Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed

June 22, 2016

OUT NOW! A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology.

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A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed is an anthology of flash-fictions, published to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day (UK), and showcasing the very best talents to have written in this challenging miniature literary form. The stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed are in a variety of genres, styles and forms, ranging from horror to romance, from fantasy to dark reality, from urban terror to comedy. Many of the stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed will resonate with readers long after reading.

 

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed

Contents

Foreword: The Editors

Before the Sun Comes Up: Tim Stevenson

Miss Scarlet in the Shed: Tracy Fells           

Cold Hands: Rhoda Greaves

Ambush: Richard Holt       

Outsider: Laura Huntley     

Theseus in Belleville: Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber

Bocca Baciata: Ruth McKee        

Health and Pleasure, Glorious Sea!: Sharon Telfer      

Gingerbread: Virginia Moffat

A Marionettist’s Musings While on a Park Bench: Charley Karchin

Bubblegum Barbie: Emily Devane      

Lifer: Adam Trodd       

Shirts – A Fable: R J Dent

Sam, 29: Martha Gleeson

Three Kids, Two Balloons: KM Elkes            

Who? What?: Ashley Chantler

Pub Quiz: Alison Wassell

Sushi and Kitty Cats: Kaitlyn Johnson

Desert Blossom: Annie Mitchell

Premiums: Ian Shine             

Misunderstanding: Vivien Jones        

Wakes Week: David Hartley      

Burning Faith: Frankie McMillan

Pigeon English: David Cook         

Kittiwakes: Catherine Edmunds

The Door Closes: Kevlin Henney

Clippers: Debbi Voisey      

I Go on the Morrow to Murder the King: Joy Myserscough

Special Delivery: Calum Kerr         

Grains: Joanna Campbell

Panda: Fat Roland          

Fish Supper: Laura Tickle         

The Vineyard: Catherine McNamara

What We Threw Into the Lake: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

The Pleasure Principle: Rob Walton         

Onion: Damhnait Monaghan

My Aunt Aggie: Paul McVeigh      

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: Jon Stubbington

A Collection: Diane Simmons

Kelly Loves Traffic Light Jelly: Jeanette Sheppard

Yellow: Nuala Ní Chonchúir

424 Likes: Jennifer Harvey

Manspreading: Marie Gethins 

Wake Up: Oli Morriss          

When Dreams are Large and Tusked: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Ten Things that Happened After My Funeral: Santino Prinzi     

What the Therapist Said: Jude Higgins        

Gregor Samsa Quits the Track Team: Beverly C. Lucey

Honesty’s Not the Best Policy: Brendan Way       

Orphans: Chris Stanley       

And the Red Flower: Nina Lindmark Lie

One Last Pickup: Sarah Hilary         

Sunday Morning: John Holland      

About Unemployment and Rats: Bernard O’Rourke

Captain Strix: Zoe Gilbert         

Latchkey: Fiona J. Mackintosh

Lips: Nik Perring         

Map Reading: Jane Roberts        

How to Make Lolo: Michelle Elvy       

Family Values: Jonathan Pinnock

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night: Claire Fuller         

Hornet’s Nest: Sally Burnette      

The Taste of Sock and Rubber: Cathy Bryant       

In the Café: Sherri Turner       

On the Invisibility of the Deaf: Debbie Young

Flying Ant Day: Judy Darley          

Marzipan Bride and Groom: Sal Page

I Believe in You: Meg Pokrass        

When She Was Good: Safia Moore         

Injuries in Dust: Poppy O’Neill     

We Can Be Asteroids: FJ Morris             

Purple with a Purpose: Amanda Saint      

Little Ghosts: Jan Carson           

The Night Life of Wives: Angela Readman

The Jumper: Anne Patterson

A One-Word Yet…: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Storm: Gemma Govier

Jessie Learns How to Keep A Secret: Alison Wassell

Illumination: Judi Walsh           

When Words Aren’t Enough: Lucy Welch          

Christmas: James Watkins

Always One: Tracy Fells           

Notes: Elaine Marie McKay

Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install: Ed Broom

 

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology is out now!

To purchase the paperback edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (paperback)

To purchase the e-book edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (e-book)

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

Richard Brautigan

June 5, 2016

Richard Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – September 16, 1984) was an American novelist and short story writer.

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His writing is often considered to be either black comedy, parody or satire – or a combination of these.

