ANOTHER INTERLUDE – My Response


Below is a Link to Pete Davison’s site I’M NOT DR WHO in which he blogs daily from Game Reviews to Creative Writing, with general social commentaries in between.  He is currently writing his third fictional story for NaNoWriMo – check out his others as well – based on his personal experiences as a teacher.  Below that is my response to today’s blog – a time-out – in which he kindly mentions me.

http://angryjedi.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/1396-another-interlude/

I can understand the courage and therefore effort required to write like this – I was going to write about my past, but after my initial comments to you which precipitated thinking about it, I found that the demons that had been well and truly dealt with, shoved into the past as negative rubbish while I took the positive forward – always my strong-held belief for coping with crap – raised their ugly heads, penetrated my thoughts at unexpected moments, took over my dreaming mind (both day and night dreaming) and generally made me back-peddle furiously.
What a coward I am. There are some things that were done to me in the name of experimental medicine that should see the light of day. There were other things done in my childhood and teens that carved my pathway even more. But I shudder to put pen to paper – well fingers to keyboard I should say these days. The mind is a traitor. It holds the info locked in cabinets in the basement guarded by crocodiles, as Douglas Adams said, refusing to give it to you when you want it, only to release it in torrents when you haven’t asked. At the merest suggestion that you might open the file it cascades the documents over your head till you are wading in it. How rude!!
Anyway, Pete, I applaud you. When I have controlled my errant demons I might try to get them into some order. Meanwhile I will watch your creative efforts with admiration, not to mention anticipation – I am already hooked on this new story of yours – as I have been by your past ones. Anyone coming across this site should not hesitate to check out your other stories – they will be bowled over. You handle the delicate issues with care, kid gloves, yet without shying away from the truth you are disclosing. Keep going – take respite days off as you are doing – then attack it again. I am sure I’m not the only one watching and waiting and supporting you. 

Jud House  15/11/2013

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THESIS – THE HYBRID WORLD OF TOLKIEN’S FICTION


My BA Honours thesis – The hybrid world of J R R Tolkien’s fiction: a study of The Lord of the Rings and other texts in the light of Mikhail Bakhtin’s essay ‘Epic and Novel’. – is published under this Category.

Here is a Link to the Thesis page, which can also be found under THESES in the drop-down Menu.

https://judsjottings.wordpress.com/theses/the-hybrid-world-of-tolkiens-fiction/

I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment.

Jud House  30/12/2012

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Pete Davison – WIZARD WITH WORDS


This November, once again Pete Davison has begun writing an unofficial NaNoWriMo work of fiction.  Last year he wrote WASTELAND DIARIES which you will find on his site, http://angryjedi.wordpress.com/ in the side bar.  It was gripping, addictive – each day I’d read his blog before anything else as soon as my computer was on.

His work this year is as acceptional.  As-Yet Untitled Month-Long Work of Fiction, is now up to Chapter 19.  Here is the Link to the first Chapter.

http://angryjedi.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/1018-as-yet-untitled-month-long-work-of-fiction-chapter-1/

Below are some of my comments to Pete on his blog.  You may get an idea of his writing skills from them.  I hope they give you the nudge to click on the above Link and read his work for yourselves.  The first comment was in response to one of his Game Reviews, but leads in nicely to the Novel Comments.  You can see all the comments in his ‘Recent Comments’ and RSS Comments in the sidebar of his blog site.

OMG Pete (am I allowed to say that?) you are a Wizard With Words – in other words
WWW –                         I read your game-play avidly, then laughed aloud before reading the rest of the blog. The writing skills in both are so great – fluent, descriptive, complex yet ‘user friendly’ (I hate that expression but now it is in use I find it hard to think of another way of saying it because it intrudes into my mind and takes over!) Poodoo! Where was I?
Oh yes I was waxing lyrical about your hugely entertaining writing.  (About a different blog.)

A great start Pete. Drawn me in already. A question – is the current ageof your protagonist 18? Or is he now older, experiencing this with memories of 18, the time of the accident? I ask because his ‘voice’ is older, more mature than an 18 yr old, who for example would say “… my dead sister ” rather than “deceased sister”. I guess this could become clearer to us both as you write more. I know that a story unfolds, and you don’t really know where or how this will be till your hand has written the words on the page. It’s the thing I love about writing.
Love it already. Can’t wait till tomorrow!
Also, now I really have to have a go at it. Where oh where will I find the time??!! Paintings to do, blogs to do for 2 sites, games to test, books to read, life to live . . . How the hell do you fit it all in, I ask, baffled?!!

