Rosco’s Autobiography

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Rosco is writing his biography.

“Isn’t it a little premature?” I say. “After all, you’re only five years old.”

“Thirty five!” he shoots back.

“Oh, you’re using that old argument about one year in a cat’s life is equal to seven in a human’s.”

“Precisely.”

“But you’ve done nothing. You just sit around and eat and sleep.”

“Sounds like someone else I know.”

“That’s a bit harsh: biting the hand that feeds you.”

“If the shoe fits …”

“Have you written anything yet?”

“Not quite.”

“Not quite? Either you have or you haven’t.”

“I’m not sure how to begin. I’ve got a few openings.”

“Let’s hear them.”

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

“Hang on,” I say. “That’s been done before.”

“Someone’s copied off me?”

“The other way around more like it.”

“How about: ‘Call Me Rosco.’”

“I think we need to have a talk,” I say, “about plagiarism.”

 

* have you begun writing your autobiography yet? what do you think you might call it?

* what’s one of the best autobiographies you’ve read?

 

Tethered

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A writer disappears into his books.

It is a familiar story.

And a familiar paradox.

If a man does not disappear into his books

They will not be written.

A judicious voice says, a balance must be struck.

But we are talking Creativity.

It is in the same category as Love and War.

If a man is to write a million words

Then he must disappear into his books.

He will not always be available.

Marriages will strain, children be neglected.

A woman can disappear into her books too

But not as readily.

Maybe she is more tethered to the world.

Maybe that’s it.

The Woman in the Glove Box

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It is time to bring out the woman in the glove box again.

There are no gloves in there.

But there is Olive,

Quirky , off-kilter as this blog which is perhaps why I like her.

I like her feistiness too,

How she tells her husband,

“Stop shouting! Do you think that makes you a man?”

“All men need to be told this,” my partner tells me

Who likes Olive too.

She is getting the new book, the sequel, when it comes out.

But she is not like Olive.

Olive has a big personality and is not backward in coming forward,

As my mother used to say.

She is curious but curiously vulnerable.

She is the engine of the novel, the fuel, the vehicle

That takes you there.

She waits in the glove box like a car in a garage.

 

* have you a favourite fictional character?

* what do you admire in them?

Out on the Moors Again

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She’s reading the graphic novel Donna had accidentally left from her last visit. It’s Wuthering Heights. She’s unfamiliar with the format but rather relishes the art work that captures the violence and energy of the original.

Outside in the garden she is listening to the wind picking up, whining and whimpering like a dog that’s been shut out in the cold and she’s out on the moors again with Cathy and Heathcliff, her wild grey hair escaping from a loose bun.

 

Do You Know What Your Rooster is Up To?

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As she lay in the hospice ,

cranked up by morphine,

she thought of Mr. Barnes

That little red rooster from her childhood days

In Battlelake, Minnesota.

That Barnes — he was something,

She said

Puffed out his chest and walked through life:

“I want the biggest and the best and the most of whatever

You’ve got”

He had attitude.

He had a harem.

One day when she was home from school with chickenpox

She watched Mr. Barnes

Fornicate with his hens forty six times and that was when

She was awake.

He was the sheik of Battlelake

Even strutting off to other farms.

That Mr. Barnes!

He thought the whole world belonged to him and beyond that —

The sun, the stars, the Milky Way — all of it

& as she lay dying

She hoped to meet him on the other side.

 

do you have a hero? what qualities do you admire in that person?

do you have an animal you admire, either in literature or real life?

One Way

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We were seated at the feet of the Great Writer who at 37 already had three novels published, the latest of which had just won the Booker Prize as it was then known.

“I will tell you a secret,” he said. “one which is not really a secret. It has been known for millennia but it has been largely overlooked and forgotten. Aristotle first taught it in his ‘Poetics.’. It is the principle of Endings. “

We leant forward. I had my notebook ready. “The ending,” he said, “is written in the beginning. There should be only one way a story can end. The challenge for any writer is to surprise the audience with the inevitability of everything that happens. There is no such thing as alternative endings. I repeat, there is only one way a story can end.”

 

do you agree with that? Is there only one way to end a story?

can you think of a story — fairy tale, parable, short story, film — that could have ended in a way different to how it did?

have you read Salman Rushdie’s Booker prize winning novel, ‘Midnight’s Children’?

Falling Awake

 

Grapevinesnail_01I am reading a book of very strange stories.

One of them is called ‘Falling Awake’.

It is only six sentences long.

Here it is in its entirety:

 

I have no trouble falling asleep.

I have a lot of trouble falling awake.

Sometimes I sleep ten to twelve hours a day before snailing towards the light.

One day I will fall asleep and not fall awake or fall awake and not fall asleep.

Neither prospect daunts me.

I like adventures; no matter how short.