What I’ve Done This Week #31…

This week I wrote the first new material for The Ballad of Martha Brody that I have done in years. It’s not much, and it was more than a little spontaneous, but it does mean the story is on my mind.

At the start of the year I mentioned that I was considering going back to this story, and I was… but since that time other pieces have taken precedence. Now I’m ready to – at the very least – include it in my rotation of stories.

The first thing I have to do is find a place within the narrative for the orphaned chapter I wrote some time ago, since the last draft was finished in 2013. After that I need to figure out if this thing can be stretched to a novel (without compromising the story I’m telling), or if it should remain in that literary wasteland where all the other novellas reside.



Potted Film Review: Chloe (2009)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Julianne Moore

51cvj8kZo5LWhat’s it all about?
Liam Neeson plays David, a college professor who is caught running the same routine day after day. His wife Catherine (played by Julianne Moore) suspects him of having an affair, so she hires call-girl, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to tempt him and see if he really is being faithful.

Catherine regularly meets with Chloe to find out what has happened between the two of them, and Chloe is very quick to spill the beans, although things get a little twisted when it is apparent that Catherine is attracted to the call-girl she is paying to seduce her husband.

As the film winds up to boiling point it plays out like every other erotic thriller you have ever seen, and you won’t find any new twists on old tropes here.

Watching it with the kids…
Chloe is an erotic thriller, so that should tell you all you need to know. There is perhaps less nudity than you would expect (because nobody really wants to see Liam Neeson bumping uglies), but there are some fairly graphic sexual descriptions here that may have you cringing. So no, don’t watch it with them.

Erotic thrillers were very popular in the nineties, and this feels like it should be right there next to those, because it’s about quarter of a century too late. There are many better and more innovative examples of this genre out there if that’s what you’re in to, so go watch one of those, because this is competent at best.

Not Recommended ↓

What I’ve Done This Week #29 (and #30)…

Well it is finally done. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated, but after powering through the rough patches, Flowers For Someone Else is finished. Perfect? No. But it’s done. It’s not what I had expected at the beginning, but stories rarely stick to the blueprint.

At 3100 words, it is the longest new story I have written for almost five years. Every time I tried to wrap it up the words just kept on coming – not necessarily a bad problem to have, but I was starting to worry I had forgotten how to climax… in a manner of speaking.

Flowers For Someone Else is also the only tale (I can remember) that I’ve done in second person, so that’s a nice one to strike off my creative writing bucket list.

Now I can file that one away and move on…

Potted Film Review: The Shape of Water (2017)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones

What’s it all about?
Elisa is a mute cleaner who works in an undisclosed government facility. She does her job and keeps her nose clean, chatting to her friend Zelda, unti one day she discovers a strange amphibious creature in one of the rooms that she is cleaning.

Initially Elisa’s interest in the creature is no more than curiosity, but her feelings soon grow into something greater, and against all odds the two form a close bond.

Elisa hatches a plan to steal the creature, thereby releasing from its shackles, so that she can keep it in her apartment where it will not have to be subjected to pokes and prods from the government officials. She elicits the help of her father and Zelda to do this.

Watching it with the kids…
There are a couple of scenes where things get pretty violent and bloody, and you may have to turn away from the screen if that isn’t your kind of thing. There is sex, a bunch of bad words, and full frontal nudity. So no, don’t watch this with the little ones.

The Shape of Water is both a very strange movie, but also a very simple one. Yes, it’s a period fantasy movie centred around a man-fish (or maybe it’s a fish-man), held captive by some shady political officials, but it’s essentially just a love story with a few bells and whistles to make it stand out from the crowd. And it does stand out. It starts off slowly, but by the time the credits rolled it had made me a believer, and I wanted them to live happily ever after too.

Recommended ↑

Fatal Extraction, Part III…

You can catch up with the story so far here and here.

So after that first tooth being removed, the revised plan was for the hygienist to give my mouth the once over before the dentist got around to taking out the second, and less problematic, tooth. That didn’t strike me as the best idea because the original plan had been to get my teeth cleaned before yanking the offending ones out.

Anyway, I made the hygienist appointment for a few days after the first removal and paid the £55 for it in advance. Yes, that’s the cost of a thirty minute cleaning on the NHS. I was surprised too. I grudged the amount, but I was prepared to accept it given that it was my fault I was in that position in the first place.

When I went back for my designated slot the hygienist asked if I had had any recent problems with my teeth, and I instantly got the impression she had no idea I had been there a few days earlier for an extraction.

When I explained the situation she took one look inside my mouth and decided against the clean. She said she didn’t want to risk infection, which was always a possibility with an open wound, something that struck me as a little amusing because a few days earlier the dentist had just decided to go ahead after explaining the same thing.

So after mentally preparing myself for it – and having already paid for the treatment – the hygienist sent me away home and told me to come back in a few weeks once the socket had properly healed.

Oh well.

… to be continued…

New Sounds…

I kind of stopped keeping a close ear on music and musical trends a lot of years ago, so I will very rarely champion new music, but when I find something I like it’s only fair that I throw some light upon it.

Dirty Honey may sound like a porn site (and I’d probably like that too) but it’s actually an American four-piece rock band that could be the musical lovechild of Guns ‘n’ Roses and AC/DC.

The lead singer Marc LaBelle is extremely reminiscent of Axl Rose back in the raw days of Appetite for Destruction, so much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just an impression, rather than a serious attempt at making a musical statement.

If you enjoy old fashioned rock sounds, there’s a very good chance their music will strike a chord with you.

I’m sure they’ve been plying their craft for a while, but being relatively new to the public consciousness they don’t have a huge back catalogue to listen to, but check out their track When I’m Gone and let me know what you think.

I reckon you’ll be hearing more about them before too long.

What I’ve Done This Week #27 (and #28)…

I had every intention of trying to get some writing done when I was away on holiday last week, but that never came to anything. We were up early every morning, and by the time we got back to the caravan each day after our adventures (and I blogged about it) I was getting tired and it was getting late.

But I have got on with it this week and things are moving along nicely with Flowers for Someone Else. I am sure it will be finished before too long… if I could get out of this habit that I can’t seem to shake.

Every time I open the Word document to carry on with it I go back to the start and begin going through the story meticulousy again. I don’t really know why. Sure, it means the first half of it reads very well, but it also means I haven’t spent too much time with how it all turns out. I guess a psychologist would tell me it’s because I am scared to reach the end. Maybe that’s true because other than my Jack and Patrick stuff I haven’t done much new this year.

But, I’ll work through it, and this time next week I should have another story to show for it.