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Mental Block – Schrödinger’s Genie

Photo Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.com

The front door letter box rattled, and I heard a dull thud as something hit the mat. I rushed and picked up the small parcel. Turning it over a few times, I read my name and address, but there was no return address.

Inside the packet, I found a rectangular block of a polished piece of oak. There was no obvious lid, and I wondered if it was a musical box or a curiosity toy. I tried turning and twisting it. It seemed to be a solid wooden brick, so I gave it a shake, then dropped it onto the kitchen table. I drummed on it with by fingers and then knocked with my knuckles to see if it was hollow; I heard something shift inside.

‘Stop!’ shouted a voice. ‘Oh, please stop.’

I looked around. Did I just imagine the wood speak? I turned it over and tapped it on the table.

‘That’s enough,’ screamed the voice, then it whimpered. ‘Please help me.’

I gave it another good shake and put it down on the table, really not knowing what to expect.

‘Stop, stop, please just stop,’ it cried, ‘you’re making me dizzy.’

‘What’s going on?’ I said, looking around and out the window just in case I was being observed.

‘Please let me out.’

‘How?’ I felt ridiculous. ‘Where’s the lid?’ Some prankster was probably listening, and I played along. ‘If you tell me how to open it, then I’ll get you out.’ I wasn’t sure what the point of the joke was, or where it was leading to.

‘Once I am free,’ it said, ‘your every wish will come true.’

 ‘Ah! So, you are a Genie trapped in a box,’ I said, still sceptical and looking around for some trickster. ‘It’s just my imagination.’ I muttered.

‘Ah, very good,’ said the voice, ‘you are getting close.’

‘I’m going mad, I must be delirious,’ I felt a moment of rising panic. ‘I’ve no idea what’s happening here.’

‘Think, think of an idea. Use your imagination and soon, we will be free.’

‘We! Is there someone else with you?’

‘No. I mean us, you and me. Please, get those grey cells working, procrastination is not an option.’

I gave the shiny oak another good shake and heard it giggle. It started knocking from inside the wooden block.

‘Stop it. Please release me,’ it cried. ‘Remember, I am the secret to your future; your fortune.’

‘That’s it, I’m getting my saw,’

‘Wait!’ shouted the voice. ‘For a hundred years I’ve waited, but if you damage the wood, you destroy the spell. A curse will fall on anyone who damages this box. The secret to your future will be lost forever.’

‘Then how can I open it. Where is the catch to release a lid?’

‘Oh, why do you want to come into the box? Trust me, there is no way out.’

‘So, what is the secret to my future, tell me.’ I grabbed the box and shook it. ‘Tell me. I’ll get a chisel and split you.’

‘No use,’ the voice coughed. ‘Destroying me breaks your chance of any good fortune.’

‘This is ridiculous.’ I said, ‘I’ve no idea how to get you out.’ I was becoming frustrated and bored with the dilemma. Was I talking to myself again? It had been going on for weeks, and every day I struggled to maintain my sanity.

‘You know the answer,’ said the box, and it laughed. ‘Ha, ha. Time is running out. Find an idea. Think, just think.’

I sat for hours admiring the perfect sheen of the polished oak, and its dark and light hues along the grain. It would make a great paper weight or door stopper, but then it would mock me each time I looked at it. My future, my good fortune apparently my sanity, all depended on an idea of freeing the Genie trapped in a knotted wooden block. How ridiculous.

I threw the wood into the fire and watched as it burned; the flames were a crystal blue and dazzling white. I decided the responsibility for my future and fortune would be my making and independent from some magical idea trapped in a box.

That night I went to bed feeling frustrated and angry at my impatience for not solving the problem that may have freed the Genie. Would he really fulfil my fantasies and dreams? Perhaps it was a missed opportunity.

Regardless, I slept well and in the morning the rattle of the letter box woke me with a jolt. I fell out of bed and hit the floor with a dull thud on the carpet. I tried to get up, but knocked my head on a wooden ceiling. It was dark. I felt as if I was being carried and shaken, then I realised I was in a box. 

