The Inkwell: Rot

Page 1


Vice-President // Doe Charles

President // Kirsten Knight

Editor in Chief // Georgia Leslie Treasurer & Copy Editor // Eilidh Sawyers Copy Editor // Lorenne Brogan

Head of Design // Stephanie Jin

General Editor // Lucy Hodgeon

The Team

Drama Editor // Brandon Papineau

Poetry Editor // George Williams

Prose Editor // Anne van der Poel

Media Editor // Hanna Awang 1st Year Representatives // Chiara Hampton Karolina Zentrichova

cover illustration by: Kristina Kapeljuh 1

Secretary // Ashley Chew

Editor’s Note

For this edition of The Inkwell the team decided on a theme

that was unlike any of the previous editions, and one we hoped would evoke a wave of unique submissions. ‘Rot’ allows for a lot of artistic interpretation and we got an eclectic mix of literal and metaphorical pieces submitted to us, all of which embodied the theme in wonderfully different ways and made the shortlisting process very tough, albeit incredibly awe-inspiring as the quality of work was amazing. I would like to say thank you to the editorial team, as well as everyone who submitted their work, as they do so much behindthe-scenes work to get our little magazine of joy into the world and for very little glory. And another thank you to everyone who picks up a publication and enjoys it, as- to quote Bryan Adams everything I do, I do it for you. - Georgia



fir old oak winsome willow old oak fain




photography by: Amber Brown old oak untold anguish


is shared by all

Tall Tales by: Max Harry Phillips Old Oak, from it seeps a sturdy power. Its crown displaying past successes; Its heavy trunk emanates age. Yet underneath, it is unseen. Winsome Willow shelters us from torment. Its branches embrace us; Once inside, we breathe anew. Its secrets rest unknown. Fain Fir rises up, out of reach. Carpets of perfumed needles Shake forgotten memories to the fore. Both yearn for time undone. Our minds forage for peace Remember their stories, like yours Their susurrations quell disquiet, Untold anguish is shared by all.


Waster Oasis by: Harry Leeming illustration by Claire Chee

Swaying under lakes of velvet darkness, peppered with the peacock powder blizzard Of strobe lights, I saw him. Eyes hooked me: pupils black is the wicked hook of an angler’s thread. As we danced his feet on my heart did tread, His skin purred a sinewy feline secret as we danced, as we slid, as we dived. His blonde hair burned my eyes like sherbet on a tongue. At mine we woke up the next morning having come dancing via the rose garden. We met up again and danced so hard the floor cracked. And we picked it up in chunks to scoff it like jagged cake. And at mine we woke up the next morning, having danced on the redness of the petals. We did not dance on the petals. We danced on their redness. Met up for coffee under November’s daytime moonA white pupil-less eyeBut the chitchat shitchat hit the glossy dark cat with a stark bat Of sterility. Anaemic pale skin wrapped high cheekbones like worn cellophane that sparkles in the light only for you to see it tatter like cobwebs. So how are you doing? How are things? How are you? I chew my way through the words like a soggy burger. 55

Cheap jokes flap back from him: happy meal happy. It tastes like the flavourless asparagus of petal-less stalks. Out of the window I catch a glimpse of the scaffolding of stalks that is the winter rose garden Out of his unshaven nocturnal face, hairs prick out like the slithering wisps of blue on forgotten bread. Out of hidey-hole pores mangy black hairs advance. The dark roots of a mangrove tree hissing to drain me to a mangy darkness Hissing excitedly like mirrorless gorgons, right under his kind nose. He just wants to have fun. But they want something different. Shrivel my skin to a slash of senile white cellophane, drifting in the reeking December wind.


the l i g h t o of The Light of my Room by: Benjamin Wolff

I woke up to the smell of cheap whiskey emitting from pale flesh. The sun wasn’t falling through the window, it was just there, pervasive, the room penetrated seemingly without action. Returning from the kitchen with toast and a banana, I ate, then left the peel, un-discarded, on a plate on the floor.

