A.J. Walker


Reading. Not Writing.

In a recent visit to Henry Bohn's bookshop on London Road (by Liverpool Empire) I picked up an interesting couple of books, then on going back downstairs to pay for them I spotted some Terry Pratchett. Doh! This is when the Discworld audit list I put together a few months ago came in handy. I saw four Pratchetts but wasn't sure which ones I had... a quick shufty on to my own website so I could see my list and hey presto! Two of the four Pratchett's in front of me were Discworlds I didn't have (Small Gods and Maskerade). Huzzah!

Henry Bohn Books (old pic from website Felix Goodbody website - click on pic)

Put back one of my originally chosen books and purchased these along with a book about maps. I do like me maps.

Better get back to edit my Pratchett book list to keep it up to date (don't want to buy Small Gods and Maskerade by accident again do I!).

Then yesterday Oxfam on Bold Street and I came out with
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and The Heart of the Matter (Graham Greene).

Okay, so more of a reading time than a writing time. Definitely a time to get back on to 'Fergie Time' time. That's a lot of time which is not what I am managing right at the moment. That said reading time is never a time wrongly spent. Finished Small Gods in a couple of days and it's one of the very good ones. Most fun.

In summary, am reading and am not writing.


Songs and Songs and Songs

Good to see one of my fave songwriters, Conor Oberst (as Bright Eyes), was the most popular song last week and the Killers got some love too.

Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst

Now I've updated my Buffer for the next ten days. It's mainly 90s band stuff coming up, but it's a real classic tomorrow from the 1980s and Sal will defo know it - a very famous videos too!

In fact I got a bit carried away today and I've identified my playlist all the way through to August 8th. Blimey!

Rock on! (...and folk on, and pop on too).



Project 3: It Really is Fergie Time

I said three weeks ago that I'd decided to go ahead with Project 3. Like most of this year's planned writing projects there was an element of either I do a) or I do b) - and Project 3 was Novel related. Whilst I've a few ideas for potential stories which could become novel or novella length the first thing was to decide whether to progress with the NaNoWriMo project I undertook last November.

The NaNo project ('
Fergie Time') is a comic story through a football season featuring silly ideas, stupider plans, not a few injuries, some football, plenty of drinking and periods of daft banter. I decided I would finish it, even if it is destined never to see the light of day anywhere. After all I have 52k words written, although like Eric Morecombe would say I suspect I have many of the right words, but they are not necessarily in the right order. So, I'm going to finish it and give it at least one edit and then go from there... to I know not where. It really is Fergie Time.

So far I've gone through the
first 7 pages of 155. It's clearly gonna take some time AND the number of pages will only increase.

Task Completion: <5%

Flash Flood Warning

It was worth submitting to the Flash Flood event on Saturday 24th June as one of my pieces has been chosen. It's the Sixth year of the event where hundreds of Flash Fiction stories are published on the Flash Flood website. I've been published up there before, but I can't recall what years; maybe I need to keep a better record of this sort of thing?

The email says it'll be published between
5 and 6 BST. It doesn't say '05', or am/pm, so it could be in the morning or afternoon. I'll no doubt tweet it out after it goes live at any rate.

I'd sent one I wrote on the day on Monday and it was turned down (maybe I'll put that one up on here anyway) so I went back to previously written pieces. Ended up sending two that have won on Angry Hourglass hoping that previous approval by someone may prove a help. And
hey presto! my second story was chosen. So some of you Angry Hourglass readers will have seen it before, but I won't tell you which one it is. Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

I know there are a few
Flash Dogs going to be up there too and am looking forward to seeing you all there!

Keep writing + Keep reading.


Flash, Flood and Writing

Well this morning I wrote a quick-ish story for Miranda's 'Finding Clarity' midweek writing challenge. Don't be fooled by the 'mid week' moniker it is posted midweek but you've got all week to submit to it. There's no weekly 'winner' per se other than yourself for actually writing! Keep an eye on it and see if any photos get your creative writing going! It's up to 700 words so plenty to play around with and a different challenge to the usual 100-360 word flash ones and with no minimum there is plenty of freedom.