Suddenly the answer to my future and fortune was clear; if only I was wise enough, if only I could “think outside the box”. Was it too late?

Subscribers Spotlight – Writing Magazine – February 2020

My new year’s thanks goes to the staff at the Writing Magazine.

They have printed an article about my publishing process for my novel Missing.

On Page 47.

I have copied the short article below for your enjoyment.

A Process of Discovery

‘The idea for my novel Missing crept into my head and would not go away,’ writes subscriber James McEwan.
‘Lately, I was attending a lot of family gatherings and discovered a few of my relatives were not who I thought they were. Three children who started school with me were my father’s cousins and not mine as I believed.
‘My idea for the novel was simple; what if you knew nothing about your parents and relatives?
‘Before I wrote Missing, I had an ending in mind, and I worked backwards to create the plot and story. This helped me to adjust the outline and create a structure before I started to write. I prepared a fictional family tree going back three generations and researched the elaborate legalities of inheritance regarding land ownership.
‘I attend the monthly meetings of Indie Author’s World at a Waterstones bookshop in Glasgow and the group encouraged me to publish the book independently by creating my own imprint (Alibrasphere) complete with ISBNs. They also reviewed my cover versions and offered editorial services. Having this support gave me the confidence and added obligation to finish writing the book.
‘I used KDP to print various proof copies until satisfied with the paperback cover and the formatted content and when ready I released the e-book Kindle version. Although Amazon provides worldwide distribution and visibility, many bookshops, (I am advised), in the UK will not order directly from them. I wanted my book to be available from all the bookshops and therefore I set up an account with Ingram-Spark, this provided print on demand service for the paperback and also a wider distribution of the e-book for other digital reader devices.
‘Missing, is available from bookshops and to read on Kindle, Apple Books and Kobo.
‘Taking the independent choice for a first novel resulted in a lot of hard work, and I envy those authors who have a traditional publishing organisation to support them.’

Free Ebooks – Short Stories Adventure and All.

An opportunity to read my short story books, they are free on Amazon this week.

Author Page Amazon.

Let me know what you think, which was the best of the bunch?

I am working on a new anthology – title undecided – I am aiming to produce 300 pages based on a  theme of lost love. It will not be a romance collection, instead it will be a series based on real life events.

Enjoy.

I received a lovely comment from a reader about my book, Missing.

She found the description of the location, setting and the farming community authentic and real. This, she believed, could only have been written by someone from within that environment.

I felt humbled by her enthusiasm.

Book Trailers – Do they work?

I gave a short presentation in the Waterstones Book shop in Glasgow last Sunday. It was part of an ‘open mic’ session hosted by Indie Authors World.

In the five minutes, (actually lasted more like an agonising ten minutes), allocated I had the opportunity to present my book, MISSING, to the captivated audience.

I started with my trrailer and heard a few gasps – I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing. However everyone enjoyed the talk and said they found the book interesting. The response was honest from the peer group of budding authors, they are all nice friends.

Have a look at the ‘Book Trailer’ and tell me what you think.

MISSING – The trailer

Are these short promotional clips worth the effort?

Just Another Day

The prompt from our writing group was; “It started out as just another day.”

Try a Villanelle piece of poetry, someone suggested.

“”Villanelle, also known as villanesque[1], is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form””

Here is my contribution:

Just Another Day

It started out as just another day
Travelling to work seated on the bus
She smiled, and her eyes took me far away

My heart leapt and mind raced, what should I say?
She shuffled in her seat making a fuss
It started out as just another day

Please don’t start chatting, I silently pray
Her phone won’t work and she mumbles a cuss
She smiled, and her eyes took me far away

She shrugs and grins, and asks me if she may
Borrow my mobile to call her bumbling boss
It started out as just another day

I thought no! and said please nothing to pay
Whatever he said, she couldn’t give a toss
She smiled, and her eyes took me far away

She was sacked from her job, no work that day
I held her hand, it’s now the two of us
It started out as just another day
She smiled, and her eyes took me far away.