m y r o o m photography by Amelia Preston


Nothing happened that day. Mostly I sat, thinking of people, thinking of writing. Every once in a while I would get up to walk around for the sake of movement. But these moments were short-lived, and ultimately I always returned to my bed to sit and do nothing. Sat in the cafĂŠ, Oli started to cry. I had not expected this, simply presuming her to be bored and in need of company. Her boyfriend, whom I had never met, shouted at her that morning. She had left a small mess in the kitchen sink and this had made him angry. He screamed at her, and she cowered into her own psyche, mumbling her defence with muted words. Now she was sat in a cafĂŠ, crying in front of me, a stranger she had only met twice before. Her hands trembled against the sides of her teacup as she attempted to smile at me. The cafĂŠ felt languid and warm, the smell of coffee oozed from the various tables and mingled with the garish yellow paint on the walls. I cautiously sipped my water and we spoke. Knowing her so very little there was very little I could say. But words found their way, and we waded through the conversational topics long enough for the tears to dry on her face. The light lacked warmth and started to upset me. I drew the curtains halfway, so I could still see the young tree struggling against the wind, and turned on a lamp. My eyes fell upon the remnant of my breakfast. The yellow was all but gone, replaced by an oily black that seemed to capture the light in an awful and cruel manner. It felt trapped, only allowed to emit as a faint and indistinct sheen. I went over to my bed, sat on it, and watched the banana peel.


It is never a good sign when you can remember a person so vividly but cannot remember a single word they said. Last night, among the various acquaintances I met in an attempt to develop and solidify social contracts, 8


there was an awful little man named Fredrick. Fredrick was the kind of human that appeared to have filled the vacuous hole that was meant to contain his personality with noise. I was surprised that words could be said so loudly that had so little in them. This little man desired to be the centre of attention and begged, cried and pleaded for all the eyes in the world to be fixed, unwaveringly, upon him. Â At moments we would condescend to his trivial pleas and construct an artificial pedestal for him to place himself upon, moments which we unanimously regretted. Yet, I let the little man fade from my vision. I found comfort in the dark oak panels that surrounded us and, as I swirled the ice in my whiskey, I enjoyed the warm brown colour of that liquid which seemed so thick. At that moment the company I kept did not matter to me in the slightest. These memories bothered me. Words should not evaporate with the morning, like dew as the sun rises. Words should claw to the flesh of your soul with a brutality that seems likely to draw blood. Sadly, words often fail us. They come across as cruel or forgettable, and I am not sure which the worse is. I lay in my bed and struggled with my own words. I lay there trying to capture the softness of your voice. Trying to capture the comfort of your eyes. Trying to capture the intensity of your presence. But I failed, as torturous light cascaded through the glass, intent to expose. Over the next few hours, the peel got blacker and continued to steal the light from my room. As it rotted it seemed to despise the world and all the colour that it contains. Withering into a pathetic black smudge, I found it beautiful. I pitied its contempt and sensed its longing for a lost and wasted youth. I lay down in the bed and contemplated the ceiling. The light was fading in the sky and I was happy to lose its oppressive presence. The poor tree battled on, the wind whistled under the crack in my door and I lay there listening. Pushing aside the open copies of books that bore the mark of heavy reading, I stood up and put the black smudge in the bin. Within the new emptiness of my room, I sat and thought. The world can be so loud when it is quiet.

