#WitchWeek2020: The end is nigh!

If you’re reading this, you’ve lived to tell the tale of Witch Week 2020. When you do, make sure it’s a tale with dark corners, collapsed towers, and horrifying specters. Not to mention lots and lots of shadows. Chris and Lizzie are grateful for the help of everyone who participated: e-Tinkerbell of eTinkerbell, who, in typical English-teacher […]

#WitchWeek2020: The end is nigh!

#WitchWeek2020 Day 5: Gothic fantasy, with puppets

Puppets! Orphans! Victorian London! Lizzie Ross’s review of Laura Amy Schlitz’s novel has everything we desire for a Gothick novel in this latest post for Witch Week 2020

Puppet shows! Fun times for all, right? Not in this chilling Newbery Honor book. In 2007, Laura Amy Schlitz had won the Newbery Award for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. This 2012 gothic fantasy by the same author takes place a few centuries later, in an England those medieval villagers could […]

#WitchWeek2020 Day 5: Gothic fantasy, with puppets

#WitchWeek2020 Day 4: M R James and the Gothic Tradition

We have entered the season when the telling of ghost stories comes into its element. This latest entry for Witch Week 2020 focuses on a key exponent of the classic tale of horror and the supernatural.

In this post, guest blogger Jean takes us to the world of M. R. James, famous for his creepy gothic tales, which have inspired several 20th and 21st century authors. Jean is a librarian blogging at Howling Frog Books who loves history, world literature, and anything involving textiles or embroidery. M R James, 1900 Montague […]

#WitchWeek2020 Day 4: M R James and the Gothic Tradition

#WitchWeek2020 Day 3: The Graveyard Book

St Edmunds, Crickhowell graveyard © C A Lovegrove

Today, All Souls Day, reveals this consideration, of Neil Gaiman’s celebrated bildungsroman set in a cemetery, for this year’s Witch Week with the theme of Gothick.


2012 US paperback edition, cover by Dave McKean “It takes a graveyard to raise a child.” (back cover of The Graveyard Book, US edition) Appropriately for today, the Day of the Dead, we present you with a discussion of this year’s read-along book, a novel set in a cemetery. Four of us–Lory* from The Emerald City Book Review, Chris […]

#WitchWeek2020 Day 3: The Graveyard Book

#WitchWeek2020 Day 2: A Gothic Reading of The Betrothed

Day 2 of #WitchWeek2020 sees an excellent synopsis and analysis of the classic Italian Gothick novel ‘The Betrothed’ — don’t miss it!

Today’s guest blogger, e-Tinkerbell, lives in Italy, so it’s no surprise that she brings this classic Italian novel from the 19th century to our attention. e-Tinkerbell is a high school English teacher who loves literature, history… and shoes. She blogs at e-Tinkerbell. All translations from the Italian are hers. Buona lettura! The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi*) is […]

#WitchWeek2020 Day 2: A Gothic Reading of The Betrothed

#WitchWeek2020 Day 1: Gothick Dreams

The first post in 2020’s Witch Week event is by yours truly over on Lizzie Ross’s blog, where this year’s event will be unfolding for the next seven days.


Happy Halloween to all! My first guest blogger is my co-host, Chris, who blogs as Calmgrove on WordPress, where for eight years he’s been exploring the world of ideas through books by way of reviews and discussions. Today Chris has taken on the challenge of setting the mood, so to speak, for our week of dark […]

#WitchWeek2020 Day 1: Gothick Dreams

What he’d learned

A piece of flash fiction on sister blog Zenrinji, written as an exercise for a creative writing class

Zenrinji

Not long ago – it may be yesterday – there were two children called Alice and Bran. Now Alice and Bran lived in the last house at the end of the estate on the outskirts of a large town. You won’t have heard of this town, so it probably doesn’t matter what it’s called. Every day, Alice and Bran’s parents drove to work in the town and Alice and Bran caught to bus to school. At the end of the day they all came back home, did what they had to do and then went to bed.

On the other side of their house was a wood. Alice and Bran were told never to go into the wood because it was dangerous and you could lose yourself, so they never did. Instead, if ever they went for a walk they took their dog Cerberus around the estate and then came…

View original post 472 more words

Rapier wit

Tongue firmly lodged in cheek:

Zenrinji

crosswordblank

If ever forced to try out swordplay
I’d fail to be a Cyrano.
And as for impro wordplay,
expecting puns? Oh, sirrah, no!

