“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.
The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.
This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.
What some readers say…
I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.
Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.
I loved it.
Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.
The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.
Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.
I would love to see this book made into a movie.
What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.
Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.
I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?
This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.
We are delighted to announce that our author C A Keith got married on Monday 24th May 2021. The wedding took place in the stunning setting of a Florida Beach.
Unfortunately, some of her family were unable to join them as they live in Canada and they are on full lockdown. However, one son, his wife, and many friends all attended the happy occasion.
Before the ceremony they went to a Puerto Rican restaurant to dine first. They picked a quiet spot on the beach and watched a spectacular almost-full moon rising to one side just as the sun was setting on the other. Her friend read out the vows, and it was just magical, she told us.
Afterwards they all went to the Pizza Parlour she runs with her son for wine and cake. Her son, his wife and a number of friends are all deaf, but that didn’t stop them, and everyone enjoying the dancing afterwards.
‘It was truly a dream come true,’ she finished. And judging by the photographs they would be worthy of any romantic novel.
We are sure you will join us in wishing Charlotte, and her new husband Wally, the very best for their new lives together as a family because she is now a mother of two young son as well.
Meanwhile, you may want to enjoy the stories Charlotte has written for Electric Eclectic books.
We are into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a tumultuous year as we adjusted to a new vocabulary; masking, social distancing, quarantine. Yes, we’ve heard those words before. We read them in books, maybe, heard them in movies or on television dramas. Now the words were a part of our daily conversations.
I have been out of my house less than twenty times in the past fourteen months. I have seen my children and grandchildren less than that.
I have learned a valuable lesson, and it came as a shock.
I’ve always been something of a loner or homebody. Many would disagree with that assessment. I like people, but I love my own space. Being stuck at home shouldn’t be a problem for me. Generally, that’s true. However, this super social distancing reached a peak a few months ago.
I’ve always committed to writing at least two thousand words a day. That’s what Stephen King does, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s certainly good enough for me.
When staying home was recommended by health officials, I believed this would afford me more time to write. I might double my daily word count. I had several unfinished works, and this would provide the ideal opportunity to whip them out.
Why, I might even finish them all before the quarantine ended!
As the weeks passed into months, I found I was writing less, not more. I would sit with my trusty laptop and read over what I had written the day before. Pages became paragraphs. I would have an idea of what I wanted to write, but I couldn’t get my motor going.
It wasn’t until last month that I realized I hadn’t written anything in over three weeks. I’d edited projects I was working on for others. But I didn’t have a word of my own to show. What was happening? Was this writers’ block?
Somewhere in my ruminations, I recalled something one of my English professors told us. He advised we carry notebooks (this is pre-tech days when pen and paper were the methods of the day) and write down bits of conversations we overheard, descriptions of people we encountered, or places we saw.
I’m a writer and much of my writing draws on outside sights and sounds. My imagination may turn everyday events and conversations into more elaborate (and often disturbing) experiences.
A writer needs a good imagination. A writer also needs to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the world outside her head. Being cut off from the sounds of busy streets, rolling waves, crunching leaves, bits of conversations, and other real-life noises removed them from my conscious and then my subconscious.
Living inside, I missed the end of one winter, the bright colors of spring, summer heat, the crispness of fall, and another winter.
I missed Valentine’s dinner at our favorite restaurant with my husband, watching my grandchildren hunt for Easter eggs in the grass that was beginning to green. There was no giggling and splashing in the backyard pool, no picnics at the lake where the sounds of motorboats cut the air, no weekend at a cabin for our anniversary.
The pumpkin farm and haunted trails never happened. No big family Thanksgiving dinner where everyone brought a dish to share. I did my Christmas shopping online without the hustle and bustle of crowds, both joyous and stressed.
I don’t know about other authors, but this writer cannot write in a vacuum. I need to smell the change in the air as seasons drift one into the other.
I need to hear snippets of conversations and build a story around an innocuous remark I overhear in the supermarket or restaurant.
