I have been nominated for the Cindy G En-Masse Award by the one-and-only Cindy Georgakas who writes up a storm (to beautiful effect) on her blog Unique Times.
Cindy’s a lovely lass living in California, which is in the US of A. I’ve never been there but I understand it’s a sunny place where you can buy oranges (or is that Florida?) and wine. It’s also the home of Californication (song or TV show – you decide).
… and then I was going to go into the ins and outs of all the awards that Cindy has nominated me for (at least two and perhaps as many as three thousand), answer all the questions I was meant to answer and nominate a gazillion people for further awards, but I got lost in doing something else and by the time I resurfaced (now) this draft was many, many months old and was so covered in virtual cobwebs that even the virtual spiders were getting virtually confused.
So, without subjecting anyone to further words on the subject I declare myself nominated and happy to move on. Thanks, Cindy, you’re amazing.
Just had an idea for a novel. Here’s how I developed that idea (think of it as a case-study):
When you flip a coin it can either be heads or tails. In any argument, there are two sides: yours and theirs. When something bad happens then there are at least five ways you can react: denial, anger, bargaining, grief or acceptance. What if all of these sides were not just aspects of the self, but real people (or characters in a novel)?
The characters are different aspects of me. My denial will be called Eddie (Sheeran), anger will be Kurt (Cobain), bargaining will be Simbiatu (Little Simz), depression will be Dylan (Thomas – Under Milk Wood) and acceptance will be Jane ((Emma) Austen).
Eddie is really called Dean (Newstead). Some kind of a double life going on.
Just noticed that Kurt’s got big(ish) boobs. I dunno, maybe it’s the steroids and that’s why his moods are swinging.
Simbiatu is the first name of rapper Little Simz. I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed to write real people into a story but I can anonymise aspects of their life and personality.
Dylan’s skin looks milky white. Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Jane looks like she could be an Austen but perhaps it’d be better to call her Emma. I could get a lot of mileage out of an Emma.
A serial killer is loose in the (city, countryside, hamlet, isolated mansion, fortified supermarket) – a cancer in the heart of the (city, community). One by one, Eddie, Kurt, Simbiatu and Dylan are murdered until only Emma remains alive. Is she the killer or is there someone else? Yeah, we’re going to have to go for the fortified supermarket. But fortified against what? Well, duh, Zombies; obviously! But don’t worry, they’re just a backdrop. Just a reason why the situation is inescapable. The inevitability of what happens next is important.
To be honest, that’s all the planning I need. The novel just about builds itself from here on out.
Setting the scene: all characters together in the middle of a crisis (yeah, the zombies are trying it on)
Killer’s background (lots of little stories that show character and motivation). Maybe cut this up and put a piece before each of the following sections. Let’s see.
Eddie’s background told in a graphic and image rich style. Why is he really Dean? How does this contribute to what follows? How does denial fit in? Is denial in his natural nature or his bolted-on behaviour?
Eddie being hunted, stalked and killed. Nothing too explicit. Bloody but not gratuitous. The death of denial.
Kurt’s background and life before the zombies. How he got there. Use stuff from Cobain’s life but nothing too obvious. Do supermarkets stock steroids? Withdrawal? Anger? How does he show anger? What’s the root of his anger?
Kurt’s death could look like an accident or suicide but it really is murder. Let’s see how that plays out. What does fiercely burning anger being snuffed out look like?
Simbiatu is a waif. She is a very sympathetic character. Her background is a case study of rising up in the face of poverty and deprivation. She will capture your heart so that …
Simbiatu’s death will hit you very hard. It will be tragic. A waste of potential, love, life and heart. Her determination to live will have you roaring her on in her attempts to evade the killer. She’ll try to bargain for her life, but she’ll still die.
Dylan is a bit of a downer. He is melancholy and this affected the group, and everyone else in his past, in a negative way. We delve into Dylan’s background and in the process we draw on Dylan Thomas and his work. Steal, steal, steal.
Dylan’s death is, to be honest, a bit of a relief to everyone concerned. I mean, no-one (except for serial killers) wants anyone to die (they want their victims to die) but removing all that wailing and weeping from a scene can’t be anything but uplifting.