Richard Brautigan has written ten novels. They are:

A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964, ISBN 0-224-61923-3)

TCGFBS RB

Trout Fishing in America (1967 ISBN 0-395-50076-1)

TFIA RB

In Watermelon Sugar (1968 ISBN 0-440-34026-8)

IWMS RB

The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971 ISBN 0-671-20872-1)

TA AHR RB

The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974 ISBN 0-671-21809-3)

THM RB

Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery (1975 ISBN 0-671-22065-9)

WAHBT RB

Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976 ISBN 0-671-22331-3)

SF RB

Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977 ISBN 0-440-02146-4)

DOB RB

The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980 ISBN 0-440-08770-8)

TTME RB

So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (1982 ISBN 0-395-70674-2)

STWWBIA RB

An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey (1994 ISBN 0-312-27710-5)

TUW RB

Richard Brautigan has also written a collection of short stories, Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970

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Richard Brautigan’s novels and short stories are available from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Brautigan/e/B000AQ48CA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1465120516&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator by R J Dent

May 7, 2016

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One evening, about a week after the plum tree/creosote/bomb incident, my father rolled a very large empty oil drum down to the bottom of the garden. He rolled it noisily down the path, right to the end of the garden, rolled it in a sharp left turn, then stopped and stood it up so that it was screened by the lilac bushes.

I got up and wandered down the garden, followed by my brother. As I got nearer, I could see that my father was putting some bricks on the ground, arranging them in a roughly square symmetrical pattern. Intrigued, I stood back and watched, not sure what was going on. I didn’t really know what I was seeing – was it some obscure pagan ritual; a valiant attempt to contact alien life forms; my dad’s workaday version of Stonehenge, or something so obscure that it hadn’t been heard of by anyone other than my father? As my dad stood up – all of the bricks now obviously in their rightful positions – I had a feeling that I was about to find out.

– What’s he doing? my brother whispered.

– I don’t know yet, I answered. Let’s wait and see.

– Okay, my brother said, cheerfully enough.

And so we waited, watching carefully and quietly as our dad stood the empty oil drum on the bricks. Then he knelt down on the ground, picked up a hammer and a metal chisel and proceeded to knock holes in the side of the oil drum, about four inches up from the bottom. He made a hole, then moved the chisel a few inches to the left and made another hole, then repeated the process and made another hole, working his way around the oil drum until there were several holes all the way around its base.

– He’s making air-holes.

– What for?

– So an animal can breathe in there.

– What animal?

– Whatever animals like oil.

– Penguins.

– Petrels.

– Sardines.

– Oil lamps.

– Oil lamps aren’t animals.

– No, but they like oil and they need air-holes.

– You’re an air-hole.

We would have started trading insults at that point, but our father stood up abruptly, looked over at us, and asked what we were doing. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator

Copyright © R J Dent 2014

 

Follow R J Dent’s writing on:

www.rjdent.com

https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RJDent

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhee

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Wasp Nest by R J Dent

May 6, 2016

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1: Location

There was considerable excitement in our family when my father cautiously mentioned that there might be a wasp nest in the garden.

          – Where?

          – I just said: in the garden.

          – Any chance you could be a tiny bit more specific, father? my brother asked. The garden’s ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. There are twenty trees, several unidentifiable objet d’art, three buildings, two tall hedges and a partially cut down pear tree. It’s not going to be possible to pinpoint a carefully disguised wasp nest without a clue as to its location.

          – I’m not telling you where it is, my father said. Wasp nests are dangerous.

          – I thought wasp nests were just harmless wood pulp structures and that it was the wasps themselves that were dangerous, my brother said.

          – There’s no need to try and be clever, my father said. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if they or their nests are threatened, so care should be taken around wasps and their nests.

          – I’ll take the risk, my brother said. I want to see what a wasp nest looks like at close quarters.

          – Well, don’t come crying to me if you get stung, my father said, as my brother dashed out into the garden.

          I followed my brother outside. He was dashing around the garden, peering in every corner, diligently searching for any sign of the new garden interlopers.

          – Where do wasps like to nest? I asked. Read more…

More stories from My Father’s Garden by R J Dent are available at:

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/category/my-fathers-garden/

Information on R J Dent’s books, stories, poems, essays, talks, videos, and latest news is at:

http://www.rjdent.com

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RJDent

https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhee

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Fireworks by R J Dent

January 25, 2016

 

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Bonfire Night was always fun.

