Publishing A Novel on WordPress…..

I’m considering publishing the novel I’ve been working away at here on WordPress.

The question is of course; Is this a good idea?

What are the benefits and pitfalls of publishing an original work so openly?

I’ve read a few good blogs bestowing both the joys and the sorrows of engaging in on-line open publishing but as yet none have come right out and said, one way or the other, whether or not it’s worth doing.

On the up side, I suppose, there’s always the off-chance that someone will read it and enjoy it. That’s more than I can say for my other 3 novels, which remain to this day, securely secluded in the bottom of my draw.

On the down side, there’s the rather strong possibility that someone will read it, decide that  it’s absolute rubbish and tell me so.

Then of course, there’s the whole issue of copyright.

As we all know, nothing is considered either sacred nor secure, once published on the Internet.

Then again, issues of copyright would really only come into play if one really feels their work has a snowball’s chance in Hell of being published any other way.

In my case I’m so far from being convinced that my words are worth stealing it’s not that much of an issue for me.

So what are the issues?

I guess it’s more the idea that someone could adapt (notice I avoided the word steal)  my topic / plot line and turn it into something really good. Without me.

Or is that just another one of those silly little fears that everyone has but very few are unfortunate enough to experience?

Have any of you ever published a novel on-line?

If so what would you recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets Pass

 There are places in the soul for shame.

Small pockets,

Tightly sealed,

All sewn up with guilt’s thread,

Hidden deep inside,

Stealing space from love.

Most people would find it strange,

To know that I hold,

A place for shame,

In my heart,

But it’s there,

Shame writes out the knowledge,

That somewhere,

Somehow,

In the knitting together,

Of my son’s being,

My own body,

Failed to stave off

The passing down of a frailty,

A deletion on chromosome 19,

That has formed for him,

A very different kind of life.

I know I’m not the only one,

Who sometimes feels this shame,

I see it on the faces of other parents,

Who also confess to holding.

That same space,

And as we speak to each other,

Slowly,

Secrets  pass,

Between us,

Like bread.

Forming a communal loaf,

Of understanding,

From which,

We all must,

Do our best,

To break,

Off our own,

Small Piece,

Of Peace.

Web of Skin

This web of skin,

Submerges me,

Delineating and defining,

Outweighing the worth

Of who I am,

Covering me in layers,

Of conventionalised meanings,

Gender,

Marital Status,

Age,

Socio-economic background,

Blinding the eyes,

To the inner being,

Shedding its layers,

Beneath the unwatched retreat,

Within this web of skin.

 

Sunday to Wednesday

Sunday wondered about Wednesday,

Could his gruff and resigned exterior,

Shield, a stroll to the picnic interior?

Could there be,

Hidden beneath Wednesday’s mid-week hump,

A deeply serene soul more to her liking?

This was something she had to see

So she tried tempting Wednesday’s eye

With her tipple flexi-time smile

But Monday gruffly warned Wednesday

‘She only wants you for you length’

For as all the other days  knew

Wednesday simply was the longest day of the week.

Monday  convinced Wednesday he was in no need

Of Sunday’s implied tweaking.

Though Wednesday was indeed sorely tempted

He yielded to his leaders demands

To remain stoically centred.

Sunday to Tuesday

Sunday wished she could move herself  closer to Tuesday

Who was always so calm and sure of herself.

Sunday felt she had a lot in common with Tuesday,

So she sent a few emails to Tuesday

To arrange to meet up for coffee,

But Tuesday could never make it.

Perhaps Tuesday was a bit inflexible?

Unlike Sunday.

Sunday was free,

Flexible,

Confident,

Relaxed  and clam.

Perhaps she should move on to Wednesday.

Wish in one hand and Spit in the other…… Life Lessons 101

Lilly

‘Wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which hand gets filled first.’

 

That’s what my  father used to say to me all the time when I was growing up. I never liked it. It always made me feel cheated when he used to answer my questions with that comment.

 

I can still see him now so clearly, bending over the engine of a car. His body half eaten by the bonnet. His hands stained with a blackness not of ink and the smell, the nutty, oily smell of grease that was so much a part of his own aroma.

