And the beat goes on … or the free giveaway, anyway. So, how’s it going?

So, I’m on the second (and final) day of my free giveaway of ‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’, and how’s it going? Is this a productive way to publicize your new ebook? That’s the million (or trillion) dollar question, isn’t it?

Well, from current figures I would say yes. I’m now up to 54 ebooks downloaded (at about 10.00 am on the second day of the giveaway) in various different countries: UK, US, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Canada. OK, so it’s not up in the thousands, but as a first time author/self-publisher I’m quite pleased with the progress to date. ‘The Path Through the Eye of Another‘ currently ranks 28 in the Amazon literary fiction rankings and 3,000 and a bit in general (not bad to say the are about 1.5 million books available on Amazon at present).

Publicity is obviously all important. I’ve had posts out on twitter, facebook and in the amazon forums and the hard work seems to be paying off.  What will happen after the promotion ends? Well, that remains to be seen. From reading up on the subject it appears that a slump in downloads is to be expected at first, due to the fact that those who have downloaded the book have to actually read it before posting reviews. But I am hopeful that, after a few weeks, the figures will begin to creep up once more as reviews are posted on amazon and other potential readers begin to take the bait.

So, that’s my news thus far on the exciting journey that is the publication of my debut novel. Let’s see how it goes. Tender hooks and all that are being waited on and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding! 🙂

Thanks for popping by and, once again, happy reading!

Download your copy here:

The Path Through the Eye of Another

 

My Free Book Giveaway Days … 9th and 10th April

So, after a day and a half of what I see as pretty good sales (17 books — not bad for a first release and a rooky marketer scrabbling his way through the confusing scree of the social media and networking sites) the FREE GIVEAWAY days have arrived!

Is this a good idea for a new author? I’ve been told so, so let’s give it a try! One thing I would ask is that, if you decide to take the literary plunge and download today or tomorrow, please leave a review as, as I remember one ‘twitterer’ tweeting a while ago (can’t remember who … sorry), ‘a review is the best present for any author’ (as I’m sure you’ll all know)!

That said, reviews anytime by anyone are welcome, obviously.

Have any of you guys ever organized a free giveaway for a book? If so, I’d be grateful of any advice, words of wisdom, knowledgy-pearls or what-have-you.

Anyway, if you fancy a good read for this weekend, here is the link to your local Amazon:

The Path Through the Eye of Another 

Happy Reading folks 🙂

Davey

 

My New Book Adventure … by Me, Davey Northcott

Well yesterday the day finally arrived after many weeks … months … years of writing, editing, re-writing, formatting, cover-designing, more editing, more re-writing, more formatting … well those of you that have embarked on the self-publishing route will know what I mean. And even those who publish through traditional publishers.

But yes, yesterday was the big day. I had my book uploaded on amazon and I finally pressed that little, unassuming button that said ‘Save and Publish’. I had suddenly become a published author!

What did I feel? I had expected a rush of exhilaration, excitement, dizzy stars in front of my eyes. But to my disappointment none of this happened. The clock kept ticking and the builders in the patio outside kept on scraping old plaster off the walls. In short, the world carried on as before.

It takes a while for amazon to check and approve your book (up to twelve hours are the guidelines) so it was now time to twiddle thumbs.

After a couple of hours of said thumb entwining the status on my bookshelf changed to ‘live’! Wow! Now I felt excited. I rushed onto amazon to see my hours of toil translated into a sellable piece when, to my shock, I saw that it was listed as being written by a different person!!!!!

My fault entirely, I have to say. And this is a word of warning to all those first time self-publishers. When entering your book information you are asked to include at least one ‘contributor’. Now, I assumed (assumption is the mother of all ####*¿s, as they say) that publishing the book from my account, I would automatically be listed as ‘author’ and hence ‘contributors’, other folk who had helped out, edited, given ideas for covers, etc. So, I happily wrote in the name of a friend who had helped me out with some ideas for the cover work. And yes, you guessed it, my beautiful book was listed on amazon as having been written by him.

My fault, as I say, but worth taking note of. THE CONTRIBUTOR IS YOU, the author.

Anyway, after some tense hours of sending emails to amazon and waiting for responses (you are not allowed to change any details until the amazon review process has totally finished) I was finally able to rectify my mistake and, hey presto! There I was! My name in print!

And that’s when a bit more excitement eventually kicked in! I was there, next to the cover of my book with its price and everything on Amazon.

