Thursday, 28 April 2016


~ In an effort to prevent this becoming the blog of ultimate whining (the read version of the bog of eternal stench), I've rehauled this post. ~

Recently a friend of mine made a little post on why one should read a lot as well as write. I decided I didn't want to churn up her comment section with my thoughts, so instead I'll place them here.

I don't read a lot these days. That's not because I don't want to or don't have time to, I do. The main reason (other than I now have the attention span of a gnat on crack) is actually the same reason I write; what I want, how I want it, isn't out there.

Now I've read great books and amazing stories, I've even read things I feel are perfect and that I would hold up as an example of what I want to write. And while those writings are vastly superior to mine, they're still not done exactly as I would do them. They may be awe-inspiring and speak to the bones of my soul, but what I want from a book isn't all I want to write. The message, the heroes, the romance, the darkness, may all be in there in a way I dearly love, but the way I will write those same things will be different.

So why is that a reason why I don't read? Bluntly put, I reached the point where I needed to put what I wanted to read, out there.

That isn't to say I feel I've read enough, as I'm not very well read at all. Fantasy was always my genre and rarely anything else though, so when I started writing what I wanted, I also stopped reading a lot of it. I should branch out and enjoy other book types, but somehow I just don't end up doing that. I start something and then it just doesn't grab me, and I'm in the middle of at least three books right now, and have been for over a year.

I think I would like to read a good book, whatever it's about. The problem is, I'm just too lazy to find one ;)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Steele & Butler (2)

Ashan returned after a moment, carrying a tray of still sizzling sausages and bacon, with hash browns and something else on the side. He laid the table, complete with a serviette across Jane's lap, and then stepped back. "Will ma'am be requiring anything else?" he asked.

Jane cut a piece of the sausage and popped it in her mouth, chewing slowly. "What are these, Ashan?" she asked, pointing her knife towards the something else.

 "Beans, ma'am," Ashan replied.

"I know they are beans, Ashan, why are they on my plate?"

Ashan tilted his head slightly up and to one side and then down again. Which, through long observation, Jane had learned was his version of a shrug. "I heard they were good for you, ma'am. I thought you might like to try them. Apparently, they are vegetables, a new discovery or so I've heard."

Jane gave the butler a long look. "I will try these beans, Ashan, on the condition that they do not appear on my plate again," she told him.

Ashan sighed ever so slightly. "Very well, ma'am," he said, adding under his breath, "perhaps the broccoli will suffice."

Jane gave him another long look and took another bite of the sausage, brushing the beans to one side. "Ashan," she said after a moment, "there is a young man leaning against the shop two doors opposite. Would you be so kind as to invite him into the lodge for me?"

Ashan's gaze swept to the window and beyond. "The one desperately trying not to enjoy himself?" he asked.

Ms Steele nodded. "That's the one."

Ashan straightened, a firm look coming into his eye. "Of course, ma'am. It would be my utmost pleasure," he said, and heading towards the foyer.

Jane's eyes returned to her food, and she ate with gusto, her novel tucked open under the rim of her plate. It was some time before Ashan returned and by then she was scraping the last of the beans away. The fork was half way to her mouth when she realised Ashan was standing by her shoulder. Resignedly, she ate the last mouthful, making a face for extra effect. "Well?"

"I've had him cooling his heels in the hall for just over ten minutes now, ma'am. Are you ready to receive him?" Ashan asked.

"Excellent. Yes, thank you Ashan," Jane said. She took a sip from her tea cup. "Please sit him down opposite me, if you would."

"Of course. I'll just be a moment," Ashan said with a short bow.
Ashan vanished and Jane's gaze returned to her novel. She read in silence, slowly turning the pages until a loud clink roused her back to the world. She looked up directly into the earnest eyes of the young man who had almost inadvertently marked himself as a target in a much larger game. He set down the spoon, an abashed look on his face and cleared his throat. “Ms Steele, I presume?”

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Steele & Butler (1)

The tray was sparkling silver in the slanted beams of the morning. Ms Steele watched it come out of the corner of her eye, even as she turned the page of her novel, perched in her chair by the window. It was a comfortable chair, and the spot was perfect for her needs, even as she relaxed in the sun of the mediterranean summer.

