So sorry for the interruption… writing continues
Having not posted anything since December I apologise to the reader for the my literary limbo. In fact I have been very busy with Christmas term teaching, competition applications, giving academic papers, submission of my completed PhD thesis for supervisory corrections and the onset of terrible twos at Maison Giles. I must admit also to a surprising brush with writer’s block. For a short time, amid the flurry of academic and domestic demands I found a waning in the self-belief that had encouraged me to write fiction in the first place. Even as the the storm of child related challenges and sleepless nights has buffet us, (bless her), I experienced a creative hush akin to a short exile in a barren desert place; why am I writing this story I mused, who’s going to find it convincing? I am pleased to say that my self-belief and desire to write has returned. I hoped you the reader are pleased too.
Chapter Five is done… and Vernon is done in. It cannot be said that he has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. No, he is dismissed from the School in the Park in a scandalous turn of events. The best that can be said is that Vernon has snatched a couple of croissants from the jaws of defeat and pocketed them. Will Emile return, will he be charged and will Vernon be allowed to leave the country? If he does will Nsansa accompany him or change her mind? Read Chapter Six of the Nonsense Filter to resolve these questions and more.
Sorry folks… The break in transmission is due to the fact that I’ve been attending an academic Summer School at Lampeter University giving a paper on the Phenomenology of identity-sense. Ah the beauty of Wales. You cross the Severn and pay nearly as many pounds for the privilege but this is soon forgotten as you pass between the shrugged shoulders of rolling grass-clad hills. South Wales may lack the edgy rocky drama of the North but it moves me all the same.
Meanwhile… Vernon is in Scotland. Ah the beauty of the British Isles, long may they be united. Vernon too is entranced. Check out The Novel page.
Chapter 4 of the Nonsense Filter is coming to the end of the line. Vernon feels shunted into a siding. ‘What now’ he wonders?
The Nonsense Filter is in development but there is pressure to complete swiftly. Vernon is toying with the idea of moving to Thailand but counting the cost in relationships. How will the chapter end and will all that Vernon holds dear survive it?
Chapter 3 of the Nonsense Filter is drawing to a close. Vernon, Head of Beliefs and Values at a prestigious school in the country is dissatisfied, and it has to be said, dismayed at his own dissatisfaction. For, though he would regard himself as a lapsed Protestant, a mildly uncooperative yet much maligned breed, he still has a faith of sorts. Vernon, who has a longsuffering and enigmatic Zambian girlfriend, is troubled by a ‘missionary yearning’ to help Africa, embroiled in a contractual obligation to develop the Nonsense Filter and troubled by his continuing alienation from his three children. Africa it seemed beckoned him, but now the dark mistress seems as if she will reject him. As Chapter Three discloses, if there is one thing that Vernon has few defenses against it is rejection.
Vernon must develop something to satisfy those hungry for the Nonsense Filter. Is he capable of fraud? If he fails to develop it will he cast out of his prestigious job? What, if anything can Vernon salvage from his comfortable life that gave him little comfort? Nsansa; will she follow him to her place of origin just when she was getting settled in the UK? It’s a lot to ask. As Vernon stands on the brink of a recruitment conference in London, Zambia, Botswana, Mali and Tanzania seem indifferent to him. And Kenya, Uganda, Egypt? In some way or other Vernon has a feeling that these places are volatile and uncertain. Where will Chapter 4 take our introverted anti-hero?
Section 56 and Vernon’s up to his neck.
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Section 32 is flying low near you…
“Sleep brought with it an optician’s appointment. He sat in the leather chair encumbered by the cold metal of an optometrists’ frame. He could not find the right lens, though he exhausted the lenses supplied, and as a result could make little sense of the chart on the wall. Just as he finally picked out the words TURNLEFTANAKIN the optometrists chair banked sharply and far below him he saw zebra and gazelles running panicked across the plains. The crash when it occurred seemed inevitable and Vernon awoke to find that he had fallen out of bed.”
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Section 29 WILD
Section 25 comes alive.
“His back began to ache and he sat on the bed after switching on the light. He felt a sense of resonance with the words of a poem that accompanied the account. Diop warned of a continent ‘whose fruit little by little learn the bitter taste of liberty.’Vernon stood there, tugging at the strands of his beard absent mindedly, the ‘Overlord gives and the Overlord takes away’. How portentous.
Section 24 is at your door…
“Vernon remembered where he’d first encountered the ancient civilisations and kingdoms of the African continent. Upstairs! He ran up the stairs two at a time, tripping over Chucky the performing cat at the top of the stairs who promptly demonstrated the quickest means of getting to the bottom.”
CHAPTER TWO begins…
THE DARK MISTRESS MAKES DEMANDS
“They liked the film, but Vernon recognised that beneath the feel-good-factor this was yet another celebration of the American Dream. Capitalism rides again. Only this time the rider is black and sporting an Afro; stylised and ready for business of course.