painting by: Sara Dobbs


our rea


Our reality from a new perspective by Benedict Wunner

My skin is torn, ripped, burnt. They did it. They cut deep into my juicy flesh, leaving infected trenches behind. Some are now scars, paled by time, but they will never heal. They lie open exposing my bloody muscle, making me vulnerable, transparent. They did this to me, with their instruments; they cut me up to feed on me. They ate my flesh, my entire left foot; it took them years. They ripped out and fried my tongue, my mouth is still full of blood. Some drilled deep into my torso, cracked my ribs apart and wrenched out my liver. Others stuck a fishing hook into my eye, twisted and pulled it, until they held my eye in their hands. I witnessed it; saw my lifeless iris pale with horror stare back at me, an alien object. They prepared dinner of boiled eye on liver, it took them months to eat. They laid me down and had a feast on my back. I could feel them walk around on me. They are savages. Now my ribs lie bare, broken, a sad sight. It hurts me. The skin of my missing foot is peeled back; it lies in a heavy heap just above my ankle. Flies dine on it and maggots live in it. They migrated there from my open chest, they like to nest in the folds of skin. I can feel the maggots crawling around my body; they have carved tunnels into me for convenience. They tickle me and move closer towards my brain every second. Yesterday I felt one nibble away on the edge of my ear. The smell has become rancid: rotting flesh, warmed by the sun, its steamy odour rising up to my poor nose. Sweet and heavy, choking me. But this is how reality


lity from

a new p

smells, my reality, the reality of my torturers. I have heard that some of them think I smell light as a raindrop, refreshing like the future. I don’t understand them and they don’t understand me. And they will never stop. Just now they pierced my stomach and my own acid burns me violently. It spreads across me, bubbling viciously, consuming me. It seeps into every fissure, every crack of my body, into every maggot infested tunnel. There are many. Some have been killed; my acid is even greedier than them. But it is also blind. It has bitten me, its master, and exposed my bones. My torturers tried to bite and saw them but to no avail; my bones are hard, they are my last resort. My skeleton is what I can count on, what I have to count on, now that I am crippled. Soon they will leave me, leave me alone; there is nothing I can offer them anymore. They will soar off in their spacecraft, scorching my skin, turning it to dark ash. They will ignite a raging fire that will bring tears to my remaining eye, tears that will trickle down my hollow face before evaporating. Then I will finally be left to endure my torture, my suffering alone. It will last until infinity, until the end of time. What difference does it make to me? Both are the same in practice. What difference does it make to them? I invited them here, welcomed them with open arms, offered myself to them. Now look at me. I am decaying, a heap of decomposing, disgusting flesh and bones, serving as food and home for vermin. That is how my guests have treated me. But it will be a lesson to me; no one shall benefit from me. I don’t want friends. Not that anyone would want to be my friend anymore. 12

Into Dark

by: Beatrice Dessent

At last the golden day is done, And the yearly wind-up has begun. A flurry of falling honey, falling fire A slowly browning, whirring coil, Their goodbye colours a funeral pyre Dissolving into next year’s soil. Air swells with mould, it bloats with smoke From distant dimmed-down dampened tongues That kiss and cloy and start to choke, And settle in deep-breathing lungs. And what are we? Warm shapes that murmur Snatching blindly at fading light, That with every wilting hour Leads us deeper into endless night But then each spring awakens clean And we are dried off from the dark. Pale imprints of what had once been, With bodies wearing winters mark.


and what are we?


in to


flurry of falling honey

in to

illustration by: Sara Dobbs


for the bloom, like that love, Seven poems on f e l l rot apart and did r o t by: Dave Korn


Beautiful bloom that I plucked from a field & I gave to my love as a charm from that spot To remember forever, but I think time forgot; For the bloom, like that love, fell apart & did rot.



Autumn forest the wind blows chill; I remember when my love did love me still. Now she loves another & I watch time flow As dead leaves in the woods rot underneath the snow.


The moment arrived for me to bare my soul; To hold open my heart & say the way I felt. But silent I stayed & now I sadly know— When you fail to seize a moment, then it rots.


My love went away but she gave me a bloom That I hold in a jar as it rots in the room. Years slipped by; the thing drooped & it dried out; When a gust of wind scattered its petals I cried out.


Wizened old woman, or was she a man With glittering eyes & withered hands, Sinewy skin stretched taut ‘twixt knuckles & a grin full of rotten-out gums when she chuckles.


