Friday, July 25, 2008
How peaceful the scene: sheep quietly grazing with their bonny lambs. I could have sat there all day, feeling at one with nature and with myself. I could have written poetic verse about peace and trust, revelling in the freedom of all the clutter of daily living. Yes, verses to inspire those willing to share in that joyous solitude. But it would have been fake, mere words; springing from the heart maybe, but with my mind closed to the reality of nature in the raw.
At home, our garden has been visited by a young rabbit, calling to eat the clover growing in the mottled lawn. We have had white doves gracing our garden too. Birds of all varieties have sung to us in the morning and charmed us with their antics around the bird table. A week or so ago we had another visitor, this time a ravaging member of the hawk family. The rabbit was found with its head cracked and its eyes missing, a fantailed pigeon with its head torn off. I thought of those gentle lambs and of the predators that enjoy pecking out their eyes.
This is the world we live in: gentleness and beauty living alongside the ugliness of pain and horror. Even within ourselves we bear an entailed shadow of ugliness that at times is hard to suppress. We see, only too clearly, those who give that shadow freedom to terrorise and maim, but we either camouflage or refuse to recognise what is within ourselves.
Yes, it was good to sit there at peace with nature and myself. For I am part of the natural order — that which is both sunlight and shadow — and learning to live within this dichotomy.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Midnight Horror — a short story by Gladys Hobson
I had been thinking about the exciting new book I had been reading, Exit… something or other, by Geoff Nelder — you know the sci-fi chappie — when all of a sudden I heard this dreadful rumbling noise. Of course, I didn’t really think something was coming up out of the earth like in Nelder’s book, that is, until I checked the time with my bedside clock. It said midnight, but surely midnight was the time I switched off the light before the earthquake, or whatever, began. Weird! Had time stood still? My hair stood on end. Truly it did. Well, I admit, I do have a good imagination.
I tried to switch on the light but nothing happened. No street lights were shining into my bedroom either. But the loud noises made by house and car alarms filled the air in a most alarming manner, as of course they are programmed to do.
Anxiety made me want to get out before the house fell in. So I felt my way down the stairs, resolving to go in the garden. Shaking like a leaf didn’t help, I stumbled down a few steps and became painfully bruised. Not being the only one wandering about, beams of light from powerful torches pierced the darkness. Swearing and shouting told me my neighbours had been disturbed too.
My comely size 14 might only be dressed in pyjamas but I had no intention of going back indoors. My eyes soon became accustomed to the gloom, but what I saw only made me more afraid; a dark object began moving towards me. Strange grunting noises brought up stiff pimples on my flesh. I ran blindly across the lawn towards where I knew the garden shed to be. But I stopped in my tracks as a glowing globe suddenly came partly into view.
No! Impossible! Surely I must be dreaming? But I didn’t need to pinch myself; I was already hurting from the fall. Confused, trembling and with my head in a whirl I tried to reason things out. Impossible, my world appeared to be in chaos from which reason was barred.
A heavy crash booming simultaneously with a brilliant flash of light threw me to my knees, where I lay in a heap like quivering jelly. A low whine, becoming louder and louder into a crescendo of unmitigated agony, assaulted my ears. Just as I was wondering if that pitiful howl had escaped my own lungs I felt something wet and heavy pressing up to me. Could it be a hound from hell? Had something akin to Nelder’s fictional dog been lifted out of pre-history to be thrown into my lap? With my head in a whirl, how could I possibly think clearly? I was finding it just too hard to untangle the difference between forward-looking science, and fiction loosely based on scientific fact.
A roar, a flash, flames shooting into the sky just a few feet away, sent terror into my paralyzed body. My shed was on fire! I loosed a pent up scream. The creature in my lap bolted pursued by its own pitiful howl.