It seems, things are beginning to loosen up. I’ve gotten my Covid-19 vaccinations. I will still double mask and be responsibly socially distant. But I feel safer venturing out into the world where my inspirations are waiting.
Somewhere a woman is complaining about the price of milk, a man is discussing a sporting event, teenagers are giggling at a TikTok video.
Tomorrow the sun will rise over a late winter day, and spring will beckon me to go out and play, to smell the freshness of growing grass, to see the heads of flowers forcing their way through the rich soil.
And I will once again begin to weave commonplace occurrences into tales.
In fact, I think I have an idea tickling the back of my mind now.
Deep Waters is the latest Electric Eclectic book, and the first new release of 2021.
For Deep Waters, Paul White has taken a totally different approach from his last offering, the superb, gritty and surprising crime drama,‘A New Summer Garden‘.
With Deep Waters, we follow the main character, Gary, as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife.
After a failed suicide attempt, Gary take himself off to an isolated island, far away from the distractions of daily life and the people he knows, as kind and as helpful as they try to be.
This touching and emotional tale allows privileged insight into Gary’s mind as he stumbles onward through life and unveils an understanding of why he chose this island to execute his last wishes.
Electric Press magazine says,
Deep Waters in available in both eBook format, and as an Electric Eclectic Pocketbook Paperback
“…My first thought, rather obviously, was to name the boat Francis, after my deceased wife, bless her soul.
But then, I felt it was not the right thing to do. Francis had never been here, never been to the island. Neither of us knew this place existed before, before… now, which was part of the reason I came here. To get away from those haunting memories, as callous as it may seem.
You see, that is what life is all about, the memories. The memories of shared experience. The things you do with family, mum, dad, siblings. The adventures with friends and, of course, all the things you do, all the places you go, all the battles you fight and all the little victories you celebrate with your lover, your soulmate, the one you wish to grow old with.
Francis was my soulmate. It was the memories we shared from the life we were building together which haunted me now.
Don’t get me wrong. I did not want to forget. I do not want to erase them from my mind, but neither did I want to be reminded of every detail each time I walked into a room or got onto the boat.
I want to remember Francis when I want to recall her voice or touch or tell a story about her antics. I want to remember her on my terms, not as just some random flashback.
Like many writers I have a store of part written works. Literary orphans, many of whom deserve better parenting than I have given.
Some are first drafts of short stories, ones which need attention before I could possibly allow others to set eyes upon them.
Some are beginnings of new books and novels. Many are several chapters – or more – in length. A few far longer, yet abandoned and gathering dust in the archives of ‘I’ll take another look at it, soon, one day, when I have time, sometime.’
Some are mere scribblings, outlines of thought, rough drafts of similar concept, or of unjointed notes, sort-of-bullet-points, fleeting notions.
Occasionally, I have pulled the odd page from the depths of neglect. In a few instances, I have reworked such a piece, even developed it into a viable story.
But those times are seldom.
Generally, when I unearth an old unfinished, partly written, abandoned tale, I quickly scan it, faintly recall its birth and return it, with a promise of coming back and spending some time with it ‘when I can give it the attention it deserves.’
Which is probably, almost certainly, a long way off from this current day, like… never.
We make the excuse of having more pressing and urgent tasks as current commitment. We enjoy the conception of creation, of having new babies in the making and we look forward to the birth of out next.
That is, if they reach as far as the publicatory birth. If our current focus is not waylaid or distracted by another fancy, another attractive proposition of literary lust which causes us to forsake the unborn penned pages, formed only weeks ago, during our crazed desire to conceive another narrative fable.
We, as writers, are not good rolemodels for caring and nurturing our creativities.
This is, as you can tell, one of the ‘things’ which I have been silently musing over during the past however-long it has been.
I wanted to understand why I could not simply open a file, drag out the unborn foetus of past indulgence and continue writing where I had left off. Even a re-read and re-write, rather like a genetic splicing of characteristics, to take each past abandoned child of mine from infantile scrawling to full blown beauty and let them loose.