So last night I headed off to work — giving English classes to Spaniards — with a smile on my face … and that smile grew yet wider still when, by the end of the night, I had sold, yes actually SOLD, my first two books! … And neither was to my mum or my gran!

So here I am, on my second day as a self-publish author, excited and wondering what the future may bring.

Happy writing and happy reading all.

Davey Northcott

amazon.co.uk link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Path-Through-Eye-Another-ebook/dp/B00JILN978/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1396942984&sr=8-3&keywords=the+path+through+the+eye

amazon.com link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Path-Through-Eye-Another-ebook/dp/B00JILN978/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396943065&sr=8-1&keywords=the+path+through+the+eye+of+another

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’: Release date 7th April on Amazon. Enjoy the opening on me … :

The Path Through the Eye of Another

In the life of every person on this planet there are five crucial elements of being, each of which is, and always has been, unequivocally integral to the other. A person needs all five of these elements in equal measure in order to really feel, and hence be, whole and fulfilled.

There is an order, an energy, which flows between these elements. Thus, if one element is missing that order is broken, the flow disturbed, the person unsettled.

But if that person arrives to such a point in his life and loses, for whatever reason, all five—what then?

Then that person is as good as dead, emotionally at least.

So, if the elements are lost, a person must re-learn them. How depends on that person, but they must be re-learnt. If not, there is no point.

The Shaking Sick Paper Seller

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Outside entrance way gate of Farringdon

Tube station, he sits in a shaking state

Perpetual, frozen by icy gusts

Of disease, descended on his once proud

Form. Quaking coarse through fates satanic jest

He munches methodic on magnum white

Ice-cream, magnificating magazines –

His wares – towards those hurried commuters

Converging around his frail form as the very

Canker that engulfs his lurching limbs,

Leaving him deaths feast in London’s lurid smog.

©Davey Northcott April 2014

(before someone else mentions it … no, the picture is not of Farringdon 🙂 )

Number 5 – The Five Essential Elements of … you!

 

 

Five, for me, has always been a special number. It was the age I got my first bike for a start! Not only that, how many children were in some of my favourite books when I was growing up? You got it. Five (can you guess which books?).

 

In the natural world five is an important number: did you know that almost all amphibians, reptiles, and mammals which have fingers or toes have five of them on each hand and/or foot?
According to Aristotle, along with other ancient Greek philosophers, the universe is made up of five classical elements: water, earth, air, fire, and ether.

 

In Cantonese, ‘five‘ has a similar pronunciation to their ‘not’ (character: 唔) and if it should appear before a lucky number, such as “58”, the result is said to be unlucky.

 

If you’re into religion (or if you’re not), here are a few ‘five facts’:

Jesus purportedly had five wounds.

For the Jews, the Khamsa, an ancient hand shaped symbol with five fingers, is used as a protective amulet. The very same symbol is also popular in Arabic culture, known to protect from envy and the evil eye.

Muslims pray to Allah five times a day and there are five pillahs of Islam.

In the Sikh religion five is also sacred, The Guru Gobind Singh prescribed five symbols and on top of that there are five deadly evils:

Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Moh (attachment), Lobh (greed), and Ankhar (ego).

 

Friday, for me the best day of the week, is the fifth! What more can I say?

So the number five. It could, if you wanted, lead you to a whole world of imaginings, wonderings and even wanderings!!!

 

Hence, my challenge for you:

 

What are the five elements in your life that really make you tick? 

 

Is it your friends?

Is it landscapes?

Arguments?

TV?

Sports?

Politics?

 

What are the five things that, without which, your life would be empty? Tell me, please; feel free …

 

Everything Must Lead to Your Final Conclusion

A few true words to writers:

Live to Write - Write to Live

Everything, absolutely everything must lead to your final conclusion.

This is “rule” I was teaching my Technical Writing students as we were discussing feasibility reports.

If the information is not necessary, don’t include it. If the information is too long (charts, graphs, tables) and takes away from the final message then either remove it or put it an appendix to be looked at later, but take it out of the report.

Never let anything get in the way of your final conclusion that should lead to an action. (A feasibility report usually looks at various scenarios and makes a recommendation on the best one based on presented facts.)

ConclusionWe discussed creating a feasibility report on the college getting a baseball field. First we brainstormed header topics and then put them into a preliminary order. Because most people are uncomfortable with money, the students put the “Cost” section near the bottom.

