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Portions Of Various Letters Never Sent

Portions Of Various Letters Never Sent

A simple post, but powerful and full of emotion; say hello to Josh Wrenn and his Friday blog…

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Blogging

 

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One liner Wednesday: Sh*t my daughter says…

1linerwedsbadgewes.jpgAudrey talks in her sleep all the time, occasionally having what sound like entire conversations; we often hear her chattering away for five or ten minutes at a time, leaving pauses for what we assume to be answers from her imaginary nocturnal companions.

But it seems as if we may have been mistaken, at least as far as Audrey’s awareness of events is concerned, anyway.

She had been mumbling away quite happily to herself, prior to waking up the other morning, when Rhonda went in to get her up for school and have a quick snuggle. Thinking that she was addressing her, Rhonda responded to one of Audrey’s questions, waking her up in the process. She looked at Rhonda without any obvious surprise and said;

“Oh, I knew I was awake, when I talk in my sleep, nobody answers.”

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One liner Wednesday…

1linerwedsbadgewes.jpgWhilst I wait for a flash of inspiration to provide me with a new format for my weekly one liners, today I’m going to go with a direct quote, followed by a slightly altered advertising slogan to go with it (apologies if the second part makes no sense to non-British readers);

“Wait a minute, so if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?” “Yes.” I say, “No way, folks. No way!”

– Donald “the science guy” Trump, West Virginia, 05/05/16.

 

“The future is dim, the future is orange.”

 

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One liner Wednesday…

1linerwedsbadgewes.jpgThe cryptic concatenation of pithy proverbs can throw up some sound advice and, with Easter coming up, there can be none sounder than; “Don’t throw eggs”, although the flip side of that pairing is; “Don’t teach your grandmother to suck the baby out with the bath water.”

Wise words, indeed.

 

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One liner Wednesday…

1linerwedsbadgewes.jpg

 

 

 

Following on from last week’s composite proverb, another combination of aphoristic axioms springs to mind:

 

“Faith can move mountains, so if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, someone needs to have more faith, that’s all I’m saying.”

 

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All the world’s a page…

Today is World Book Day, a fact I was made aware of by Audrey, who went to school dressed as a witch, (her class are all being Harry Potter characters for the day) as part of the global celebration of all things literary.

Obviously I’m going to cynically use this as an excuse to promote Stories In Green Ink, the anthology containing my first published works of short fiction (written as Guy Thair)

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…ahead of the second collection featuring another one of my stories, which should be out later this month.

But I’m also going to take the opportunity to recommend a few of my (possibly rather predictable) all time favourite book series, starting with one that is soon to make its long-awaited appearance at the movies.

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Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is an extraordinarily ambitious and groundbreaking epic that defies classification.
It takes a classic western theme and mixes it with elements of thriller, mystery, fantasy, horror and sci-fi, resulting in a deeply satisfying and unique tale that takes the reader on a thrilling journey that manages to combine our world and that of the anti-hero, Roland, the last Gunslinger in a way that is natural and seamless.
Many people have told me they hadn’t read the books “because I don’t like horror stories”, but King is so much more than a horror writer and if you appreciate a fantastic story that’s beautifully written then I urge you to enter the world of the Dark Tower, I promise you won’t regret it.

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I know I’ve enthused about the genius of Douglas Adams on many occasions, but this is simply because I cannot praise him enough.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books are without doubt some of the funniest I’ve ever read (even after reading them over a dozen times, they still make me laugh out loud) and the story of Arthur Dent and his adventures in Adams’ surreal universe are endlessly inventive and thought-provoking.

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I couldn’t possibly talk about books without once again plugging the awesome Terry Pratchett and his hugely popular and influential Discworld™ series.
Terry has been compared to writers as diverse as P.G. Wodehouse and Jonathan Swift; his talent for taking everyday situations and familiar stereotypes and relocating them to his own version of the universe enables him to discuss important social issues and intellectual concepts in a way that is not only accessible but hilarious, with a wit and warmth that very few authors have ever achieved.

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And finally, a series of which many of you may never have heard; G.W. Dahlquist’s Glass Books of the Dream Eaters trilogy.
“Steampunk” covers a wide range of styles, but I think the Glass Books series epitomizes the genre; a faux-Victorian setting, a rollicking adventure, dark humour, a creeping sense of dread, erotic undertones and mysteriously advanced technologies being put to sinister use, Dahlquist crams all this and more into his books, which follow three wildly differing protagonists who have to rely on each other to foil the dastardly plans of some truly despicable villains.

