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I am a writer of novels, plays and film scripts. I live in Manchester England with my partner Andy and our teenage son Jack. Andy and I started my Newsletter Raw Meat and began publishing with Rawprintz in 1999 to showcase my work. Some of you may be confused by my continual references to Ziggy, that’s my wheelchair! Both Andy and I are writers. I’ve recently lost my sight – hence the continual reference to my being confused! Thanks for visiting.

My Comrades...


Writer's Island Whimsy

For Writer’s Island, this week inspired by the word Whimsy.


… Going back twenty, thirty years to the room I used to share with my twin sister. Was it really decorated in purple? She had painted on the walls, copied meticulously from the covers of records… strange creatures like the Squonk with it’s trail of tears behind him, all that intricate detail which I so envied… I envied my sister, envied all the valentines, the medals, ability to draw stares of attention. The twin beds were completely dissimilar the covers unmatched deliberately to make us individual as we were in reality - from two separate eggs, nothing to do with each other. A rift grew up between us and slowly widened… I watched the collection of small china creatures grow upon our windowsill, the woodland creatures she collected so carefully, the hedgehogs, the rabbits… a chipped ear or two amongst them, I’m sure. My sister moved the china animals so that they wouldn’t face in the sunlight… and still I watched from the outside, unravelling the memories like thread, leading me back into the labyrinth. For what purpose though am I dredging up these memories, mere self indulgence is it? Nobody else shared that space with me and so these empty words are only written for me, Whimsy’s for me.

I look out the window into the garden, the childhood garden which encapsulated the whole thing, the whole childhood memory. The smell of decay and damp filling my nostrils as I approach the old, broken down garage at the end of the lawn. I used to play tennis by myself for hours, bouncing the ball against the back door of the garage… and what’s the point of resurrecting all these ancient memories now? Is it all quite purposeless… self indulgent drivel for nobody but myself? I used to watch for frogs jumping in the greenhouse, for it was completely overgrown and all the panes of glass were smashed… or at least some of them. So I would sit with the greenhouse door open and watch the long grass move silently as frogs moved with them. This childhood, this garden, still with me now… every piece I loved, the ancient stone sundial, all lost, all faded completely.


Writer's Island Fisherman

For a change… my effort at a bit of poetry for the Writer's Island prompt of “Fisherman”.


Still as a stone he sits

Enclosed by the warm nights silence

Fishing, for what?

Maybe for words

For inspiration

A lost cause, maybe

His mind completely passive and open

Ready to receive, ready to write

Still he fishes

Waiting for inspiration to come.


Writer's Island Breakthrough

This week’s bit for the Writer’s Island, the theme being Breakthrough.


“Hey, come on – cool it, will you?” Tim Burton said soothingly, taking a step towards the wizard. The film director held up both his hands in a placating gesture, shaking his head slowly, as if he couldn’t understand quite why the wizard was reacting in this way. “I’ve no intention of picking a fight with you – whoever you are – I don’t even know your name. I just think you should clear off out of here – you’re holding up filming…” He looked at his large computerised wristwatch. “Time is money, if you know what I mean.” He glanced over at the sobbing Alice who was still clinging to Bartholomew’s side. “I think your friend wants you to take her home,” he added casually, turning away and going back to the cameras.

“Yes, I know… but I’m not sure exactly where that is.” The young wizard glanced over his shoulder at Elvira, who had been standing just behind him all the time. “Do you know Elvira?”

Elvira frowned at the papery black and white illustrated little girl for a moment.

“Let’s see, Oxford? Yes, Oxford.”

“Well, that’s where we are now,” came a different voice, clear and strong, an actress’s voice. The young woman who was playing the part of Alice strode towards the intruders, her long golden curls clustered around her face, which seemed theatrically white beneath the lights. Her scarlet lips were pressed together tightly, trembling slightly with emotion. “Look, I don’t know who the hell you guys are but you better get out of here right away, you’re holding everything up, don’t you see, this is my big chance, my first staring role – and a big Tim Burton film. Oh, I’ve waited so long for this chance, and now you’re going to ruin it.”

“Take it easy, Tabitha,” said the director, putting his arm reassuringly around the young actress’s shoulders. These people were just leaving, isn’t that right?” He glared at the witch and wizard accusingly. “The door’s over there,” he added needlessly, nodding his head in its direction.

