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bi-monthly magazine for writers, readers and all literary types

What the Dickens? magazine

3 Issue

the march hare edition


Front Cover illustration by Ine Spee: ‘Tea Party’

I’m a freelance illustrator, just starting out after finishing my Master’s Degree. I am passionate about drawing and I have a thing for cute and happy images which I hope will bring a smile to people’s faces!


editorial Howdy!

Welcome to Issue 3: The March Hare. Lots of different takes on the theme have fallen through the inbox for this issue which is fantastic and is exactly what this magazine is all about. I intended it to be something unique and out of the ordinary which strikes right into our imaginations, inspiring and unleashing our creative side. Writing is of course a serious business at times but it is important to take a break, let yourself play once in a while and exercise those imaginative muscles. Sandy’s fantastic section The Old Curiosity Shop is a wonderful resource in the magazine. It is bursting at the reams with ideas and tasks to get your mind working and your pen moving. As writers, it is our job to create so I would love to see more writing flowing in response to the tasks and sent in for us all to admire. If you haven’t read and worked through the fabulous book yet by Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way, then I recommend that you do. I myself have returned to it recently and the ideas are falling out all over the page. Engaging in these activities allows room for this to happen and the rewards for doing so can be huge. In the last issue, no one dared to enter the quiz to win that year’s subscription to Mslexia magazine nor took a risk and wrote the 300-500 words for Sandy to win those amazing signed copies she had on offer. Well, we aren’t letting that one go so easily! There is no quiz in this issue or books to win and instead we are waiting for you lovely folk to throw caution to the breeze and get moving on these. The deadline will be as usual, 15th May 2012 and I won’t stop harking on about it till I get them in!

Contents Letters Jokes..............................................4 Art – Arden Ellen Nixon...........................5 Behind the scenes of a writing website....6 Author Interview – Isabel Ashdown........8 Contributions wanted!............................10 Digital World...........................................11 A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party........................12 A bit of shopping with... Bookish...........15 Book reviews by Novelicious.................16 Author Interview – Suzanne Ruthven....18 A bit of shopping with... What the Dickens?..................................20 Art – Kate Neal........................................21

Happy reading J

The March Hare Writing........................23

Victoria

Art – Emma Syz......................................53

P.S. The letters page is rather empty. Please write in! Tell me what you think about the magazine or what you would like to see in here. Maybe (hopefully) some stories about how it has inspired you or people you have met because of it.

Victoria Editor

Twitter @writersgifts facebook.com/writersgifts veebeewriter.wordpress.com

Flash Fiction Newsflash.........................54 Help! The dog ate my manuscript!........55 Art – Lily C..............................................56 The Literary Market................................57 Memories of Spring... And Alice..........58 The Old Curiosity Shop........................63 Competitions......................................67 Art – Iván Nájera....................................68

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letters

Letters, Jokes We’re still not hearing from you! We’d love to hear your feedback about the magazine. What do you love? Is there anything you don’t like? What would you like to see more of ? Please let us know... get writing!

If you don’t know what the word ‘dictionary’ means, where would you look it up? (and, referring back to Issue 1...)

James Joyce: I’ll take a Guinness. Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here yesterday. James Joyce: (drinks) Bartender: And he asked for a martini and I said, “Olive or twist?” James Joyce: (drinks) Bartender: You see, it’s funny because he wrote a book called “Oliver Twist.” James Joyce: What a rubbish joke.

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art

Arden Ellen Nixon’s art reflects her love of literature, history, mythology, and her questionable sense of humour. Be the subject animals or Isis, Rasputin or Shakespeare: everything is fair game. ardenellennixon.com

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behind the scenes of a writing website

Behind the scenes of a writing website

Part 3

Richard Hearn

I

n Issue 1 I discussed the decisions in setting up a writing website, Paragraph Planet, and last issue I tried to give a few tips on marketing. This time, I thought I’d let some of the authors take centre stage. (Just to recap: Paragraph Planet publishes one paragraph of exactly 75 words each day; this might be a short, short story or a novel extract.)

A

November 2008, on topics ranging from infidelity, cakes, skyscrapers, tattoos, war, peacocks, firemen, or matchboxes, plus the big five of sex, murder, love, death and ….er….vampires, five examples are probably not going to do the variety justice. However, I’ve chosen these as a few favourites which hopefully give a flavour of what can be achieved in 75 words. I suggest reading s there have been approximately 1281 the original paragraph each time first, before my published paragraphs since it started in comments spoil it all for you.

Instantly striking, finely honed….. and deceptive. I think it leaves a lingering impression long after you’ve finished reading. Some of the best paragraphs have definitely been unsettling, not always a twist as such, but with a story that unfolds sentence by sentence.

Taken from her new novel The look of love, this is a paragraph that shifts mood, and offers an intriguing glimpse of a longer work. Judy started submitting to the site in its first few months and has been great at spreading the word about the site. It’s exciting for me when established authors unexpectedly appear in my inbox.