Death’s been known to keep me alive When I walk in the kirkyard alone at night. Soon I’ll rot here—so I let another day pass; I’ve infinite lifetimes to dwell beneath the grass.


At the end of all mortal being & time, All that you love on this earth shall decay & be scattered into fragments of timeless disarray; Because everything rots: so love today. 16

I Bought My Love a Rose by: Miranda Hartley illustration by: Kristina Kapeljuh I bought my love a rose I bought her a silver spoon I blew my love a kiss Under the sweet penny moon

To my love, I bought a ribbon To tie her midnight locks I bought my love a smile To keep in her wooden box

I bought my love my heart I bought my love my hand Within her little hourglass, I bought my love more sand

I bought my love a rose Then I could bring no more So I bought my love some soil To swathe her aching, rotting core.



Dear Daniel by: Ross Hunter

Dear Daniel, Today I stared at the new tap fixture in the kitchen and, for a second, I couldn’t remember what the old taps had looked like. The taps that had aided me – or, more accurately, my mum – in the washing of thousands of dishes, that had kept me watered and my hands clean for years, and yet I couldn’t even remember if there had been one faucet or two. Whether the cold had been on the right or the left. How many other small treasures of existence had I already forgotten? Could I even remember the colour of my first bike? How long until I forgot the little parts of you nobody else knew about? If I die prematurely, like you – even if it’s in some horrible accident, like a terrorist attack or a wayward dance with a lawnmower – I don’t want people to commemorate me as if I were a God. Because it seems to me that praising a dead person is far too easy. And, in all honesty, I want my death to unleash a thorough dissection of my character (though preferably not of my body).


I know how people choose to mourn is really none of my business – especially if I am, in fact, dead. But it just irritates me that nowadays when people die in admittedly cruel ways, it somehow absolves them of all the terrible things they may have done. Death should be the ultimate reckoning of honesty. Because when you’re dead nobody should be scared of saying something you might overhear, or that Judith down the road might overhear and tell you about later. You’re dead. Gone. Finished. People can, finally, say what they really thought of you. Tasha Berwick came to your funeral, by the way. And even though I know you’d have liked that she came – fuck, especially if you saw what she wearing – I couldn’t help but think that it was total bullshit for her to turn up. I mean, how many times had you even spoken to her? She was a grief tourist, man. She said she would ‘miss you’ but I knew that she wouldn’t. I would miss you and yet Tasha ‘Big Tits’ Berwick was the first person your Granny hugged after the service. Weird, man. She barely knew you. The funny thing is that even though everyone was saying nice things about you I knew that, eventually, people would say what they really thought (or maybe they’d just think it, but it’s one and the same really). People were saying how you were ‘the life and soul of the party’ and ‘one in a million’ and ‘beautiful inside and out’. Which is fine, I suppose. It’s not true but if people feel better by saying it, then okay. It’s just that I’m worried that soon those platitudes will overtake people’s real memories of you. Just like that, all the authentic traces of you are gone and people are describing you as ‘such a kind soul’ when, to be honest, I never saw you do anything particularly kind. Sure, you were nice. But ‘kind’? I don’t know about that. I definitely never saw you give money to a homeless person. You always said it was better to buy them food (although I never saw you do that either). I know you’d be agreeing with me if you were here. You’d be saying that it’s ‘all bullshit’ and that people’s attempt to hijack something and make it about themselves was typical of capitalist society. Then you’d go off on one and mention Terry Eagleton and George Monbiot and I’d try to keep up with your ranting. I guess that’s why I’m writing now, because I want to talk to you. Because we always went through these sort of things together, like when your Gran died or when Louise dumped me. And as much as I hate to say it: you were always there. Not in a corny, emotionally-