Emma’s background. Hmm. Well, for a start, she’s just like the Emma in Jane Austen’s novel. Please don’t make me read it. Maybe I could skim it or read the SparkNotes or watch the movie? Seems that Jane is her first name and Emma is her middle name, but she like’s to be known as Emma so I guess we just have to accept that.
Emma’s survival means that acceptance is the final state of the book, but acceptance of what? Does she accept her role as a serial killer (if that’s what she is)? Or does she accept her role as a survivor? Any which way around, Emma survives, but what is she left with? The supermarket is the body. The fortifications are the drugs/diet against the disease (zombies) but how are they effective when the enemy is already within (the serial killer).
The last scene is the invasion of the zombies from outside. The death of denial, anger, bargaining and grief, even though they are ineffective companions, has taken too much from the defence of the supermarket. Emma and her acceptance is too laisser-faire to defend the supermarket alone. We witness one last assault where the zombies (picture them as Covid-19, flu, or a common cold) invade the supermarket (the body). Contained within are Emma (acceptance) the serial killer (cancer). They try to fight together because, after all, the serial killer is still human (part of the human race) even though he has gone rogue (cancerous) and he still wants to live after his own fashion. Emma accepts everything and so has given up. Or – wait – has she? Let’s have a look at what Emma’s actually accepting here. Here’s an invader. Here’s an enemy. The enemy is providing a way for the invaders to come inside (partly through killing parts of the defending force and partly by unlocking the doors (health, strength, immunity, order, determination) that kept the invaders (disease, disorder) out). Here is a weapon. Here is acceptance. Here is an invader. Here is acceptance of the weapon. Drug trials happen all the time. Some are effective weapons against disease. Accept the trial, accept the weapon, accept the victory. Accept the arrival of the cavalry. Helicopters can land on the roof of a hospital and whisk survivors to safety – it happens all the time. Not every serial killer story has to have an unhappy ending. Zombies don’t always win; they are not immune to napalm. And if the serial killer gets caught up in the flames then who’s gonna mourn? Now that’d be something worth accepting.
Me: “Hey, Melissa, I have a really random sounding question. I need a first name for a new novel that begins with C and is largely unpronounceable to English speakers. Your surname made me think you light know of one. Perhaps it could have plenty of zeds or exes in it. I’m Robert. Sorry if I weirded you out with that question. :)”
Melissa: “Hello Robert! Well i don’t know if this will work for you, but what came to my mind is “Chizvinzwira” which translates to “now hear for yourself ” in my language (Shona). I’m honored you asked by the way, i guess i like random questions.”
Me: “Wow, thank’s Melissa – that’s ideal. I have no idea where to begin in pronouncing that correctly. Perfect. Now I need to ask permission to use the name I guess. I’ve just planned out a novel (you can see the plan here if you like: https://robertcday.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/embodying/) and I needed a name for my serial killer. He’s not going to be called Chizvinzwira in the book because he’s in England and, because no-one in the situation he finds himself in (trapped in a Supermarket with Zombie Hordes surrounding it) has the mental bandwidth to pronounce his name (or they’re all racist idiots – I haven’t decided yet (probably a combination of the two)) then they call him C. Actually, they call him Big C. I’ve not decided whether that’s because he’s big and muscular or big and fat – which do you think would be most likely? I think the former (muscular) because he’s got to have some strength in order to be able to kill all those people. Unless he’s cunning, I suppose. Probably cunning and fat would be most likely due to his motivation for killing them (food is running out in the supermarket). I don’t really know what people who speak Shona are like (which dialect, by the way?) but there are always going to be outliers. Anyway, like I say – I need to ask your permission to use this name because it’s not for good purposes. C will be fat and cunning, will kill four people out of greed for food and life, and will not be redeemed at the end of the book (he will die in a napalm attack along with the zombies in the closing scene). What do you think? Kindness – Robert.”
Wanting people to like you means that you have low self-respect.
A bold statement, but is it true? Of course it is; and of course it isn’t. It all depends on what your truth is. I’m sat on a gate at the far end of a field. It’s far away from people, but it’s on a path that people can take. If someone chose to walk here then they would cross my path. Do I want that? Yes and no.
