Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tenerife: An Island Hammock

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I moved to Tenerife a few days ago for a new teaching job, and have been struck by something amazing. I can’t even really explain what it is, but I shall try to put words to feelings in this piece. Objectively speaking, there is nothing great about this arid Spanish- colonised island of the African coast. The landscape is desert with volcanic mountains. The coastline of volcanic black sand as dark as coal dust makes a temporary home to the Irish, British, Germans & Russians who wish to turn themselves dark crimson momentarily before returning to their natural milky complexions. So why is it that I feel so drawn to this arid rock filled with tourists?

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Can you ever truly write a memory?

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I was at a family gathering last night back in Ireland. It happened at my late grandmother’s house; the place where I spent some of the best days of my childhood. The nostalgia crept up on me instantly as I walked up to the farm. It was the place where my cousins I and first allowed our imaginations to run wild. They were the days when I created my worlds physically to run amok within. In some ways I suppose it was where my love of the imagination grew from. I don’t think that I’d be a writer today if I hadn’t spent my childhood making stories among those fields. A broken down tractor that became a multi-functional vehicle. A collection of trees that became the set of a million different dramas. The bales of hay that became a wrestling ring. However, when I began to think about writing about what I saw; I couldn’t.

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The Ducks

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I take the pills in a withered hand. It shakes. Not from fear though. It hasn’t stopped since the day you passed. The flask-warmed tea tastes bitter as the pills dissolve within it. The two curdle together in my mouth. Not long now. Or so I hope.

A hole in the moth-eaten tweed draws my brittle fingers toward it. Purple snake-veins protrude from the wrinkled milky waste. I attempt to mask the hole from…from whom? Is there anybody left to even notice and, if they did, to care.

Your duck is still here. He looks unsure of whether to take the crumbs that I throw towards him. Perhaps they were sweeter coming from you. But then again everything was sweeter coming from you. The ground that I walk upon is now worth more than everything and everyone that walks upon it, because you rest within it.

All the ducks seem less eager for sustenance without your presence. For them, the very act of eating has lost all joy, point or purpose. They merely wade aimlessly. The sky above is a dirty blue and the sun stifles the inside of my collar.

The clouds come down upon me all at once. The colours fade to a pureness of white. I see your face. You smile as I reach out to wipe the joyous tear from your cheek.

 

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Wonga: Widening the Divide

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The corporate loan shark ‘Wonga’ has received a lot of media coverage in the UK recently. The website boasts easy short term loans with an APR of 5853%. The most disconcerting element of this relatively recent development isn’t that it exists – or that it is allowed to exist – but that society has reached such a point of utter desperation that it has come into existence. Surely in a ‘Developed First World’ country legalised extortion is not a necessary evil. To quote the almost comically ludicrous interest rates borrowing £1 for a week expects a return of £6.96[1]. We could argue that people have the freedom to choose and they need to take responsibility for their own actions. Therefore they have to suffer the consequences of them. Further, the question remains: are people really this desperate?

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On Publishing

Publishing

I’ve been thinking more and more about publishing recently; which is strange since I currently have nothing anywhere near publication standards. Yet it seems to be something that needs to always be on your mind as a writer. The entire purpose of writing is to get your work out there and get people reading it. So it seems to stand to logic that how you go about getting your work out there needs to be of central importance. There is a wealth of articles suggesting the best or easiest or newest ways of getting your work published. The general consensus is to self-publish or publish as an e-book.  But where has the physical hardback book gone?

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Loss

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Huddled in the doorway, Jane’s eyes glance across the street towards me, as –

 

‘How can you say you’ve never had a girlfriend?’ she said, that first morning as she rolled over onto her side. She ran her fingers across my chest making little circles.

‘I just haven’t. You know the way girls are –’

‘What does that mean?’ She playfully gripped my chest hairs.

I must have drifted off because as my vision focused her soft blue eyes were searching mine.

‘Where did you go?’

‘They just can’t be…nobody can be trusted.’ I wriggled free and walked towards the bathroom. She slid between me and the door; her smile now distant.  

‘I can.’ She whispered as she pressed her lips against mine.

 

– she pushes him away from her embrace.

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The Polite Big Brother?

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The panopticonic eye looms over the streetscape, simultaneously recording and judging the every move of the unfazed masses. Thecamera stands like a moral voyeur ready to pounce on the first sign of civil disobedience. The tagline ‘we’re watching out for you’ plastered across posters and signs. The strategically placed ‘out for’ carefully injected to pacify the historically-forgetful public. Are we to feel placated by the false sense of security? Relieved by Big Brother’s more gentle politically correct rejuvenation? Or do we simply have more pressing issues then our lost sense of privacy?

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