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behind the scenes of a writing website What more to say? I’ve included this as an example of one that made me laugh out loud. For people clicking on the site each day, you’re never too sure what type of writing you’re going to get. Damon first came to Paragraph Planet after winning a twitter competition I was judging last year for Flash Lit Fiction night, part of Brighton Digital Festival.

As well as short, short stories, writers can also submit extracts from novels, either published or a work in progress. This is from the opening of Julie’s novel Where the truth lies and is a perfect taste – taut, thrilling and leaving the reader wanting more.

I always love a twist-in-the-tale story. Hard to achieve, but when they work, very satisfying. I didn’t guess this one at all (although, maybe I was too busy trying to remember when Platini playing for either Cardiff or Liverpool!). I think the twist stories are perfect at this length.

If these examples have whetted your appetite, you can read (let me do the maths) approximately 1276 more on the site, or even submit your own via paragraphplanet.com. Richard Hearn lives in Hove and writes the Distracted Dad column for Brighton magazine, The Latest, and Dadsense for Mumsense magazine. He has also written non-Dad stuff about topics including immortality, painting and camping.

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author interview

Author Interview Isabel Ashdown

Isabel Ashdown was born in London in 1970 and grew up on the south coast of England. She now lives in West Sussex with her family. In 2008 she was named as winner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition, and her debut novel Glasshopper went on to be twice named as one of the best books of 2009, by the London Evening Standard and the Observer Review. Her second novel, Hurry Up and Wait, was released in June 2011, and was named as one of Amazon’s Top 100 ‘Customer Favourites in 2011’. She is currently working on her third book.

Have you got previous? What is your writing background? As a child, I loved to write – stories, poems, letters. I was a great letter writer! At sixteen, my best friend moved away, and we spent the next two years writing regularly about the trials and humiliations of our everyday lives. She recently visited with a bundle of my old letters, and we read them together over a glass of wine, crying with laughter at the tragic comedy of our teen lives. But from there onwards, I didn’t write a jot for almost twenty years, until my mid-thirties, when I gave up my career to study English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. It felt like coming home.

take shape and the whisper of a notion turns into something else, something more tangible. Then after some research and more preoccupied thinking, I’ll form a loose plan before throwing myself into a solid phase of disciplined writing and editing to produce the first full draft. Of course, the story plan always changes along the way... but that’s one of the joys of writing; discovering the unexpected.

The road to publication? Rough or smooth? For me (and for this I apologise!) it was fairly smooth. A couple of months before I’d completed my debut novel, an extract won first prize in the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition, something which undoubtedly helped my submission to reach What drew you to writing the kinds of novels the ‘reading’ pile when it arrived with prospective that you do? agents and publishers. I soon signed with an I’m fascinated by family, and I guess that’s a common agent and a UK publisher (Myriad Editions) for theme across my favourite kind of reading. The two novels, Glasshopper and Hurry Up and Wait, Outcast by Sadie Jones; The Hand that First Held the first of which was released in 2009. Mine by Maggie O’Farrell; This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff – they all tell stories of family relationships, What inspires you? of the good and the bad, of the pivotal moments in Such a tough question! I think inspiration is personal history. I love to read about these things, probably something cumulative – a complex and so, I suppose naturally, I’m drawn to write blend of all the things that interest or excite you, about these things too. or unsettle or move you. I know when something inside me wants to be written, because I feel a How long does it take you to write one of the ripple of uncommon euphoria as a number of books? ideas collide – call it synchronicity – to the point I pretty much work within a two year cycle. I spend that I just can’t ignore it. It’s what keeps me awake a lot of time in the early thinking/ dreaming/ note at night, but it’s also what inspires me to write. taking stage, during which time the characters

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author interview Which books have influenced you the most and why? There have been so many over the years, for different reasons, and for different stages of my life. As a child, my father read Alice in Wonderland to me – I enjoyed the wordplay, and I loved Alice for her questioning ways. In my teens I was hooked by Virginia Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic series, and I was bowled over by Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books. By my early twenties I was reading my way through the classics (having been a very poor student at school), and as I neared my thirties I was deeply affected by novels such as Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong and Patrick Suskind’s Perfume. I greatly admire and enjoy work by Alice Munro, Jackie Kay, John Irving, Margaret Atwood, Iain McEwan, Hanif Kureishi ... I could go on.

these days the children are older, and I have the house to myself while they’re out at school. I also have the campervan, which, as well as being great for family trips, doubles up as my mobile writing room. What are your plans now and what’s coming up next? At the moment I’m putting the last touches to the first draft of my third novel, so I’m horribly distracted, and I ache like a hod carrier from hours bent over the keyboard. With any luck, book 3 will make it out there sometime in 2013, when the whole thinking/dreaming/note taking process starts again ...