Okay Pete. I’ve started mine too – you’ve nudged me into doing so. Ta mate! https://judsjottings.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=756&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2
I think that should link you to its page. Or just  judsjottings.wordpress.com  should do so as well. I’d like to know what you think. It might not be worth going on with it. I’m a little unsure. I mean what if the opening is boring? Unlike yours which of course grabs your reader straight away. Mine usually do, but I’m not sure about this. I modified it as I transferred some 3am scribblings into coherence. Hope I didn’t lose the impact of the original. Si g h . . . Why am I doing this? Don’t I have enough on my plate?? Sheeeeeesh! At least, like you, I haven’t officially joined NaNoWriMo this time.

OMG Pete.. You dealt with that tiny age/language issue really well. So impressive. And of course I only know you from what your write, how you write, your apparent nuances and connotations. I don’t know what language level you and your mates used when at Uni. I only know what the young students were like from my mature age position while at my Uni over here. For all I know your language use in casual chatting may have been way more mature and sophisticated than the students I had contact with. Of course in Tutorials was a different thing altogether. And internal monologues are different again, I know.

Anyway, you dealt with it professionally, subtly, smoothly – integrated it as part of the natural narrative. And as it passed me by I didn’t stop to check it over, just rolled on through, as I should, following the text, the dialogue, on and on. It has been worth the wait – a whole long year of waiting – till you started your new unofficial NaNoWriMo. Actually – I need to correct that a little – is it just me, or does it feel like it’s been only about 6 months of waiting? I can’t believe that It’s nearly New Year – if I survive Xmas first of course.

No pressure mate . . . but I want more, more, more!

OMG!!! Sorry Pete, but your writing is so powerful that I can’t help saying it. I will probably want to start any comment to you this month with OMG!
I was almost not breathing when I was reading some of that. Gripping is the word. And I can hear you through it – your voice is so open, psychological, emotional, and delving, deep, deep into the characters.
It’s how I wish I were brave enough to write – it’s all there waiting for me to release it, but I hold back so I don’t shock or embarrass family. What a wuss I am.
I have already had 3 hits on my SINGAPORE SLASHER, so I suppose I had better get on with whatever is coming next in the story. I wonder what that will be??
Is it tomorrow yet? I want to read the next chapter of your work. Stuff mine. :!

I don’t want to keep bothering you, but hitting LIKE doesn’t seem enough somehow.
This is remarkable writing, especially considering it is ‘on the fly’. It leaves me breathless. I could see where it was going just before it went there, but that doesn’t lessen its impact! I wish I could say “Stuff all the other things you are doing in order to make a living, just get on with the f’n story because I can’t wait till tomorrow – and after all “It’s all about meeee.” S i g h . . . Abject apologies for losing control there. Deep breaths. Calm. Patience.
Is it tomorrow yet? Are we there yet?

Am writing a disclaimer for my SINGAPORE SLASHER to the effect that I need to do a lot more research before it is an accurate story set in Singapore. That way I can just let the story unfold and fix all the stuff-ups later. Otherwise I will have to write a different story completely and shelve this one till I can approach it with research in hand.

See you tomorrow Pete.

“Argh, dammit WordPress, don’t close my comment window before I’ve posted it! Ahem. Let me try again and try to remember what I just typed and promptly lost.

Re: the perspective thing, yes, it’s a challenge, but it can work. As a matter of fact, some of the “visual novel” games I’ve been playing recently handle this exceptionally well. One called Deus Machina Demonbane is the example that sticks most prominently in my head — that has a first-person “player protagonist” whom the majority of the story unfolds from the perspective of, but occasionally switches to a third-person omniscient narrator for things that are happening elsewhere without the awareness of the protagonist.

Demonbane never explicitly says “we’re switching perspectives now” though. It makes it immediately clear to the player/reader through the contrasting “voices” of the narrators. Kurou the protagonist is informal, “human” and somewhat world-weary. He often addresses the player/reader directly, and the things he describes are tinged with his own feelings rather than cold detachment. By contrast, the rather Lovecraftian third-person narrator uses rather overblown language and descriptions to make everything sound rather “grand” and spectacular. It’s an effective technique that can be used well in traditional novels too, though you have to take real care to get that “voice” right.

For this, though, I think I’ll be sticking with the single perspective. I did the multiple perspectives thing last year. I could probably work it in to this, but it’ll be a good experiment to try and stick with a single one this time around. We shall see. ” Pete Davison

 Your handling of the First Person narrative is masterful. You stay with your character all the time, and are not tempted to shift into third person to inform us of the actions of the other characters. This is a trap I fall into. I think I need to fill in the gaps for the readers, but you just refer to where they are going and leave it at that – and stay with your first person character – your protagonist. It’s wonderful stuff, and keeps the reader focussed and involved. I will give it a try next time to see how liberating it might feel.