supportive sort of way. I could just talk stuff through with you and we’d usually agree. Even if we didn’t, that was fine too. We could just sit and play Mario Kart and somehow doing something so normal could always make us feel better. I just feel like people don’t really understand what is lost when someone dies. Of course, they can see that this person is not coming back – this objective ‘you’ that will be pointed out in class photographs for years to come and people will say ‘Well, he died in a car accident just before graduation’. But really what everyone loses is different. I mean, you weren’t the same Daniel you were with me around your Mum. Hell, half the time you were talking about how much of a bitch she was (and although I don’t like her much either, I never agreed because it’s your Mum and I knew some larger part of yourself loved her). So, then, I’m at the funeral and I’m talking to your Mum and she’s saying you were lucky to have a best friend like me and although it was lovely to hear I just kept thinking, ‘It’s not like we’re talking about the same person here’. She loved you because she raised you and wiped your arse and drove you to school and, in merely existing, you represented years of her life’s labour. Whereas I loved you because you never tried to impress people at school and yet everyone still liked you, and because you wore cool clothes and always listened to me like I was important; like what I was saying wasn’t just naïve ranting about music or politics or how much I fancied Nigella Lawson. Maybe it doesn’t matter if anyone else remembers what you were really like. I just figured you’d want to know what I was thinking. Oh - by the way, I left that fiver I owe you in your grave. If you’re as generous as everyone thought you were, maybe you’ll give it to some homeless angel or something (but I bet you won’t). By this point I suppose you’re rotting slightly – eyeballs caving in, skin growing loose around the edges like when you let PVA glue dry on your fingers. I need to stop writing, now. Mum’s calling me for dinner. So, I guess I’ll see you around, buddy.


Just, before I go, know this: Even if everyone else keeps talking about how much of a saint you were, I’ll always have a cheeky think to myself, ‘Aye…but he was an arsehole, really’. I think you’d like that. Love you, man.



it smells of peat and rememberance of prayer

it smells

of the wind

painting by: Maria Oliver-Smith and forgetting

The Smoke by: Arno von Kietzell

The chimney smoke grows and billows before me expanding in the sudden calm. I face it down, the bank of fog made of burned things, force it into my lungs, make undone its scratch. It smells of peat and remembrance, of prayer and meagre feasts of mackerel and heavy spades turning the clay. It smells of the wind and forgetting. Of gorse and salt and barnacles that have clung to this rock for a thousand years. When I breathe it out, I see dead things floating in the water. A sudden terror grips me at its ebb and flow, the cloud pulsating back and forth, a tide. I turn my back, pile step on frantic step, until my breath rasps in my throat, a reminder of things not easily left behind. 24

r e m n

r e m n a n t s a n t s e a r

a n t s gl o r y


your na rra tor by: Sonnie Carlebach

1. Fear


e a


gl o r y

your na rra tor

Peter Angruwmoor’s apartment was a solitary hollow of tepid failure. The kind that was mundane enough to have crept up on Angruwmoor over a period of several agonising months, prying at his confidence and dignity, till it had devoured it whole. His studio overlooked an urbanised, industrial part of the city, which he’d thought was the right kind of chaos and carnage to bring inspiration to his work. The machines, instead, made him sad. Not in an overt, tearful way. But in a subtle, punishing way; the kind that broke the spirits of the ghosts that haunted his dreams. He was often glad to see them, they were the only company he had. The room writhed in a stillness, like it was vibrating beyond absolute control in an attempt to stay unmoved. The mess made the skin of a cockroach crawl, the pizza crusts on the something stained carpet (I don’t know what the stain is, why should I?) screamed struggling artist, the stomach of his ashtray vomiting forth blunt guts and cigarette buts that were discarded with a clear lack of foresight. In the centre of the living area sat a coffee table, flailing to be a comfortable distance from the looming TV, and the sofa, whose cotton stuffing lay about the coffee stained rug (I can see this stain clearer, it’s a brown shade and is spread as if spilt from a mug). Why Angruwmoor had a rug on carpet, I don’t know, sorry.