I went to the GP Surgery today to make an appointment to see a doctor so that they can look at the patch of skin at the hairline of my right temple (I wonder which part of the brain is under there). The skin patch is asymmetrical with an irregular border, has more than one colour, is more than 6mm in diameter and is evolving. Yeah, those bold letter are the abcde of what cancerous moles look like. I looked them up on the internet. So that’s my news.
There are lots of people in this world and there’s a scale, a continuum on which they fall. Take a simple one with good at one end and bad on the other. Don’t define the terms so that we can keep it simple. Let’s just say that if a bad person came along then I wouldn’t care to be disturbed. If, on the other hand, a good person happened along then I might be open to a little company. But not much. Just enough to get confirmation that it’s a nice day in terms of the weather.
I was going to tell you something important. In fact I’d typed it out. But then a cow came along and ousted me from my perch. It walked slowly up up behind me and then stood, waiting politely for my attention. When I turned it simply looked at me with its cowish eyes but said nothing. I ventured a “Hello, I have nothing for you,” but it didn’t seem concerned. It just continued to watch me from a discreet distance. I asked “do you want me gone?” and the cow dipped its head once; as good a nod as I’ve ever seen on man or beast. And then it looked up again to check it still had my attention, and then flicked its head to one side to indicate the direction of travel I should take. I took it.
At a good distance I looked back and the cow was stood in the same place but it’s attention was not on me. I took out the device I’m typing this on and continued my important message to you. Or, at least, I tried. But I must have pressed the wrong button because as I looked, the relevant paragraph vanished. Gone as if it had never been. So I left it gone. And I moved on.
So, yeah, my path was crossed not by a person; either good or bad, but by a cow. I have been visited and I have benefitted from wisdom and none of what just happened involved wanting people to like me, or having low self-respect. Isn’t life wonderful?
Because it’s late and I’m hungry and far from home I’m just going to send this without proofing it. I trust that its going to be alright.
I didn’t realise that I was doing it, but I’ve just found out that I’ve been tracking cars.
It’s probably because I read books whilst I walk. I even read them as I cross the road. I was doing it just now.
Without knowing it I tracked a car that had just passed me. I didn’t do it with my eyes, because they were firmly fixed on my book as I crossed the road. No, I was actually doing it with my ears.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but cars make swooshing noises as they move along. Most of the sound you hear, as a car goes by, is not actually from its engine, but from the sound its tyres make as they displace air from the surface of the road. Try it now and you’ll see (hear) what I mean. Stand by the road and pay attention to what you hear as a car passes by.
This particular car; the one I was tracking with my ears, had just passed me before I stepped into the road. Unconsciously, I tracked it as it drove away from me. Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, the car vanished from my radar. It stopped making a sound!
I immediately became conscious of the silent car and I was even in the act of raising my eyes from the book I was reading when I realised what had happened.
A few weeks ago, men came, driving huge machines. Transporters arrived bearing even larger machines and deposited them onto this stretch of road. Barriers and signs followed and, quietly and efficiently, the road was closed off. Then machine and man set to work.
First they ripped away the surface of the road and carried it off to an unknown fate in lorries designed for that purpose. Then they tidied up the edges of the road before moving onto the final stage of their plan: they resurfaced the road!
The new tarmac was finer than the previous grade and the surface was (and is) smooth enough to skate on. I really hope that the cars passing don’t take that as an invitation when the colder weather arrives and rain freezes on the surface. There’s a roundabout and a school just down the road; both being really good reasons for cars to slow down.
For now, though, the only phenomenon the new ultra-smooth surface of the road creates is that it makes cars disappear. They vanish from my auditory radar and cause my eyes to pause, fractionally as they skip across the words of my book.
Still, it’s nice. Despite disconcerting my mind briefly and interrupting my reading minisculy, it’s nice that the road is quiet. If only it could happen more often and in more places. We don’t need a pandemic to cut down on the din from the traffic, we just need better roads. Perhaps now we’ve exited Afghanistan, a little more of the national budget can be diverted to this end.
I designed a blog … And then I made everyone read it. I had fliers printed that I put on cars and through letterboxes. I emailed the link to every editor of every paper and magazine, and I posted the link on thousands of people’s MySpace pages. It became my life; it became an addiction.
