An Epic Month for Books! (Reading Wrap-Up Sept. ’16)

Stack of Recently Acquired Books
Stack of Recently Acquired Books

After a couple of months of not reading much, September had me flying through books (at least, by my standards). I completed eight things – count ’em, eight!

Current Tally: 39 books read out of 45

Currently Reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Summer Days, Summer Nights: Twelve Summer Romances edited by Stephanie Perkins.


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Rap and Run (Flash Fiction)

A piece of flashfic I’ve just written.
Inspired by and dedicated to the kids in my street.

Jacob made his way down the street, knocking each door in turn, running away before the owner answered, and then coming back when they’d gone away again so he could move on to the next one.

Sure, it was kinda lame, and not how he was used to spending his last days of freedom before school started up again, but there was a lot of things that weren’t as they used to be.

Two weeks ago, his mom had moved back to this place where she’d grown up. She called it her hometown, but Jacob was not so charitable. Town? It was barely a village. And it was in the middle of nowhere! Ugh, it was so unfair!

Having left all his friends behind in the city, there weren’t many options for socialization left. So, even though he was a lot older than the other boys – practically a teenager, for god’s sake! – he went along with their stupid ideas of fun.

That’s how he got into playing rap and run.

Of course, the little kids with their short attention spans had gotten bored pretty quickly and gone off to have dinner or whatever, but Jacob wasn’t due in until dark and had no better ideas for how to spend the time. Might as well finish the row, he thought, kicking a rock along the dirt road behind a different row of houses that constituted his hiding place from the targeted ones. There were only two left, anyway.

No one answered at the penultimate house, and it seemed pretty empty, so Jacob moved on to the last without trying it again.

Outside the end house, he had an odd feeling come over him. Almost like he was being watched. He supposed he was more exposed, being at the end of the street beside the fields rather than in the middle of it, surrounded by other buildings.

As he raised his fist to knock, an even stranger feeling welled up in him. The door sounded especially hollow, and the house seemed empty, same as the last. That resonated with him in a way he didn’t expect.

His loneliness and desperation rising to the surface, he had to fight back tears as he continued to knock and knock, knowing no one was going to answer him.

Standing all by himself as the wind picked up and the sun disappeared behind a cloud, Jacob poured all of his pent up emotion into the door, his knocking growing more and more frantic until he was pounding it with both hands, making his fists hurt.

Just as suddenly as he’d lost control of himself, the door gave way and opened onto a dark hallway, making Jacob fall forward onto his knees on the mat.

He took a shuddering breath, trying to calm himself and figure out what to do next.

The house wasn’t quite as empty as he first expected. It didn’t look like there was anyone living there anymore, or anything, but whoever had once owned it left some of their things behind on the way out.

Unable to stop himself, Jacob walked the rest of the way down the hall until he was facing a table in front of a door, thick with dust and covered in chips and scrapes. On it was a photograph, which he picked up and inspected.

Jacob’s eyes widened as he recognized the girl in the picture as his mom. She looked about his age in it, though he could tell it was her without a doubt. She was standing beside an old man and another boy who looked maybe a year or two older.

Turning the photo over, Jacob found an inscription reading, Last photo taken before the disappearance, and below that was the stamp of a police department and a crime number written in pencil.

“I always knew she’d come back,” came a voice from behind Jacob, making him whirl around.

There, standing beside the door with its broken lock, was a man.

Taking a glance back down at the photograph in his hand and then up at the man’s face again, Jacob identified him as the boy in the photograph.

He had not aged well.

“Hello, son,” he said, reaching out his hand.

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I was a crappy person

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this on here before or not, but it’s no secret that I think about the past a lot. Sometimes Facebook doesn’t help with that.

I mean, sometimes Facebook’s trips down memory lane are great. There was one day last week that seemed to be the anniversary of almost every big life event I’ve had in the past six years. But the rest of the time…

*sighs* okay, so I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve been an idiot and, yeah, haven’t we all? But I was apparently idiotic enough to share a range of said mistakes on social media, at the time.

There’s probably little point dwelling on it, and the other persons involved probably don’t care anymore – heck, they probably don’t even remember – but I wanted to put a little something here for the people I’ve hurt, just in case.

If you’re reading this, and I’ve ever hurt you in any way: I’m sorry. I haven’t forgotten, and I still care. I know this doesn’t really make up for it, but I hope maybe – if you are still upset – it helps a little.

…maybe Facebook is right in reminding me, after all.

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A Seasonal Summary

At the launch of the Bangor Poetry CompetitionFirst years at university often fall foul to what’s called ‘fresher’s flu’ – a really bad cold resulting from coming into contact with so many new people and their accompanying germs.

I managed to attain this affliction for three years running. (Thanks, immune system!)

This September, I seem to have defied the odds once more. The cold that seemed to have vanished at the end of August, returned during the night last night. Maybe it’s only fitting, seeing as I’m due to start a poetry course this semester. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been really busy, meeting a lot of (wonderful) people.

Last night I was at the launch of The Fourth Annual Bangor Poetry Competition, and the night before that I coordinated my second Women Aloud & FSNI Poetry Recital.

In five months – to this day, exactly – I’m getting married.

…needless to say, things are crazy, and exciting, and amazing, and scary cool!

The season has changed, and I’m trying to set myself up to make this new one a good one, knowing that good things are coming at its end.

Going forward, I’m once more gonna try and implement a weekly work schedule in which I spend two complete days a week writing for myself, completely disconnected from the internet and phone.

But before all that, let me catch you up on last month…

Last month, I finished reading To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han, I read Belonging to Myself (a poetry collection) by Jenny Cleland, Why I Write by George Orwell (review here), and I listened to Summer Knight (fourth book in the Dresden Files series) by Jim Butcher. As such, I’m 31 books into my 45-book goal for the year.

What I wrote during August? A bunch of blog posts, a piece of flash fiction, notes for a novel I have on the backburner, five poems, and two pieces of fan fiction. Total words: just over four thousand.


Read about my recent client work over on my work blog.

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