Issue #64 - January 23rd - 29th, 2004

Nothing is normal when you have a bright yellow ball
The girl took away the funny looking tree from the house today. Good thing too if you ask me. Everyone knows that trees don't belong in houses.
By Belle

Noonday
The town is drowsy, asleep, the only movement the interminable flying of the birds, the straining of the trees away from the stoveplate clay towards a hotter sky, and the trembling of buildings down the silver streets and up the hill. Cicada's whine out a substrate to paint this nothing on.
By Johan Hugo

The beauty in the way that we are living
Ahead and above the cranes from the docks mark the place we want to get to. The sky's blindingly blue and there's sunlight everywhere, even in my heart.
By Dimitra Daisy

The long lost diary of Miss S L Gleaden (part 15)
Her heart raced and she filled her lungs with the polluted London air. She could do anything she wanted to do.
By Rachel Queen

Shelters
But isn't this what you always wanted? No ties, the total freedom, the liberty and autonomy to do as you please?
By Tom Bickell

What A Toss With Your Boss !
You have just been introduced to your immediate superior or "Boss" , your controlling officer . A person , whom you are to report to every day of three sixty five days a year, and who will be the guy to scribble on your annual appraisal sheet.
By Partha Pratim Majumder

 

 

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Nothing is normal when you have a bright yellow ball

The girl took away the funny looking tree from the house today. Good thing too if you ask me. Everyone knows that trees don't belong in houses. Now that that has gone everything is completely back to normal.

It's a shame in a way because the past few weeks have been great fun. One day the girl and her family thought it would be a good idea if they wrapped things up in shiny paper and gave them to one another. Then what they did was take of the shiny paper and look at what was inside. It was quite a good game I can tell you! The girl gave me a bright yellow ball which sings the most lovely song if you chew it.

I've been chewing it a lot these last few weeks.

"Squeak, squeak, squeak!"

It really is a very catchy tune.

I felt a bit bad that I hadn't given the girl anything but I'm sure she appreciated the song my ball sang as much as me. Not only that but the girl had been at home a lot more the past few weeks and we've met lots of different people. It has been great! You can see why I didn't want everything to go back to normal? Normal things I usually really enjoy just didn't seem quite as much fun anymore.

The other day the girl had put on her smart clothes got up before 10 and was preparing to leave the house without me. I knew right away what this meant. Things were going back to normal whether I liked it or not.

I flopped to the floor, pressing myself as flat as I possibly could and made my eyes look sad and mournful.

"Please don't leave me girl, please stay at home with me again today" I whined pityingly
"I'm sorry belle I have to work" she said in voice laced with guilt
"I wish we could always do exciting things but we can't…" she continued
I sighed the biggest sigh that you've ever heard
"But we can always have something exciting to think about, something that makes the dullest of days that little bit brighter."
I perked up a bit.
"Ok here's the deal belle, if you promise to be good while I'm out today, I'll take you for a nice long walk when I get back"

"Hmmm…walk" I thought, " I like that idea". Then fell asleep dreaming about frosty leaves, and muddy paths.

The girl is right. Even normal days can be fun if you have something good to think about.

Belle

 

 

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Noonday

The dwarf sits by the fountain, contemplating doves. A churchbell sounds a lazy noon, and a flight of pigeons flash overhead, one discharging on his shaven head. He gets up then, and is not so short after all, merely sunken in onto himself against the sun. Water from the fountain splashes over the head held out as if for execution and - he fancies - a momentary milky swirl disappears into the colourless pool below. The water sizzles and spits off his leathered scalp, and finally trickles into the little valley formed by eyes and nose between a frown.

The town is drowsy, asleep, the only movement the interminable flying of the birds, the straining of the trees away from the stoveplate clay towards a hotter sky, and the trembling of buildings down the silver streets and up the hill. Cicada's whine out a substrate to paint this nothing on.

The dwarf is restless and alert, but he has settled down like a stone-carved feature on the edge of the flaky white of the fountain-pool, his fingers idly dangling in the tepid water and his eyes only moving, jerkily.

He wishes for sleep, longs for the stillness of the others sweating peacefully in their shuttered-in beds, waiting patiently for the coolness of evening to spring, the heat to evaporate from the yellow earth. He cannot tell himself why he is sitting here, even if it must be that he is awake and out, deprived of the comfort of a nebulous black sleep, stuck within himself like this. Why - if this is so - is he not on the benches, then, cowering under dark trees on the edges of the square. Something called him out perhaps - perhaps something evicted him from the anonymity of the shade that beckons treacherously, and is a mile away. A tired dog is lying there, orange and bare like everything else, and maybe dead. The fat flies make no distinction here, and settle, and it does not as much as twitch.