What words of wisdom can you leave us with? These are the simple ones: read a lot, carry a notebook, enter competitions, join a writing Where and when do you write? I’ve written in all sorts of places – in bed, at the group. kitchen table, on the top deck of a ferry, on the This one’s harder: Just Do It. So that means, don’t look for reasons not to e.g., rocks at Steephill Cove, in a car outside the school gates. So long as I can zone out, I can write! I’m too busy/too tired/got nowhere to write – These days, I have a nice office at home, which don’t let your inner voice of insecurity talk you looks out onto the courtyard, where the house out of it – and don’t feel guilty about the other sparrows and blue tits visit the bird feeders that stuff you should be doing instead. The ironing hang from the branches of the lilac tree. I like to can wait till tomorrow. work early, finding the evenings better for the ‘business end’ stuff such as interviews and feature To find out more about Isabel and her writing, writing. Much of Glasshopper was written at 5am, you can visit isabelashdown.com or follow her on just to fit it in with work, study and family, but Twitter @IsabelAshdown Glasshopper (Myriad Editions, 2009)

Hurry Up and Wait (Myriad Editions, 2011)

From the suburban disorder of 1980s southern England, 13-year-old Jake watches his world unravel as his father and older brother leave the family home.

It’s been more than 20 years since Sarah Ribbons last set foot inside her old high school. Now, as she prepares for her school reunion, she has to face up to the truth of what really happened back in the summer of 1986...

We have a copy of each book to give away to one lucky reader! For full details please head to the Competitions page.

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contributions wanted!

CONTRIBUTIONS WANTED! This magazine is all about engaging with your playful & creative side. As well as short stories, flash and poetry on the given theme for the issue, I want you to really open up and let loose! Revive the art of letter writing and send me some thoughts. Use the theme I give as a starting point and go on some adventures! Draw a picture, take a photo, chat to a friend, ask someone something, write a non-fiction article, book review, film review. Sandy has lots of creative fun and games for you in The Old Curiosity Shop. Spend some time with yourself and play for the sake of it. Let you mind whirl and search for words or plunge the depths of the internet and hunt down the answers to the quiz. Use the writing tasks and splurge then send us what you wrote. There are chances to win lots of great goodies in the magazine so allow yourself to go crazy and create things you haven’t done before with the help of WTD. There is much fun to be had!

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digital world

Digital World Ben Ottridge New titles

H

ello! And welcome to this issue’s Digital World. I’m going to take a break from digital issues for this month to tell you about two excellent (and very different) new eBooks SelfSelfSelf has published this month...

First up is Snack Yourself Slim by Richard J. Warburg and Tessa Lorant, a fascinating look at an alternative approach to healthy eating and weight loss. Taking the idea of snacking and grazing to its logical conclusion and advocating eating more, smaller, meals when you’re hungry it’s an in-depth look at a whole different way of thinking about food. Certainly worth £2.99 of anyone’s money if you’re interested in changing your eating habits and losing some weight!

Snack Yourself Slim is currently available on Amazon Kindle and ePUB on FirstyFish for £2.99. More sites to come soon…

In a completely different vein we have The Owl Tree: And The Ballad of the Owl Tree by Roy James Moss. This is a fantasy tale told as an epic poem and is all the better for it. To keep the story going while still telling all in verse is hugely impressive and keeps you thoroughly immersed. Beautiful illustrations also add to the beguiling atmosphere, of which the cover is a worthy addition.

Aimed at younger readers but with plenty to keep any age group entertained, The Owl Tree: And The Ballad of the Owl Tree is also available on Amazon Kindle and ePUB on FirstyFish for £2.99.

Normal service will resume next month. If there are any particular questions you may have about digital publishing please do get in touch with me on hello@selfselfself.com and I’ll answer them in a future issue. Until next time!

• • Are you looking for a new way to publish? • • Do you want to enter the digital realm but just don’t know how? • • Do you want to concentrate on the creative rather then the technical side? • • Do you want to avoid high upfront costs?

Then

SelfSelfSelf is for you!

We take your completed words and turn them into fully-fledged digital products (mobi, ePUB, PDF), ready for us to distribute around the world.

selfselfself.com

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a mad hatter’s tea party

A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: The Essentials

By Marion Katrina Poerio

T

he best sandwiches you will ever taste are those made for you by someone else. This does not include shop bought sandwiches, even if the label boasts that the contents have been assembled ‘fresh and with love’. These sandwiches are shameful and should be sent to the head-teachers office. Ideally, you want a sandwich that is made by someone you know well, even better by someone who you care about. Want to know if your feelings are reciprocated? It’s all in the sandwich. Appearances are crust deep and have no great significance, all of which is derived in the mouth-watering goodness of the flavour. Pay attention to the frequency and intensity of your involuntary ‘mmmmmmms’ of approval as you lift the bread from its cold and lettuce strewn resting plate, and attempt to stuff its entire contents into your too small mouth without choking. It is advisable to gently press the sandwich together in order to combine flavours and ensure minimum embarrassment.

