My photo
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 Clarity

The prompt at Writer's Island this week is Clarity


Clarity was an angel - I realised that the moment I first saw her walking past me through the park, her bare feet rustling gently against the fallen leaves covering the ground. A strange light came from her, enclosing her within it almost like a shroud, a shroud of radiance. She sat down next to me on the bench, carefully draping her beautiful wings over the back so that their feathery softness would not be disturbed by the reality of the cold autumn evening. Even though it was evening - twilight actually to be precise - the silver light shone from all around her… I worked out eventually that it came from her hair, which was silver like tinsel, this amazing silver stuff streaming down her back until it became lost beneath her wings. I must admit to being rather gobsmacked - she took my breath away, and for several moments all I could do was stare stupidly. She didn’t seem to be aware at all about any difference about her; shaking back long strands of silver hair from her face, she smiled only very gently in an abstract manner, as if preoccupied with some other business. I swallowed nervously and cleared my throat. I was aware that anything I said now would sound just plain stupid… but still I had to say something.

“ I - I haven’t seen you round here before, if your forgive me for saying so,” I stammer, aware suddenly of the icy sting of autumn air against my lips as I spoke. I turned up the collar of my Lumber jacket, feeling the deep softness of it against my bare throat… I had shaved off my beard some weeks ago for some reason which I had no knowledge of. It seemed an incredible thing to do at this time of year, when a man needs every strand of hair to protect himself. I glanced quickly at Clarity’s thin, shimmering sort of gown and bare feet - which were blue with cold, hardly surprisingly. “Your feet must be absolutely freezing.” Clarity glanced down at them, seeming surprised by their colour.

“Well, I suppose they are… it’s a bit colder down here. Heaven’s such a warm place, you know - that’s one of the best things about it.”

I could almost hear the leaves fluttering down to the ground all around me, though I was unable still to take my eyes from the angel herself.

“Well why did you come down in the first place? Why not stay with the heavenly ghosts?”

Clarity laughed very softly, the sound becoming visible as vapour in the cold air.

“Oh, I had to… I was sent down here. I had no choice in the matter - when the Almighty speaks, we have to obey.” She shrugged indifferently, her wings raising and falling with her shoulders. “That’s the way it is up there, so that’s why I’ve come down. I don’t know why though there must be some reason I suppose.”

I shook my head wonderingly, basking in the gentle radiance from her hair… from her whole self in fact, her angelic self that is.

“I’d like to see Heaven for myself… I’ve always thought it sounds pretty boring though. Is it?”

Once again, the shrug - the wings moving with it, the feathers also.

“I suppose it is really… not much goes on there. But it’s the only place I’ve known, so…” she broke off suddenly, shaking her head as if to clear it. I became aware of a buzzing, a vibration in the air. I frowned; I felt uneasy, searching for some sort of explanation, some insight into Heaven and how angels work, some sort of clarity. Her eyes became unfocused a frown creasing her delicate brow. “Wait a minute… I’m just getting a message… this might be the reason we’ve been looking for. Some sort of light is being thrown on the subject of my actions, I hope.”

I stared at her, feeling the light intensify around her along with the vibrations so that the two were linked, they went hand in hand, side by side. Clarity stood up abruptly, her bare feet shuffling against the fallen leaves on the ground. She held out her hand to me, and all I could see was the light surrounding it.

“I’m afraid I have to go… that is, back there. I’ve just been told - and I can’t argue with that one. But you’re coming with me, you know… I’ve been told to bring you. So come on, get to your feet and let’s be off… oh, by the way I ought to introduce myself properly to you - the name’s Clarity. Clarity by name… clarity by nature.”

Her light was becoming more and more intense as every second passed… I seized her hand, I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to see heaven for myself. As I got to my feet also, I saw the golden staircase taking shape against the gloom of twilight… I followed Clarity towards it, trying not to trip over my own clumsy feet in haste. I walked side by side with the angel, her silver hair still streaming down her back until it was lost in the feathers of her wings. The lights around her hair became so bright and intense I became anxious… and yet at the same time so excited.

“I suppose this is what they call seeing the light,” I cried out breathlessly.

Beside me I felt Clarity smile by the movement of the air.

“Yes, I suppose it is… you coming? You coming then?”

We began to climb the stairs, moving both our feet in perfect unison.


Writer's Island Courage II

The prompt at Writer's Island this week is Courage.


As he wandered along the Yellow Brick falling to the ground at every other step, the scarecrow saw a magnificent lion advancing slowly towards him without making a sound. The scarecrow felt a little uneasy at this silence, for he expected such a splendid creature to make some sort of roar or something… but this silence was quite un-nerving. The scarecrow picked himself up when he came face to face with the lion and asked him some what timidly…

“Don’t I recognise you? Aren’t you searching for a heart - for courage?” The lion smiled very vaguely, shaking his beautiful golden hairdo from side to side so that his mane glinted gently in the sunshine. When he answered, the words came vibrating from his throat, in a great rumbling vibration of energy.

“I’m afraid you’re mixing me up with someone else… some other lion, perhaps a more courageous one than me. For I’m a quite different creature… a suffering lion, a sacrificial lion with religious undertones - need I say more?” The lion stared directly into the scarecrows painted eyes, raising his fierce eyebrows very slightly. “Surely you’ve read the book I come from… you’re into children’s fiction aren’t you?”

The scarecrow shook his cloth head firmly, although he didn’t feel at all firm.

“I’m afraid I don’t know you. I understand nothing about religious undertones, for I’ve got no brain have I??”