 

‘Pass me the wrench, Lilly.’ He’d mutter, his voice muffled by the metal shield of the car. His words distorting themselves as they bounced of the cold metal kissing the air like a slur. I used to sit on the grass beside his toolbox and watch him tinker away.

 

He was a man of constant motion and few words.  Some perhaps would have said a man of limited ideas too. But I think they would be wrong.  He had ideas all right. They just weren’t concerned with anything but grease and oil, tyres and panels and the problems that lie there in.

 

I think perhaps, he should have married a car. Seeing as how cars were of more tangible importance to him than either mother or I were. If I had not sat out in the yard with him, he would never have seen me at all.

 

I wonder what he was to my mother?

 

I know that he was a reluctant figure in my own life. A shadow passing through, forever on the way to work or bed or out to tinker on the car in the back yard.

 

The old rust bucket whose doors were falling off, and whose interior looked as if it had been pummelled and pulled at by an entire gymnastics team, formed the backdrop for all of our father and daughter discussions. Not that you could call them that. Me staring up at him and longing for him to stop his banging and clanging and simply sit down on the grass with me and talk about my books and he probably wishing that I would go off and play somewhere else instead of pestering him about the wonders of words. Our conversations used to go something like this.

 

‘Toss us the wrench Lilly.’

 

My hand would dart into the toolbox and without lifting my nose out of my book I’d single the big wrench out. I’d stand, holding words in one hand and wrench in the other and extend the heavy arm out to him.

 

‘Dad?’

 

‘Hand it over girl.’ He’d growl and that growl would be accompanied by a chunky, white arm covered in unsightly tufts of thick coarse black hair, slicked down in places by globules of grease, forming whirl pools on his forearms which held his hairs captive.

 

‘Dad?’

 

Some sort of grunt in reply.

 

‘Do you think I could have a book for my birthday?’

 

I’d keep my eyes down as I asked this question, not that he was looking at me, but I never wanted to betray the light heartedness I tried to inject into my voice, with the desperation of my eyes.

 

‘Bloody thing.’ Hand us the ratchet would you girl.’

 

I’d squat down and lift up the ratchet to the hand that would be waving impatiently in the air somewhere near my head.

 

‘I know what book I’d like. I could write it down for you.’

 

Bang, clank, rattle. His body would move in time with the noise of his hands. His belly would spill over the top of his keenly ironed work trousers and his white t-shirt would be showing multiple signs of distress.

 

‘Stupid bloody piece of junk. I ought to pay someone to take it away.’

 

‘Dad? About the book.’

 

‘Lilly, wish in one hand and spit in the other.’

 

‘I know, I know, and see which one gets filled first.’

 

‘Well if you know, don’t bloody be so stupid as to ask then.’

 

It always felt more of an insult to me, than an attempt to pass on wisdom. I know what he was saying though. He was saying that reality is all and that desire is nothing. Least that’s the way his words had always tumbled into my ears.

 

I wonder right now if he was right about that.

 

Is desire really worth nothing more than an empty hand and is reality nothing more than spit on a wrist?

 

And of the two extremes which hand am I now holding up, the full or the empty?

 

Though I am sure that I am not here out of any great desire to be so, accordingly this then must be reality, and if this place is my reality then what is my desire?

 

For I cannot remember ever having one right now, except that my father might have taken the time to talk to me back then.

 

Back when I was as real as the spit on his hands and the dream of getting that old car going again was as futile as grabbing at fist full of empty  air.

 

Winter’s Swings

There is something so beautifully

Tragic

About a playground’s swings in winter.

I think it’s the emptiness

The potential joy

So un-used

In the darker

Months.

 

I wonder why,

No one wants to ride

In the sky

On a wet plank of wood,

Surrounded by chains

Potential’s conductors

I do.

I wonder why that is?

 

The ride is still a ride

Warm or cold,

The rush of air

Swimming up

Remains the same.

