I scribble down quickly
so as not to forget
I cannot make out
whatever it was
that came to me
so perfectly formed.
I am flying down the road and there it is.
In my head formed the perfect line.
I repeat it in hopes of keeping it mine.
Looking for my voice memo tile
Now I’ve lost it, but it was mine for a while.
As far back as I can remember, I've loved writing. I suppose I was an avid reader first, and that ability for authors to bring worlds and people alive through their pen, became a fascinating ability to me. I've always wanted to write that book that draws you in, that becomes a reality to you for those hours lost in its pages. To create the characters that feel like a part of your world, the ones that can make you laugh or cry or even scream in frustration. But, too often when I sit down to write, my head becomes a jumbled mess of thoughts, bouncing from one idea to another, unable to form a cohesive idea to put down on paper. Perhaps that's all my writing will ever amount to, a bunch of rambling snapshots of my head at that date and time. I suppose only time will tell.
See, i've written this before. Yes, i've written this before that of which i cannot write. The pattern does not fall in line like soft taps of rain on a window it is...sporatic. Never knowing when exactly the rhyme will be in time with the words. There! you see it? When referring to the time of mine it's fine, it falls in line and clinks like a simple chime in the rhyme more emphasis going in on the words like it should be a crime this is not traditional poetry. This is chaos. You cannot control chaos. So when giving me a prompt I can give you art on a stage with an audience made of pages and pages of words binded together by a red string, but don't expect it to rhyme expect it to flow like a waterfall and an abrupt end like the droplets hitting the water.
As A Beak To A Hen
Fort’or Gladio led his army through the enemy’s stronghold, every man bravely fighting back Arcus-In Imicus’s undead soldiers. Together, they cut through the sorcerer’s defences and made their way to the base of the tower. Many good men had fallen, and Fort’or profoundly felt the loss of each. But the worst loss would be that of his beloved, Vasíl Issair Oídas. The foreign queen to whom he was betrothed would be cast from the parapet unless Fort’or could reach her in time.
As he bound toward the spiralling stairway, a tremendous screech rent the air. Downdrafts from huge, leathery wings beat at the men. Their eyes turned upward and some of his army, men war-hardened in many battles, wept openly. Descending upon them was the dread sight of Storslem, a diabolical creature Arcus-In had summoned from the Pits.
Fort’or recognised that the beast had been sent to prevent Vasil’s rescue. Storslem was behind him, nothing preventing him racing up the tower to his queen. But more men would die under the monster’s crushing limbs and its horrific bite. He could not abandon them after they had given so much to his cause.
Standing at the foot of the tower, Fort’or had to choose between the life of the woman he loved or many valiant men.
Eric Scrafe closed the book and began to breathe again.
He had burned through the 600-page novel while waiting in line. That the most recent book in the Moonsetter saga had ended in yet another cliff-hanger did not disappoint him, but fuelled his yearning for the next instalment. What was disappointing was the fact that he would have to wait a year; Crescent Tears had just been released that day.
He checked his watch and felt his excitement increase. Within five minutes, Dane Kelton – the world’s best fantasy author in Eric’s opinion – would be ushered from the back of the bookstore and take his place at the desk to begin the book signing.
Eric was first in the queue, as usual. He was Kelton’s number one fan, owning every book, short story, article, interview and podcast his idol had written or appeared in. He even owned the pre-Moonsetter stories which, though it pained Eric to admit, were sub-par literary efforts.
He knew Kelton wrote the current books longhand, using the same fountain pen he had started the saga with. Eric was so enamoured with the writer, he had even spent a large portion of his savings on buying an exact replica, a limited edition eighteen-karat gold Aurora Leonardo da Vinci fountain pen.
The handle and lid were engraved with markings resembling a mystic language, one that could easily be found in the world Kelton created. Just holding the pen made Eric feel a connection to the fantasy world and, in turn, to Kelton himself.
Finally, the wordsmith made his appearance and Eric felt his stomach knot with nerves. He watched the bookstore manager intently, waiting for the nod that would indicate the signing had officially begun. Time slowed down… then the signal came.
Eric approached the table with a huge grin on his face. Kelton smiled up at him.
‘Hello, you,’ the author said warmly.
Eric’s heart burst. Kelton recognised him. Surely this was the best day of his life.
‘Hello, Mr Kelton,’ Eric replied, his throat dry.
‘Please, call me Dane.’
First name terms, Eric thought with pride.
‘I absolutely adore your work. I have everything you’ve written. I even bought a pen similar to yours.’ He pulled out the golden fountain pen for Kelton to see.
Kelton took the pen and placed it next to his own. They were identical.
‘I’m impressed,’ Kelton said. ‘I’m told they’re expensive.’
‘Two thousand, four hundred pounds,’ Eric said with a nod.
The author’s eyes widened. ‘Wow. I knew my wife loved me. Now I know how much.’
‘She gave it to you as a present, is that true?’
‘Almost,’ Kelton answered. ‘She let me borrow it once, and it’s still on loan.’