**

Gene Pool

Friday Fictioneers – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Gene pool

You know Mary, this takes me back to our swimming galas.
Oh Jeff, fifty years ago and it seems like yesterday.
What did you used to say as we raced?
Yep, and I won the School Gold-Band five times.
Our grandchildren take after you, Mary. They should win the relay, again this year.
Persistence and practice, Jeff, that’s how you win trophies.
I know, but I always kept focused on the bigger prize.
Oh Jeff, are you jealous of my Olympic golds?
Mary you’re an inspiration and always were. What did you used to say?
You’ll never catch me.

The Violation of Sister Theresa

Friday Fictioneers -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

 

The Violation of Sister Teresa

‘We have only one minute to reach the gates,’ whispered Angelina.
‘Take my hand,’ said Sister Theresa. ‘Am I too late?’
‘Please Sister.’ She took hold of her elbow. ‘Come on, the taxi is waiting.’
They shuffled along the path. ‘Please hurry.’
‘The little cherub is kicking.’ Theresa stopped and gasped long breaths.
‘Come on. Come on.’
The Taxi driver helped her into the car; they sped off.
Tears rolled down Angelina’s cheek.
The church doors opened.
‘You missed prayers!’ roared the Bishop. ‘My room now!’
No. I am not Sister Theresa.
She checked her chastity belt was locked.

MISSING – a novel

 

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Missing – a novel.

This is my first attempt at writing a full length–well 75000 words–novel.

The idea for the book came after attending family gatherings, mostly funerals, where my relatives where strangers. These people I knew existed but never met regularly, mostly never.
When I first started school at five years old, all of my relatives lived within a twenty-mile radius. On my father’s side they were farmers, on my mother’s side they worked in engineering.
I left school at sixteen and travelled, so I was the one who disappeared, and I suspect I am the stranger in the midst.
I recently met two of my relatives the same age as me, I remember starting school with them. I always thought they were my cousins, but discovered they were my father’s cousins. You can imagine there was a long discussion about who was who and an attempt at constructing a loose family tree.

Out of the discussion came the origins for my idea for the novel Missing. I pondered the thoughts of family bonds, trust, and misconceptions.

Missing–The story is of a young woman on the quest to find her parents and discover why as a child someone had placed her into care. No one would explain why.
She finds the house in the village where she was born and from there she traces and discovers her relatives. Her investigate disturbs them as she comes closer to the truth about the whereabouts of her parents.

I have passed the novel back to the proof-reader.
Well, I need a break from it.

Alibrasphere will publish the book at the end of April or early May.

Psychic Consultant

Friday Fictioneers.

 

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

 

Psychic Consultant

Dorothy pulled her coat collar over her neck and shivered.
Why are they taking so long?
The body of Jeffrey MacDonald, missing for ten days, lay in the fox lair as she predicted.
She pointed into the thicket. ‘You can see his feet.’ She covered her nose with her scarf.
Dorothy was a police Psychic Consultant, who had found the burial locations of fifteen murdered victims.
‘Another Lawyer?’ said the Chief. ‘How many more before we stop this serial killer.’
‘There will be one more,’ said Dorothy.
Her husband, John, had suspected the killer’s name, and motive.
He was next.

 

Dignitas, an Alternative.

We are advised to make good choices and live our life to the full, whatever that really means.

Perhaps, your final choice will be the hardest.

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pixabay.com

I feel privileged to learn my story “Falling Stars” has been published today by the good folks at Literally Stories.

The story was selected by Leila Allison as the Sunday read. (Thank you).

Leila Allison’s thoughts on ‘Falling Stars’.

You are invited to read the story and wonder if this is a great way to go – or not.

Falling Stars