If anything,

Perhaps it is more precious

To fly in the sky

With the rain

 

To know the joy

Of riding

On the wings

Of

Winter’s swings

Words From the Playground and Other Places (2)

My love of words has always been there. I was early to talk early to read. My family never understood my love of words. They actively discouraged it in fact. I became known as the bookworm and scorned and laughed at by my cousins, Aunts and Uncles. In my part of town words were a medium best left to the enlightened ones. Ours was a family designed for working not reading. Big strong men who could strip an engine down in five minutes had no need of words at all. Mothers who cooked from memory never needed the comfort of a recipe book and washing hardly needed instruction.

I was forever being told. ‘Put that book down…’ ‘Go out and play…’ ‘Why can’t you be like the other kids?’ In contrast to my family  the words I read in books welcomed me into their world. They made no judgements as they gathered me up and carried me away. It was as if they were telling me, in their hushed, whispered tones, ‘you don’t belong to these people, it is all a mistake. You belong to someone else. A mix up at the hospital, the wrong baby sent home with the wrong family.’

I became convinced that this was the truth of the matter. I did not belong with the people who haunted my family’s home, or the children around me at school. So alien did my parents appear to me that I began to think of them as pseudo parents. Not real. Fake. Worse still, the thought occurred to me, that if I were meant for another family, then some other child now had the life that should have been mine.

At school I would ask my teachers why the words in a book were so thin yet their meanings so solid? My teachers would stare at me or send me to the corner for being ‘silly’. One told me she wasn’t being paid enough to deal with me. I assumed that a child who wanted to learn must for some reason cost more.

My class mates only ever seemed to see me as a goody two shoes who threatened their chances of being chosen for the important position of lunch monitor. I had no desire to be a lunch monitor. Who wants to sit counting out ragged strings of five-cent pieces into a conforming dollar when there are words to be read and meanings to be digested? I had decided that the only thing money was good for was buying books and lollies. Even there I was mistaken and I think this is when some of it might have begun.

We were having a class party at school. I can’t remember why. My pseudo mother had filled a large Tupperware container with butterfly cakes and shoved them into my hands that morning to take. I didn’t really care too much for my class or it’s parties. I didn’t like butterfly cakes either. So on the way to school I spent my lunch money on the biggest bag of malt chew lollies I could buy. They were all I wanted and my mind filled with bliss as I ran my hands over their waxy wrappers, chewing happily whilst hiding them in the bottom of my school bag.

I entered the classroom and put my bag in the cloak room. A strange name for a room whose primary function was to hold bags not cloaks. Why wasn’t it called a bag room? I took out the Tupperware container and handed it to the teacher. She placed it on a table filled with more things I didn’t want to eat.

I saw some boys jostling each other near my bag. It was then that I started to worry about my lollies. There’d been a few incidences of bags being stolen at school. I stood up from my seat and went to check on my lollies. They were there but I wanted them safe. I gave them to my teacher and asked her to lock them in her desk drawer. She looked at me in a strange way. As if I were asking her to eat snakes. She took my bag of lollies, holding them away from her and pinching the bag only at the corners. I wanted to yell at her to be careful in case they should fall. Didn’t she understand what was in there?

All morning I could think of nothing but those lollies. I wanted to touch them again. To feel their wrappers. I wondered how they were made. Did they have a machine or were there hundreds of people somewhere wrapping those little squares by hand? I could feel the desire to chew building in my jaw. I crunched on pencil but it wasn’t the same.

Finally at 12.00 the bell rang and we were instructed to go out and play for 15 minutes and to make sure that we used our time wisely by going to the bathroom as well. I found myself hustled out the door with all the other children. I didn’t want to play and I had no book so I walked around the playground twice then found I was late for the party. As

I entered the classroom a small plate was thrust into my hands and I was pushed to the end of the line of children shuffling their way along a table. I didn’t want to be in the line. I just wanted my bag of lollies. I put the plate down and headed for my teachers desk. She yelled at me to please for once to do as I was told and join the back of the line. Before I had a chance to ask her for my own preference in food, a pair of hands grabbed me from behind, spun me around and shoved me back toward the line. Why could they not understand that I didn’t want to be there?