r e m n


r e m n r e m n f e a r e a r a n t s gl o r y l o r y a n t s your na rra tor your



r e m n


a n t s

The left side of the room became the graveyard of his work. Tombstones of failed pieces lingering, the paint moulding and turning the same green as acid stained (my own descriptive comparison, there isn’t actually an acid stain here) rocks. His work was not particular of anything, its few merits came in its seemingly drab charm, appearing like a person who looks nice, despite clearly having not tried. Cobbled around the A3 sketches were the huddled families of black charcoal, and pencils, and pens, mourning the premature deaths of their children. Angruwmoor’s work was so lazy in its nature, that any talent that happened to find itself on the canvas was much more the work of the tools than the man. On the opposing side of the room, a proud bookshelf stood, a selfproclaimed bastion of knowledge and intellect. Unaware of its growing beard of dust, its rusting, overgrown nails, and the desperately apparent lack of books. The bookshelf most likely had dementia, such was its pride beyond reason. Clinging patiently like an adoring student to this dying scholar of a bookshelf, a guitar, battered and beaten, its only redeeming quality, the blood stains (I really can’t think what else these stains could be) on the strings, suggesting they were at least played at some point. The kitchen had a surreal sense of disgust. So alive was its clutter, it appeared to have been endowed by a transcendent being, mushrooms growing from mould in the bottom of coffee mugs, demonstrating the capacity for life this animated kitchen possessed. One can’t help but wonder how Angruwmoor had accumulated such a tower of plates, despite only eating out of takeaway boxes. Truly an enigma yet to be solved. Unsurprisingly, the destitute state of Angruwmoor’s living arrangements were, in part, the fault of his landlord. This man was a special kind of delinquent. Such a waste of clean air was he, that any oxygen that sucked into his lungs, screaming for freedom, ran out his wheezing, mucus throat as carbon dioxide in absolute glee, having been liberated by the landlords drowning respiratory system. It must be said, the man who owned the apartment prior to this gargoyle of a human could not have 26


been further from the present owner, and his selling of the property to this wretch was a travesty in the eyes of all who lived there. Despite this, to alleviate responsibility for the chaos from Angruwmoor would be a terrible injustice. Not only was he lazy, but he was lazy. He was the artistic equivalent of a writer who would repeat the same simple adjective twice in one line, rather than attempt any sense of variation or style. More than this however, Angruwmoor’s tepid persona blunted his artistic curve before it could even begin thinking how to express itself. He possessed all the tools to devise art through the expression of emotion, apart from emotion itself. In essence,  Angruwmoor’s unsensationalism was a beast of its own creation, the longer his mundane, drab, Mondayfull life continued, the further he would drift from the shimmering heights of artistic success he so averagely craved. As time had passed, and the damp of the apartment had seeped into his mind and his sofa, Angruwmoor had stopped having guests. He had stopped leaving in shame of returning. On the rare occasions he did leave he would study his shoulders carefully at every twist and turn, leaving and entering the building with panicked speed, as if both desperate to escape his room, and yet also desperate to return, as he knew reality could never be worse than the grotesque image of his apartment in his mind. The kitchen floor was also stained.

2. Glory Suddenly, the apartment door was flung open, and Angruwmoor strode into the apartment. I cannot say for certain where he had been. There had been a downpour but he was not wet and there was a sheen in his eyes that seemed to glaze over the disgust in his apartment and found it sights set on the easel. But before he could continue toward it, he stopped himself and sat in a chair by the door. He contemplated the images in his mind for an immeasurable time after this. Undoubtedly endowed with a sense of purpose that transcended the apathy of his previous lifestyle. Remaining still, he moved his hands in the air as if painting, watching closely with his eyes closed to ensure he did not make a single mistake. 27

illustration by: Amelia Preston

i c

His facial expressions followed that of his hands, his wrist flicking upwards as his eyebrow arched in response, while the low gliding brushes were met with an opening of his mouth and a sharp intake of breath. This continued for almost as long as his contemplation, the room melting away from him and the chair and the canvas he had invented in front of him, his unseeing eyes smiling at the colours of the air around him.

