Wallpaper 383: The Red Room

Prepare to lose your icons against this wallpaper…

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Curtains for the Earplug Adventures?

Fear not, Earpluggers: the Earplug Adventures will continue, though at a reduced pace henceforth. Had I written this post yesterday, the title would have been a question mark short. In fact it would have been replaced by an exclamation mark. Yesterday I all but decided to quit writing my photo-novels entirely; but, being a sensible fellow (beneath this tomfoolery), I chose to give myself twenty-four hours to cogitate upon the subject.

“Oh, Tooty, what could have caused this almost-monumental decision?” I hear you cry into your coffee / beer/ wine / vimto / lavatory bowl. “Why, oh why, would you want to deny the world your fabulous literary/photographic delights?”

Well the evening hadn’t started well: I’d wanted to watch Star Trek: The Original Series, but the magic box beneath my TV said: “No – not unless you want me to stop recording either Bones or Medium.” Then the cistern in my bathroom decided to form a small boating lake on the floor beside the lavatory. So things weren’t going well when I decided to Google myself. Naturally (having punched in Tooty Nolan) I found page after page of my nonsense on sale – often on sites that I’d never heard of (and which make me wonder why I’m not receiving the royalties I might be due). Then I discovered that back in my dark depressive days – or 2013 to be more precise – I’d joined Goodreads. I’d even posted some book extracts there. Then I noted the absence of my 2014 novel Silent Resistance, and duly elected to add it to my listings there. But when I began a casual meander through the book in search of a suitable extract, I discovered that during the subsequent three years – all of which have been Earplug Adventures years, I might add – I’ve become a lousy writer. No wonder I felt the need to abandon my third Causality Merchant novel – Broker Me No Future: I can’t write anymore.  And what was it that I found in Silent Resistance that so disillusioned me? It was this paragraph…

When morning finally revealed the new day it was quite unlike those of recent times.  Although the sun was winter-weak, wisps of steam rose from the sodden wooden walls of a nearby barn into a perfectly clear azure sky. Likewise the early morning mist that slowly retreated from the surrounding fields and dissipated into nothingness. And the broad leaf trees of a distant thicket shone in glorious shades of orange and yellow, and were perfectly counterpointed by the sombre greens of a scattering of conifers amongst them.

I breathed deeply in the clear country air – something that was becoming more and more prevalent since the demise of industry, the motor car, and people. I could almost imagine that this was one year previous, and soon my sister would join me as I searched through the orchard for late fallers.

My reverie was interrupted by the arrival of Colin in the farmyard. He was studying the AA roadmap as he trudged from the farmhouse.

“Hey,” he called, “I’ve found a route back that doesn’t involve us going anywhere near anywhere we’ve already been. It’s a bit ‘round-the-houses…”

“Circumbendibus.” I interrupted.

“Circum-what?” He inquired as he came to a dead stop.

I repeated the word. “It means ‘round-the-houses.” I explained.

I think he was going to argue, but it being early in the day he thought better of it.

“Oh, right.” He said as he recommenced walking towards me. “Well I’ve found a route to that co-operative of yours that shouldn’t take too long – just as long as nothing gives us gip.”

It was my turn to exhibit ignorance. “Gip?” I said.

“Trouble. Pain. Inconvenience.” Colin explained. “A broken leg would give you gip; but in another way so would a broken-down car.”

“Got it.” I said. “Gip bad: we no want.”

“Yeah.” Colin responded – his expression clearly indicating that he thought I’d gone mad.

But any opportunity for us to swap examples of our personal lexicons was interrupted by the bus engine stuttering into life.

“How’s the fuel supply?” I shouted to Kylie as she leaned out of the driver’s window to wave hello.

After giving her dashboard a quick scrutiny she called back, “Loads. More than we need to get us where we want to go.”

“And afterwards?” I pressed.

Her face dropped. “Who says there’s gonna be an afterwards? We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

I nodded without replying: it was time to rouse the others.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

Well there you have it. I need…no MUST…get back to that standard of story telling. So, from now on, it’s less earplugs and more ‘proper’ writing – if I still can of course. A good place to start would be that unfinished novel. Now I wonder where I’ve stashed it away.

P.S This book is available as an e-book pretty much everywhere (take your pick), and as a paperback and e-book at Lulu (see Lulu logo on side bar).