The perfect cup of tea is indubitably made by oneself. Firstly, the mug. Choice of mug is crucial in determining the level of enjoyment when it comes to the tea drinking. Everyone has a preferred mug. Sometimes, the mug may vary according to the type of tea selected and indeed, the time of day it is brewed. Akin to choice of partners, some people have a mug ‘type’ from which they choose to refresh themselves. My mum, for example, will only drink tea from medium sized, bone china mugs that are ‘MADE. IN. ENGLAND’.

Others stumble across their ‘one and only’ mug, thereafter embraced and cherished as THE mug. Beware that you do not inadvertently reach for this special vessel of tea leaves amongst the chipped and cheerful collection in the cupboard. Mayonnaise is not optional. It is, however, in Narrowed eyes and hushed tuts will follow both the sandwiches’ and your best interests aplenty and can, on occasion, cause silent rifts to ensure that it remains glued to the interior between the most pleasant of friendships. confines of your bread of choice. White, brown, granary, wholemeal, stale, lightly toasted, warm Sometimes, mugs are not appropriate. from the oven, jewelled with sundried tomatoes Sometimes, it is preferable to drink from cups and olives, half frozen, baguette, best of both. and saucers. More refined. More special. More… Whatever your choice, watch out for the rogue The Ritz. Fingers and hands feel decidedly dollop of mayonnaise clinging to the corners of superior clutching a delicately curved handle. your crumb littered mouth. A paper napkin is Without knowing it, you’re even sitting up customary. straighter. For those who suffer from chronic back pain, then, it is advisable to sip jasmine Now a sandwich wouldn’t be a sandwich if it tea from expensive, hand painted tea cups with weren’t accompanied by a cup of tea. English floral saucers and matching tea pots. Three style. Tea, however, is altogether a different kettle. times daily.

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a mad hatter’s tea party remove tea bag, add milk. Some brew. Some squeeze. Some even leave the tea bag floating like a buoy in the tea sea. Each to his own. Everyone is right. The final, crucial decision rests with timing. Regular, tentative caresses against the warmed curve of china hint at the ideal drinking temperature. Hot? Warm? Lukewarm? Who is Luke anyway? My tea is best served marionwarm. Click-click-click. Three sweeteners please.

Tea is also a cure for depression and sadness and anger and loss and boredom and anything not good and happy that needs to be right for a small, short, tea drinking time. Method. There’s method in the tea making madness.

A distracted hand sweeps the mug from its coaster, one eye concentrated on the task at hand (television, over-sized newspaper, loquacious friend), the other mindlessly avoiding tea overflow with an upwards slight of hand before settling the rim on patient lower lips. Pursed and nervous, lips whistle an airy tune which crinkles and cools the liquid gold until it passes, cautiously at first, past razor rock teeth into the dark cavern behind. Eager taste buds twinkle then drown a hundred times. A satisfying gulp sends the milky cascade on its downward flume, warming from the inside out. Warm heart, wet smile.

The only trace that remains: a rusty halo traced Tea bag always goes in first. Some people add on a red square which reads “Keep Calm and milk then water then stir. Others add water, Carry On”.

Marion is a life long fan of the written word and all letters of the alphabet. Loveaholic and self confessed crazy chick, Marion lives on a diet of yoga, rust and gold dust, and multivitamins ABC. rustandgolddust.com Twitter @RustandGoldDust facebook.com/rustandgolddust

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author interview

Find out what the story is at www.writing.ie Find outwriting what the story is at The new Irish resources website www.writing.ie From tips on technique and getting published to author interviews and The new Irish writing resources website advice, details of literary events in your area, courses and workshops,

• • vent • ngs • • • •

Event listings Course listings Tips from Top Authors Interviews Reviews Giveaways Guest blogs from some of Ireland’s hottest new writers

whether you are an aspiring or published writer, writing.ie has something From tips on technique and getting published to author interviews and for you. advice, details of literary events in your area, courses and workshops, whether you from are an aspiring orand published writer, writing.ie something Get support other writers industry experts at the has writing.ie forum. for you. For readers we have book reviews, special offers and much more! Get support from other writers and industry experts at the writing.ie forum. • Tips from Top Authors For readers we have book reviews, special offers and much more! • Author Interviews • Events listings • Tips from Top Authors Courses listings Author Interviews • Writers Forum Events listings • Book and Event Reviews Courses listings • Giveaways Writers Forum • Library and Online Book Club Listings Book and Event Reviews • Self Publishing & Digital Publishing Giveaways • Guest blogs from great new writing talent • Library and Online Book Club Listings • Self Publishing & Digital Publishing Running a course or a writing or reader event? • Guest blogs from great new writing talent

Do you provide services for writers?

Get in touch with us to post your information on: www.writing.ie

Running a course or a writing or reader event? Do you provide services for writers?