“No… sorry, I forgot.” Gently the lion raised a great paw and patted the scarecrow apologetically on the arm. He almost crushed the scarecrow’s fabric body as he did so with his almighty strength. “But you must have heard of my story somewhere… for I step out of fiction into religion… a sort of mixture of fictional characters against a real background. I’m talking about the bible - Christianity, call it what you will. And I’ve wandered out of that into children’s fiction… there I become Aslan, the most courageous and tragic lion you’ve ever heard of. You must have heard of me.”

Still the scarecrow stared blankly at the great lion and continued to shake his stupid cloth head. It seemed to both of them there was nothing more to be said.


Writer's Island Courage

The prompt at Writer's Island this week is Courage.


I sat on a coil of rope just at the edge of the water, watching the Torpoint ferry make contact with land; all around me the bright lights lingered and flashed intermittently, red, yellow, gold. The night yawned and stretched, enjoying the solitude. Everything seemed to be completely still and silent… at least, almost silent - for the gentle sound of the waves lapping against the harbour walls became a musical background to my thoughts.

At first I thought the bright white figure moving towards me was another light from the ferry, then I realised the figure wasn’t walking across the water after all, even though it became obvious to me pretty quickly that the form wasn’t a human but an angel, with massive great wings trailing behind him. I watched with some interest as the angel moved noiselessly towards me… only his wings made a slight dragging sound, as the feathers trailed along the ground behind him. My eyes hurt to stare at him, he was so bright. I’m afraid I can’t remember if he had a halo or not… such details don’t matter, do they? I got to my feet very slowly as the angel approached - I thought I should show him some form of respect or simply civility. Although the angel’s face showed no expression, it seemed to be set with a gentle smile, almost sculptured in marble, shining marble. He held out his hand towards me, and I took the map from him wordlessly… don’t ask me why I wasn’t surprised, I just wasn’t . I unfolded the parchment carefully, and stared at the markings upon it. When I raised my eyes back to the angel’s shining face, I felt confused.

“I - I’m sorry… I don’t understand,” I said, feeling truly stupid. “What is this?”

The angel gazed at me patiently folding his arms. He may even have sighed - I wouldn’t like to say.

“It’s a map of course - it shows your destiny. You gonna follow it or what?”

I noticed immediately the angels cockney accent… which seemed completely in keeping with the strangeness of the night even though Torpoint was nowhere near London. Still, I felt I had to speak to the angel.

“I didn’t know - I didn’t know angels could have cockney accents,” I said, taking the hand he offered, for I felt I could do with something steady to hold on to. “I thought angels were meant to be ethereal, above such things.”

The angel’s smile widened slightly as he raise his hand and pointed upwards, ahead of him into the black night sky. Perhaps a star twinkled there, perhaps not.

“We’ve got to go up… when you’re ready - are you ready?” I could hear the waves lapping against the harbour walls… and the sounds spun away , entangling themselves with the stars, the images of destiny. The angel coughed and tutted impatiently. “We should get going right away, then… we have got to go up very high… right up amongst the stars. You ready?”

I felt his hand pull on my own, drawing me towards the light. I swallowed down my nerves.

“Ok, I’m ready… lead the way,” I said with perfect confidence.


Writer's Island Embark

Written for the Writer's Island prompt: Embark


I’m clinging for dear life onto the edge of one of the sails, high up above everyone else, all the rest of the crew who scurry about like beetles over the main deck of the Discovery. If I dare to shift my position I’m just able to make out the Captain himself, strolling leisurely amidst the general hubbub of activity that takes place around him. As I watch, he takes out a large white handkerchief from his pocket and blows his nose loudly – I can hear the sound clearly from right up here on the ship’s highest yard. I smiled to myself; I have a great affection for the captain, although I hardly know him really, for I’m only a nameless one of the ship’s crew, no one special. I’m one of tens of workers, pulling the ropes, setting the sails, getting the ship already to embark on this voyage – this voyage of discovery.

I crawl slowly along the yardarm, inching towards the centre mast, the steady centre. It seems to take a long time for me to reach the place where I can feel relatively at ease, where my heart can perhaps beat a little easier and my breathing become slightly less frantic. I’m still high up on the mast, with the sails flapping below me and there are even a few gulls screeching around my head – though this may be merely my imagination, for after all, we’re not yet at sea, this is only the Thames. Reaching the mast finally, I sheen my way down carefully, feeling the ropes, rough and abrasive, against my skin… for my skin is a soft female one, though I almost forget this, so caught up have I become in the part I am playing, in my disguise.

My rough fabric shoes make absolutely no sound as they make contact with the wooden deck, and the rest of my body follows noiselessly, but even so the captain turns his head to see who has moved the air around him, disturbed the stillness. I get to my feet slowly, very aware, as always, of the absence of my skirts rustling and dragging around my legs, dragging me down. My legs cry out with freedom, the freedom of the thin cotton breeches… I stare back at the captain as he meets my eyes directly, challenging. I’m sure for a moment that he recognises me, but of course he says nothing. It’s not so easy for me to keep my face raised and my eyes confronting his shamelessly, without blushing or turning away, as I have been told to do all my life, all these past twenty years. I’m trying so hard to meet the gentle eyes of Captain Cook… remembering that last time we lay together, quite some months past, perhaps it’s even years, I’m not quite sure. I want to raise my hand to touch the captain’s face, to let him know that I have come on board The Discovery beside him… for I could not possibly allow him to embark alone on this voyage.

My Newsletter Raw Meat is now Online! Issue 124 January 2011