All the while the industrial complex of his former inspiration could no longer distract him. He saw beyond the towering cranes, the monstrous men scathing behind walls; the collapsing buildings that fell away in place of new ones that would fall away eventually. And as they all fell away from his image, he could no longer see them, or no longer chose to. Their presence at the foreground of his mind had been overpowered by looming golden towers which he plucked out the air with every crowning smile.

Forcing themselves open, his cramped cornea were met with the harshness of the room, but the images etched in place would not be so easily moved; they bore into his soul and the more the room showed itself, the more he could think of nothing but gold. Peace had overwhelmed him, and purpose had shown him the edge. And from the depth of a chair, he heaved himself upright, became next to the easel, and began to paint.

3. Your Humble Narrator

Angruwmoor’s painting was almost complete. He had furnished and cleaned and reworked sections for hours upon end, his new-found inspiration and vigour driving him to great artistic feats. Truly this was his greatest work. A smouldering medley of gold and silver monuments, towers the size of cities ablaze with sapphire gems and diamonds, all the while contending and yet complementing the harsh industrial foreground that spurred the absence of light of the golds, corrupting the bottom of the canvas, seeming ripped and distorted whilst in perfect proportions. Angruwmoor was overwhelmed with a sense of purpose which had not nicked at his soul for decades. The return to his flat would no longer be a scampering from the real world, but an envisaged escape to the splendour of his new works and design. His mind flowing with images of the great 2929

spires, and dungeons, and cities and what lurked within them, his tools akin. I waited patiently in the far reaches of the bedroom for the artist’s sensation of pride to retreat, and his energy and confidence levels to drop. However, his hallway light had been off this whole time, and waiting in the dark was causing me quite some distress. You see, I had only just started sleeping without any lights and I was still partial to the odd night terror. This constant lurking had made my mind wander all over and I was beginning to feel a little queasy. But I was prepared to wait. The isolated finger painter would see no visitor. He would stand and paint. And I would sit and wait until...

made e r t a i n to leave a / s t a i n

Angruwmoor yawned exhaustively, stepping away from his work and fumbling to his stuffless sofa. Asleep. I stood over my canvas. Tools in hand. And I painted the room with the screams of Peter Angruwmoor. I made certain to leave a stain.



Autumn and its Effects on Man by: Bo-Elise Brummelkamp

A man approaches a booth on a train, where another, bored-looking man is already slumped against the window. [Man 1] Hey.

Man 2 looks up; with that word, musings about the inevitable decay of man are being rudely disturbed. [Man 1] Do you mind if I sit here? [Man 2] Nah man, go ahead. [Man 1] Thanks.

Man 1 puts his bag in the overhead thingy and sits down in the available window seat. He sits down like a big floppy sack of potatoes, possibly a slightly underfilled bag of rice. A silence follows while his new companion returns to his previous musings. The newcomer stares at him awkwardly, his manner also resembling a sack of potatoes (or possibly a slightly underfilled bag of rice). [Man 1] So… The weather’s getting worse isn’t it? [Man 2] I guess it is. [Man 1] Autumn indeed.

Silence. The man had never liked silence, it was too confrontational.

[Man 1] Although I suppose I don’t mind, as long as I’m inside when the storm hits. Hearing the rain crash against the window is quite nice. [Man 2] Nobody can always be inside when the storm hits. We all have to get caught in the middle of it sometime. [Man 1] True. More silence. Man 1 gets up and gets an apple out of his bag. He is only doing this for the sake of having something to do. When he bites into it, he discovers it’s rotten to the core. Now it sits on the table. It resembles everything else in his life, full of potential but ruined by his inattention. [Man 1] Rotten. [Man 2] Oh. [Man 1] Happens to me a lot. [Man 2] Oh. [Man 1] I always tell myself I’ll start eating more fruit, and then I don’t. 31