View original post 347 more words

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’ – The Five Key Elements of Being

What are the 5 essential elements of our being?

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’: A Spanish revolutionary, wounded in battle and disillusioned, rediscovers these key pillars on which all of our lives depend. His journey takes him through the minds of 5 animal hosts, who show him his true path and help him to recover his will to live once more.

What are the five most important elements of your life?

What would you do if you were to lose these five things and have to start all over again … from scratch?

Let me know, I’d be interested to find out.

RELEASE DATE: ‘THE PATH THROUGH THE EYE OF ANOTHER’

Due to be released on 7th April on amazon!

Free for the first 5 days!

The Path Through the Eye of Another

Read an excerpt on my blog!

Two revolutions: Five revelations
‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’ tells a tale of two revolutions—one within a country and the other within a man.
Seriously wounded, both physically and mentally, a Spanish freedom fighter sets out on a voyage, hosted by five engagingly different animal hosts, to rediscover his will to live and the five crucial elements of our being.
This light hearted but thought provoking book is a fun, action filled and beautifully crafted piece of literary fiction which provides a deep insight, backed up by thorough research, into our own souls, as well as those of the animals and society around us. Davey Northcott’s debut, this promises to be the first of many.

Memories Lost

A pastel smudge of colour
Paints a watered iris-eye,
An echo
Of a something almost lost;
Half remembered.
What do you remember, eye?
What have you seen,
Eye?
A pupil of a life
Arduous and long, now
Lies in forgotten recesses
Of a dusty mind’s shelf.
And when I speak to you
You hear me; do you listen,
Though?
And when you speak to me,
I hear you, too.
But am I listening?
A cyclical repetition
To enrage a saddened shrine to
Age and Me; I am saddened too.
And My memories are all that remain now.
For yours, I cannot find anymore.
A sudden flash illuminates your
Loch-like expanse
What are you recalling now,
Eye?
Excitement flushes through
Me, a chance of you,
And we smile for a while
Before the vinyl scratch
Screams out its domination
Once more.
And the eye is again
As a pastel, a dim-washed
Colour, nothing more
Again.

 

©Davey Northcott March 2014

Written as a memory for someone who had lost theirs …

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’ … ‘Dip your toe in’ excerpt no. 3

The Path Through the Eye of Another

This excerpt follows directly on from ‘Dip your toe in nos. 1 and 2′, which can be found below and also under the ‘My EBOOK releases’ tab.

*************************************************************

A flash.

Where was he?

A voice.

Light in his eyes, more white—long coats.

Smell—sterility.

A hazy, green-robed figure.

Why? Why don’t they leave me be? He wanted to float away, not come back.

More hands. More moving. But voices softer now, further off, and a steady, mechanical beep in the distance.

Exhaustion now.

Then drifting. Let it be away from here. Nothing left. Let me die.

Drifting …

Sleep …

NUMBER ONE

i

Dust again.

It’s strong in my nose.

But this dust smells different—drier, heat, burnt grass, no rain here. And spices wafting on the breeze.

It’s a soft breeze, warm but with the threat of a chill to come.

Sounds: magnified. Smells: excessively strong. Movement: a rhythmical lumbering.

A large shadow on the ground, stretching away … a long shadow, it must be early evening. Grunts and heavy breathing from something to my side.

Try to look round to see properly what I have heard—I can’t.

And neither can I stop this swaying, forward drive.

Who is moving me? Propelling me forwards?

‘Me.’

A shocked pause.

‘Me. Hujambo.’

‘Hujambo?

‘No. I say hujambo, you say sijambo. You really are quite simple; don’t you know how to greet?’

I say nothing.

‘In my language,’ the voice continues, ‘I greet you, hujambo, and then you must greet me, sijambo.’

‘Er, sijambo.’ But what is happening? And who is he? ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand.’

‘I am your first ride. I am your first teacher.’

Silence.

Thinking time—confusion—thinking isn’t helping. ‘What do you mean?’ I pause to force myself to calm down, before going on. ‘Why do I need a teacher? And who has given you the job?’

‘All in good time. Kutulia. That means relax by the way.’

Our movement slows, the air cools, moisture, a little humid. There, in front of us are some trees, dry and arid with thick spikes, but up at their top a canopy of fresh, green leaves. We halt in front of the trees. And the footsteps either side of us do the same.