When smaller, and younger, and before life bled through the stretched skin over fragile ribs and choked into the dust without a trace, it used to play in the streets with a young girl perhaps, dark-skinned and dark-haired like the blackness of the tree-trunks, but soft and laughing, small white teeth sparkling in the sun. Once - perhaps - it used to chase its tail, or lick a friendly hand, all doe-eyed. The dwarf tries to form the images in his mind, tries to conjure up something different to this, but it's starting now, and all that's left is the seeming whiteness flashing in from the edges of his eyes, slowly washing over everything until there's nothing but a blinding haze that obliterates the town.

Slowly it spreads, now, effacing everything: the morning, thoughts, the trees, even the traces of a vague expectation directed at the fall of night. The dwarf sinks into the blankness, disappearing indepth with the shadow that is sucked in by the sun coming over directly overhead. In the absence of others, of anything, he is huge and hulking, but without size. Nowhere, and everywhere at once. No sight, no sound, no time. All memory is lost, just the humming of the of inhuman heat, polyphonous with cicada's - he cannot remember what he wanted here, if anything. He cannot remember wanting. Memory and desire would be something tying this to him, and he has disappeared.

So time passes, a mirage floating on heat-waves, seeping into his bone-marrow until his blood is hot and silvery - heavy as quicksilver but slow, slow.

The sky is white, not blue - there are no clouds. He wakes into himself not by a shadow but by the sudden random crowing of a sullen cock which re-creates the morning, and the day flows on relentlessly from there. Slowly shapes emerge again from the brilliance of the sun, lines, shadows of shadows and the delicate curve of a corner. Near and far reciprocate and exchange properties across the void, banishing it, and the dwarf will find himself again. Dimensions cut him down to size, perspective puts him firmly back in place. he is he again, and will not escape for another day.

The dog has gone, and the day is wandering off listlessly after him - the only change that's come into the square, except for the trees that start to lean heavily, inevitably into the West, extending into shadow. Birds flock from their fading splendour and dot the sky for moments at a time, are swallowed, forgotten. The noon has gone and the townhall clock will start the downhill march to sunset now. This very moment will not come again.

Johan Hugo

(More by this author)

 

 

 

The beauty in the way that we are living, installment one

We're lazier, poorer, unhappier, less motivated than we'd like to be. Unkinder too. We loose our faith too easily. We blame the season, the world, ourselves - sometimes we blame each other. We argue over petty things and lose sight of what's important. We worry too much, sulk for too long and we don't try half as hard as we should do. We carelessly lose touch with people we didn't mean to lose touch with, then wonder what it is we're missing. We miss the sunshine; we forget to notice the weather, buy presents, say what we mean. We stay in too much. We leave the same cd in the cd player for days on end out of laziness. Our shelves gather dust while our bedroom corners gather fluff and laundry piles itself in the basket. We have junk food again and waste our almost last money on something we didn't need. We don't save up, we put off making plans and forget to dream our dreams. And of course we don't write half as much as we should do.

We're not all we'd like to be. And yet there's so much beauty in the way that we are living...

1.
We get lost on the way from the train station to the seaside road out of town. Not really lost, mind you - it's just that seen from above or drawn on a map our route would look really funny. We zig-zag from a brand-new, leading-nowhere-yet road to an old tatty one that crosses a field crossed by a railway line in the middle of a giant empty puddle.

"Bet you've never seen this bit of town before!"
I think I have, though on second thoughts I think I thought wrongly.

Out of the puddle, past wharehouses' back yards, we turn right on a whim, then right again because there's nowhere else to go. Ahead and above the cranes from the docks mark the place we want to get to. The sky's blindingly blue and there's sunlight everywhere, even in my heart.

When we finally get there the sea shines from between the buildings too. Waiting at the traffic light, I have the phrase "ah, good, the sea" stuck in my head. It comes from a post to a mailing list and before that from a faraway wall and I like it for that, but it would make sense to no one else. I want to shout "yay!" too but I decide such outbursts of excitement are the sort of thing that make people think I'm crazy so I say "The sea! We made it!" instead.

"Hoorray!" he says and suddenly I realise I've got every reason to smile.

 

2.

"You might be less than overjoyed
Unimpressed and unemployed
But I refuse to waste this weather

A midweek midmorning to ourselves
It would be misspent somewhere else
We wasted most of winter feeling
That we should stay inside instead
Lie on our backs on our bed
Beneath the stains upon the ceiling"

'Midweek midmorning', The Lucksmiths

 

Years ago someone told me "you cry your heart out at night, the next morning the sun shines" and inexplicably it's been haunting me lately. It's the most optimistic thing in the world and the plain, life's-like-that way it was told makes it all the more so. Even though he said nothing about feeling flat the night before I'm waken up on Friday morning by the landlord and the upstair's neighbour's mother performing a scene of high comedy value in a day as dappled in sunshine as a Lucksmiths' song.