So there is my contribution to World Book Day, I hope you are sufficiently tempted by my choices that you go and seek out at least one of my recommendations. With nearly fifty titles to choose from, it should be a while before you need to top up your book pile.

To play us out, who else but Elvis Costello and the 1983 classic, Every Day I Write The Book.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty six – New Starship Gypsies post…

image Ok, I’ve only just this minute finished writing this new episode of Starship Gypsies, so you can have this for today’s JJIJ post.

Fasten your seatbelts…

#JusJoJan

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Starship Gypsies

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Colan Dreeb lay on the new, non-regulation, divan bed in his cell, idly scrolling through the huge collection of murder-porn on his virtual reader unit.

He could hear the sound of his fellow prisoners being marched out into the force-shielded exercise area, from where they would have a 360° panoramic view of the endless, desolate and toxic surface of the planet on which the maximum security prison complex was located.

The designers of the facility had originally intended to make the dome-shaped shield completely opaque, given that there was literally nothing to see outside, apart from the occasional flashes of an electrical storm above the range of immense mountains that encircled the featureless plain where it stood. However, the company who ran the prison wanted the inmates to be able to see just how pointless an escape attempt would be, much like the infamous Alcatraz prison on late twentieth century…

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty five…

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So here we go for the final week of Just Jot It January, a feature that I’ve found to be a very worthwhile challenge to take part in and one that has made me very envious of all those of you who are able to write full-time.

I have wondered many times, since I started my blogging adventure four years ago, how good it would be to get up in the morning with nothing else to do except write.
I don’t mind having a “proper job”, I like to be busy and it’s just a means to an end after all,
We all need to do something to pay the bills and there are worse things than having to get up for work every day, but very few of us are lucky enough to do what we love for a living.

If I was able to choose, (i.e. if I suddenly came into a massive fortune, enabling me to give up my day job and spend my time doing exactly what I wanted) then I doubt I’d go overboard on the luxury items like fancy cars or big houses, I’d simply revel in the opportunity to write for long periods of time without interruptions.

Ok, so maybe I’d find us a nicer place to live, with a decent sized garden and the space to be able to have a dog, but I’m not talking about having a study to lock myself away in, or a summer house that I could retire to when I felt touched by the muse.
No, just the thought of having a few hours of peace and quiet every day, when there isn’t the mind-numbing jabber of children’s TV in the background, or the need to stop every five minutes to check out Audrey’s latest art project/cake design/baby dragon/video game, etc; that alone would gain me about two hours a day in concentration, easy.

Because the more often I write, the more often I want to write.
If I’m undisturbed, it doesn’t take me long to get “in the zone”, so to speak, it’s the stop-start-stop-start breaks in focus that often result in me giving up and waiting for a quite moment later on, (one of the primary reasons for my continual lateness with SoCS posts) so the ability to write all day would be luxury indeed.

However, I wouldn’t sacrifice the life that I have for the ephemeral satisfaction of making stuff up and writing it down, not only because it makes me very happy, but because that happiness is all part and parcel of what gives me the incentive to write in the first place.

So for now, until the royalty cheques start rolling in from the megabucks Hollywood adaptation of The Wrong Stuff, I’ll stick with wearing headphones, writing in the garden whenever possible, gritting my teeth when the Scooby Doo theme comes on for the fiftieth time that day and missing the odd deadline, because blogging might be great, but it’s no good unless there’s someone you love to tell you how brilliant you are.

{For Rhonda and Audrey, my two favourite distractions}

#JusJoJan

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty one…

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I’m just jotting a quick update for today’s JJIJ post, because I’ve just received yet another award nomination and I’d like to be able to do it justice in its own post later on.

So…

Since I told you my exciting news the other day, about being given a second opportunity to have my work published, I have sent in a story that I wanted to include in Stories In Green Ink, but which was too long to fit the submission criteria.
Well, I heard back from the publisher yesterday that it has been accepted. Yay!

Not only that, but I also managed to sort out the problem that some of my American readers were apparently having with finding the book on the US Amazon site.
I got this response to my e-mail;

“Hello,

I checked our US website and can confirm your Kindle book is indeed live and buyable at a list price of $6.99.

Please be assured that the book can be downloaded to all Kindle devices and applications.

If you still think they didn’t receive the correct version, you can ask them to contact our customer service at this toll-free number, 1-866-216-1072 and they will be able to push the content to you.”

So now you know.

But if you’d like to go directly to the right page, here are those links in full:

U.S. readers go HERE for both formats.

U.K. readers go HERE for Kindle or HERE for paperback.

