank and he spoke. His pills meant he couldn’t join me, and I felt he was drinking vicariously through me. I was drinking for two.
We used to prop up the bar of our local pub on the corner. We talked about football, work and our wives – the usual things that concern men in bars. But now he was housebound, and I was one of his few links to the outside world. ‘Don’t get old, Andy,’ he said, ‘enjoy yourself while you’re still young.’
I thought about this as I lounged on the sofa later that afternoon… nodding off gently, sliding into slumber – forty years younger than him, but wasting away on a soft sunny day, just like my old friend.
He’d come as a boy, and returned with his own family. He looked at the lights and darkening sky, and felt a curious mix of melancholy and joy. He was getting older, but knew he’d make the most of the time he had left. ‘Be thankful for what you’ve got’, he sang, as the dying day faded gently in to the night.
Part of #12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier.
They walked to the place where two paths crossed: a big ‘X’ carved out in the ground. This was the spot where they first kissed. The scene of their last. Her lips used to taste like Turkish Delight, ‘full of eastern promise’, now they were like driftwood. Everything was wrong. She walked away, getting smaller by the second, before disappearing for good.
Part of #12x12x62.
Pools on the Park
Scene of crimes against writing
Verse refusing to rhyme
Mixed-up metaphors making mischief
Sentences formed on the wrong side of town
Semi colons misused; abused and unloved
Grammatical rules broken
Haikus hung out to dry
Prose knocked out in short order
Left face down on the page
No proof necessary
Guilty as charged