All posts filed under: journal

Clever Girl ~ a short story by Craig Anderson

  “Welcome to Mind Chip madam, how may I assist you today?” Sarah glanced around nervously, “Is this the place where you sell the brain chips?” The salesman nodded enthusiastically, “If you mean the IQ boosting, wireless cognitive enhancement devices then yes, you’ve come to the right place. Are you looking for something in particular?” A small girl peeked out from behind Sarah’s legs, her yellow pigtails tied off with bright pink bows. Sarah gestured to her, “I’m looking for something for my daughter. I want to give her the best start in life.” The salesman bent down and held out his hand, “Nice to meet you young lady, I’m Ben. What’s your name?” When she didn’t answer the salesman tried again, “Ravi de vous rencontrer jeune femme, je suis Ben.” The young girl stared at him dumbfounded. Sarah leaned over her daughter, “It’s ok sweetie, you can say hello.” The little girl clung tightly to her mother’s leg as she whispered, “I’m Charlotte.” “And how old are you Charlotte?” After a moment to calculate …

such small mercies

  It’s five a.m., and the skies have opened up. Once again. The rain pounds and thunders on the rooftops, on the cars parked outside, on the road and pavements. If I didn’t know better, I’d say St. Peter had sent us a deluge of, well, pebbles and gravel. That’s how it sounds. But no. I stare out of the window, looking for the day that somehow isn’t yet breaking, though only last week it could already be seen blushing above the eastern horizon — and all I see is water. Water. Liquid, determined, insistent, persistent, coming out in sheets after sheets, solid-looking curtains of silvery metal rods that somehow disintegrate on first contact. Pooling a bit everywhere. Hurrying down the street. Over the pavements. And if it goes on like this, everything will be waterlogged. Everything. Including my life. Which, right now, seems to be just about nose-above-surface. And it’s only just August. Still only August. Silently, I drag a chair over, the best I can, nearer to the window. Still gazing out of …

And so it is…

  And so it is that I’m going live again. My writer has just ticked the little circle thing on the reading settings, and hey, presto! here I am for all to see. In the time that I was away — well, not away away, really, I’ve been here all the time it’s just that I was under wraps — my writer eventually gave me a most comprehensive makeover: I’ve got a new theme, new menus, new widgets (a-hem, there’s one widget malfunctioning and still a few that are missing, but the cats say the writer is only human and time is definitely money), a new a review policy, a Rules of Hauissh (whatever one of those is), a new bio page… and a tagline! I’ve got a new tagline!!! Yiiipee! Without one, I must confess that I felt like I was going to the races without a hat! Or to a ball without crystal slippers! Or… well, let’s not get too carried away, you surely get my drift. The writer says that it’s a …

best intentions, and things gang aft agley

A week ago I decided to set myself the task of redesigning this blog. It was something that had been in the cards anyway, as I was never completely happy with how the slider was working with the featured posts in the current theme. It simply did not seem to come out right, no matter how much I loved it — and no matter how much I tried. Which I did. I tried all the tricks I know (they aren’t all that many, needless to say, but still), and it always came down to the same two answers: I could, of course, choose different photos for the slider; but I thought it important, for instance, for the reviews to be accompanied by the book cover photos as featured pics… Thus things had slowly come to a bit of a standstill. If using a different featured picture was out of the question, then the only other answer was, of course, to adopt a different theme. But after all the work I had to sort this one …

Oh, the frogs we have to kiss… or do we?

Mr Light came home the other evening to the sight and sound of his wife triumphantly punching the air above her shoulders, while repeatedly muttering a very unladylike crescendo of yes… yes… yes… Pretty much taken aback by such an uncharacteristic display, he couldn’t help reflecting that it was nonetheless a performance after the fashion of a certain mutt of Dick Dastardly fame, and almost indistinguishable from that famous canine’s Wicked Laughter N° 3. So, what could she possibly be celebrating in such a fashion? § Or maybe the question should be, rather, what there is not to celebrate. After all, it is never one’s wish to appear ungracious, and a modicum of humility can always be said as de bon ton. As things are, Mr Light supposes his wife can indeed count herself lucky. While definitely a newbie to this book reviewing lark, she arguably already has a lot to be thankful for. Books have sustained her through a very difficult period of her life, one whose end does not seem in sight. And they both are …