So, I tasked myself to do precisely that. To wrench open the doorway of dusty archives and let the light flood in.
I was astounded by the mass of unloved writings huddled in the dank corners of my hard drive. However, I was determined to make amends for the neglect suffered by these poor word documents. After all, they never asked to be created.
One by one, I read the works.
By the time I reached mid-way point of the fifth part-work, I had my answer.
It is all to do with mood, muse and moment. At least it is for me.
Allow me to explain…
As I said earlier, literary lust and crazed desire set us on a special relationship in the attempt to conceive a beautiful outcome, a desired work of the bestselling nature.
While our mindset is concentrated, focused on a single relationship we flourish, some of us are capable of holding two, maybe three such affairs on a steady and productive track.
But each and all of these are balancing on a knife edge of frustration, distraction and boredom. Unable to help ourselves, our minds are constantly on the look-out for other attractive propositions and exciting ventures.
Therefore, once our muse is diverted the love for what is under our fingers wanes. Rarely is it lost, just lessened, it diminishes, at least for the present.
Then, one day we find these lost loves, or that which we once begat from such a relationship; they reach out, arms feebly grabbing for our attention.
But are we ready to take them to our bosom once more?
Most time, the shame is, we are not. We are not ready or willing. So, we slam the door in their faces, committing them to the darkness of closed files one again.
Why are we so cruel in our neglect?
The answer, I have found, is that mindset I mentioned earlier. To pick-up and move forward, we must rekindle the fondness we felt before, relight the old flame of particular creation.
Without us being ‘in the zone’ with regards to each individual story, we shall never see them grow into the works they surely deserve to be.
Maybe, to assuage your guilt of the shame and self-reproach I have now raised in your heart and mind, because of your wicked neglect over your part works, maybe you should unlock you archive doors and take some time with your unborn literary children.
Bring them out of the shadows, let them dance in the sunlight of new development and re-writing nirvana. You never know what wonderful orphans you may have forgotten.
Need more encouragement?
Then do this…
Dust off one of your lost children, re-write and re-work it into a Novelette or Novella, then publish it as an eBook or a Pocketbook or both, under the Electric Eclectic brand.
Share your creation with our Electric Eclectic authors, allow us to help you spread the word of your new-born, to introduce it to our loving readers.
Become an Electric Eclectic author today and start sharing your once orphaned works with the world.
This year, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Probably the most momentous historical occasion in living memory.
Many military and veterans’ associations and charities planned special events, shows, exhibitions and displays in remembrance of VE-day, D-Day and VJ-Day, which, due to the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated cancellation.
Every day, memories of World War 2, its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs, disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of ageing, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. The oldest reported, 110 and 105 respectively.
It is doubtful how many may still be with us to observe future milestone in our history of remembrance. One of the main reasons 2020 was to be a major worldwide commemorative event.
At the time I write this post, both the VE-Day and D-Day dates have passed which is one reason I write of VJ-Day.
Another reason is, my grandfather, Percy Doswell, a Royal Airforce doctor, witnessed the surrender ceremony at the Municipal Building of Singapore, headed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, who came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the region from General Seishirō Itagaki on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi.
A photograph montage, near the end of this blog post were taken by my grandfather and have never been published or publicly displayed before.
However, let me start with a simple historical explanation for those who may not know too much regarding the ending of World War 2.
D-Day; the popular name given to the Normandy Landings, on 6 June 1944. (D-Day and H-Hour being common military terms of the period.)
VE Day marks the end of World War II in Europe, (Victory in Europe, hence ‘VE’.) May 8th, 1945 the date the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe.
VJ Day signals the end of World War II in its entirety. It is when Japan finally surrendered. (Victory over Japan Day, VJ-Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP-Day.)