That was neatly done Pete. The section in the middle I mean. It gave me a feeling of deja vu, to the point where I went back through your previous chapters from the first one forward to see which one you had lifted it from. I stopped at about no 6 as I didn’t think it was beyond that. I was thinking what a cool idea that was continuity-wise to repeat a section as a flash-back. But you hadn’t. It was the stuff about the being chased nightmare, and then the clock radio digits which you did use from the beginning that gave this impression.
But the fact that you hadn’t, meant that it was the totally believable familiarity of that section that created the impression – a going back over known territory – a great device.
Don’t think I am reading this in an analytical mind-set – I am gripped by the story, speed through it avidly, pick on the emotive nuances and subtleties, comprehend where the story is going as it happens, and as I finish each chapter sit back with a smile on my face in total satisfaction, and admiration for your ability to write this well ‘on the fly’. In fact I find as I’m reading it that I speak to the characters, telling them what the obvious answer is to their questions, and saying “Of course it’s that” when they get there. I am an outside observer though, caught up in their tale, while they are embroiled in the confusion and emotions of the events.
I’ve tried not to comment for a few days, so you don’t feel bombarded, nor overseen by me – if you get that? But I am waving the flags, tooting the horns, and generally cheering from the sidelines for you. Like in a rock concert, I want to yell “More! More! More!”
PS: By the timeyou finish this novel, I will have an essay on it from all my comments!!

Wow!  Dynamic!  Dynamite!

AT THE AIRPORT – Response to ERNEST HEMINGWAY


She looked across the airport terminal at the group of figures by the baggage conveyor belt.  As she approached, he stood beside her smiling son.

How could I have ever been married to him.  Yuk!  ‘Hello, son.  Hello, Jerry.’  You fat little roley-poley ignorant piece of shit!  She felt much better.

‘Hi, Mum.’  Her son grinned at her.  He knew how she felt, how she despised his father, and why.  He knew it cost her to be polite.

As they dragged the bags from the revolving belt, Jerry’s mate, tattooed, half-bald with a ratty plait down his back, arrived to collect him.  Another excuse for a human being.  She smiled and said ‘Hello.’

‘Have a nice visit.’  She was cool and civil, but it cost her.  Hope you get the plague while you’re here.

‘What were you grinning at, Mum?’  Her son was baffled.  Usually these occasions were fraught with tension, with barely disguised contempt, with snide remarks.

‘Just entertaining myself, son.’  Without a backward glance, they passed through the automatic doors into the damp night air.

‘But you were nice to Dad.  And to Roy.’  He eyed his mother suspiciously.  ‘Are you feeling all right?’

‘Perfect.  There’s no need to be rude to the man, just because he’s a despicable little worm.’  At the look of disbelief on her son’s face, she began to chuckle – a deep sound that welled up, growing into a full-throated laugh.

Releasing the alarmed locking system of the four-wheel-drive, they lifted his bags into the back.  After clambering into and starting the car, she drove to the toll-booth.  Nothing was going to spoil her good mood – not the criminal parking fee, nor the rain which blinded them as they left the airport.

Privately, without confrontation, she had got the better of Jerry, and of her own pent-up resentments – a great feeling.

She pulled up at the traffic lights, then turned up the highway.  ‘So, what do you plan on doing these holidays, son?’

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(C) Copyright  Jud House  May 1997 & 30/09/2011

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WINNIFRED – Part 1 – Response to PATRICK SÜSKIND


Winnifred (2)
Winnifred, aged 75, still performing.

There is no way that this classy, elegant lady would ever, should ever work as a shop assistant.  She was born to sing.  In fact her whole life was spent ‘on stage’ as she played the role she had created for herself as Winnifred.  In stage productions of light operas and musicals, she always stole the show, as her unique voice rippled through the halls sending shivers through the audiences.

Her elegance came naturally to her.  Her style was assured, her clothes expensive – full-skirted, wide-collared or cowl-necked dresses of exotic colours – the greens brilliant emerald, the blues glowing sapphires, the yellows burnished gold.  She was gold – rich, warm, with a lustre that shone in the little country town where she taught at the Primary School.

The facade of her hauteur, her regal carriage – standing, sitting, walking – masked a need to be liked, respected.  From a family of nine children, whose mother had died at the ninth birth, she and two brothers were condemned to three years of hell in a children’s home, only returning to their family when their mother had been replaced.  Winnifred needed to be different, to stand out, to be loved.   Known locally as ‘the little girl who sang’, her voice gave her the means to that end.  It was majestic, dramatic, like rolling hills of lush pasture, and crescendos of waves against the cliffs.

A thirst for knowledge led her to continue her education as a mature-age student, through matriculation, teaching diploma and on to Bachelor of Arts. As Demonstration teacher, then as Head of English at her High School, she became one of the first Student Counsellors, finally rounding it off  with a research trip overseas.  She dazzled within this educational arena, as she dazzled on stage – articulate, musical, her laughter ringing out to fill a room, enveloping all within.