The skies opened and the ensuing downpour brought me to my senses as well as quelling the flames threatening to lick me to death. At last I could understand all that had happened: a power cut, caused by natural electrical activity. And the roar and shaking ground must be a result of a severe storm. Likely trees would be down and maybe…
My whole body suddenly froze: just in front of me, close where the shed had been, I saw a glowing ball…
“Are you all right, Grace?” It was Betty, my podgy next-door neighbour, dressed in her aging blue chenille housecoat, bending over me.
“Where am I?”
“On your own sofa. I think maybe you fainted, but you do have a bump on your head. We have sent for an ambulance just in case.”
“The lights are on.”
“Yes, the electricity has been restored.”
“How did you find me?”
“We saw the shed on fire and when the rain stopped we wanted to make sure it was out.”
It all came back to me. “The shed… the fire… the… the thing that glowed.”
Betty’s wrinkles creased in puzzlement. “The thing that glowed?”
“A globe thing. Just like in Nelder’s book. It must be real then: science fact, not science fiction. That’s what caused the storm and everything… must have. I saw it clearly after the rain put the shed fire out.”
”Oh, you must have seen that new solar light in our garden. Tim bought it yesterday. Good isn’t it? Jake doesn’t like it though. Damn dog started peeing on it. But he soon shot off when that thunderbolt cracked.”
What a relief.
Suddenly the lights went out.
A glow appeared in the sky through the open curtains.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
If you want to read something interesting and worthwhile, something that one day might help someone in distress — friend, family member, colleague or simply YOU — look up Badge Of Life and read and digest the contents. The information there does not apply to law enforcers alone, because the factors that build up and turn a sound-thinking man, woman or teenager towards suicide is universal. This is True Story stuff, not of the imagination, but it sometimes takes the imagination to realise that "this story" could be mine!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Geoff Nelder, the sci-fi writer, very kindly travelled from Chester to support me and get a book signed at my first book signing session. He took these photos.
Thanks, Geoff — you're a pal!And here is a picture of my latest book, a second edition of When Angels Lie. Looks dark but right for dark deeds at midnight! When Angels Lie by Gladys Hobson can be ordered through Amazon (USA) and Barnes and Noble on line. Or through www.AGPress.8m.net
The first (UK) edition of When Angels Lie by Richard L Gray can be ordered at any bookstore or through Amazon. The first two chapters of this first edition can be read on http://www,magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk
All my books can be ordered from the Magpies Nest Publishing web site or the Bookshop at Tinners' Rabbit. www.ulverstonbookshops.co.uk
Reading some of my short stories is an experiment made possible through the good services of my friend Bob Taylor. Most of them are new ones. If you are interested go to My Space and click on the story you fancy. (A few songs, recorded by friends) are there too.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Having rejoiced in working out how to do things on my various web sites (I should say SOME things, not many but significant for me — eg posting photographs and links) I have been utterly frustrated by my inability to post the last blog! How ridiculous, I had the title but was reduced to putting the content as a comment! Why? Because it would not accept having my post pasted from a copy of the text of a document I had written. It just kept putting it UNDER the frame and not IN it. Now instead of accepting that it could not be done I just kept trying with the same result. That is poor learning behaviour resulting from a very tired brain. AND leading to further weariness. (Oh give up! Give up the whole thing. Who reads my blogs anyway? Who reads my books? Why bother? Do something useful, woman!) So as soon as the rain stopped I was outside to do some savage pruning! That's better. Then bake some cakes. All turned out good. Next day, bake more cakes — experimenting this time. All brilliant! Then last night I was trying to load photos on my xanga site. I could not fathom what I was doing wrong. So I kept repeating the same action with the same result. (Of course!) Then I looked at the instructions more carefully, trying to recall what I did to post the last ones. My memory slipped back into place and I was successful. Of course, tiredness (I had been up since 4.30am) and loss of brain cells with ageing, does not help, but, as my last post suggests, if you want to keep it, use it and don't give up — be patient and, if necessary, try again when less tired. Now can I get a photo with this post? DONE IT!