First 1000 words of “The End of the Garden”

Since I was last posting I went through a series of Depressive Episodes before I found a regimen of therapy, meditation and supplements that helped. I’ve managed to go a couple of months without SERIOUS suicidal thoughts – actually considering the means etc. I have the odd few death wish thoughts but the’re relatively mild.

In other news I attended a discovery day for new authors held at Foyles, Charing Cross Road where Literary Agents Curtis Brown did a meet, greet and read for authors. The line was through the door and there were timed slots all through the day. I gave them the first three pages of my novel and they loved it. I need to try and get it finished this year and then submit it. They’ve given me a name to submit to so I’m now very motivated to think, act and plan as a writer rather than as a wannabe.

So pleased to present the beginning  of “The End of the Garden” by Yusuf (Smiley) Yearwood. (1st novel on backburner, 2nd novel cooking nicely) Continue reading

Writing 101: Next, I plan to . . .

Congratulations! It’s the final day of Writing 101. We hope these prompts have encouraged you to brainstorm and write in new ways and introduced you to new tools and resources.

As we wind down the course, let’s look forward. What’s next? Some prompts to get you started:

  • Next month, I plan to . . .
  • What does the remainder of 2015 hold for you?
  • I believe that my future looks . . .
  • In the future, I could do without . . .
  • 5, 10, 20 years from now . . .

Thanks so much for joining us this month! As we wrap up the course, stop by the Commons to ask any additional questions and see what fellow participants are up to next.

Coming up soon – Writing 201 Poetry
I’m definitely down for more of the same so have signed up this months Poetry blogging event. Always fun and a great place to meet new friends. Still open to registrations.

October – NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Challenge
Not only does every writer receive feedback from the judges for every screenplay that is submitted, but a special review forum is available for the participants to submit their screenplays for review from fellow writers throughout the competition. Early registration closed last week but you can still join US$55* until the final entry deadline of October 29, 2015.

November – National Novel Writing Month
Hopefully all being well I’ll be ready for this. Again I’m registered and I have a novel I’ve had on the back burner so I’m beginning preparations already.

I’ll still be blogging every day. I’m planning on doing my own stuff as well as the daily prompts in order to keep me writing so I look forward to see all of you soon.

You need not expect to get your book right the first time…


Writing101 – Nobody knew where Silke was

Yesterday, you found inspiration in one word and used it as a springboard for a post idea. Images — including photographs and works of art — can also act as starting points for stories, essays, poems, and personal musings. For this exercise, use one of the images above as the creative spark for today’s post. You might use it as the setting for a story or poem, write about how it makes you feel, or describe a memory conjured by it.


Nobody knew where Silke was

It was a warm winters day in a cold, dark country and nobody knew where Silke was.
They’d searched the fields, the forests and the town but no-one knew where Silke was
Her mother cried, her father fretted, but no-one knew where Silke was
Her brothers drank and fought and blamed themselves but no-one knew where Silke was

Silke walked unafraid

In the deep dark nordic forest, Silke walked unafraid
The bracken and forest litter crunched satisfyingly under foot as Silke walked unafraid
Bloody knife drip drip dripping in her left hand as Silke walked unafraid
No fear in her eyes, nor a quantum of regret, Silke walked unafraid

Pant, pant, pant

The big, bad wolf dragged itself forward. Pant, pant, pant
Confused, agonised, bleeding. Three paws and a stump. Pant, Pant. Pant
Weakened, dizzy, vision blurring. Pant, pant, pant
Tried to protect her cubs from the monster, failed. Pant, pant, pant
Submitted to the inevitable, turned to watch the monster approach. Pant

Skip, Skip, Skip

Silke skipped merrily through the forest. Skip. skip. skip
Covered in wolf-blood, scratches here and there. Skip, Skip, Skip
Riding Hood crimson with eviscera. Skip, Skip, Skip

Knife hidden behind her back, approached the old wooden shock
Knocked on the old woman’s door
Scream of horror. Who let you out? What have you done?
Is that blood?

My Grandma what big eyes you’ve got.

The lonely path of the Missing Planet

As much as we love to write, it’s important to take breaks — to live your life and have new experiences, and to reflect and recharge so you can come back to your desk, ready to hit the keyboard again. Not writing allows you to gain the distance from your words, and thus perspective, which are both needed when it’s time to edit.

Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice.

— Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Write every day, but don’t put your life on hold . . .

— Vincent Mars, “Writing as a Way of Life

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking? Today, publish your post in any form you wish, as long as you focus on one or all of these questions.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I worry about why I’m not writing. I think about what I could be writing, I worry if I’m really writing when I’m writing or just remembering. I worry if everything I do when I’m not writing is actually procrastination and avoidance. I think about who I am. I worry about what I am. I wonder about what I might become. I worry a lot. I’m getting better art not worrying but I’m not there yet.

How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? I don’t. Writing refreshes me. I don’t return refreshed, returning refreshes me. How do I prepare to write? I get myself right to write by trying to clear aware the distractions that sop me from writing – chores, paid work, depression; and I maximise the distractions that help me write – the things I need to occupy the inner critic like music in the background and snacks on hand. I’m doing my best to make writing my priority and the first thing I do and the first thing i get done. Like my writing I am a work in progress.

What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Hope. And something to write on.

Writing 101 – This just in…

  • Write a 50-word story (or, if you feel daring, a series of 50-word stories). Get inspired by the tiny tales at 50-Word Stories

“The sentient species called humans from the third planet of an insignificant yellow star solar system has just become extinct. Apparently a janitor working at the Large Hadron Collider decided to wait a day before replacing the bulb in the red light that warned when an overload was in progress.”

Writing 101: Feelings. Lots of feelings

Do you ever peek at the comments you’ve left on other blogs? You might find ideas for future posts. Perhaps you left a response on a writer’s post but could have said even more, or wrote the beginnings of a larger discussion.

To read the comments you’ve made, visit your My Comments page, which you can access in the sidebar of your Reader. Look for a comment you can expand on — one that can evolve into a new post, where you can continue the discussion or address a related idea or topic. Practice seamless linking (read point #2 in particular) and refer and link to the comment somewhere in your post:

The other day, I read a post on King of States! describing the internet as a space made of real people. I told the blog’s author, Michelle Weber, how much I enjoyed her take.

For related information, read about expanding comments into posts.

If browsing these comments leaves you empty-handed, revisit the recent comments that readers have left on your blog, and select one that you can respond to.

Feelings. Lots of feelings. Your Fearless writing is powerful!

(My comment on: Life101: Things I’ve Learned)

There were dozens of extraordinary responses to this task and I spent the best part of a week checking through all the responses backwards and forwards over and over. They all affected me some made me laugh, some made me cry, some made me step outside and get some air. Cliches not withstanding – it was emotional.

Afterthoughts after reading this:

  • Tenacity and stamina are the key to all happiness and success I’ve ever experienced. Not knowing when to stop the path to all miser and disappointment.
  • Trust is the precursor to the love. Once you lose my trust you lose me.
  • I wish I could say don’t give up on people but some people are not worth the time

I could go on but I want to be brief. While reading this gem of writing and the other pieces from my fellow bloggers on Writing 101 I was struck but the similarity between our experiences.

Often when researching depression or talking to carers and those who we might call “professional listeners” I’ve been struck by something they often say. “I hear that so often”

The best thing about online communities is the sharing of experiences, techniques and stories. Learning not only how to achieve your dreams and ambitions but also hearing first hand from your fellow writers we are all experiencing the world in the same way.

Some people revel in solitude and feeling separate from the world. The lonely intellectual suffering the fools who surround him. Personally I like to think of us as stars in the night sky. Each one with its solar system of issues orbiting it.

I think that perhaps that’s the only way to comprehend how we can all be so many, so unique and yet have so much in common.

I don’t know maybe I’m just being emotional. I’m going to go get a coffee and re-adjust my game-face,

To whom it may concern – I want to ask you to to do something for me.

Some might say a post in the form of a letter is trite and overdone. But when done well, a public open letter can tell a great story or get your message across.

Consider Michael Hobbes’ piece of memoir, “An Open Letter to the Girl I Pretended to Have a Crush On in Eighth Grade,” Anne Thériault’s “An Open Letter to All of My Friends Who Take Selfies,” Dawn Quyle Landau’s “On My Father’s Birthday: A Letter to the Man Who Killed Him,” and Ernst Stuhlinger’s letter to a nun in Africa in 1970.

Today, write your post as a letter. Approach it in any way you’d like, but if you’re not sure what to write, here are ideas:

To whom it may concern,

This post isn’t about me.