The Home of Irish Writing Online The Home of Irish Writing Online

Get in touch with us to post your information on: www.writing.ie

Tel: 01 2765921/ 087 2835382 Email: contact@writing.ie

14 ~ what the dickens? Tel: 01 2765921/ 087 2835382 Email: contact@writing.ie


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book reviews

Book Reviews By Novelicious

When God Was a Rabbit By Sarah Winman

REVIEWED BY CESCA MARTIN

T

here was a huge amount of hype around this debut novel by Sarah Winman earlier in the year. The word “six-figure book deal” had been bandied about and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The cover was delightfully eccentric and the title was fantastic so the shallow part of me was entirely satisfied. The story centres around one girl and her family. Elly and Joe are brother and sister and we get to follow their lives through childhood into adulthood. From the less glamorous setting of suburban Essex to a remote house in Cornwall and all the excitement and glamour of New York. We meet their endearingly eccentric extended family (a Shirley Bassey impersonator, a famous lesbian aunt, an ageing tap-dancer) and of course we also meet God, who is a Rabbit. The book jumps twenty-years but the cast remain the same. Then one day all their lives take a dramatic turn and a monumental event threatens their family ties to the limit. This book is wonderfully well-written, moving, funny and surprising. The characters are rich and there were so many little moments captured that made this family utterly unique. We recognise their behaviour as being reserved only for those who know us best. Some serious issues were handled in a sensitive way and there was a darkness to this book that I hadn’t expected. At times there was definitely a large lump in my throat and the exciting twists and turns, particularly in the second half of this novel, were unexpected and welcome. Winman writes beautifully and conjures up some incredible images. The little moments between Elly and Joe tug on your heartstrings and the quirky characters all draw you in to their colourful, unconventional world. I will certainly be recommending this book to friends and family. I still keep picturing Joe at the end of Elly’s bed, standing on one leg like an Aborigine and announcing he’d been there for half an hour. It were these kind of little snippets of a life that had you turning the page and wanting more. If I had six figures I would have paid Sarah Winman just that for this book. Rating: 9/10

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book reviews

Lucky Bunny By Jill Dawson

REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR

I

t’s wartime in the East End of London and Queenie Dove is only six when she firsts steals something. Okay it’s only a pint of milk from someone’s doorstep, but she soon realizes that her need to provide for her brother and younger sister is something that develops into a habit and, let’s face it, how else is she going to get all the necessities she feels she needs. Her mum has already pretty much given up on life and spends most of her time in a drunken stupor, her dad is in and out of the nick and although her gran does her best, there’s only so much the old woman can do to try and look after Queenie and her siblings. One day Queenie arrives home to discover a tragedy that will haunt her for the rest of her life. She feels guilty for not being able to stop it from happening and as she grows up, suffering more loss and heartache, when her gran is trampled to death in the Bethnal Green tube disaster during the Blitz, Queenie has to find a way to survive without her. She is taught how to get what she wants from the women her father associates with and eventually falls in love with Tony, a bad boy with dark and sultry looks that she can’t resist. Even her father warns her off him, but she doesn’t want to listen, until one day she realizes that she has to make a decision that will devastate her little daughter, whilst at the same time save her from leading the life Queenie has endured. I bought this book in Shakespeare & Co in Paris and read it in two days. Lucky Bunny is written in the first person. It’s fast-paced, racy and fun, giving the reader insights into what it must have been like for a young girl with little guidance and no support, whose first experience of the country is when she’s evacuated with her brother. Jill Dawson expertly links the characters in the book to actual people and incidents, such as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England on 13th July 1955 and the Great Train Robbery, which ends up making you feel as if you’re reading about someone’s real life experiences rather than that of a character in a book. I enjoyed Lucky Bunny very much and will now have to look up Jill Dawson’s other books. Rating: 9/10

Novelicious (novelicious.com) is a website dedicated to women’s fiction and chick lit. It is updated daily with news, reviews, interviews, competitions and writing tips. You can find Novelicious on Twitter (twitter.com/novelicious) and Facebook (facebook.com/novelicious)

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author interview

Author Interview Suzanne Ruthven

Suzanne Ruthven is the editor of The New Writer, in partnership with literary agent, Merric Davidson. She started her professional writing career in 1987 by founding the small press writers’ magazine Quartos, which ran for nine years until its merger with Acclaim in 1996 to become TNW. Author of over 20 titles on spiritual, country-lore and self-help matters (including two novels) she has regularly contributed freelance articles to a variety of publications as diverse as The Lady and the Funeral Director’s Journal.

Have you got previous? What is your writing background? I started my professional writing career in 1987 by founding the small press writers’ magazine, Quartos, which ran for nine years until its merger with Acclaim to create The New Writer, of which I remain editor along with publisher Merric Davidson. In addition to acting as a judge for several national writing competitions, I have tutored at writers’ workshops including The Annual Writers’ Conference (Winchester College), Writers’ Holiday (University of Wales), Horncastle College (Lincolnshire) and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. I am also the author over 30 books on spiritual, country and self-help matters (including two novels), and contributed articles to a variety of publications as diverse as The Lady, The Countryman, Prediction and the Funeral Director’s Journal.

was required. Life-Writes is my third writers’ guide, and has been written to coincide with my appointment as commissioning editor for Compass Books, so that as an author I always have something new on offer and not stuck in the time-warp of constantly regurgitating previously published material. How long did it take you to write and did you have to research a lot? It probably took about six months but most of the material was in my head and back issues of The New Writer. Having said that, another book currently in its final proofing stage has taken 10 years to finish and a considerable amount of research time.