Bonfires are great and fireworks are even greater.

My father never bought lots of fireworks on Bonfire Night – there were never more than eight to ten in a box, but there were Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles, Fountains, Jumping Jacks, Bottle Rockets, Fire Crackers – and we always had Sparklers.

I don’t mean to sound churlish, but sparklers are not the most exciting type of firework in existence. You light them, wave them around, they fizz and sparkle for a minute, then they die. They’re the firework world’s equivalent to the mayfly. One great (or in the mayfly’s case, not-so-great) aerial incendiary burst, and then gone, done, nothing left but the inevitable fall… Read more…

 

 

 

Some of the Life of Gilbert by R J Dent

January 9, 2015

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Gilbert was very, very fed up.

          He’d been sitting inside a locked vault for several weeks and wanted to be out in the world again – circulating, as he’d been created to do. He thought back to his last week of independence; the way he’d been happily mixing with others, in and out of different environments, aware of movements and touch. He’d made a lot of people happy and had not been bored once.

          Now – a few weeks later – he was feeling a little dull, there being no light, movement or friction in the vault. He’d asked some of the others about possible futures, but they were all – with the exception of Rhonda – too busy crowing about past glories.

          “Once,” Oswald rather pompously stated – for the twentieth time – “I was exchanged – with a few others – for a Rolls Royce.”

          “You said Jaguar before,” Ellen said shrilly.

          “Or was it a Rover?” Jamie asked in his soft voice.

          “The type of car doesn’t matter,” Oswald snapped impatiently. “What is of paramount importance is that my personal value is far higher than yours.”

          “But you’re worth exactly the same as the rest of us,” Gilbert interrupted.

          Oswald sighed in exasperation. “I’m very much aware of my value, thank you, Gilbert. My point is that – unlike many of you – my actual value exceeds my stated value. Read more…

Some of the Life of Gilbert

Copyright (c) R J Dent (2010)

www.rjdent.com

Harry by R J Dent

January 9, 2015

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It was exactly one week after her birthday that Muriel realized that Harry was a robot.

          Up until then, she’d just thought that he was as near as it was possible to get – for a man – to being a perfect human being.

          He did everything for her: listened to her, helped her, did jobs around the house without being prompted and took her on surprise holidays. On top of all that he was good-looking, had a great sense of humour, was a great fuck and did his job well. Muriel couldn’t help but be in love with him.

          Yet at odd times, there was something a little distant about him. When he didn’t know she was watching him, she saw a look of detachment cross his features, as though he’d suddenly switched off from her and her world. This hurt her a little, so one day she asked Harry about it. He apologized for giving her that impression, but all it was was that she’d simply observed him when he was tired and trying to unwind from a hard day at work.

          “Are you sure?” she’d asked, and he’d taken her into his arms and held her tightly.

          “Of course,” he’d responded, stoking her head gently, before taking her to bed and making love to her. Read more…

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R J Dent says: ‘After reading Isaac Asimov’s wonderful I, Robot stories, I always wanted to write a robot story. Once I’d had the idea of a woman becoming unhappy because her lover was too attentive, too perfect, I had the main story idea. The other spark that really brought the story to life for me was the idea that the robot was in a permanent state of being improved, according to the partner’s wishes. Harry’s name came from the protagonist of Hubert Selby Jr’s, The Demon; Muriel’s name came from Steve Harley’s Muriel the Actor.’

 

Text: Harry (1635 words)

Copyright © R J Dent (2001 & 2016)

 

Image: Personal Robot 06 by Franz Steiner

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Christmas Decorations by R J Dent

January 3, 2015

 

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When my father said he was ‘going to go all out’ with the Christmas decorations, I wondered what he actually meant.

          I soon found out.

          The first thing I noticed was the length of cable strung around the front garden, tacked along the front porch, stapled above the windows, secured to posts, threaded through bushes, coiled around tree branches, propped up with canes, fixed to fences and so on.

          The next night, my father had cut the cable and was fitting the ends into a light-bulb rose. I looked along the cable and saw he’d wired about a dozen light-bulb roses to it. It was obviously my father’s own version of Christmas lights.

          – Don’t tell anyone, he said. I want it to be a surprise.

          – I won’t tell anyone.