I’ve come to terms with my depression.

Accepting it and asking for help is the first step on the path to recovery. That first step took twenty years. My epiphany came when I met a doctor I trusted. To be fair I only trusted my doctor after I came to a a point of no return with my internal suffering and even then after months of research and experimentation with over the counter medicines and supplements imported from the US.

It’s a statistical probability that you know someone who’s depressed and in need of help whether they know it or not.

I want to ask you to to do something for me. For them.

I want you to say to them what my doctor said to me.

I want you to tell them to stop carrying their burden alone.

I want you to tell them this has been going on for too long.

I want you to convince them they’re not getting better they”re just going around in circles.

I want you to tell them that if they keep doing what they’ve been doing nothing is going to change.

I want you to tell them that what they’re going through is common and people recover completely.

I want you to tell them that powerful anti-depressants aren’t the only option and they’re not even the first option.

I want to you to tell them not to be afraid. You’re not going to be turned into a zombie eunuch.

I want you to tell them that it’s going to get better.

I want you to tell them not to be afraid.

Writing 101: “The Flat White is made with Kenyan!”

No matter what type of blog you have, it’s sometimes necessary to post updates: from project news to personal messages about what’s going on in your life. One creative approach to an update post is a “virtual coffee date,” as seen on Kate Goes Global, which is like catching up with an old friend over a cup of coffee.

In her post, Kate begins each paragraph with If we were having coffee right now… and then adds a detail. You can share any details you’d like and include as many as you want, as long as you begin each with If we were having coffee right now… (or a variation of this phrase, as seen on Girl with the Red Hair).

It’s a simple idea, but offers a bit more structure to your post — and is a lot more fun. So today, write an update post in the form of a virtual coffee date.

If we were having coffee right now: I’d thank you for turning up. I know I’ve been a bit of a flake recently and i appreciate you sticking by me. I’d apologise for  all the times I didn’t turn up or left early or made an excuse. I’d tell you I’ve finally gotten over myself and got the help I need, I’m been suffering from depression for a long time but I’ve finally nutted up and told my doctor. She’s put me in touch with specialists and I’ve started Cognitive Behavourial Therapy. I’d also tell you I’ve done a ton of research on the internet and I’ve got a regime of supplements that are working for me. With the therapy and the supplements and the therapy I feel there’s a good chance I won’t need SSRI Antidepressants which are infamous for destroying the people who take them.

If we were having coffee right now: I’d ask you how things have been going for you now. I don’t have that many people I really know rather just know casually. My biggest weakness is my oversized heart and even though I don’t show it I care about how you are. It matters to me that you’re OK and that things are going well for you

If we were having coffee right now: I’d tell you Amazon just sent me a laptop to review. Seriously a laptop. I’ve had books to keep and review, the odd pair of headphones but this is something new. Thank you most beneficent, most merciful, the Expander, the Opener, the Enricher. I now have something portable to blog on to replace my ageing, creaking Dell desktop which probably won’t survive much longer.

If we were having coffee right now: I’d tell you how I’m trying hard to make writing the centre or my worldy life. How I know I need to be dedicated but it’s easy to get lost in the everyday and how I get why it’s so important to stay on target.

If we were having coffee right now: I’d ask you if saw Ant-Man. I loved that movie

If we were having coffee right now: I’D SAY “I TOLD YOU SO!” This coffee shop in Turnham Green is awesome and who doesn’t love pinball machines!

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Writing 101: Don’t Panic

A blank page can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s helpful to use someone else’s words to give you a boost. Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

Here’s the epigraph for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird:

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.

— Charles Lamb

You can write about anything for today’s post — the only requirement is that you begin with a blockquote, which you can create in your post editor by clicking the quotation mark icon:

The type of quote you choose is up to you. Maybe the passage is something you’d like to comment on, or is one of your favorite quotes. Or maybe you read a great essay the other day, and one of its lines made you think.

Pull a quote of any length, but ideally between one sentence to a short paragraph. If you can’t find one, go to the quotes section on, where you’re bound to find a line that speaks to you.

Cheri and the Team

“Don’t Panic.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Is it is a known fact that the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything cannot exist in the same universe as it’s answer. However as any politician, priest or Gardener* will tell you just because a fact is well known doesn’t make it true.