The road to publication? Rough or smooth? I’m extremely fortunate that it’s been relatively smooth but, like David Bowie, I’m constantly reHow did you come to write the book Life-Writes? inventing myself ! Writers can’t afford to stagnate When I wrote my first writing guide I was editing and we must always be on the lookout for new a magazine, and with one published book to my ideas. name, the aim being to produce a practical nuts and bolts guide to starting a writing career, with What inspires you? plenty of additional advice from other tutors, My environment. I’m at my most prolific when in editors, authors and freelance writers. The second close proximity to woods, the sea, or mountains. guide was written to support the increasing At present I am living in Ireland with a magnificent number of writers’ workshops I was tutoring; as view of the Galtee Mountains. When I live in an the first book had passed its sell-by date and was urban environment I really have to work hard at out of print, another completely different book getting the old creative energies to flow.

18 ~ what the dickens?


author interview Which books have influenced you the most and why? Writers rather than actual books have influenced my style of writing in terms of delivery and the clever use of language – Noel Coward, Simon Raven, Colette, Francoise Sagan, to name but a few.

to work on, plus several other ideas that are still in note-form.

What words of wisdom can you leave us with? All editors are looking for an element of action, drama or surprise, even in non-fiction. It’s what catches their attention and makes them pause to read further; and the key to any editor’s heart is originality. Not necessarily a new departure in Where and when do you write? I write better in the mornings and have a book- style or genre, but a refreshing and original slant lined study/office that overlooks the mountains. I on a popular theme. The writers whose work has prefer to work for several hours at a stretch rather been accepted for publication, managed to spark than ‘an hour a day’, and if the brain starts to slow the editor’s interest because those particular down, I take our seven greyhounds out for a walk typescripts stood out from the rest on a dull, wet to recharge the batteries. Monday morning due to the originality of the writing. What are your plans now and what’s coming up See: facebook.com/JHPCompassBooks next? There are two more books in the pipeline: Fact Blog: suzanneruthvenatignotuspress.blogspot.com Finding Mission and How To Write for the How-To Market. After that there’s the first draft of a novel

Life-Writes: Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas from... It’s Called Life (Compass Books, 2012) The second most common question a writer is asked is, ‘where do your ideas come from?’ (The first is, ‘Do you make any money from it?’). Experienced writers don’t go looking for ideas; ideas come to them. An experienced writer just has the knack of spotting what makes a good story or what will make a good story once it’s been given the right spin, because none of us, if we’re honest, will let reality get in the way of a saleable piece of work. Editors are looking for an element of action, drama or surprise, even in non-fiction. It’s what catches their attention and makes them pause to read further; and the key to any editor’s heart is originality. Not necessarily a new departure in style or genre, but a refreshing and original slant on a popular theme. Life-Writes helps you to find and develop ideas with editor appeal. We have 2 copies of Life-Writes to give away! For full details please go to the Competitions page.

the march hare edition ~ 19


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Kate Neal is currently studying for a foundation degree at Bradford. She enjoys improving her sewing, playing video games & watching Stargate SG-1.

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The March Hare Writing Inspector Bucket and the March Hare by Peter Cooper

I

nspector Bucket and I had been away in Paris until the beginning of March and so we missed the beginnings of the business with Marchand Hare. Bucket, of course, was a very famous detective back then in the 1850s, as you might remember from Charles Dickens’ account of him, as well as my own story about Bucket and the Beast. Usually Bucket would know what crimes were being planned on his patch almost as soon as the perpetrators, for he could rely on regular information from his blowers, or informers. Thus it was that on the first night after our return we had some catching up to do. Bucket’s method was to conduct a trawl through the back alleys, secret dens and courts of Cripplegate and Seven Dials and pick up information on the hoof, so to speak. But it was late already and, by now, Bucket would have expected to have seen the familiar crew of dippers, mug hunters and bludgers that plagued the area. But that night the streets were deathly quiet. “Barney Jute!” hissed Bucket when at last he saw a face he knew. We were at the nether end of Lawrence Street when he saw this cove emerging sheepishly from the gin palace. “You look like you’ve been in a scrape, my lad. What’s occurring?” said Bucket laying a finger on Barney’s shoulder. “Oh, it’s you Inspector Bucket, I thought for a minute you was ...” But the nervous pick-pocket stuttered to a halt, looking up and down the street fearfully. “Thought I was who, Barney?” said Bucket. “No one!” muttered Barney, executing a sudden turn and running off into the dark alleys. Bucket was, of course, used to his familiars making sudden exits when they saw him coming their way, but Barney Jute seemed more than