I've seen a few of the usual suspects have been entering the annual
Flash Flood event and having been involved a few times so I've blasted out a quick attempt there too this morning. I may submit another one if I don't get a quick reply ;-)

If you fancy joining the Flood you've got until Wednesday, check it out:
Flash Flood

So that's two flashes of a combined 1000 words today. Flash is all very well... but I now need to get on my bigger writing projects. So a couple of hours next on
Project 3!

Rainy Day Play

Story for Finding Clarity Mid-Week Flash Challenge (Week 15)


The photo this week was of this collection of lovely old keys. Keep checking out the Finding Clarity website for the mid-week prompts (for stories up to 700 words).

Rainy Day Play

When we came to stay in Aulston Manor I was so excited. Mum said the house creeped her out, that she hated going back but ‘needs must’ while our house was being renovated. Mum believed in ghosts though, so that’s her own fault. To me the house was just an old house, big but nothing more. It was the gardens I loved. They went on forever. I couldn't even count all the different type of trees and there were all sorts of places to play hide and seek; if I’d had anyone to play with. I loved to climb trees and it was like having my own park. Mum called me a Tomboy. I think she thought that would put me off, but I liked that.

‘Eat your breakfast love. Then I’m going in to town with your grandma to get some things. Are you coming?’ mum said, as she finished washing her plate.

‘No it’s okay mum. I’ll stay.’

‘Are you sure? This rain doesn't look like it’ll stop any time soon and you’re not going out in it. You’ll get filthy.’

‘I’ll stay in.’

‘Are you sure? By yourself in this creepy place?’

‘Don’t worry mum. It’s great, like an adventure. Anyway I’ve got a book.’

Mum shook her head. I could tell she thought I was different- and I am of course. I hate shopping and standing around waiting.

As soon as I heard the sound of the gravel fade away I put down my book. It was time for my indoor treasure hunt; I’d found the keys the night before in a locked box on top of a wardrobe in one of the spare rooms. It was a lovely metal box with red and black embossed pictures of animals and trees. It was battered but somehow all the more beautiful for it.

Each key was metal and long, iron I guessed, not like our house keys for our house in Basildon. These were ornate and beautiful like they’d been made for art as much as locking a door. Just touching them gave me a tingle, like I was touching the past. Other people would probably think they were magical but I don't believe in magic.

I’d been in most the rooms in the house over the last week and they’d all been unlocked, but maybe grandma just didn't lock them these days. Doesn't mean they aren't for the doors though. I liked games and treasure hunts were my favourite. It was a challenge to find which one each key was for while the torrential rain outside kept me indoors. I knew I wouldn’t find one of mum’s ghosts but maybe I’d find something new and exciting; or
old and exciting.

I raced around the house looking carefully up and down at all the doors. There were twelve rooms and the basement. I could hardly believe it but it was soon apparent that none of the doors had locks on. In any case the old timber doors were clearly too big for these keys. They’d looked big to me in my little hands and compared to modern keys, but they were like toys compared to the doors, I hadn’t noticed before how big and thick the doors were, it was like they were built for a castle! The keys were for something else then. Or more precisely eight something elses!

Perhaps there were locked drawers, secret compartments or boxes; there were lots of wardrobes, cupboards, and chests of drawers in the house; this would be like a proper treasure hunt; just without a map.

But it would take a lot of time to search the entire house and I’d have to do it when mum and gran were out - it’s half the fun doing things in secret I find - and they’d be back soon. In any case the sun was now streaming through gran’s net curtains. The beech I’d been called away from last night was waiting for me. I’m an outdoor girl and I won’t let a tree defeat me. I’m the queen of the trees!

The Great Key Treasure Hunt would have to wait for another rainy day.


WC: 693

Daily Updates: Every Day

Been doing better with my Daily Delivery Photo and my Class Song of the Day twittering than I could hope.

51 songs in to the #ClassSongOfTheDay Will I do the full year without missing an update? Oh I suppose not, but so far so good. Aiming to go the full year without any repetition of artist which means I am having to keep a spreadsheet. I tell ya, that is serious business. Been a good mix of singers, bands and genres. But I should push the envelope a little at some point. I've got the spreadsheet sorted until mid-July and there's plenty of classics coming up!

Today's song is from
Shakira when she was brunette, strummed a guitar and sang in her own language. Some things never change hey!?