          Once my father had finished wiring all of the roses to the cable – twenty-four in all – he fetched a box of light-bulbs from the shed. They were ordinary household light-bulbs, but my father had painted them in a variety of colours using household paint. One bulb was maroon, one was mustard, one was silver, one was avocado green, and one was black. And then the sequence was repeated. And again. And again… Read more

 

 *

 

My Father’s Garden: Christmas Decorations

Copyright © R J Dent 2016

 

Follow R J Dent on:

http://www.rjdent.com/

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Tom de Freston’s The Charnel House – a review by R J Dent

December 16, 2014

 

The Charnel House

Tom de Freston

A review by R J Dent

 

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Although Tom de Freston refers to his book, The Charnel House, as ‘a poetic graphic novel’, it’s a hybrid book which defies easy categorization. It’s a poetry anthology; it’s a series of paintings turned into comic strip format, complete with text; it’s a moving and profound multi-authored novel. The Charnel House shares literary and artistic territory with Spiegelman’s Maus, or Moore/Gibbons’ Watchmen, or Briggs’ When the Wind Blows. It also shares some of Samuel Beckett’s tragicomic preoccupations.

The Charnel House origins lie in a series of paintings Tom de Freston has created over the past few years, featuring a horse-headed human hybrid character; a character which Freston freely admits he appropriated from Picasso’s Guernica – and which also has similarities to the horse head in Fuseli’s The Nightmare. In The Charnel House, Freston has provided horse-head with a plausible world and a coherent narrative. The Charnel House narrative follows horse-head through the various stages of its existence.

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The effectiveness of Freston’s imagery is due to the careful juxtaposition of the terrible and the harrowing with the everyday. Scenes of mutation, mutilation, torture, sadness, death, sex, love and lust take place in various domestic settings; the action is constantly framed by windows, or lit up by bare bulbs, or reflected in mirrors, thereby making the reader culpable by being vicariously voyeuristic.

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The startling, often shocking, imagery is set out on the pages in classic graphic novel style and the accompanying poetry is positioned to complement the art that inspired it. The Charnel House challenges the reader’s engagement with both subject and subject matter by the employment of ekphrasis, a technique usually defined as ‘a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art’. The Charnel House explores themes of identity and memory, love and loss, by presenting twisted and confused versions of the universal and the domestic; of reality and the nature of perception; of cruelty and suffering, and the relationship between the past, the present and the future.

 tdf - tch1

Contributions by 37 poets, each inspired by the original paintings, are set on the adjacent pages to the illustrations, and the graphic novel format and ekphrasis create a narrative. Mythology is used, historical and notable artworks are frequently referenced, as are images of modern-day political atrocities. This is where the real power of Freston’s use of ekphrasis becomes evident. Although horse-head is constantly on the cusp of revelation, of understanding exactly who and where it is, he/it is never able to actually achieve enlightenment.

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But The Charnel House, despite its name, is not all sturm und drang, screams and shrieks, nihilism and existential angst; a major theme of the collection is identity, and the preoccupations of the self. It’s intense, dark, emotional, surreal, yet deeply personal and simultaneously universal. Admittedly, it’s a very tough collection to get through, but its content is immensely rich, and the poems and the illustrations are so moving that it’s worth the effort needed to read the whole work. It’s an incredible collection.

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The Charnel House is a very experimental and incredibly powerful anthology of poems and illustrations that explore the relationship between mind and body, reality and dreams, passion, lust, and love. It’s a deep, dark, emotional collection. Ultimately, The Charnel House is a work of great depth and imagination.

FRONT-COVER-200x300 

The Charnel House is available as a free e-book and as a hardback published by Bridgedoor Press.

 

Tom de Freston’s work can be found at:

www.tomdefreston.co.uk

R J Dent’s work can be found at www.rjdent.com

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse by R J Dent

May 5, 2014

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Greenhouse

 

1: Frame

 

Several lengths of silver angle-iron had been in the garden for over a week before my father acknowledged their existence.

      – Ah, yes. I’d better put that together, he said cryptically, one morning.

      Later on, he’d assembled several lengths of the angle-iron into a cube-shaped frame.

      – What are you making, dad?

      – Assembling.

      – What are you assembling, dad?

      – A greenhouse. With a gable roof.

      – Are you going to grow anything in it?

      – No, I thought I’d leave it empty for years, and then knock it down.

      – Oh. What for?

      – Not really. I’m going to grow tomatoes in it. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69