A muscle strains at my front from between my eyes—or are they our eyes? —upwards. A long, thick and meaty shape reaching up to the leaves, tugging and tearing, bringing their wrenched-free green down to our face … and into our mouth.

Harsh, hard, acrid taste. But we don’t stop eating. There is more, and more, and more.

Our feast finally finishes and the trees are decimated. A colossal, grey shape alongside us is pushing at one of the now skeletons of twigs and woody trunk. The immense pushing shape has long white spikes from a large, solemn face, and deep, dark eyes. His huge ears are held back but waft out sporadically as he beats his forehead gently against the trunk of the helpless tree, which bends and bends and bends against the huge beast’s torrent of abuse before sighing and giving in, lying slowly down on the ground.

The pusher eats the upper-most leaves, those which he couldn’t reach before.

‘He is an elephant,’ I say.

‘Yes.’

‘And you are an elephant too?’ half question, half statement as energy from the leaves begins to revitalise our huge frame.

‘Yes.’

‘But why?’

‘I was born as such.’

‘But me I mean …. Why am I here? Why am I an elephant? What is happening?’

‘You are in my body, with me, inside my mind; we are one now.’

ii

What?

One does not expect to fall asleep and awake, to all intents and purposes, sharing the body of the largest land mammal on earth … well any mammal really come to that.

‘Let me explain,’ he says, ‘I see that you have not been briefed on what is happening to you.’ His voice is calm and methodical, contrary to mine.

‘Briefed? No! Not at all!’ If I had my own body, I would now have thrown my hard, battle-scarred hands in agitation to my forehead, heavy set beneath my thick, dark hair.

‘We animals, and when I say ‘animals’ I mean all of us, not just the elephants, but we animals have one thing in common. Do you know what that is?’

Stop and think. More confusion. ‘No.’

‘You haven’t tried.’

This self-satisfied bastard! ‘I am thinking and no, I don’t know, what is it that all animals have?’

‘Something that you don’t. Or rather you had it, but now you’ve lost it …. Do you know what that might be now?’

Luck, happiness, love, a life? I’ve lost it all recently.

‘I can hear you think, you know,’ he remarks with glib condescension. ‘Exactly, you’ve lost everything. I believe your exact thoughts—before—were ‘I’m a void, empty, no need to go on’…. You have nothing and you lack the most important one thing that makes life complete, so this you must find again.’

My previous frustration is beginning to fade now, morphing into intrigue.

‘Listen,’ he continues, ‘in the near future you will meet a series of animals, five in all. Each animal will impart to you a lesson, each of these lessons to help you remember. You are with me now, I am number one.’

‘But remember what, exactly?’

‘The five key elements in this life,’ he says. ‘All are vital, all are crucial to you. Don’t tell me what they are! You have forgotten them—as you say, you are a void—but in the rediscovery of these five pillars you will, in turn, rediscover that which you have lost, that which we animals all have.’

But before I can question further, our conversation is interrupted by a great shout—an elephant shout—and a sudden series of sharp, rat-tat-tat cracks, accompanied by vicious vibrations through the soles of our sensitive feet. Then I smell the smoke. But this isn’t normal smoke. I recognise that scent, the gun-powdery burn mixed with the heavy musk of human sweat. This is a scent I have known on many past occasions in my own political war. This smoke is rifle smoke!

Fear ripples through the herd. I can feel it in me, too, and I can smell it. Its stink is tramping closer on the padding footsteps and whooping hollers of the men with rifles. They are coming nearer with every second.

Bushes moving, rustling.

The herd rears, ears flapping, feet stomping and then, as if by one, there is a decision: turn and run!

We turn.

We run.

The guns ring out with harsh cracks. Our feet crash through undergrowth. Bullets smack into dust-foamed earth. Several tear into a young bull as he pulls level with us, sending a splatter of fine red mist with each impact raining down over our own thickly wrinkled hide.

The first few shots don’t have any effect on the bull, but then he stumbles drunkenly and falls to the ground; he is behind us now. We don’t see him anymore.

More shots and more shouts, but the sounds are fading, dimmer, we are moving slower—trotting—and then we stop.

Heavy breathing all around. We are afraid. We look skittishly from side to side but hear no more of the bad men and their weapons.

And as our fear recedes another emotion is taking control.

We are two less. Two herd members are gone. Where is the elephant who toppled the tree? I can’t see him … he is gone.

Grief.

The herd gathers close and feet scratch the ground, heads nodding mournfully.