In Japan, August 15th is known as the ‘Memorial Day for the end of the war‘. 終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi); the official name for the day, however, is ‘the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.’ (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi. (This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.)
In the UK and the US, VJ Day is celebrated on different dates.
The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made on 15 August 1945, the date the UK marks as VJ-Day each year.
However, the surrender documents were officially signed on the USS Missouri battleship on 2 September 1945, which is why America celebrates on 2 September.
This blog, however, concentrates on the 12 September 1945, the date the surrender instrument was signed at the Singapore Municipal Building, (now known as City Hall), simply because, (as stated above), this was the part of the war’s official ending my grandfather witnessed and of which my family have personal records.
On 12 September 1945, Supreme Allied Commander (Southeast Asia), Lord Louis Mountbatten, accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Raymond Wheeler, was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner-of-war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who lined the streets greeted them.
At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in-Chief and high-ranking Allied Officers based in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four Guards-of-Honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Indian army, and Australian paratroopers. Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet band played “Rule Britannia” accompanied by the firing of a seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.
Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he fell ill due to a stroke. However, he personally surrendered to Mountbatten on 30 November 1945 in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).
He also surrendered his two swords: a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.
The Japanese signed a total of 11 copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander, Mountbatten and the South East Asia Command’ records.
The ceremony was also witnessed by 400 spectators (one being my grandfather, Percy Doswell), made up of commanders and officers from the navy, army and air force, as well as senior officers from the Supreme Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, 14 leaders of the Malayan communities, the Sultan of Johore, Sir Ibrahim, and released prisoners-of-war, who were all seated behind the Allied representatives.
In the chamber, flags of Allied forces were hung and at the bases of its pillars as were one officer representing the different fighting forces; the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Australians, British airmen, Dutch, Americans, French (from the battleship Richelieu) and the 5th Indian Division.
The surrender ceremony ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. The Union Jack used was the same flag which flew over the Government House before the war and which was hidden by a Malayan civil servant, Mervyn Cecil Frank Sheppard in his pillow during his captivity in the Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation.
The official ceremony was followed by a celebration at the Padang, which included a victory parade.
A British military administration, using surrendered Japanese troops as security forces, was formed to govern the island until March 1946.
King George VI addressed the nation from a balcony at Buckingham Palaceand streets across the nation were filled with people singing, cheering, dancing in scenes which echoed the declaration of peace in Europe three months earlier.
Bonfires were lit, fireworks sent soaring into the sky and historic buildings floodlit as the whole country celebrated the news that their remaining troops would soon be returning home.
Immediately operations began to repatriate some of the 130,000 Allied prisoners held by Japanese troops in POW camps across the region. The RAF parachuted in 136 teams to negotiate the release of prisoners in Operation Mastiff.
Sadly, the end of World War 2 did not bring the everlasting peace so many wished for, war and conflict still rage around the world to this day.
I note two books you may wish to read, the first, an anthology from the authors of Electric Eclectic, written to celebrate the 75th VE-Day anniversary, is simply called ‘Victory 75‘. This can be obtained in Paperback from Amazon, here, or as an eBook/Kindle,here
The second is ‘Life in the War Zone‘, n award winning collection of short stories classed as fiction, yet are based on true accounts given by those living in areas of conflict around the world. Paperback only. Here.
This is the shortest story from ‘Tales of Crime & Violence‘, (Volume 1) which falls into the ‘Violence’ category… but not how you may initially think… which is all part of what these books are about.
I pulled the car to a halt, two wheels on the grass verge and switched the engine off.
Immediately the engine died the radio seemed dreadfully loud.
So strange the way you get used to the noise of a running engine. The way your mind cancels out the rhythmic growling.
I wondered if it was always that way, if we have the ability to disregard repetitive or intrusive sounds?
I mean, did the cavemen do such? Was there a need? Maybe during a storm or a gale, they could close their ears to the sound of the howling winds or the consistent noise of heavy rainfall, maybe?
Or it could be a newly acquired skill since… since when?