It's neither midweek nor midmorning but the feeling behind "I refuse to waste this weather" is there which surely is all that matters. I get dressed, gather up my courage and go to have coffee on one of the outside tables of the cafe up the street among local old people. I'm mostly unemployed but approprietly impressed nonetheless: I stare at the rooftops against the perfect blueness of the sky in between composing text messages and teaching myself to be thankful: "It's worth being a lazy sod like me just for being able to catch the sunshine on a day like today."

(More to come)

Dimitra Daisy
(More by this author)

 

 

Note: this is a diary of sorts. If I've met you lately or I have reasons to be thinking about you (or if your name is Nick or Mina) and you think it mentions you, it most likely does. I do hope you don't mind. Oh yes - 'The beauty in the way that we are living' is a song by Club 8.

 

 

 

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The long lost diary of Miss S L Gleaden

Previous Exploits of Miss S L Gleaden and her diary
|1|2|3|4|5| 6|7|8|9|10|11| 12|13|14|

The story so far:

The diary of Miss S L Gleaden had peacefully travelled the world with the dippy but loveable adventurer. Its life had been interesting and slightly unpredictable, but no matter where it was S L Gleaden provided a safe corner in her rucksack. Until that is insisted that the pair should part company catapulting the diary into a whirlwind of bizarre and slightly random situations which lead it to meet many bizarre and slightly random people. One of these people was English nurse Rosemary Hill. Rosemary was living in New Zealand when she first encountered the diary. Her curiosity got the better of her and she began to read the story recorded by the harebrained traveller. Unfortunately however, like so many before her Rosemary managed to loose the diary but was determined to learn what happened to the adventurer after she had finished reading. After a brief internet search she managed to find the old school of the S L Gleaden. A few hours later and she was on a plane headed for England…

PART 15

When compared to the standards set by both S L Gleaden and her diary Rosemary Hill's journey had been refreshingly straight forward. 28 long hours after boarding a plane in New Zealand she had touched down in the country she had intended to travel to. As Rosemary Hill stepped out into the brightly lit Heathrow airport terminal exhausted, stiffed legged and acing eyes ached she should have been proud of her self that she even possessed her correct passport and documentation.

Struggling with her heavy cases and tired legs Rosemary fought her way by tube into central London. Everything looked so unfamiliar. The sky was greyer than she had remembered, the people moved faster and she even had trouble dealing with the money that had been so recognizable to her at one time.

It was cold as she stood outside Charring cross station. A pink glow had just began to hightlight the imposing buildings which she faced. Rosemary put her hands deep into her pockets and shivered. Tiredness always made her more susceptible to the cold and at that moment in time she was as tired as she has been in a long time.

A smartly dressed woman with a good-humoured glint in her eyes approached. The two woman beamed at each other before starting to chatter wildly. There was so much to say, and they didn't want to waste another minute when they could be catching up.

"so how long is it since we've seen each other sally?" asked rosemary
"it must be over 20 years. Its funny it doesn't seem that long does it?"
"no it doesn't. you haven't changed a bit!"
"you can talk…you always were one for doing things on the spur of the moment. I can't believe you've come all of this way to track down the owner of a diary!"

The pair laughed, but the remark set rosemary thinking. It had been a long time since she had done anything like this. Sally was right though she always used to have some scheme or other on the go. In recent years she'd grown out of the habit. Or to be more precise grown into one. A cosy habit that consisted of home and work and walks on the beach but nothing more. She rarely thought about what she would do the next day, because it would have been the same thing she had been doing the day before, and the day before that and the day before that. She smiled to herself and thought "I'm glad I came. Even if I don't find S L Gleaden I'll have broken that suffocating routinue"

Her heart raced and she filled her lungs with the polluted London air. She could do anything she wanted to do. There was a whole city waiting for her to refamiliarise her self with. A whole country to become reacquainted with and when she was bored of that there was the rest of the world to discover.

"what do you want to do now? We could go out for a meal, or maybe to a pub. Anything you like you choose" asked sally

Rosemary thought long and hard

"err…would you mind if I just go to bed?"

The rest of her life could wait one more night. What she needed now was to sleep.

Meanwhile the diary in the hands of the young New Zealander Rebbecca Phillips was quite oblivous to the dramtic change it had caused in the life of Rosemary Hill. Whilst it pined for a snug bookcase to spend its days it was completely unaware that fate was about to strike once more throwing it into yet another undesirable situation...

to be continued...