The other man is unsure how to reply to this. He has no thoughts on the matter, for deep in his core he feels nothing. [Man 1] I’m Jonathan, by the way. [Man 2] Ronathan. [Jonathan] Ronathan? That’s an unusual name. [Ronathan] It’s not. [Jonathan] I honestly can’t say I’ve heard it before. [Ronathan] Of course you have. Where do you think the name ‘Ron’ comes from? [Jonathan] Ronald. [Ronathan] That’s ridiculous. Who the hell is called Ronald? [Jonathan] What are you talking about? Lots of people are Gorillaz’ ‘Clint Eastwood’ 2:46-2:47 plays [Jonathan] - called Ronald. [Ronathan] Name one. [Jonathan] My grandfather. [Ronathan] That’s interesting.

Ronathan does not think it is interesting. However, this conversation is as futile as anything else he might do, so he continues.

[Ronathan] Is he foreign? [Jonathan] No. What? [Ronathan] Your grandfather. Is he foreign? It’s a fair question, what with him being called Ronald. [Jonathan] No, I’m telling you, Ronald is a really common name. [Ronathan] Sure. Jonathan doesn’t know why this is upsetting him so much. Maybe because one of the last certainties in his life is unraveling before his eyes.

[Jonathan] It is! Ronald Weasley? Ronald Reagan? [Ronathan] Ah yes, the children’s fantasy novel character and eccentric president. Great examples. [Jonathan] Come on man, are you joking with me? [Ronathan] But honestly, why the hell are we talking about my name when you’re called Jonathan. [Jonathan] What about it? [Ronathan] What kind of a name is that anyway? [Jonathan] You have got to be kidding me man, it’s a perfectly normal name. Where do you think John comes from? [Ronathan] Jonald.




President’s Note

elcome to, and thank you for reading, The Inkwell. In this 2018 Winter edition of PublishED’s bi-annual publication, we sought to bring you an anthology of student writing and artwork exploring the theme of Rot. We hope you enjoyed our weird and wonderful selection. This semester, PublishED has continued to run events which bring literary people together and encourage their creative efforts. Fresher’s week saw the return of our terrifyingly busy ‘Bookshop Crawl’. This was followed by the first of our fortnightly writing workshops, and of our weekly reading groups. Our events schedule rattled on with the everpopular ‘Write Drunk Edit Sober’, and shortly afterwards our Open Mic Night, both of which featured you lovely people finding, developing, and sharing your voices. Late October saw the return of our annual 6x6 with the Society of Young Publishers Scotland, with six publishing professionals explaining their roles across this elusive industry. Finally, in November we had our Book Pub Quiz, where we were delighted by both the wide range of bookish knowledge, and the wide range of bookish puns used as team names. We are very much looking forward to another semester featuring the return of ‘Write Drunk Edit Sober’ (of course), and more events set to inspire and entertain. As a society, we aim to provide a platform for aspiring writers, artists and photographers. The Inkwell is our most tangible achievement of this, and I would like to thank our wonderful editorial team for their efforts in creating this (rather beautiful) magazine. Submissions will once again be open next semester, and we can’t wait to hear from a host of new creative people. For now, happy writing. Best wishes, Kirsten


For 2019-2020, the Department of English Literature is offering two exciting opportunities for writers who wish to explore their talents, foster their craft, and learn about publication. All programmes are taught by experienced teachers who are also well-published writers. MSc in Creative Writing This one-year, full time taught MSc offers students the opportunity to focus in depth on their own practice - of poetry or fiction - and develop both creative and critical skills through a combination of weekly workshops and seminars. MSc in Playwriting This is a unique practical playwriting course and will appeal to aspiring playwrights, performance artists, directors, dramturges and critics alike. Taught through seminars, writers workshops and practical workshops with actors, directors and other theatre professionals, it focuses not only on the craft of writing for performance, but also on how a script plays out in real space and time, and in front of an audience. For more information about these and other MSc programmes in English Literature visit:

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