‘Who were they?’ I ask, the shock of the gunfire numbing my mind.

‘Men,’ is his sombre reply.

‘I know they were men, I am one, but why would they chase us like that?’

He sighs. Then speaks. ‘There are two types of people here; some kill us and cut off our tusks, others kill us to make space for their land—more land for them, more food, but less for us.’

I can’t smell the sweet spices of earlier anymore, we are further from the settlement.

‘They were the village people. They are afraid of us, they fear our size and what we will do to their crops. Their fear breeds hate, so they chase us away, from land which once we were free to roam, and they kill us.’

‘But you were here first, before them.’ A statement of naive fact.

‘I know. However, we are large animals, to survive we need food. We wander around huge areas eating as we go. But unfortunately our lives are not compatible with those of the village.’

‘And so …?’

‘And so, we feel sadness, we fear and we feel anger. As the people hate us, we hate them too.’ I sense an enormous dissatisfaction within him, a seething mix of emotions in his deep, authoritarian voice. ‘We hate them with a hate bred from dread and competition, a competition that we can only lose. Why are we sure to lose? For where we have size, they have force. Our only weapon is surprise. But we are strong and we must use that sometimes.’

‘And what will happen? What will you do?’

‘Soon you shall see. Patience, but first you must learn about us.’

I can hear the heavy breathing of the herd slowing, calm is beginning to return. Not the easy calm of before the attack, but calm all the same.

iii

We are walking again now, we have been in silence for some time. I have been thinking again, but about what I’m not sure.

‘I’m sorry,’ I hear myself say.

‘Why?’

‘Your friends, who have just died.’ It’s true, I am. ‘Were you close, those elephants and you? And your herd, are you close?’

‘Are we close? We are as close as any male herd can be. Close like a matriarchal herd—the females—no. But many of us have known each other for a long, long time.’

‘How do you differ from the females?’ I ask.

‘You know nothing of the elephants’ ways, am I right?’

‘I won’t deny that. I was not interested in elephants before. I had greater things on my mind.’

‘Such as, may I ask?’

Thinking … ‘Politics and freedom, love and survival.’

I feel our huge sides begin to ripple, a snuffling sound accompanying them, the muscles of our enormous rib cage contract and relax. Is this an elephant laugh?

‘Yes, it is. You see, you are not so different from us really.’

‘Oh.’

‘But anyway, that is by-the-by, I will tell you of our herd. You must understand that in our world there are two herd types: the family herd—the women and their children—and the males. We males are wanderers. We roam from place to place and herd to herd seeking, not to put too fine a point on it, to spread our seed.’ A small elephant cough. ‘And in between times, when we are not competing for the same females, we form groups—fluid groups which constantly change—but groups. And over time, the same faces come and go and come and go and so one feels a certain unity with those around, albeit with some more than others.’

‘And who, for example, do you know best?’

‘Who?’ He hesitates for a moment. ‘Well, I left my herd in my fourteenth rainy season having been raised as an orphan by my aunts; they replaced my mother after she was shot by tusk hunters. And in the sixteen seasonal cycles since I left those aunts I have found my paths crossing most with that old bull you see there, at the front of the herd.’

Indeed I do see him, he seems larger than the rest of us, prouder if you will, but his hide carries many more creases, also. He is old.

‘Yes, he is. On his last set of molars already. It is with him that I have the greatest affinity.’

‘Why?’

‘That,’ he stresses the word, firm and sure, ‘is a story of immense bravery, my friend, and one that has led to a love and respect of great enormity. I shall tell you now, as we settle here for the night, this story of how the great Ujinga— ‘Wisdom’ in your tongue—once saved the life of some of these bulls and I. We owe him much, you see.’

And so, as our herd pulls together, some disappearing into the fast descending  dusk but most remaining close, my friend, for it is this that I suppose we are fast becoming—be it enforced or natural, I don’t know—begins to recount how Ujinga once saved his life.

‘I would have been in my eighteenth season of rains, still getting used to the dangers of a solitary life, and I was travelling with four other bulls my age—three of them are with us tonight, ask them to clarify my tale if you like.’

I would have shaken my head now, but my head is not there.