Here's the 51 artists so far in the order they have appeared. It looks like a great festival line-up:

Natalie Merchant - Mark Knopfler - Pixies - Arctic Monkeys - Belly - REM - Diesel Park West - Blue Aeroplanes - Jayhawks - Teenage Fanclub - Robert Cray - BB King - Felice Brothers - Radiohead - Del Amitri - Cranberries - Black - Queen - Frank Turner - Neil Young - Ryan Adams - Bryan Adams & Tina Turner - John Hiatt - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Stevie Ray Vaughan - Stornoway - British Sea Power - Eurythmics - Cast - Boo Radley’s - Tears for Fears - Echo & the Bunnymen - Wah! - The La’s - Beatles - Cracker - Deer Tick - Gun’s n Roses - Black Crowes - Heart - Sigur Ros - Decemberists - Jeff Buckley - Magic Numbers - Adele - Ben Kweller - Blues Brothers - Jimi Hendrix - John Lee Hooker - Broken Family Band - Santana - Shakira

Every so often I update this as a Playlist on Youtube so I can find them in one handy place:

YouTube: ClassSongOfTheDay

In the meantime keep an eye out every morning at
8am (UK) @zevonesque

Time Comes Around

It's been a while but I've finally got around to writing something for Miranda's weekly challenge over at 'Finding Clarity'

It was a great photo for
Week 13, why not give it a go? Word Count is up to 700 (with no minimum):


When the Wheels of Time went Round and Round
A.J. Walker

The giant cogs and wheels kept grinding on slow and steady circling in a audacious dance. Smaller cogs and gearing sent them off at different speeds and in different directions. The noise was constant and not unpleasant. Young Joshua was aghast at the size of the place it was beyond his comprehension. It was mesmerising; and to think his dad worked here!

‘Room after room dad. How many rooms? Perpetual motion. It’s just like perpetual motion. Don’t they ever stop, how do you keep them going?’

‘Not perpetual motion son. When the tides stop the machines will stop too.’

‘But the tides have never stopped, have they? Why would they?’ There was a little tremble in his voice.

‘There are no guarantees.’ His father smiled. ‘But in our lifetimes I can’t see them stopping. Can you?’

‘No. Never.’

And the machines ground on. In one room it was grinding flour and you couldn’t see one wall from across to the other for the yellow fog, in another ropes were lifting laden casks from a boat to the second floor as if they were as light as a feather, in the next lowering crates onto a wagon. His father walked passed an open door making to leave. Joshua peered into the room. The wheels turned here too and in this one great vats of gently bubbling liquid were being mixed by gargantuan spoons. The surface of the dark purple liquid popped and fizzed and an iridescence splashed across the little waves. Even by the door the atmosphere stung his eyes and the odours were like nothing Joshua could approach describing.

‘What’s this dad?’

‘This? This is out of bounds lad. Forget you have seen it.’

‘Forget what?’

‘Good boy.’

In the years that followed when he saw oils on a puddle or even a rainbow in a moody sky he often thought of that place. That indescribable smell and the secret held with his dad. He was sure it must have been something magical, the colours of magic in a purple blackness. It had to be. But maybe it was dangerous too. The colour of many deaths. He’d almost asked any number of people about that room, but in the end he held on to it like a private jewel.

The summer sun was scorching his parched creased face but he was too tired and old to care and the feeling was tempered by the cool water pulsing over his feet. The tides still came like he knew they would. But now the factory was on cliffs ten metres above the sea decaying like a carcass of a long extinct animal. “The tides come but the water has gone,” his father had said, more than once.

Joshua’s grandson pointed up to a tumbledown tower above them, Joshua could just make out a rusted cogwheel behind it. ‘What’s that grandad?’

‘A place of where magic was transformed into bread and beer, where we made everything from gates to windows, to spears and cooking pots.’

‘Oh, was it magic that made those grandad? What makes them now?’

Joshua harrumphed, he hadn’t seen a new thing made in their town for decades.

‘Some other magic I suppose. Some where else.’ Or do we just recycle what we had already, he wondered.

He'd never found out what was made in the room of iridescence. The secret had probably died with his father. Perhaps it was nothing important at all: Possibly it was everything. He noticed the sun hot on his feet, the water no longer lapping over them. The tide must have been turning or he’d absently walked up the beach. Or the water was retreating from this cursed place once more.

WC: 617