Archive for the Blog Category

National Holiday

Posted in Blog on 20 March, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

With two days left of the Winter Term school has broken up for a National Holiday. This provides time to gather my strength for the remaining class (on friday) of the semester. It will also be my last class at that Junior High School. Kishiwada city rotates its Assistant Language Tutors every six months between its dozen or so JHS.

* Happy news: Sometimes the best ideas come a long time later than they really should. Listening to the Beeb via the internet should have been a basic discovery way back in 2004 when i first got here. Yet no, however now when i get home from work i can lay on the couch and listen to Radio 4’s Today Programme.

* The first of 2 packs from Amazon have arrived; A Science of Sleep (so now i can get English subtitles on the French rather than listening to French and trying to read Japanese subtitles), The Fountain (not out here yet), Delicatessen (classic), a guide to Self-publishing and a book on the SAS (kinda research on a new book – see below). Hopefully the second pack with the Ulysses 31 cartoon will come soon (toons are rare for me).

* Deadlines are approaching, and a good reason not to write a blog, for the Giant Creatures anthology and the Robots Beyond anthology; both by Permuted Press. Both my entries are going well. Xenophobots is conceived as a Transformers/Terminator combo story but aims to tackle two forces on the future of Japanese society; the way of old Japan rooted in feudalism and the equally unbending liberalism of Internationalisation. Tennessee Tumblebug is just about big bugs and giant balls of… well, you can guess.

* On writerscafe, myspace and wordpress i’ve posted small snippets of a fantasy story conceived in the summer then disastrously lost over the New Year. Part of me feels disinclined to return to that project right now. Its rolling around in my head once more and so i’ve decided to work on a prequal. When its finished it’ll naturally seem like Book 1 or a stand alone book but for me it’ll always be a prequal. It will try to make a discussion on language, the randomness of nature and exploration look like an action story.

* As a result of the brainstorming for the novel, while not writing those short-stories, i’ve been working on linguistics, the environment, archaeology of the new planet as well as science of the future from Stasis, space travel etc.. for someone who tends to keep away from such science its fascinating though perhaps a regression to pre-Arthur C Clarke times. who knows?

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My First Submission

Posted in Blog on 2 March, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

Another blog piece…

 The post before last listed a number of ongoing projects. Yesterday I submitted my first story to a real publication. It was a little scary; especially as the internet broke on my computer and i had to transfer the file over to Natsumi’s new laptop (Vista – complicated, windows simple, wulfstan simple, wulfstan like windows).

Now, i’ve had dozens of letters published in the likes of the Telegraph, Geographical (twice) and Japanese newspapers; and i’ve had articles published in our regional Newsletter for ALTs but never anything real, not even tried to be honest.

 Just to be contrary to expectations none of the previously post none of them were submitted. Instead i tried my hand at romance. The ensuing story, “Serial Something” came out as part-romance, part-mystery and part-hung over guy tries to figure out what happened the night before. Fingers crossed.

The theme of the anthology was “Love Bites.” The stories had to centre around a guy who wakes up with two bites on his neck, one from a man and one from a lady. One of the bites has lipstick, one does not. It centres around the odd relationship or love of 2 men and a woman but not in the anguish ridden love triangle plot-type.

That in itself is an interesting device. Though personally i believe that such a situation just cannot last for two long.

The story ended up as the longest short i’ve ever written at 10,600 words though the final edit came in at just under 9,000 words (to get within the word limit).

While it’ll probably fail but it’s been a good experience. There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the brain. March sees deadlines for the JET programme essay competition, a Sci-fi anthology, the Giant Creatures Anthology and one for Robots. All very fantastical and totally unserious.

Fun Day

Posted in Blog on 27 February, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

This week is only 3 days old.

And its over. 5 days of restful vacation will now commence. The joys of exams.

Being an exam week means the students are much better behaved.

Shall we recap?

hmm…how about we just talk about today?

It started with a whizz and a bang. A firework in the bushes.

Next an angry 18 year old former student runs into the teachers room and begins an argument with a teacher… im sat there thinking… knifing but nothing happens.

The day before the teachers had opened up the school so the parents could see what’s going on…are they suicidal? Anarchy and total chaos reigned supreme. The parents got to see students running around, shouting, writing on the walls in bright pen, drinking, spitting, breaking bamboo sticks and more…

Welcome to my school…unhappy parents.

Then came the classes. A mild case of extortion as the bullies of the first year went round trying to gather money from the weaker students to pay a tribute to the third years…PC Crumble investigates. Case still open. Some girls begin a water fight…

So far so mild.

The afternoon begins with a three person invasion of the first year classes. Just a case of more ex-students on the rampage. Crumble has arse spanked by male student…nothing new there. The water fight girls manage to flood the toilets…nice. Break time chaos leads to fun and games before the second year boys run up the stairs dressed in the girls uniforms with giant fake boobs… bedlam is nice. Break finishes with Crumble breaking up two fights and throwing a student into a classroom.

In the middle of that 4 classes were actually taught. nice.

On the way home i went down a small street to avoid all the cars. Half-way down a bunch of elementary boys had gathered. One had a wad of cardboard taped together. He lashed out at a cyclist before me hitting him. All the boys laughed. Then again at the next cyclist. Then he stepped forward for me…

Wulfstan Crumble finished his day by scaring the shit out of a bunch of small kids. Clenched fist. Angry look (faked) and second thoughts on their behalf. No laughing but i smiled.

Japan. Safe but crazy.

Manurial Ashes

Posted in Blog on 19 February, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

It is a joy to be writing again. To be a man of letters and to have short stories pouring out of my vulgarities. It is also good to rise to a challenge though, still, it leaves me not with a sense of self definition.