A Short Intermission

With emphasis on the short. I promise. But, you see, needs must. My writer assures me that is so. The fact is, I’ve been for an M.O.T., and it seems I’ve been found severely lacking — mostly, in the looks department, though the word ‘functionality’ has been mentioned at some point about something or the other. Surely it can’t have been about me…? Nevertheless. All things considered, it appears I’m now due for one fantastic makeover (or so my writer has promised me).g I’m told it’ll begin with a brand new magazine-style — yippee! new glad rags! — with a bold top menu and a slider for a number of highlighted posts, as well as well-defined display areas with side menus. But that may not be all. My writer has confided in me that a brand new, Miss-Clever-Clogs tagline, something this theme has sadly been lacking in, may also be in the works. It might depend on a thing or two, but it’s not out of the question — and, to tell you honestly, I have missed having a …

method in my TBR madness… maybe

I received a Goodreads email notification today that made me stop and look twice. It came from someone with a name I did not immediately recognise, and mentioned a certain TV Celebrity Couple’s reading group. I hovered the cursor over it and read carefully. Once. Twice. Did I know anyone with that handle? Maybe. I would not pretend to know the names of all my social contacts. And then there was the TVCC thing. Mystery. OK, I thought to myself. Let’s see what this is. An invitation to join the reading club. Mmm. Well… Structured social interaction. Er… Heck. As a matter of fact, that might be exactly what I need right now. Why do I automatically interpose a battalion of questions…? Of reasons? Excuses? Why wouldn’t I join a reading group, and actually participate, instead of all that always-in-the-background, almost voyeuristic thing I end up doing because I do not have the — whatever it is I don’t have to actually engage with a group? Of course, it didn’t help all my usual excuses …

‘Always Expect The Unexpected’

In the midst of all the upheaval in my life lately, I’ve been thinking of my Nan Marquinhas and my Great-Aunt Alice, and their seemingly incongruous ways, more often than usual. They were a steadying presence in my early childhood, and as I grew up I found them always full of a philosophy of life that felt natural and intuitive, but which often seemed to jar with the world around us. At least, they seemed to jar with the world as I was being allowed to perceive and learn in the city, where everything was new, glittering, fast — and passing me by. Life was changing in the village too, and though there I was far less sheltered than in the city, things somehow seemed more linear, and Great-Aunt’s and Nan’s pronunciations didn’t seen so out of place somehow. Maybe it’s just that city life appeared so glamorous and safe, so new and benign… I wonder how I could be so drawn to the unknown: was it because it was the world my parents inhabited? “Always …

reading the memoir in 2017 (part 1)

This spring and summer seem to be a good time for readers of adult nonfiction, with a good few of those releases belonging to the sub-genres of memoir and biography and coming out right in time for us to enjoy the great outdoors and the lovely, warm weather that we can but hope will follow. Undaunted as I still am on my learning journey throughout the genre, I intend to read a fair number of memoirs this year. The question now is, of course, which ones and where to start. Isn’t it always? So how about I start with a beckoning towards old loves? Because, when all is said and done, aren’t loves of old the most enduring ones? § Women’s memoirs Jess Phillips, Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth It should come as no surprise then, at least to those who know me well or have been following me on social networks for any amount of time, that the first memoir I hope to be reading this year is a book a) by a woman, b) a woman who …

the pleasure of simple things

  Encircled with shading net, it is cooler on the patio than on the outside-outside, the rest of the garden. Through its dark green weave, I can still see the glare of the summery heat, blazing white, overwhelming. Outside the netting, it is almost too hot to breathe, almost too hot to live. Inside the netting, life still seems possible. It is only April; it should not be this hot, not yet. I wonder what the real summer will be like, come July and August. I went to the fishmongers this morning. So much fish. So much variety. While here, I always try to eat what I can’t get hold of in England: ‘carapau’, my firm favourite; how I’ve missed it all these years. And then the ‘fanecas’, so delicately flavoured; I could never understand why the Brits, as proud as they are of their ‘fish and chips”, can disdain such lovely fish as pout and horse mackerel. Silly, silly, silly people; they don’t know what they’re missing out on! And then… And then there is …