The tray made a light ringing as the cover was pulled away to expose two scones slathered in butter and jam, accompanied by a small teapot, two cups, and three segments of orange. Jane smiled to herself and reached out to snag a feg of the orange, her hand snaking past the stream of tea.

"And how are things today, Ashan?" she asked the butler as she bit down on the orange.

"Things are very well, ma'am. Thank you for asking. And you, ma'am? Any adventures on the cards for today?" Ashan laid the tray on the small side table, and offered Jane the plate of scones, the underside neatly cradled by a napkin.

"That's the thing with adventures, Ashan," Jane said with a twinkle in her eye, "you're rarely given time to schedule for them," Jane smiled and took the proferred plate, biting deeply into a scone.

"Very wise, ma'am, very wise," Ashan said with aplomb. "Anything else I can get you this morning, ma'am?"

Jane squinted at the man, trying to determine whether he was ready to crack or not, but his calm face - not dour, she told herself again - betrayed nary a hint of his thoughts. "The usual, but hold the eggs, please," she said, and as he turned away, added, "You will smile for me, Ashan."

"I am smiling, ma'am," Ashan said with no trace of sarcasm.

Jane smiled and returned her gaze to her book, peering above her glasses out of the window. Seven. She shook her head. What was the director up to this time?

The window looked out onto the thoroughfare of a small but bustling seaside town in the middle of nowhere on the continent. Quaint and mysterious stores lined the cobbles streets, and holiday makers and sunny faced denizens alike wandered amongst them chattering in a mixture of languages and smiles. There was no discrimination here, whether new or old, everyone was a friend or friendly, which is why the short haired youngster with the frown on his face stood out like a sore thumb. Jane was quite sure that he was unaware how many other agents were in the crowd, or he would be terrified.

Jane caught her lip between her teeth in momentary worry, her hand resting against her thigh reassuringly. She shook her head then, and dismissed it. The lodge was a bastion in these wilds, unspoken protection against all sorts of hidden and not so hidden dangers that lay in her line of work, and it was unyielding. She yawned and wiggled her toes inside her soft leather ankle-high boots, and took another bite of the scone. Well, it was none of her business, at least not yet. Eight. She grit her teeth on a bite as the youngster looked at her again. The rookie was going to get himself killed.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Learning to fall again

I never thought I'd be this person.

I had a dream last night. I dreamt of a girl, someone I remembered having dreamed of before. My dream girl, as it were, sparkling in delight at seeing me again.

And I was reserved. Inside I overflowed with joy at finding her again but outwardly I was cool, reserved, matter-of-fact. And I realised that I had doubts. I had fears. I was wondering if I was right or if she wasn't actually the one. My dream girl. Sure she wasn't perfect, and was perhaps a little inebriated and giddy, but she was everything I wanted. And as her bright eyes looked at me, I felt a surge of joy, and then promptly began avoiding her gaze, turning brusque and businesslike.

To her question of why I didn't find her, I replied that she could hardly expect me to find someone who disappears so suddenly. Dream me is a real square, apparently.

It gets better. In the throng of the underground bazaar, I lost her somewhere, only to find later that she is in a ring about to begin a bout. The doorman told me that if I went up there, I would have to fight too. That gave me pause and I clearly remember my sense of helplessness, wondering what I could do. It apparently being obvious to myself that I couldn't fight.

Bruised and bloody, she ends up in my arms, as I carry her looking for someone to bind her wounds. I'm sure she runs a finger along my cheek before she disappears again. The dream shifts, but it hardly matters any more...

I never thought I'd be like this. Someone too scared to love again, too scared to try because it might not be right again. Someone who is all duty and responsibility, and sheds passion and energy like they are a dark plague. Someone afraid to fight for what he loves.

I think I have become a little too restrained. Repressing my desires and passions, my excitement and naked frustration, getting used to disappointment and all the while smothering my flame.

This is not the person that flew half way around the world for love. This is not he who marries happy and ridiculous with thoughtful and serious. This is not him that believes. Who takes hope as his eternal spring.

This is not me.

I refuse.

Next time we're going to fly. And I'm going to fall...