It strikes me as perhaps apt that my Junior School’s emblem was a Phoenix. Those pesky things do not go away. Japan came from the ashes of my old shop (Millets) and this new work comes from the ashes of technological meltdown and slippery fingers. Though a big thankful hug goes out to my good friend Marina for reminding me that good writers write not rewrite. So, no back to the future…

 A quick scan through open anthologies and magazines has produced a few interesting challenges and surprisingly all have been begun, though none have been finished. Here’s a list of what’s being worked on and for whom. (The crazy thing is none of them are based in my beloved Blighty)

 Fiction:

Giant Creaturs Anthology     –    “Tennessee Tumblebug”

Robots Beyond                        –    “Xenophobots”

Silly Fantasy Anthology        –     “Bran Bramble vs Berberius Snot”

Wanderings Horror               –      “Baguio Halimaw”

Noctem Aeternus                  –      “Flower Of Convenience”

Bloody October                     –      “Crucial Fiction”

Plus two random pieces of Japan based fiction called “Sakura Girl” and “Takafumi And The Whale Riders.”

Non-Fiction:

 JET Essay Competition      –     Fun With English: Teaching Elementary Kids In Japan.

Pagan Dawn                          –     What Neopagans Can Learn From Japan.

I have also begun a new pseudonym who will be known as Alessandro Brigante for the more weirder, less Wulfstanish pieces. I’m working on a gay erotica for an anthology entittled “Taming Is Rarely True” and a gorefest for The Slice Splatterpunk anthology called “Soapland.”

Its been a busy time with writing that has largely kept me offline. Another reason is the slowly developing Friendship Society I’m hoping to begin in the city and precopius letter writing around the world. More on those in later blogs (new fiction and poetry may be limited online for a while as many deadlines are coming up soon). 

Wish me luck.

Obama: Reaching For Hope

Posted in Blog, Current Affairs with tags , , , , , on 16 February, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

If I were an American

I would say, “Yes, we can!”

My soul would fall into naivety

And for once, give into hope.

.

We Brits, moan in the trudge of decline

We spread cynicism

Like butter on toast

When our technocratic leaders pontificate.

.

We need his kind of inspiration

We need to believe that change can happen

That we can believe in hope

Then we’ll improve from the ground up.

.

He is the heir to Cicero

The man to move beyond Martin Luther King

The man to make us colourblind

And a truly equal world.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY

.

Wulfstan Crumble knows that for all the hope in the world politicians may fail to live up to their reputation or downright lie. With so much invested in his philosophy and rhetoric Barak Obama has to deliver if he wins. I hope he wins, so we may all believe and that he delivers. One day perhaps someone will come who truly wants to put Britain right and then we can believe too.

Sledgehammer

Posted in Blog with tags , , , , , , on 13 January, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

Today I became a man.

Leif Ericson (son of Eric The Red AKA Eric the lying git) of Greenland set forth in the early 11century for pastures new. First he found the stony lands of Helluland (Baffin Island) then Markland (Labrador) and finally Vinland (Newfoundland).

The people of Markland during their short time as a community developed their own culture and traditions which differed slightly from those of the other Viking peoples. These are expertly captured by the Greenland Sagas.

A Marklander was not seen as a man until he had completed the ceremony known as The Sledgehammer. Taking their mighty hammer, dedicated secretly to Thor (as Leif Ericson had converted to Christianity in Norway), the Marklanders would smash a prized object that had betrayed them. For to these primative souls all objects and living things contained a spirit.

Today I observed this rite. Like my distant relatives I went to a cheap hardware store called Hard Off (A spin off of the Second-hand bookshop known as Book Off, sadly not Book On) and purchased a shiny new sledgehammer. My beauty, known as Thorsbro, cost a sleek 1,784 yen (8 quid). Its long haft was polished cedar and its head a meaty lump of iron. To heft it in my hands felt good, real good.

So came to the ritual itself. Winter winds rippled around my topless form as my muscles strained the hammer above my head, around and behind my back so Thorsbro’s head rested in the nook of my spine. And it was cold. My hands gripped the haft tightly so the knuckles turned white. Then the it lifted up into the arc of death and smashed down with all the brute force I could muster.

The metallic object crumpled and splintered with the force. The head bit deep as plastic shreds spurted out. Glass smashed. Laptop goodbye.

 Destroyed Laptop

Being a superstitious pagan I have one more thing to say. Gods, spirits, this is the second computer that you have wiped clean and the second back up disks you’ve corrupted this decade. 4 novels, dozens of short stories and a hundred poems have been destroyed. But they live on, in fragments, online and all of them are in my being, my very fibre. Such bad luck will not stop me writing them again. I remember them all.

Kataklysm

Posted in Blog on 13 January, 2008 by Wulfstan Crumble

Words cannot comprehend the feelings inside of me.

Feelings of emptiness grappled with,

battled with,

Comforted by my greatest hobby,

Writing.

Lonely times passed,

With my battered laptop,

typing out crazy stories and poems,

Reflecting the world through

As seen by me

And read in the papers.

Solace so sweet,

Productivety that raised my soul,

And gave purpose to drift.

Yet,

So fragile the world

When a Japanese computer

Commits harri-kirri.

Laptop turned off.

Owner off to pick up loved one from the station.

Fifteen minutes of docility,

For the comp to wipe itself clean.

It is an empty shell now.

All photos and writings of Japan lost.

Hope left on fickle CDs

A hope that dwindles as the recovery disc corrupts

And the shell remains.

Fatal Error… Press Escape.

x> …

x> …

x> …

x> … I am lost without my writings.

x> … command or file name unrecognised.

x> …

x> …