‘Well, we were grazing by a water hole, relaxed after a bath in the cool, orange mud, and thinking of where we may travel to find the best females with which to cavort. We were not paying the attention that we should, intent instead on our youthful foolishness, when suddenly the clap of a rifle rang out through the bush. The birds rose from their roosts, and our feet froze to the ground, all except one who sank to his knees, a thin, sad river of blood oozing from his previously proud forehead. We tensed to run, when suddenly a second clap resounded. But this one was different to the first—instead of a gun it was the cracking of the dry wood of the scrubby acacias to our left. And all at once a terrifying, thunderous roar trumpeted into the air; one of our kind!

‘We ran towards the noise, coming from below a thin wisp of still-hanging rifle smoke, but now the noise was joined by the unmistakeable screams of a man. So, charging, we burst berserk through the bushes to see before us the flattened, black body of the killer of our friend, twitching sporadically beneath the huge, front kneeling-knees of an immense bull elephant. The man’s rifle lay twisted by his side and the smell of his faeces was strong on the breeze; and the old bull looked at us calmly through eyes in which the shadows of a dwindling rage, now satisfied, still played.

‘Then the man stopped moving, he was dead.

‘The bull, rising, placed one foot onto the murderer’s small head and exerted a little pressure; the head burst like a berry, its red juices exploding over the spiked grass, a sickly echo of the brains of our fallen friend.

‘Thank you,’ one of us said. ‘We owe you our lives, were it not for you we all may have been slaughtered, as was our companion.’

‘You are young,’ was his solemn reply. ‘Evidently you do not know how to look out for yourselves, to smell trouble in the air and see it in the movements of the grass. I saw it. Too late for your friend, but early enough for the rest of you, and I am grateful for that.’

‘We nodded, so were we.

‘Come, we must leave this place,’ he urged us then, ‘and fast, before other men see what has become of their companion. Men are vengeful; when they discover him dead the search for us will begin.’

‘And so Ujinga drove us through the remainder of the day, and the following night, far away from that place and since then—though we’ve not always been with him, true—our roads have often crossed and his company has always been ours and his wisdom always shared to guide us down the correct path. So it is for this reason that I say it is with him that I am closest.’

Silent. I don’t know what to say. It was a valiant act. Ujinga could easily have been killed too but he acted swiftly and without thought himself. My friend does well to love him, if this is what he feels, and stay close to his wizened side.

©Davey Northcott February 2014

Dreams …

Tree reflections

Orange of night time sleeping,

Beckoning into my abyss,

Takes me journeys through fields of gold,

Time falling back, like a leaf grown old.

Riddles of life,

Pictures of love,

Past present futures unfold.

Drawing me in, to tumble and spin.

Picking up pieces, flying on a whim.

Bringing me through my boat on a sea, to

Drift until flood-light awakens for me.

©Davey Northcott February 2014

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’ … ‘Dip your toe in’ excerpt no. 2

The Path Through the Eye of Another

This excerpt follows directly on from ‘Dip your toe in no.1’ which can be found below and also under the ‘My EBOOK releases’ tab.

The Glass

Drip …

The small, glistening droplets of water fell, missing the dry glass every time.

Drip …

Dust from the street caked the interior of the glass, the water landing just a fraction too far to the right to quench its parched, grit-smeared transparency.

Drip …

But the air-con extractor pipe, on the wall above the broken man, didn’t know this so continued its dripping to the same place, spilling its potentially life giving by-product onto the cracked and blood stained pavement, there to evaporate uselessly in the mid-afternoon sun.

The man was too far away. He couldn’t reach the glass to move it below the drops and catch a little of their refreshment; his once agile body now refused to respond.

Another explosion from somewhere close by. The man sensed a faint thickening of the dust on the air: a mixture of the familiar dry sand of the park down the road and the newer, more vivid brick and plaster of the latest destroyed building. The mix coagulated as it settled in his black, blood-matted hair.

He knew which building it was—had been—too, their old political headquarters where their dream had become, almost, reality. And with the building’s demise he felt the now familiar pain of emptiness stabbing at his gut once again.

‘Bah! To hell with it …’ He didn’t need those with whom he’d once shared hopes for a new world, the good ones were all gone now, anyway. He didn’t need It, the ‘Cause’. He didn’t even need her, the woman who had once been his right hand, not anymore. He had cared before, he had fought and he had loved.

But he felt nothing now, inside—in there he was already dead.

The man gazed at the grit-covered glass again. It looked hazy now, its lines blurred; the water splatters were teasing it still.

He sighed and closed his eyes. His nose was full of dust but the rest of him was a void, no emotions left, incapable of feeling.