In public she was sunshine.  At home she was like a cloudy day.  If things ran smoothly, as she wanted them to go, the sky was clear.  But if she were thwarted, her well laid plans disturbed, modified by the plans of others, the sky would cloud over.  Although she didn’t hold grudges or seek revenge, she (not surprisingly) harboured resentments for unfair treatment, imagined and real.  And voiced these resentments passionately, building them into immense injustices.  This dented the hard-won respect of those around her, at home and in her musical society.

If only she’d had the breaks at the Conservatorium of Music.  If only they hadn’t seen that she had three young children, and consequently given the Aria Scholarship to a single girl.

She was born to sing – she was born for the stage.

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(C) Copyright jud House April 1997 & 30/09/2011

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THE FLORIST – Response to PATRICK SÜSKIND


As soon as she opened the shop door, the organic smell of multiple vegetation enveloped her.  Confined overnight the individual aromas of the carnations, dahlias, chrysanthemums, and asters mixed with the rich oily fumes of the native foliage and cypress leaves that were used to enhance their floral beauty in arrangements.  She knew that when she opened the fridge door she would be overwhelmed by the rose fragrance as it rushed out of its prison into the relative freedom of the closed shop.

Methodically, the florist went through the motions of emptying and refilling the buckets of water, with just a dash of bleach, for the bunches of mixed flowers, for the stands inside and outside the shop.  They caught the attention of potential customers, often bringing them into the shop.  With each splash of bleach the strength of the organic smell lessened, attacked and neutralized by the ammonia fumes.

Gradually the pot-pourri fragrance, from the small decorative containers that were for sale on the shelves between the silk flower arrangements, crept into her nostrils.  Hiding beneath the heavy confined organic smells, it rose to follow them as they fled through the open shop door to accost passers-by.

Drying her wet hands on the terry towel, she arranged the float in the till – the crisp notes sliding under the spring-clips, and the cold coins jingling into the trays.  Between serving customers, she prepared paper-ribbon bows, deftly folding the stiff strips into loops then twisting thin wire around them to form an impression of softness.

When the delivery man arrived with bunches of fresh flowers, she moved to the back room, nervously keeping an eye on the shop through the door-way.  Quickly she snipped the rubber-bands that held the bunches, then stripped the foliage from the lower stems, so that they would not contaminate the water in the buckets.  Fortunately some came already clean, so that saved her some time.  Besides they were wrapped in pretty cellophane sleeves, which assisted in their sale – she didn’t like to disturb those.

With the roses she removed most of their leaves, to ensure that the water and the Chrysal nutrients would reach and nourish the blooms rather than be wasted on their foliage.  As a bonus for her customers, she nipped the sharp thorns off the rose stems, some by hand, some with secateurs.  The roses were then returned to the glass-fronted fridge until sold.

She made a stunning bouquet with roses, gypsophella (Baby’s Breath), and spikes of clear cellophane held by a twist of wire.  Making them was another job she did when things were quiet.  She would grab a square of cellophane in the centre, flick it so it fluted, then twist a length of wire around its base, creating a long spiky piece to place between the rose stems.  The red Mercedes rose or the apricot-pink Sonia rose looked spectacular in this bouquet, which was very popular with her customers, especially on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Because she sold a lot of silk arrangements – which, due to their durability, were popular with the Mediterranean-born customers – she made up several a day.  They were enjoyable to work with, there were a huge variety of shapes and colours available, and their plastic stems slid easily into the dry oasis foam.  She could manipulate the curve of these stems, their positions, and the overall shape of the arrangement.  And the textures of the various silks were interesting – from spiky satin-wrapped floppy-petalled Oriental blooms, to velvet-leaved satin roses – a tactile feast.  Besides, they didn’t require the wiring and wrapping with tape that fresh flowers did.  The latter were used mostly in floral wreaths for funerals, while the silks tended to sell for the birth of babies.

She also created a unique orchid basket with Singaporean orchids in whites, mauves and purples, which was frequently ordered from the maternity hospital.  With soft Asparagus-fern around the edge, the basket was a mass of orchid flowers, cut short and placed into the oasis water-soaked foam in the basket.  Finished with mauve ribbons, it was an inexpensive yet delicate lovely gift for the mother of either a boy or girl baby.

All day she was surrounded by the wetness of flowers, foliage and saturated paper.  As she shut the shop at night, pulling the wheeled stands into the shop, putting the vases of exotics and orchids into the fridge with the roses, she knew with certainty that their cocktail of overnight expirations would greet her next morning.

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(C) Copyright  Jud House April 1997 & 30/09/2011

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