Clash of steel best fitting crossed swords
(whether epées, foils or rapiers),
flash of real wit suiting crosswords
(often met in broadsheet papers):

all would go from bad to worse
(same as when I’m writing verse).
I’m as like to win a duel as
write a gem fit for a jeweller’s.

View original post

So it begins

More flash fiction from Zenrinji

Zenrinji

graves

Things come in threes: he’s about to drop her off at the shops when he realises he’s left his phone at home, so can’t liaise about where and when to meet up.

Next, after he’s filled up the car with petrol, he discovers his wallet is in his other man-bag. At home.

After some frantic running around the money problem is solved when he spots her coming out of a shop. But later, returning from a visit to the local library, he finds his everyday glasses are no longer on his nose — and the library isn’t open for another two days.

“Is it nearly time for the pillow over the head?’ she murmurs, sultrily. And so it begins.

View original post

Message in a bottle

Entries invited for my first (and only) spam poetry competition:

Zenrinji

footprints footprints

No matter
if some one searches
for his essential thing,

thus he/she wishes to be
available

that in detail,
so that thing is maintained
over here.

A recent, recycled entry in my ongoing spam poetry competition
Do you have a favourite bit of spoetry you think qualifies? Post it as a comment below; please note, it will only be considered if it ends up in my spam folder.

View original post

A dream of death

An exercise I wrote a term or two ago for a creative writing class, I forget on what theme.

Zenrinji

mushroom_cloud

He’d never been close to death until then.

Yes, he’d seen dead bodies – his grandma, his father, a body in a road. True, this was death, but death as it had happened to others, deaths already tainted by premonitions of their passing or tinged with the innocent curiosity that characterises the young. This was not imminent death as it might apply to him: a moment of reckoning, a brief interval pointlessly proffered to put his house in order.

For those who’ve lived through it, even if memories have faded, the Cold War was a time of surviving on a precipice. Sometimes its edge visibly crumbled at one’s feet, as it did during the Cuba crisis. Sometimes there was just a feeling of vertiginous malaise watching grainy news footage of CND marchers, whether or not they were really cranks or communist stooges.

But one day death really came knocking at his…

View original post 320 more words

Rhyme without reason

Because it’s Chooseday I choose to reblog this …

Zenrinji

catandfiddle

Hey diddle-diddle
Come read me my riddle
Sing hickory dickory dock
For down came a spider
A gossamer glider
And landed on Bo Peep’s blue frock

This creature so lowly
She brushed off real slowly
Then played on her didgeridoo
She charmed not just creatures
But parsons and preachers
Who featured in France’s Who’s Who

Her sheep were not fazed
For they grew fat and grazed
Till a wolf with a weasely grin
Slipped the sheep, plus a goat,
Past his jaws down his throat,
By the hairs on his chinny chin chin

The spider then teased
The old wolf till he sneezed
Who then coughed up sheep, plus the goat,
And a cat with a fiddle, a rope round its middle,
Attached to a lifebelt and boat

So now ends my riddle
Puss played on its fiddle
And Bo Peep her didgeridoo
I hope you find pleasing
My rhyme without reason
Au revoir, tally ho, toodle-oo!

View original post

First

Sister blog Zenrinji is being resuscitated (again!) now with a mix of micropoetry, flash fiction, apt quotes and other pot pourri, beginning with “First”.

Zenrinji

wall

“I’m the winner!” shouted Romulus (or was it Remus?) as he teasingly leapt over the stone wall that Remus (or was it Romulus?) had made round his new city.

“No, you’re not,” said the other crossly and knocked him down dead. “The first shall be last,” he said, and laughed. “Or should I say … late?”

________________________

My first — and hopefully not my last — attempt at Flash Fiction Fifty-Five, where the whole story, including heading, is told in fifty-five words on a given theme, here provided by Leslie of Colonialist’s Blog. Rome’s founder is, of course, Romulus who according to one account by Livy killed Remus because his brother belittled his new city wall by leaping over it.

View original post