At first, I supposed it would be during the industrial revolution. The sound of looms, presses and steam engines; thumps, clashes and clanging’s, a metallic cacophony the likes of which had never been heard before.
But then, before then, there was war. Iron forges for portcullis and armour, stonemasons chasing rock into blocks for castle walls; the incessant repetitiveness of hammer, of chisel, of mallet.
Then the battle. Masses of men, horse and oxen meshing and mashing themselves into bloody quagmires of gritty bone and blood.
If ever there was a sound to blanket I believe I would choose to smother that one.
Especially after the events of this morning.
Those screams sent sensations tingling the entire length of my spine. I could not tell if they came from the nape of my neck and ran down, like a streak of lightning to the base of my back, or if they started there, at my coccyx and travelled upwards to strike my atlas bone.
You see, it was not the volume, the earth splitting frequency of those elongated screams which caused my vertebrae to quiver. It was the intensity of which they were emitted.
I actually felt them. Felt the full ferocity of their energy within every organ, every cell of my entire being.
That ferocity was only equalled by the way she fought. Limbs flailing like broken masts in a force ten gale. Vicious nails, the talons of werewolves, and sharp teeth with the uncanny ability to locate exposed skin without conscious effort, seeking to rent chunks of flesh from my arms and face.
It took me a long time to subdue her. My face was gashed, long rips of bloodied skin hung from my cheeks. My arms were cut, bitten and bruised, as was my ego.
It was during that process, while I was trying to overpower her, I could have done with the capability to eliminate noise. I am certain I could have restrained her far quicker had she not been screaming so loudly, so constantly.
Even now, as I sit in my car with the radio on, volume so low it is barely audible, I can hear her screams echoing in my ears, my bloodied hands still shake a little, the remnants of the violent trembling the episode left with me.
I know her screams shall be a sound I shall carry within my memory forever, carry to my grave.
Fortunately, before she could do further damage before she managed to totally dismember and disembowel me, other nurses came to my assistance. Together we were able to subdue and sedate her.
As I left the ward I looked to where she now lay, sedated and sleeping. She looked so calm and serene, so peaceful and content.
I cannot help but wonder what demons inhabit her tortured soul.
Tonight, I shall pray for her.
You can find all three volumes of ‘Tales of Crime & Violence’ on Amazon and other good bookstores.
I’m British born and bred, although I have lived most of my life in New Zealand. Sweet as? (Kiwi Saying) I love New Zealand, best little country in the world today, though I’m sure others will have different opinions.
First and foremost, I am a wife and mother of four children, though we lost our youngest 17 years ago. My husband and I have been married for 28 years this year. Our two eldest daughters are in the UK having their OE (Overseas Experience as they call them in Kiwiland). My son is about to start university to study architecture.
This will be the first time my husband and I will have true freedom to do as we wish, when we wish, without the phrase “Get a room” from the kids with our reply of “Don’t need one. Got a house.” And that was just about kissing…lol. Kids these days!
I am a Family History Researcher and have been for the past twenty years. I fell into writing in 2012 and became a multi-genre author because the muses…yeah more than one…wouldn’t shut the up. I have published over thirty books and have over a hundred drafts on my computer. My main genres are Children’s Adventure Stories, Young Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, New Adult Murder Mystery Romance under my own name. Under my pen name of Beth Bayley, I write Contemporary Billionaire Romance (reverse aka the woman is the billionaire) as well as a set of Mythical Welsh stories. I also have one wayward muse who I call Chloe King who is an Erotic Author. Pain in the … and a nympho. Meanwhile, I’ll stay prudish, thanks.
In 2014 I set up my own Publishing Company called Plaisted Publishing House Ltd, which now runs an Author Assist program for Formatting, Editing and Book Covers. We’ve helped over 32 clients in various different ways. We also do Family History Books.
I join EE last year, though I have only recently found the time to get my first book sorted. It is called ‘The Dark Valley’ by Claire Plaisted and is about a young woman who is strong in nature.