nervous of the law; he was terrified by something or someone. What’s more, Barney had a black eye and a livid cut to his left cheek bone, both of which were new features on this particular face. Making our way to Seven Dials, where Bucket might be certain to meet one of his many informers, we were surprised to be met only by silence in the Roke Lane Beer House. Much of Bucket’s intelligence was sourced from the night houses and beer shops of the old rookeries, but tonight this one was all but empty. As always, the place was lit by the most meagre of lights but Bucket could see, even in the gloom, that the few customers that were here were nursing wounds and bruises from blows to the head. One or two very odd and violent-looking characters were skulking in the darkest corners, but it was not hard to detect that they were sweating heavily and were very flushed in the face. This didn’t seem to be merely a reaction to the sight of the famous Inspector either. Bucket glanced questioningly across at old Paddy, the proprietor, who was keeping his station behind the counter. But Paddy too was reluctant to meet Bucket’s eye, looking away into a distant corner. “Well,” said Inspector Bucket, turning to me, “There’s something dark going on here, my lad but as it seems no one wants to talk to me about it out in the open, we’ll see if anyone’s got something to say to me in secret, shall we?” It was much later that night when there was a quiet knock on the back door of Albion Cottage, the house in Vauxhall where Bucket and I lived at that time. Bucket took a candle to the doorway and its light picked out the shadowy figure of the nervy pickpocket who had given us the slip earlier in the day. “Ah, Mr Jute,” said Inspector Bucket, “I thought we might get a call from you this evening. You’re just in time for our tea party. Come in, come in.” Barney looked nervously up and down the quiet road before dipping his head under the low lintel. “I need your help,” he gasped out as Bucket shut and barred the door.

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the march hare writing “Spit it out then, Barney,” said Bucket. “It’s Marchand Hare - he’s gone mad!” “Marchand? You’re pocket-dipping for him now are you, Barney? What’s that old crook been up to? He’s usually the docile sort, as his type goes.” “Well, he ain’t at the moment!” said Barney, feeling his black eye. “And nor are his bludgers, they’re all running amok like bedlam cases.” The bludgers were Marchand Hare’s hard men. Hare himself had a penchant for bank break-ins and safe-cracking, but Bucket had been unable to catch him as yet for anything incriminating. “Why are they laying into you then, Barney?” asked Bucket. “You’ve not been putting your hand in his pocket have you?” “They’ve been laying into everyone. They’ve got some sort of job on and they’re jumpy with it, coshing anyone that says ‘er’ to them!” “What job, Barney?” Bucket asked calmly. “I don’t know, Mr Bucket, really I don’t, but if you don’t stop ‘em it won’t just be the likes of me getting beaten up. They’ll break the bones of any poor person who happens to brush against them in the street. They seem to have lost their senses.” “All sweaty and flushed are they, Barney?” asked the Inspector. “Why, yes, Inspector. How the devil did you know that?” Barney Jute asked with incredulity. “I thought I saw one or two coves who looked like that behaving peculiarly in Roke Street tonight,” Bucket said. “That’ll be them then!” said Barney. “And what about Marchand? Is he sweaty and flushed too?” asked Bucket. “And worse!” said Barney with feeling.”He’s always scratching himself and he don’t look like he’s been sleeping neither.” “Losing his hair too I expect,” said Bucket. “Why, yes!” said Barney with astonishment. “And where did you see Mr Hare last, Barney?” “You’ll nab ‘im won’t you, Inspector?” Barney asked shakily. “Before he has any other poor cove beaten up, I mean.” “If he’s up to mischief, Barney, you can rely on me,” said Bucket. “Covent Garden,” Jute muttered making for the door but, pausing there, added, “For God’s sake don’t let on you’ve seen me, Mr Bucket. Hare’ll have em put the punishers on me if he finds out, though I don’t suppose his bludgers’ll wait to get his permission either way!”

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“All right, Barney, I’ll keep you out of it,” said Bucket, unbarring the back door and nodding. Barney Jute looked up and down the street and then hoofed it into the night. “What now, Inspector?” I asked. “Tomorrow we’ll see if we can find a hat factory in Covent Garden.” I thought for a moment that Bucket too had contracted some of the March madness and I was none the wiser the following day when he had me scouring through The Post Office Small Directory. “Richard Jones,” I said at last, “27 Bedfordbury Street.” “Ah,” said Bucket, taking a gulp from his favourite sweet sherry. “Groves Bank,” he added. “That’s Bedfordbury Street, I thought it might have been that one,” he said taking up his copy of Reynolds’ Newspaper. “Groves have an Indian diamond in their strong room for a short while, said to be worth 1000 sovereigns. Any one might go mad for that! “ What an earth a hat factory had to do with an Indian diamond or Marchand Hare I was at a temporary loss to say and reluctant to ask Bucket about, being familiar, as I was over many years, with his enigmatic ways of working. Nevertheless, as we skulked about in the shadows of Goodwins Court, at the rear end of Bedfordbury, it was clear to me that Richard Jones, manufacturers of felt hats, caps and bonnets, had been out of business for some time, and what ever goose chase we were on it was a wild one. That is, until I saw one of the flushed-face characters from the Roke Street Beer House wheeling out a barrowful of earth from the nether end of what I had thought till then was a disused factory. Bucket and I watched as he added this barrowful to a fetid heap of earth and stones next to an old well. We got a good view of him as he looked around and began scratching irritably at his arms, legs and face, before drawing up a lime-scaled pail of water from the well. Bucket sighed. “We’ve found our spot, sure enough, my boy,” he said. “I think we’d better move fast before the poor blighters are too far gone.” Groves Bank, serving the likes of the gentlemen from the Garrick Club less than a quarter of a mile away, was a buIlding in great contrast to the dilapidated hat factory that squatted behind it. Bucket had no difficulty in gaining an interview