That’s an excerpt from The Cows byvDawn O’Porter (yeah, I know – I’m going through a ‘girlie books’ phase) where one of the characters describes how she drove her blog readership from zero to half a million in just 16 short years.
Maybe I should try that. Whadya reckon? Addiction?
Remember by Becky Hill and David Guetta Feel It Still by Portugal The Man Kiss My (Uh Oh) (feat. Little Mix) by Anne-Marie Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran Panic Room by Au/Ra & CamelPhat Talk About by DJ Craig Gorman & Rain Radio Need To Know by Doja Cat Crying In The Club by Camila Cabello Wild Thoughts (feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller) by DJ Khalid Mood Ring by Lorde Out Out (feat. Charli XCX & Saweetie) by Joel Corry and Jax Jones Dynamite by BTS Mood (feat. iann dior) by 24kGoldn Piano Banana by Krystal Klear Rinse & Repeat (feat. Kah-Lo) by Riton Just for me by PinkPantheress Take My Breath by The Weeknd Midnight (The Hanging Tree) by H.O.S.H. & 1979 Rumors (feat. Cardi B) by Lizzo How Can I Make It OK? by Wolf Alice Good Girls by CHVRCHES Crown by Stormzy Jesus Walks by Kanye West Turn Down For What (feat. Lil Jon) by DJ Snake Cry For You by September Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish Higher Love by Kygo vs Whitney Houston Paradise by George Ezra Boyz N Da Club by Shermanology Stay by The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber Medicine by Bring Me The Horizon Eastside (feat. Khalid & Halsey) by Benny Blanco I Love You, I Hate You by Little Simz If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You by The Wombats Come Together by Franky Wah INDUSTRY BABY (feat. Jack Harlow) by Lil Nas X Be Honest (feat. Burna Boy) by Jorja Smith Be Free by Rathbone Place Psycho by Maisie Peters One Kiss by Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa Better Days by Dermot Kennedy Your Girlfriend by Blossoms
One of them dropped an f-bomb on the audience, which wasn’t good. The whole show is going to be repeated in Saturday night from 7pm if you want to listen again.
Quiz based on stuff that’s been in the news this week. I used it on my live radio show on 5 Towns Radio (www.5townsradio.co.uk) tonight. The contestant this week got absolutely none of them correct – nil pwon. See if you can do better …
Which eighteen year old British women’s tennis player made it to the semi-finals of the US Open this week?
Which of the following didn’t make it onto the Royal Mail’s new issue of 18 stamps featuring DC Comics heroes and villains – Spider-Man or Wonder Woman?
Who officially became Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian as of this week?
A rare birth took place at a Sri Lankan animal reserve where were twins were born – but which animal species are they? (Giraffe, Hippo, Elephant or Lion)
Which country announced that they were limiting the gaming time for children to 1 hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays?
Which artist just broke the record for the most monthly listens on Spotify? (Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Arianna Grande)
Cristiano Ronaldo just returned to Manchester United from Juventus and then broke the men’s international scoring record. Who had previously held it? (Edinson Cavani, of Uruguay, Ali Daei, of Iran, Soh Chin Ann, of Malaysia)
Pigeons have been in the headlines. But what were they being blamed for?
Kim Kardashian set tongues wagging by attending a “listening party” for the new album, Donda, by her soon-to-be-ex-husband Kanye West, by wearing what?
After his first-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas (left) in tennis’s US Open, Andy Murray criticised his opponent for taking too long to do what? (take his first serve, talk to his coach, go to the toilet)
Neil Fachie won a gold medal for Great Britain at the Paralympics. What did his wife Lora do an hour after Neil won his medal?
New figures show that the number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high. What is the estimated number? 5.6 million, 560 thousand or 56 thousand.
Which major fast food chain have just announced that they will be trialling a Vegan Burger in selected outlets at the end of this month?