The subject, one of memory and nostalgia is, I feel, equally important to the readers among us as it is to those who write. It is on that premise I now re-publish this post here, on Electric’s Eclectic’s blog.
I am sure I am not alone when I say stations and trains hold countless evocative memories for me. Many of these recollections are from my childhood, others from my adolescence and beyond. But most are essentially pure nostalgic longing.
I say nostalgic longing rather than reminiscent memory because most of the evocative scenes which play within my mind, when I contemplate railway carriages and station platforms, are false recollections. They are simply wistful yearnings for a time and place I have never been privy to.
Those of you who may not have a creative bent, those who are not writers, poets or lyricists may not, as yet, comprehend my words. So I shall, in my usual arbitrary, chaotic and irregular manner, begin to ramble away and hopefully elucidate you all too where my thoughts have wandered regarding this subject.
If you will humour me, I shall ask you to close your eyes for a moment or two and imagine you are on a station platform in the nineteen forties or fifties.
Hear the sounds of the locomotive hissing steam as it waits for the passengers to disembark. See the porters as they wheel loaded wooden carts to the goods wagon, while others push handcarts laden with passenger’s luggage to the coach doorway where they assist the people to board.
In the waiting room, a small coal fire burns filling the air with a sooty but homely scent, a scent of warmth and comfort. From a small kiosk, a man wearing a scarf and flat cap sells newspapers to the passengers waiting on the platform.
All around, a cacophony of sound melds into this concert of life, whistles blow, milk churns clank, You can hear the ‘thunk’ as reams of newspapers are plonked on the platform ready for collection. Passenger’s voices are a constant murmur, a backdrop to the stationmaster’s call of “All aboard”. Doors slam shut, the train huffs and puffs as it pulls away. A metallic squeal pierces the air as the wheels begin to turn.
Those remaining on the platform wave off their loved ones who, leaning out of the windows, blow kisses back.
The pervading smell is of coal, steam, hot metal, wood, newspaper and soot.
This is how I remember railway stations. Or at least this is how my selective and partially false memories cause my mind to create this evocative picture in my head.
I am not quite old enough to had such an experience. I was not born into that era. My time came a little later. Perhaps I do have just enough knowledge, enough memory to blend some truth into this fantasy.
As a young child, maybe six or seven years old, I regularly watched the last few operational steam trains as they rattled over the railway bridge in Penge.
I remember ‘platform tickets’, tickets which allowed non-passengers access onto the platforms to say goodbye and wave off their loved ones, or to meet them on their return. I have sat in the comforting warmth of a British Rail waiting room which was heated by an open coal fire, the smell of which I shall never forget. I also recall when the green liveried trains had first, second and third-class carriages, as well as a goods wagon and guards van at the rear.
Some may say they were the ‘good old day’s’ and in many ways, I agree. But historical conclusion is not the topic of today’s rambling.
I was not born early enough to have encountered life in the forties, not early enough to truly know the scents, sounds and feel of travelling by train in ‘those days’. Yet I do have the ability to create with my pen an acceptable and, this is the important bit, believable account of ‘being there’.
This is where ‘false memory’ becomes a friend and not the enemy.
Mixed with the few true memories I have are the perceptions of what life was like during such times. I have absorbed and pooled many of these ideas by reading books and watching films from that era, such as Brief Encounter (1945), or The Lady Eve (1941) and many other such scenes from plays and television programmes.
If, as a writer, I do my job well I can utilise both the true, the false and the acquired to create a world which shall captivate the consciousness of the reader, draw them into my fantasy world as their eyes traverse the page. I want to fascinate and enthral the reader, not only with my characters and their antics but also by lending to them an illusory world where they can escape the mundane and humdrum of life, at least for the moment.
This is where nostalgia, or at least nostalgic imagery features. I believe it is something we all have a longing for. Who, for instance, would not wish to travel back, to at least one certain point in time, if they were able?