‘No need to go on.’ But yes, he’d known that for a long time.

*************************************************************

LONG BEFORE:

He grew up in a small village in the sierra, near Teruel, Northeast Spain. A typical boy: playing with friends, roaming hills, fishing, and when he was older motor-biking along dusty paths through the pine woods. It was on one of these motorbike trips that he met his friend, a tall and worldly looking man wearing work clothes, scruffy with age and use. His friend was older by ten years than he and told the boy things of the world outside the mountains, a world into which the boy had ventured little—his village gave him everything. However, the boy felt he knew that outside world well for he saw it on the television every evening, with his family all around him.

‘It is a bad world now,’ his new friend told him. ‘There is nothing good there anymore. There is no work, no money; people are all day in the street drinking and fighting.’ The new friend sneered with contempt. ‘There is no direction anymore.’

‘It is true,’ the boy replied; he had seen the images on the news. Then his new friend invited him to a meeting, a union of people who wanted to change things, who believed they could see a new path.

So the boy ventured down on his motorbike in the afternoon, early to make sure he didn’t miss anything. The meeting was in an old, crumbling, summer house—it would have been beautiful once, he thought—at the foot of the mountains. And there, he listened to his new friend talking, and more people talking. They had drive and a plan, they wanted to win, to show ‘the bastards who had let their country sink into its current destitution’ how they should do their jobs. There would be punishments, yes. But later there would be good, much good, and the people out ‘there’ would be happy again. 

And the boy felt empathy with these sentiments. Although for him the hardships were not obvious, he was sorry for those who did not have what he had in his village, where they grew their food so did not have to worry much about money. And he felt angry that the leaders had squandered so foolishly that which they had always taken, in the name of society, from the people they had claimed to be helping.

He would help this Cause, aid them in bringing about the change. And by the end of the evening he could see the way illuminated before him, as brightly as the stars which shone down from up above the tree-furred ridges behind the summer house.

And he journeyed back to his own house that night with excitement in his belly and a glint in his eye. And from that day things were different for him.

But now, amidst the explosions and clouds of destruction, he couldn’t remember any of this. 

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©Davey Northcott January 2014

Clouds

Image

 

When you look at a cloud, what do you see? When a cloud looks at you, who does it see?

 

Clouds

A constant shadow in my mind your cloud,

A cloud alike to the white images

Which work a summer sky and cast my mind

To think through magical story tales smile

And run with life to make me live to full.

 

My companion your cloud, it’s always there,

Walking and laughing happiness inside

A head, which maybe full of other clouds

As well but has a cupboard kept clear for

Your cloud, the best cloud, to travel with me.

 

©Davey Northcott February 2014

Animals and Us

Self examination? or Looking for food?
Self examination?
or
Looking for food?

“A house is not a home until it has a dog.”
—Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

Whether you agree with this quote or not, it depicts beautifully the irrevocably intertwined relationship between humans and animals. We just can’t live without them. Some of us love them for food, some for company and some for both. Some people work with them, some work for them. No matter how you look at it, as humans there is no getting away from the animals with whom we share our world.

Is it possible for an animal to possess human qualities? Generally it would be argued that it’s not. Humans are the only sentient beings, we possess the ability of logical thought and reasoning; we have imagination and are able to use it, and that ‘s what sets us apart from the ‘animals’ around us. We think; they do.

But perhaps it is exactly this quality that leads us, as sentient and imaginative beings, with the capacity to care and feel, to blur these lines that distinguish the ‘animal’ (though technically we are animals too …) kingdom from us homo sapiens. We have all, without doubt, been guilty of attaching human emotions to animals in a bid—as would claim the sceptics—to feel closer to them and stave off our own pathetic feelings of loneliness. After all, animals never answer us back. They never tell us our opinions are stupid or that we shouldn’t be lying on the sofa all Saturday but be doing something productive instead.

In us humans this is as natural as asking the big question, ‘Why do we exist?’ Perhaps we could call it ‘over-analysis’, but it could also be termed sensitivity or empathy. This empathy has led, throughout history, to the coupling of animals with human characteristics. The ant, for instance, stands for diligence, industry, community, strength, hard work and success. Dolphins depict childlike play, helpfulness, a breath of life, harmony, intelligence and self connection. The Hummingbird portrays joy, pure love and a celebration of life’s greatness.