*Gardens and wisdom go together like ice-cream and pleasure. Sooner or later you’ll find one inside in the other. 

Arthur Dent awoke with a scream in the old shack on a hill in paradise. it was Thursday. It was always Thursday.

The planet Fertilia is a class 9 paradise planet hidden in an otherwise uninhabitable part of the horsehead nebula. it was built by the planet manufacturing empire of Magrathea and is in many ways as close as you can get to being in paradise without being carried out of this dimension by a pan dimensional hyper being and placed in one. Due to some funky environmental and temporal tomfoolery there was no death and distress on Fertilia only everlasting “pleasure”.

Only 5 class nines were ever built.

Four were said, (By the Magrathean’s themsleves), to have folded in on themselves under the sheer weight of the ecstasy of their inhabitants.

The fifth, which is largely uninhabited save for Arthur Dent and some wildlife, was being built at the time of the Magrathean collapse and ended up being dumped PARTIALLY FINISHED in a forgotten storage yard in the aforementioned nebula and now orbits a perfect little yellow star waiting for Magrathea to rise again and collect it.

Arthur lay on his back weeping. He had been dreaming about Fenchurch, his one true love. He had lost her when she fell through a hole in reality only to see her return and somehow slingshot hiim to Fertilia to take her place.

He enjoyed his morning weeps. It would not be long before the “Everything Is Ok” field (as he had come to name it) kicked in and his mind would not be his own again.

Arthur was technically three times as old as the universe due to his earlier travels in time and space and even though he had experienced only a hundred years of that eternity he still looked like he was in his mid thirties. It occurred to Arthur that somewhere the Angel of Death had probably given up on him and was even now rendering his tender mercies on those living who actually appreciated his time and effort.

In his hundred years he had seen a thing or two and no amount of artificial control could delude Arthur from the innate unfairness of the universe. Day by day little by little, his mind had learnt to fight the EIO field.

Every morning he woke from the same nightmare. Fenchurch appearing out of thin air. Her smile, their joy and then a cold feeling in the pit of his soul. Fenny’s screams. She reaches out. Fenny’s hands fading, becoming insubstantial as she tried to grab his hand, He felt himself falling backwards, falling out of his seat, falling into darkness.

Fertilia’s artificially generated Euphoria field rose up and drowned his anguish leaving a vague feeling of uncertainty not dissimilar to the feeling you get just before you step out of your house and it suddenly occurs to that perhaps your keys and your wallet are on the kitchen table and you’re about to be seriously inconvenienced.

The temporal lock installed in the planet meant that every day Arthur woke up as fresh as the day he arrived.  Enforced satisfaction, no change, no power to alter his world.

Typical, thought Arthur. The Magratheans designed paradise and built hell.

He got up out off of the flimsy bed fully clothed as he had arrived decades ago.

He washed his face, toileted and took the eggs and coffee from the shelf by the stove. Every morning. The same eggs. The same brewed coffee. Over and over again. Fertilia was meant to be a paradise, a perfect day lived over and over again. If I ever get my hands on Slartibartfast*, thought Arthur.

*Super intelligent Magrathean who designed* the fjords on the Planet Earth.

*Yes designed. It’s a long story

There was a knock on the door. It was terrifying,

Unless you’ve lived alone for nearly 40 years on a timelocked artificial planet that’s actively messing with your head you probably don’t know how terrifying a knock on the door can be. Unbidden the thought rose up: who on earth can that be? After a moment the EIO field kicked in and the terror was gone.

Arthur happily bounced over to the doorway and opened the door. And then screamed.

The shabby figure in the doorway raised its hand as if to demand a respectful silence and Arthur complied.

“Don’t panic but you’re about to faint” said the Shabby Old Man. “This is important. You’re about to return to her. Remember the portal is broken. Remember one person in, one person out, and the answer is in the last place you looked”

Arthur’s consciousness gave up under the strain. The Shabby Old Man’s identity and what it meant crushed his spirit and as predicted he fainted and fell at the Shabby Man’s feet.

For a moment Arthur was beside himself. Then the portal kicked in and transported him away through space. And time.

The Shabby Old Man calmly watched him fade away. Then he strolled over to the gas stove and turned it off. He tidied up for a while absentmindedly, distracted. Then feeling his time coming upon him he lay on the bed closed and peacefully went off to sleep one last time.