Alice’s papery edges seemed to have stopped shaking so violently, as her sobs slowly subsided, perhaps even a touch of resilience coming into the shaded strokes of her pen lines, as she raised her eyes up to Bartholomew’s face, her contrasting black and white edges seemed even more clear than ever.

“Am I really going to go back to my book? Will I see the mad hatter once again?” She asked quietly.

“I don’t know about that, Alice, I’m afraid. Not if Oxford is anything like I remember it. you say the year is now 2014?” The Wizard glanced at the director before turning towards the door.

The director nodded curtly, already getting back into his successful film directors roll. As she took a step outside, Elvira whispered into Bartholomew’s ear, “It’s ok, Bart, don’t worry… I think I remember Oxford pretty well and I don’t believe it will have changed much in a few years. let’s go.” She pushed the young wizard and Alice ahead of her, out into the entrance hall, giving Bart a quick kiss on the tip of his nose as she did so.


Writer's Island If only...

My piece for Writer’s Island - this weeks prompt is “If only”…


The wizard wrapped his arms protectively around the flimsy pen and ink illustration of Alice, kneeling down so that she became almost hidden within the folds of his midnight blue robe. Despite the fact that she was only paper, he could still feel her emotion bubbling against him.

“Take me back, please… I don’t want to be here any more,” Alice pleaded frantically in a thin voice that could have slid under the door… if there had been a door to speak of. Despite the thinness of her wails they were perfectly audible to every one, as the whole room had become silenced - all the camera men were standing around not knowing what to do, waiting for Tim Burton’s instructions. The director himself stood staring helplessly at the original Alice, his eyes switching nervously back to Tabitha, his actress playing Alice. The original Alice continued to cry as if she were trying to drown herself once again in her own tears. “If only I’d never stepped out of my book… if only I’d stayed just a pen and ink illustration! I don’t want to be real… it hurts to much, it drives me quite mad!”

“Shhhhh, don’t cry… everything’s going to be alright,” Bartholomew said soothingly, stroking the little girls dark hair. “I know everything feels so strange… but nobody’s going to hurt you, don’t worry.”

Tim Burton cleared his throat awkwardly, fidgeting with the collar of his black shirt with thin, nervous fingers. As his expression remained serious… touched by a slight guiltiness.

“Hey now… listen, Alice… I’m sorry, I feel this is all my fault - I really didn’t mean to cause you such distress you know,” the director said in a low voice. His American accent very obvious, and it jarred against both the presence of the Victorian illustration and the wizards - even though Elvira and Bartholomew were contemporaries. Tim Burton spread his hands wide in a helpless gesture as he took a few steps towards the crying Alice, but still made no movement to try and touch her… for his fear kept him at bay. “why are you so upset though? This is the twenty-first century… you can’t possibly expect to remain un-changed all these years you know - it’s ridiculous. I’ve simply used the original Tenniel illustrations as the basis for my version of Alice, who’s nothing like you I’m afraid.” The black figure stroked his shoulders helplessly. “That’s just the way it is, I’m afraid.”

The flimsy figure continued to sob, though muffled by Bartholomew’s robe it was still audible.

“But I don’t belong here… this is nothing to do with me! I want to go home, I don’t want to have anything to do with these modern versions you’re so fond of.”

Looking slightly irritated, Tim Burton folded his arms and gave a loud tut.

“You’re quite happy to remain just a book illustration then, are you? Just a figment of Tenniel’s imagination… or was it Lewis Caroll’s, I don’t know. Any way one of those Victorians.”

Bartholomew glared at the director, holding Alice tightly to him.

“That’s quite enough from you, I think Mr. Burton… leave her alone. You’re just confusing her with all this modern stuff… she doesn’t know anything about films, remember.”

“Well, that’s hardly my fault is it?” snapped Tim Burton fiercely. He seemed suddenly to loose patience with all these things which were going on, all these strange characters appearing out of nowhere and talking about nonsensical things. “You should remember who your talking to, any way… don’t tell me what to do or I’ll have you thrown out of here. I’m the boss, remember… not you or Alice or any one else - me, Tim Burton.”

The young wizard straightened up very slowly, giving a contentious laugh

“So you’re going to throw me out, are you? I’d like to see you try, Mr. Burton… just try.”

Beside him Elvira drew her wand slowly, moving closer towards her comrade.

“And I think you’ll have to throw me out… if you happen to do such a thing,” she said softly, “for we wizards stick together, you know.”