Section 21 and 22 complete the chapter: CHAPTER ONE is DONE
“Though a large office, provided with fabulous views over the formal South facing gardens, the river and its fringe of rushes beyond, its furniture was worn and mismatching, the carpet frayed. Similarly Mrs McGuin, newly arrived at the school, had once been pretty, even alluring, but that was beginning to fade.
There was no doubting her resolve however, she wore it like an Asmovian force field. You could never properly study the deputy Vernon thought without being studied yourself. Consequently he could not guess her age; she maintained a bird-like attentiveness to any person in her sights and right now he was it.”
“So then ‘Tarkey’ how’m I going to persuade you that the nonsense-filter is a figure of speech for a frame of mind or way of thinking? It’s nothing.”
Tarkey was already writing in a small leather bound note-book. “I see, I see, it’s a figure of speech for a thought experiment which stems from a special technique or is enabled by a unique computer programme… ?”
Section 19 is here… Meet you at the Fox..
“How did you get my number?”
“Reception. They had it from a school trip I think. You still on for tonight”
“I guess so but listen. No more calls, land-line or mobile.”
No dent it seemed could be applied to Tarkey’s morale today. “As you wish. See you at the Fox.”
(You’ll be cunning enough to find the link I’m sure)
Section 18 think about it…
“Imagine you could define something and in doing so, that definition would guarantee the existence of the thing defined. An approach like this in philosophy is called deductive reasoning and the idea it starts with is an a priori.”
“Can’t be done” said Danny busy finishing his sentence. “You can’t define something into existence. I might just as well define the money in the bank of England as ‘Money wot is mine’.”
Section 17 moves out of the sun into the shadows…
“As if that wasn’t enough Jean Luc, I can’t get on with the new deputy head. She’s so brittle.”
“You could kill yourself, or her” Jean Luc offered unhelpfully, “got a penknife?”
Sections 15 and 16 for your delectation and delight… are now served
“Whilst ushering students toward the assembly hall he’d been haunted furthermore by the memories of better times and a previous love, echoes reached him of the good will and romance he’d enjoyed. Long shadows, hoarfrost, familiar corridors, haunting tricks of the light, and certain events in tandem all tended to ambush him with memories. He tugged his beard to keep him focused on the here and now. Even so he wondered how she was coping.”
Section 14 makes contact…
“Look Tarquin, I’m not writing anything, that is unless you want an exclusive on my Upper Four reports. What’s this all about?” The humour at the end of the phone seemed rather forced as ‘Tarkey’ replied “I’d like to discuss your invention and be the first to bring it to the world. Remind me how it works. You remember, the nonsense-filter, most intriguing. Does it merely eradicate nonsense or can it do more.”
better look into it…
Section 12 and now 13 greets you…
“However,” Vernon added, “I don’t suppose aesthetic details will be your primary concern in hell, though shell-suits, comb-overs and yellow Formica are pretty hellish.”
“What’s a comb-over Sir?”
“Right, page 122 to 123; revision notes please.”
Section 11 is available…
“Nsansa seemed somehow in buoyant mood, to Vernon’s surprise. “Iwee; you too girlie girlie…” Nsansa sang good-naturedly wagging her finger and ululating.”
Section 10 is here…
“…he distinctly remembered a visit from the philosopher of pessimism, conspicuous and ominous in his high-collared undertaker’s black and white muttonchop whiskers, who had stood by a jukebox grimly feeding coins into the slot. “Can’t get no, satisfaction” …was still ricocheting around his brain”
DOUBLE DOSE of the Nonsense-Filter
Section 8 and 9 for you
Saturday morning school passed quietly enough though faintly in the distance could be heard the approaching ominous hooves of the four assessments of the apocalypse; teacher predictions, target grades, reports and tutorial reviews. But, Vernon reasoned, why give your pound of flesh today when you can give your pound of flesh tomorrow?
Section 7 has landed
As sleep tiptoed mischievously around his skull, he fancied he saw the publisher loading suspicious packages onto a dray under cover of darkness… …a dray harnessed, not to a horse however, but to a forbidding minotaur with human face.
Section 6 is here…
“People just don’t get your humour Vernon; you’re too clever by far.”
If only that were true Vernon thought, oh to be too clever.
Section 5 has arrived.
…It had been impossible to convince Daniel that the cat was displaying affection by depositing a plump flea in his tea.
Section 4 is here.
Vernon considered himself lucky to have found Nsansa… he’d described himself as a fit, fun and friendly forty-five year old who could sit on the pavement and swing his legs.
Section 3 has arrived. The Nonsense Filter.
The fog rolled intermittently in off the fields as he neared the Island, the aimless drift of existence’s will, and the landscape reflected his mood perfectly; flat and inscrutable… from this fog rose the cathedral, God’s solid, decorative paperweight.