Scientific studies have even linked certain human behaviours to animals. Did you know that an elephant is purportedly able to feel hate? What’s more, the emotion of empathy and grief in elephants can clearly be seen in their heart wrenching death rituals, which can last for days, caressing a carcass and sometimes even burying it with branches.

In Science News, Volume 160, No. 4, July 28, 2001, p. 55., Susan Milius writes about the research of Patricia Simonet, who has recorded dog laughter, a form of quick breathing that takes place when dogs are playing. Funny, hey?

Whether these occurrences are truly the same emotions and actions as we ‘people’ have and do is open to interpretation. But what is clear is that, as humans, our bond with animals is unbreakable and our ability to imagine leads us to feel a connection with the animal world that is, in my view, not only magical but illuminatingly creative.

Which animals would you compare yourself to? A virile, strong bull? A cunning, stealthy fox? A mouse? Use your imagination. Leave a comment below.

©Davey Northcott January 2014

Bibliography (no particular style, just a list of my sources!)

Susan Milius, “Don’t look now, but is that dog laughing?” Science News, Volume 160, No. 4, July 28, 2001, p. 55. Retrieved from http://www.phschool.com/science/science_news/articles/dog_laughing.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant (30/01/2014)

http://www.writedesignonline.com/assignments/masks/animalsymbolism.htm (30/01/2014)

Dawkins, M. (2000). Animal minds and animal emotions. American Zoologist, 40, 883-888. doi: EBSCOhost. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/ehost/detail?sid=2b9b11e6-d41d-4a82-9f23-ac4c6c1657d%40sessionmgr115&vid=1&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ %3%3d#db=aph&AN=4385376

‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’ … ‘Dip your toe in’ number 1

The Path Through the Eye of Another

Here is the first tantalising taster of my debut novella, ‘The Path Through the Eye of Another’.

Keep your eyes on The imAgine RooM, as I’ll be releasing a few more over the next few days, just to get your literary juices flowing!

Enjoy:

In the life of every person on this planet there are five crucial elements of being, each of which is, and always has been, unequivocally integral to the other. A person needs all five of these elements in equal measure in order to really feel, and hence be, whole and fulfilled.

There is an order, an energy, which flows between these elements. Thus, if one element is missing that order is broken, the flow disturbed, the person unsettled.

 

But if that person arrives to such a point in his life and loses, for whatever reason, all five—what then?

Then that person is as good as dead, emotionally at least.

 

So, if the elements are lost, a person must re-learn them. How depends on that person, but they must be re-learnt. If not, there is no point.

©Davey Northcott January 2014

What have you eaten today? … The Pickle

The pickle is a

Wonderfully mouth-watering treat.

 

It will crunch a path of seductive passion,

Proliferating through the endorphin enriched mind of the

Eater. He, or she, who so wisely decreed:

 

“For unto me today a pickle is delivered.”

 

That religiously acidic, vinegary extravagancial experience,

Tingling the taste buds of the most timid tongue,

And driving the Eater wild,

With throws of magician like wonder.

 

This, my dear friend/reader/listener,

Is the true majesty of the Pickle.

 

It has unwitting brilliance in reducing even the most

Turgid Tom into orgasmic writhing gestures of love and bewonderment.

 

The King of Crunch.

Ripple of applause please, for,

The Pickle.

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What have you eaten today?

Use your food as imagination fuel!

Write something silly, funny, serious, or whatever you like about your gastronomic exploits.

Five Fascinating Facts about Edgar Allan Poe

The title says it all. Five Fascinating facts! Did you know that Poe was the first person to use the term ‘Short Story’? And as for ‘tintinnabulation’ … the license of the writer to reinvent the language from one of the best!

Interesting Literature

1. He was the first person to use the term ‘short story’. At least, Poe’s use of the term is the earliest that has yet been uncovered, from 1840 – nearly 40 years earlier than the current OED citation from 1877. This is fitting, given that Poe was a pioneer of the short story form. (We’ve offered our pick of Poe’s best stories here.) Poe wrote ‘I have written five-and-twenty short stories whose general character may be so briefly defined’ in his preface to Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. This fact was discovered by Martin Greenup – see his ‘Poe and the First Use of the Term “Short Story”‘, Notes and Queries, 60.2 (2013), 251-254.

Poe12. Poe carried on writing even after he’d died. At least, if you believe the rather outlandish claim of Lizzie Doten, the psychic medium whose 1863 book, Poems from the Inner Life, included…

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