My body began to shake with frustration. I felt hollowed out yet full at the same time. My stomach dipped and lurched the way it does whenever my dad drives us down a big hill and my fingers started twisting themselves together. I wanted to escape this feeling of sinking within. I’d felt this before when melting words but never this keenly. I knew I needed a book to hold. To flip through its pages endlessly until this feeling went away. I left the line and went to the bookshelf. Again I was grabbed by a pair of hands form behind. This time I couldn’t help it. This time I screamed.

My arms and legs were filling with a jittery rage while the centre of my being felt like it was removing itself from my body. The room began to spin. There were too many sounds. Too many smells. Too many hands touching me. I wanted them off me. I struck out at them in blind panic. They moved. Someone handed me a book. I took it and ran. The only things it seemed I would ever be allowed to have in that classroom were books.

My pseudo parents were called to the school that day. It seems I was outside the confines of what a child should be and the school no longer wanted me. At least not for the next month, or so my pseudo father said. My pseudo mother told me that I’d have to go to work with her as I could not be trusted on my own. Then she added, that they were taking my books away from me. They were clearly upsetting my mind.

Melting Words (1)

I used to have a nice comforting relationship with words, till I got tangled up, in why.  Before that words used to fall off my tongue, filling the silences all about me with their pleasing tones and meanings. I used to know exactly what words were for. Then why came along and I found myself caught  inbetween  its letters. I wish that I had never met why, never felt it seen or smelled it. I wish that why would leave me alone and give me back the world of words.

How could such a simple word so  hang me out to dry  you ask? Let me see. How can I best explain to you the way this whole thing happened ? How in a single moment, all that I thought myself to be was undone and left writhing on the ground. So neatly  was I disavowled  of all that I believed I ever was or would be after why came along.  I spent days trying to gather up the fragmented shards of all those words that crashed around my feet, splintering their meanings with an ear splitting ring of defeat. I spent months just trying to find me. The broken humps of the M and the twisted curve of the E refused to comply. Quite simply the me I once knew was gone.

Maybe it is you who can help me. Perhaps in this re tracing of the path the answers that elude even me, will finally see fit to show themselves to you, and if they do, please tell me the cause of my affliction, for I cannot bear to go another day without comprehending why it is that such a small word has eaten me whole and devoured those once untouched parts of me that I can no longer hold. You see for me it’s been an instantaneous process.  No time to sit and ponder the where fore’s and how’s of it all. Here you shall see.

In the beginning it was just a game. A silly game of solitude that I played all on my own until it jumped up and took over my thoughts in the wink of an eye. I know, for it was my own eye, that winked it in.

As I have already stated, I love words, or rather I did, back when they were whole beings that orbited the planet of my thoughts. Then I found why and started saying it again and again. Just like any word when you  say it over and over again, it stops being that word. Its letters melt into each other until the sound of it no longer sits correctly on your tongue. Then you begin to question whether or not you are even saying it properly, so foreign does it become. Then along with the melting letters comes the disintegration of  meaning. It no longer, sounds the same, looks the same or even portrays the same ideal that it once held, back when you said it only once and knew, just knew, the nature of the word.

Why is like that. I started asking why. Why this? Why that? And then I couldn’t stop and all the answers I once smugly thought I knew tumbled out of the sky and rained down on me in a stream of incomprehensible noise. I know it sounds absurd to say that you have been drowned by a lack of meaning, but there it is, that is what has happened to me. The more I asked, the less I understood.  The less I understood the more I asked.

It has  become a disease in me. This constant need to know why has stolen from me my once strongly held truth. You see all that I am, and have ever been was pulled along in that string of whys? Until I found that I no longer knew myself to be the person that I thought myself to be. You see this endless asking has led me to a barren place in which the oasis of understanding  lies shimmering  in the distance leading me ever on, further away from myself and deeper into the desert of the unknown.

Do you understand me? I am I making any sense to you? Perhaps I should begin less abstractly. Perhaps to you the reasons behind the whys are the places in which the answers dwell. Yes, I shall try that.

There is another part to this short story, should I post it?