Rachel Queen

More By This Author

 

 

 

 

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Shelters

It's easy to leave. You just pack your bags and go. Wait in the half-light of the dilapidated bus shelter after the taxi doesn't turn up, and go where? Dilapidated. You like that word. Dilapidated, grey, and obsolete. You are tempted to apply these words to the ruins you are running from but you know it wasn't like that, it wasn't like that at all. You just had to.go. Suffocation. Isolation. Words that flow as easy as the rows you had that led you to this point. This shelter. Shelter? More like an escape, but you will pick your sullied brains on the bus later on, turn your face into a squint with the furrowing of brow, and think: An escape from what?

A woman walks by on the other side of the road, oblivious to the world as she struggles with her kids. Her hand is wrapped tight around the wrist of one, leaving him half-dangling, half-scraping the floor with his feet. The other one just shoots ahead, arms aloft in a kind of fraternal triumph, jacket open and above his head, caught in the frenzied air, as if expecting to fly. Look closer. You know the face of the woman from somewhere. Haggard and drawn. Then it all clicks into place: It's Lisa the tomboy from primary school. Twenty years ago, she too, would have been lolloping and loping, waiting for the gusts to take her somewhere. Twenty years ago she climbed apple trees and scaled the walls of the rich folks houses. Twenty years ago she wouldn't look twice at a boy. Seems she looked, eventually.

Where did all that time go? All those dreams and waif-like innocence replaced by wrinkles and waistlines and debts designed to cripple. Yet you admire Lisa. She has, in her kids, something concrete and lasting, something fundamental to the survival of the human race, no less.

You, on the other hand, have a suitcase battered by the buses and the elements, and nowhere, nowhere, to go.

But isn't this what you always wanted? No ties, the total freedom, the liberty and autonomy to do as you please? All of those years spent on the road, meandering the funny globe, slurping wine amongst the greenery and never staying too long. Freedom. Liberty. All those years scraping mud off last weeks dishes and shit off last nights walls, shivering in caves, wishing to hell that someone would save you from the life that you created and the days you never sleep. Wishing for a way out other than the obvious. And you used to laugh at that Jim Morrison lyric about looking for a home in every face you see, purporting it to be, like the rest, no more than clichéd sixth form nonsense. Yet now, looking back, older, somewhat wiser, with an unsteady gait, waiting on the next bus, you can see that this is as close a description to what you have been doing the whole of your life, that where Lisa and all humanity has sought to create, all that you have done is sought to dehumanise and destroy. How?

You just pack your bags and go.

 

 

What A Toss With Your Boss!

Scene no. one :
You have just been introduced to your immediate superior or "Boss", your controlling officer. A person, whom you are to report to every day of three sixty five days a year, and who will be the guy to scribble on your annual appraisal sheet.

For the first day, 75% of your thoughts, I am afraid, must have been swallowed by assessment of your Boss, guessing about "How he is ! Whether, he would be commanding, or erratic, or cool gentleman of understanding nature. "

Scene no. two :
You have met him shakily smiling at him with awe. You have constantly been engrossed in understanding him, guessing about the personality and in trying to be justified in satisfying him purposefully. In office, he is a man Friday. A citadel of power logic to say good or bad about you. There lies the deep rooted cliché called "Boss is always right".

And you are too careful of not losing heart to your "boss".In our working life, such a toss for gain or loss is part of our life.

Most of us have witnessed the prolific examples of Boss Worship in abundance. Especially for a newcomer in an organisation, boss seems to be the circle of reasons and sometimes, out of reasons. His every smile brings wild flowers bloom and his every upward move of left brow seems to be bizarre painful for the junior to adjust. A junior often bursts into laughter, as the boss has a bout of cracking silly jokes. The extreme of opposite views are not rare to notice. Some executives appear to be too superior (at least they prefer to think), than their boss. And the feud starts soon upon difference of opinions, ending up in a stage of either transfer or losing a job.

Let’s Talk Of Synergy !!!
As a junior executive, winning the hearts of the immediate superior is the focal point of one’s way to growth. In every organisation, the teamwork symbolises the unwritten bond between the boss and the subordinates. The fantastic way to knowing each other and getting along the problem to solution. Boss has the vision or ability to understand the intricacies so as to guide the junior ones, when the junior learns a lot by practice but not by theories, in the working world. The more they learn, the more the leader or boss gets his or her second line of command. He or she gets relief.

The equation to work out could be the right one, depending upon the individual case but the warm participation brings the factor of synergy to the system, that eventually, culminates in highest order of organisational efficiency.

There lies the success of a Boss or of those who have made him a successful boss.

Partha Pratim

 

Tom Bickell

(More by this author)

 

 

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