And, just in case you think I’m only interested in plugging myself, (like the blogslut I most assuredly am) here are a couple of random artistic oddities I made.

A gif of a galaxy…

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…and Fuckface von Clownstick in the role he was born to play; an unprincipled presidential candidate in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.

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You’re welcome.

#JusJoJan

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty…

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I’m beginning to think that Just Jot It January is some sort of jinx, what with all the public figures dropping dead left, right and centre.

Just in the last week or so we’ve lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman and Dale Griffin from Mott the Hoople, and now I wake up to the terrible news that Queen Elizabeth has passed away.

Apparently she was taken ill with a nasty case of hypothermia whilst snowboarding in the back garden at Balmoral yesterday and died later from complications resulting from overdoing the Jaegerbombs in an attempt to warm up.
Prince King Charles has asked that the royal family be allowed their privacy in this, his hour of celebration grief.

Ok, that’s not actually true.

But how many of you stopped reading in shock after the first paragraph and googled “Queen Elizabeth dead”?

I’m hoping very few of you, because I like to think my readers are somewhat brighter than that (plus, you probably noticed that this post was tagged “hoaxes”; a bit of a giveaway in itself) and you don’t just automatically believe something on the basis that “it’s on the internet, so it must be true”.

But not everyone online has your finely-tuned analytical faculties (or “bullshit detectors” as I prefer to think of them) and many people will indeed take anything they see as they cruise the information superhighway as the gospel truth.

Facebook appears to be one of the most densely packed credibility minefields for the gullible to pick their way through, with idiotic memes and nonsensical “facts” being posted almost every day by the less discerning web surfer.

I could understand if these cheeky attempts to con people into believing rubbish were in some way humorous or satirical, (it’s easy enough to manufacture reasonably convincing spoofs these days, with all the gadgets, apps and simple technology available to us at the touch of a button) here’s one that took me two minutes to make just now…

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…but so many of the allegedly plausible posts I see scrolling past, often posted by friends I know to be intelligent and articulate in any other situation, are so demonstrably bollocks that it amazes me they manage to get through anyone’s bullshit filter without setting off all the alarms on first reading.

For instance, here’s a perennial favourite, the inane response to a con that I’m sure you’ve seen on the Facebook newsfeed, one which seems to do the rounds on a regular basis;

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Now, I understand that unchecked optimism can lead to the odd lapse in judgement, but surely nobody realistically believes that Mr Zuckerberg got rich by randomly giving his money away to strangers, (especially when he has all those diapers and babysitters to pay for) so what makes anyone think it’s even worth reposting this stuff?

And then there are things like this next one, which I really can’t get my head round.

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Why somebody would fabricate this sort of pseudo-medical nonsense to start with is completely beyond me.
Apart from anything else, there is a very real risk of someone actually taking it seriously and, relying on the idea that, if you get chest pains the best thing to do is have a nice refreshing glass of water and go to bed, could very well result in you waking up dead.

Not all of these memes are dangerous of course.
How about the much-reproduced post that claims to be the “last words of Steve Jobs”..?

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…it isn’t exactly malicious, but I doubt his loved ones appreciate their deceased friend or family member’s image being hijacked, in order to service some personal agenda or bid for notoriety.

And yet thousands of people have unthinkingly shared it without even the slightest suspicion that, amongst other things;
a) as a confirmed atheist, Jobs was unlikely to be thinking of God at all, let alone giving him column inches in his epitaph,
b) he would have posted something that was written with such peculiar phrasing and grammar (particularly given Jobs’ well documented perfectionism), or
c) he had such a long and cheesy speech ready to quote at the last minute, even if he’d had the strength or inclination to self-eulogize to such an extent anyway.

Jobs isn’t the only victim of posthumous image fraud of course, there are many others whose pictures have been manipulated for fun or mischief, (like my Dr MLK meme at the start of this post) the best known of which is probably one of the variations on photos of Albert Einstein…

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…and, most recently, this photo of the late, great David Bowie and his old mate, Lemmy…

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…which is a nice piece of fan-generated wish fulfillment, but the original photo featured Lemmy and his French girlfriend.

So, how do you avoid the crushing disappointment/cringing embarrassment of posting something that is less realistic than The Donald’s hairline?
You use Snopes of course, either that or Hoax Slayer, that way you can post away to your heart’s content and not worry about being ridiculed by your online peers for a Facebook faux-pas.

I know a lot of you are thinking; “What a patronising bastard, we’re not stupid you know!”, but there is at least one person reading this who will be glad of a fact checker (you know who you are, hahaha) and I’m sure they’ll make good use of it in the future too.

#JusJoJan

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