Eric laughed. Dane had a great sense of humour.
‘Is it also true Clara created Fort’or Gladio?’
‘She wrote a short story which introduced him, and I fell in love with the character. In fact, she used this very pen. Do you have something for me to sign?’
Eric passed him the pristine copy of Crescent Eyes. He always bought two copies at book signings, one to read, over and over again, and another to be autographed and kept in excellent condition. He read the inscription as Kelton wrote: “For always being first in line, and for having exquisite taste, thank you, your friend Dane Kelton.”
With a warm feeling inside, Eric took his latest prized possession and his pen and drifted home on cloud nine.
Eric awoke late the next day. The excursion to see Kelton had taken him 190 miles from his hometown and cost him two days of annual leave. The four-hour train journey, which included changing at York, meant he had had to set off in the morning and had not returned home until well after midnight.
He regretted nothing though, he thought as he stretched and yawned. Some of his colleagues regularly travelled hundreds of miles to watch their favourite teams playing away; was his love for fiction any different to that?
Having devoured the new novel again on the return journey, he planned to read it for the third time in the comfort of his lounge as soon as he’d had breakfast and checked Kelton’s website.
As he waited for the kettle to boil, he accessed the internet through his phone. He had long ago set moonsetter.co.uk as his homepage. Kelton infrequently updated his blog and, as it was written by his favourite author, Eric relished every surprise entry. When he saw that another blog had been added the previous night, his pulse raced with anticipation.
He thumbed through to the page and read the writer’s words:
Tonight saw the launch of Fort’or Gladio’s latest adventure in Crescent Eyes, book eight of the Moonsetter series. The first book signing, at Schuster Bookstore in London, was a great success and, as usual, it was a delight to meet the fans.
One such fan shared with me his Aurora Leonardo da Vinci pen and, I’m embarrassed to say, our pens were accidentally swapped. I discovered the error when I came to draft the new Gladio story.
I implore you to contact me as soon as you can to arrange the exchange of our respective properties.
Eric felt his heart fluttering. Kelton had mentioned him. He was famous. He read the entry again. Okay, he thought, so he hasn’t mentioned me by name, but he is probably protecting my identity.
This was fantastic news. He was going to get to meet his hero again, this time on a one-to-one basis.
He looked around his poky flat. Kelton couldn’t come here, not a man of his stature. They would have to meet in a public place, perhaps one of the posher restaurants in town. Eric felt his belly turning somersaults as he considered eating across from Dane Kelton. He wondered if they would discuss the next Moonsetter book.
The kettle clicked off, returning Eric to the moment. First thing’s first, he thought. I have to reply.
He entered the ‘Contact Us’ page and began typing in his message:
Im sorry i took ur pen by mistake. I look 4ward to meeting u to return it. Pls call me 2 arrange a meeting place.
After typing in his mobile number, his thumb hovered over the ‘send’ icon. He re-read his short sentences and grimaced at the inadequacies of his use of language. He couldn’t send that to the world’s greatest living author. Kelton deserved something better, something special.
An idea dawned in his mind and he laughed at his originality. He would handwrite a letter, take a photo of it and use that as a joint apology-invitation. And, as a mark of honour and respect, he would use Kelton’s own pen to write it.
Coffee forgotten, Eric marched back into his bedroom and rummaged through drawers until he found his writing pad. He took Kelton’s golden pen – barely breathing as he held the instrument with a new-found awe – carefully removed the lid and, copying the words he had drafted online, he wrote:
Fort’or Gladio stood at the bottom of Arcus-In Imicus’s tower, gazing longingly at the ascending staircase. His beloved Vasíl Issair Oídas lay at the top, many storeys above, facing death. Around him, Fort’or’s men screamed as they were torn apart by the hell spawn Storslem.
Cursing himself for the decision, Fort’or turned to face the winged demon and, with a heavy dread in his soul, leapt forward.
hiding my reality behind a screen
did you know that
people can be identified
by their handwriting?
whole identities shaped by
a few hasty strokes of a pencil.
everything about you
contained in paper and pen.
on the internet,
my identity is hidden
by uniform typography.
anonymity is the cloak i use
to pretend that i am something more
on the internet,
my words can be
whatever i want them to be.
on paper, they are real,
and they are crude,
and i fear that
they may come back and bite me.
when i close my computer screen
i always feel as though things cannot be seen
a childish notion, of course,
the one of privacy.
privacy doesn't exist,
especially not in websites and tv.
when i write in my notebook
things feel so much more real
like if i open the flimsy plastic cover
the pencil could peel off the page
and become a graphite monster.
like one day,
people will read my handwriting
and know me
better than i know myself.
i fear that someone will see this smeared pencil
all they'll see is an unreadable mass
of blurred lines
between this world and mine.
i fear people will erase the words
i worked so hard to form
and i'm scared that pen and paper
aren't permanent enough to be meaningful.
so the only things i write on paper
are dark thoughts and ideas
crammed into notebooks
where i can either
use them later