Emma Raducanu (RadooKaanoo)
Spider-Man (Marvel Comics)
Sarah Storey (Swimming and Cycling)
Elephant (The male twins were born in Sri Lankan orphanage which is the first time in 80 years)
China (China brought in the law. The country already had strict limits on how long under-18s could access online games. In 2019, children were restricted to playing games for up to three hours during holiday periods or 1.5 hours on other days)
Justin Bieber (The pop star had a massive 83.3 million streams over the last month, breaking a new record for the highest number of monthly listeners, ever! The record was previously held by Ariana Grande)
It’s Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006
It’s the broadband outages. Prof Alan Woodward, a beta-tester for the new service provided by entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, said it had mostly been working well. However, he noticed outages “some [lasting] a second, others longer”, which he put down to “pesky pigeons” sitting on the satellite dish on his kitchen roof.
A wedding dress (Kardashian, who has filed for divorce, prompted speculation of a reconciliation by appearing in the Balenciaga gown during the song No Child Left Behind)
It was using the toilet. After Tsitsipas stopped play for an eight-minute comfort break during their match, Murray pithily commented it took twice as long for the Greek to go the bathroom as it took US billionaire Jeff Bezos to reach space.
She also won a gold medal for Great Britain at the Paralympics.
The number of people waiting for hospital treatment in England has hit a record high of 5.61 million, as the NHS struggles to clear the growing backlog of care caused by Covid-19.
McDonald’s has said it is to start selling a vegan burger in the UK and Ireland after years of research to perfect it. The McPlant burger will be trialled in 10 Coventry restaurants from late September and go national next year.
Because you think that everything will just keep going as it is we will function as we we we are you don’t put anything in place emergency nothing is in place but with Manish we should have had something in place when he started to behave like that because it wasn’t nice the experience I had was a horrible experience being in that place with much horrible horrible no respect for anybody how he treated you know you know just if you could just put the music on the TV over not even thinking I had to complete it engine no nothing like that something the same way about that and all I want to know is you will be there and then you will be blaming me Cos you would want to go out and I would say yes but you wouldn’t want to go and even if you go out and I want to go let’s say I finish work four o’clock three o’clock or whatever and then I be what do I do go on my own and get lost we don’t know anybody this time with the knee I was hoping you would have made friends with the neighbours and my attention was purely when we go there I will be self sufficient so if I know somebody I can say what Loki I’m going to go into town not with you I don’t want to be with stuck with you for the seven days because I know when I’m with you it’s hard to go everywhere is walking walking walking but I don’t see it as a walking holiday and This is why you wouldn’t even sit down and ask me what I want never I get the opportunity to see what I want out of a holiday tired of always doing it for what you want what you wanna do that’s what we do what you wanna do with nothing in terms of me what I want I’m not it’s not about the driving is about the whole thing he still not telling me what you want you said you don’t I said it’s right in holiday why you going taking a week off to do what in Kendal when we get there what are you going to do if I am clear in my head that I will know how to walk around if you don’t want to ride in fine and then if we are to carry laptop carry carry my work laptop the smaller one or we take three laptops with us then if it’s a walking holiday renting walking boots is not like you you have one would you do everything I don’t have to take walking something you know whatever for me it’s all those little things and then I can see it just becoming so much stuff give you it to carry the food but I didn’t give you my stuff to carry remember when we walked down I took all my stuff I had all my stuff with me all my snacks everything was in my bag the only thing you carry was the food and I had one back also that is food for both you have to stop think of me because I’m not going to do it anymore and then what that’s what this stress is what to do with you in that place I know nobody here I know I can go out and no people I can go with people meet people do you think there I am an even more interesting did I say that thing is nothing like that Bing and having your own space to do the things you enjoy you enjoy stuff that is nothing to do with what I enjoy but we can’t come together so I always have to end up doing the things you and I could never get to do the things I want to do because you know what you don’t want to be part of all the time you think I want to walk to Asda when we get there to buy shopping no that you wanna do that because that’s what we have to do Cos we can’t carry everything
To improve a situation what is apple spider every time we have a thing it always boils up or you don’t like me you don’t like my company why apple because you want me to like you you want people to like you all those people on your call the way you speak to them you want them to like him but what does low self respect me anybody will tell you that because if you didn’t wouldn’t matter if somebody like you or not like you you will still be able to read it but I don’t hold it against them but you hold it all the time against all the time you hold it because I have to like you all the time unbelievable