a story in six parts

I never really thought about it before, but it’s quite interesting (and perhaps a bit strange) that I can write so many blog posts full of random thoughts, and publish them for the world to see, but with all the stories I write, I’m very selective with who I share them with.

I think my justification was that different people like different kinds of stories, and a lot of people I know don’t read fiction at all, so it seemed kind of pointless to openly share a story that might not be well-received.

Yes, I know this is true of blog posts too — any singular reader is not going to be interested in every post I publish — and I have no qualms about people skipping blog posts they’re not interested in, but stories are just … different.

Likely it’s because a lot more effort goes into writing stories — for me, anyway. A blog post I can put together within an hour, typing whatever comes to mind, and then proofread and publish the same day. A story, however, is something that takes several days, weeks or months to develop and polish, depending on how long it is. If a blog post is a quick mid-week dinner, a story is an elaborate multi-layered cake with some impossibly delicate tempered chocolate adornment on top.

But anyway, after much encouragement from fellow writer/creative Colette, I’ve decided to share some of my story-writing on this blog. I don’t want to give away any details of the story I’m going to share, or create any preconceptions about it, but I didn’t want to send it out into the world without some sort of introduction.

The first story I’m sharing is a short story I wrote many years ago (I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing I wrote this at least six or seven years ago). It was inspired partly by random people I saw in places I went, and I just made up stories about them. I also had the random idea to name each part of the story (of which there are six) after the first six letters of the Nato Phonetic Alphabet: alfa, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot.

I must admit, however, that, at the time, I didn’t know that I had misspelt “alfa” as “alpha”. Rather than correct this mistake, I am going to keep it as is because, for one, that is how the original was and I don’t want to edit it now after so many years, and secondly, “alfa” looks weird to me, and doesn’t fit the story.

On that note, I’d also like mention that I had no definite plan for the story when I started writing it. I only knew that I wasn’t going to go past “foxtrot” because the next word is “golf”, which doesn’t exactly inspire anything poetic in me.

I don’t want to preface it with much else — I’ll let it speak for itself.

Each instalment will be published at 24-hour intervals, starting Monday January 3rd at 11am (Brisbane time). No particular reason for this — it seemed as good a time as any.


a pause in the chaos

Well, it’s that time of year again, when I’m reminded, by the lack of traffic on the roads, that most other people have time off from work/study. Of course, I’m not complaining. Does it sound like I’m complaining? It’s nice not sitting in traffic, and equally nice to not have to get up earlier to compensate for time spent sitting in traffic.

Anyway, there’s still a very nice long week-end ahead for me.

I had a very brief chat to the cleaning person at work today, and it went something along the lines of “well, someone’s gotta do the work”, and so we will both be back at work in those days between Christmas and New Year’s.

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Last night I sat down at the piano for the first time in about 1-2 months. Before that, I had been practising less and less due to a combination of being busy with other things and being lazy. Last night I decided that I had to recommit.

I’m certainly not at the stage of being able to return to piano after a long absence and pick it up again easily. Indeed, I’m not sure that I’ll ever get to that stage, since I don’t have a natural aptitude for music, but I’ll be darned if I don’t try. I hadn’t even looked at sheet music in these last several weeks, so I had to start from the start, playing scales to become reacquainted with the notes.

What I realised last night — or re-realised, because this is certainly nothing new — is that I need to be more consistent with my piano practice if I want to improve and be able to play with any level of proficiency. It’s a thought that has been gnawing away at me for a while, but I’ve been sweeping it under the proverbial rug instead of doing something about it.

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near miss

I very nearly didn’t get a blog post done for this week. I did think about letting this one slip by. After all, there’s nothing forcing me to continue this post-per-week thing.

But I just couldn’t. I’m not sure what it is — Pride? Stubbornness? Fear? Why can’t I just let this go? If there is one week in many that I don’t feel like writing, or forget to blog, surely there is no terrible ripple effect on the universe, right?

Anyway, it’s less than two hours before Sunday ticks over to Monday, the start of another week. I’ve made it before the deadline yet again.

Hopefully next week-end will be less busy, and more full of writing inspiration. Or, who knows, maybe next week will be the week I give the whole thing a miss.

Three Act Tragedy

The latest selection by my book club is Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie. Apart from a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that I read while still in high school, I haven’t read many crime stories — or “whodunits” — before. I had friends who were really into this genre, but it never interested me. I was more of a fantasy/sci-fi person back then.

As such, I approached Three Act Tragedy with caution — I figured there would be red herrings all over the place, so I didn’t want to jump the gun and place all my suspicions on anyone too early. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to even try to guess the murderer (the crime in question was murder), and just go along with the story. However, a friend told me that half the fun of whodunits was trying to solve the mystery before the characters do, so I got back on the trail again.

In the end, I did not guess correctly. It was quite a surprise who the culprit was. I was going to try to write this post without spoilers, but I don’t think I can, so please be warned that there will be spoilers

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happy days

It’s Sunday night here, but it’s a public holiday tomorrow, so it feels like Saturday. But yesterday also felt like Saturday, so I guess things are pretty good here.

I’ve been busy but not overly productive. I had the day off work on Friday, so I went to visit my friends who were preparing for their holiday to Canada (how I wish I could join them!) I helped them lock their windows, and get rid of rubbish, so they gave me cake and miscellaneous perishable food from their fridge.

A local brewery was doing a special Oktoberfest menu this week-end, so a friend and I went there for lunch on Saturday. We were there last week-end too, but the bar has such a relaxed atmosphere, and the staff are so chill, I’d happily become a regular. One of the owners was working behind the bar, and he actually remembered us from last week. I take that as a good thing. I’m sure they think our patronage is a good thing too.

Today (Sunday) I wanted to catch up with a couple of other friends. I reckon Sunday session friends are pretty high up in the unofficial hierarchy of friends. You know, the kind of friends you want to round out the week-end with, or the ones you can talk to for hours (hence the Sunday sesh should preferably start in the early afternoon, to allow ample time to chinwag until the sun goes down).

I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d be home early on Friday night, and I thought I’d be home for dinner on Saturday night, and likewise for tonight… But cleaning and other things went late on Friday, and we ended up at an arcade bar on Saturday, and I completely was not keeping track of time at all tonight. So the cooking and cleaning and blogging and writing that I had planned this week-end didn’t happen. Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

There is tonight, and there is tomorrow. And just now I got a feeling of deja vu, as if I’ve written this kind of post before, and very possibly I have because I guess this is the kind of thing I do not learn. But if I have a chance to go out and hang out with friends (and try some good beers), then I will take it. Chores can wait — I know I’m not that irresponsible that I’m never going to get around to them — and I will carve out time for writing.

Speaking of writing, I’ve started working on a new story. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make this novel-length, or maybe it’s better to just keep it as a short story, but it’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about an idea for a story, so I’m just going to write and let it develop into whatever it’s meant to be. I guess that’s kind of how life is…