I know it is something I would do if it were at all possible.
So why, I hear you ask, have I focused on railways as a topic to discuss the past. The answer is simple. Trains were ‘the’ mode of transport for the majority of people ‘way back when’, when few owned a car, less could afford to board a ship and air travel was just an aviators dream, accessible to only the very wealthy. Most towns and cities, other than one’s own home town, were too far away to cycle and horses were all but history.
How many of us have not said at least one goodbye, waved off a loved one or shed a tear on a railway platform. Who has not been bursting with excitement and anticipation while awaiting the arrival of a train returning a family member, a friend or a lover home?
It is fact stations are a place many hold dear because this is where we have experienced numerous emotions, countless times.
The station, the train, the railway is a place indelibly ingrained, permanently embedded and entwined with both our memory and emotion, however true or however false those evocative recollections might be will still hold them close, we still cherish them.
We all carry within ourselves a simple wistful yearning for a time and place we have never been. If I can re-create that place in your mind, stimulate your emotions, have you feel the air, taste the scents of my imaginings as you read my stories then know I have done a good job.
Thank you for reading this post. I hope these few randomly scribbled words give you food for thought or simply entertained you for a short while, Paul.
Ian’s books are a delight to read; he has an easy style of relaxed writing, which belies the twisted plots and humorous, even comical touches running through his stories. If you’re looking for a captivating lighthearted tale, chose any of the books mentioned above, you won’t be disappointed.
‘The times they are a-changing.’ I seem to recall that’s a line from a Bob Dillon song, not that I would class myself as a fan. But he did write some thought-provoking lyrics. Technological changes are bombarding us every day, I feel like I’m struggling to stay afloat, to keep my head above water. No sooner you master (that’s a slight exaggeration) something it becomes obsolete, out of date, redundant and a new fan-dangled newbie bursts onto the market.
It’s not only technology that’s changing, the world is in constant turmoil. I read the first world war was given the name ‘The Great War’ and ‘The War to end all Wars.’ That worked, didn’t it? Maybe there has always been conflict throughout the globe, it’s just our reporting is so much better (and graphic). The United Nations was touted as the great hope for world peace then they shot themselves in the foot by giving the major countries the right to veto any resolution.
The latest fad is climate change. Yes, I call it a fad not that I would place myself in the climate change denier box, but we’ve seen the constant procession of protest movements (all claiming to speak for the moral majority) over the years. Remember nuclear testing, Vietnam war, Iraq, anti-apartheid, genetic modification and I read some vegans have picketed supermarket meat departments (they claim eating meat is destroying the planet). And who can forget little Greta Thunberg addressing the UN which inspired a wave of school kid protests and the climate revolutionaries who thought having sit-downs on busy roads was the way to get their message across. I must admit I’m bemused at how Greta managed to get an invite to address the UN; I’m still waiting for mine!
I prefer to not disregard; but treat with a small measure cynicism, all the doom and gloom. The pressing issue, the one question that gives me sleepless nights, that evokes an avalanche of confusing mood swings is WILL MY BELOVED FOOTY TEAM WIN ON SATURDAY?
But the above is not what I want to talk about, I want to talk about DINOSAURS. Be patient, I’m getting there.
WHO READS BOOKS?
Statistics indicate females make up the majority of readers, something like 66%. From my totally unscientific observations most male readers fall into the older age bracket (no number given) but how many teenage and twenty-something-year-old boys do you know who will sit down with a good book? And many female readers also slot into the mature age bracket.
My concern is as older readers (and writers) fall off the perch will books become relegated to a historical memento, an antiquity? Are we (writers and readers) all becoming dinosaurs and facing extinction?
Yes, of course, there are exceptions like the Harry Potter books which are doing a great job of introducing a younger reader to the joys, the excitement of a captivating novel.
All is not lost, as a writer and a reader my mission is to write spellbinding, impossible to put down novels that leave the reader desperate for more.