the march hare writing with the manager, who expressed the same sense of shock and amazement as I did when Bucket informed him of what he thought was happening. Thus it was that, at midnight, Bucket and I were waiting patiently in a little corner of the basement strong room of Groves Bank when we heard hammering sounds through the wall. With a great crash, down came a shower of plaster and dust, and a dirty head appeared in the cavity. Next, a lantern emerged with an arm attached, and head and lamp began to make a sweep of the room. We were out of sight behind a shelf of dusty files but we could see the intruder clearly by his own light. After a moment, the first intruder left his lamp and ducked back down. He was replaced by a cursing second, who, after kicking wildly with his boots to make himself more room, climbed through the enlarged hole and stood to his full height, scratching himself and looking around in irritation. This was Marchand Hare himself. He seemed to be in a frenzy, constantly jerking, kicking out and boxing with his fists at some unknown and invisible enemy, his large ears even more prominent than I had remembered them, now that he had lost so much hair. Wisps of straw were tangled in his remaining hair, and he rubbed at the lesions on his pate, neck and hands with some of the coarse strands. “Good evening, Marchand,” said Bucket, appearing suddenly from behind the shelves. Hare jerked even more frenziedly and attempted to plunge back down his hole with a curse, but the

two burly coppers with us grabbed his hands and legs before he could move. Despite his continued kicking and boxing, his efforts were weak and the officers easily restrained him. His accomplice, or accomplices, behind him, scuttled their way back into the cellar from whence they had begun their tunnelling, but it would be to no avail, as they would soon be greeted by several other officers from Bow Street Station. “It’s a good job we’ve found you in time, Marchand,” said Inspector Bucket.”We need to get you to a hospital and see if they can treat you for your mercury poisoning.” Hare looked up at Bucket with a mournful, questioning look. “That hat factory went out of business because they hadn’t changed their production methods and the hat makers all got sick. There’s enough mercury in that cellar you’ve been living in for the past few months to poison a hundred men. Too much mercuric nitrate, so my scientist friends tell me.That’s what’s been causing your tremors, your skin complaints and your violent behaviour. You’ve been living and working and keeping yourself secret down there too long, breathing in too many of the vapours seeping from that old felt. It won’t have helped your raging thirst to be drinking water from that polluted well, neither. It would have made it worse!” Bucket sighed. As they carried the poor fellow away, he looked furious. As mad as a March Hare, it seemed to me.

Peter Cooper is an ex student of the MA Creative Writing course at Sheffield University. Inspector Bucket and the March Hare is a new story by him using the character invented by Charles Dickens in Bleak House. A novel by Peter, also about the further adventures of Inspector Bucket, entitled Bucket and the Beast is due to be published by Dahlia Publishing in Autumn 2012. Peter is also the writer of The Carebot, a short story included in The Mirador Fantasgamoria. As well as writing, Peter spends his time as an amateur thespian and artist. He tweets Haiku as Percy Plum.

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the march hare writing

Savour Crumpled, Sri Lankan sun-washed leaves Greet a torrent of torrid freshness. They celebrate with pirouettes and leaps Diffusing a mesmerising bronze haze Sharing their elation, expectant aroma; Scent-laden mist tendrils swirl above. The copper-tinted silken surface settles; Their excitement simmers down to A tranquil, contented warmth As they repose in the depths Once more and await The first sip. Amina Hachemi holds a BA from Paris-Sorbonne University and an MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference from the University of Warwick. A passionate linguist, she enjoys exploring cultural experiences and perspectives through her writing and translation. ahachemi.weebly.com – Twitter: @ahach

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The Gap Dust-corded seatback, rough scrubbed my cheek the train pausing unforeseen, as if thoughtful for once while outside muslin mist and midges kettle-steam upwards in haze-ed clouds, a fox jagged in lazy rabbit-chase too well fed to care except for show, watched, in cool acceptance by a hare, scar-furred sat in sun, weak as lemon squash. We wait in the gap as the pause enfolds us both Sophie Atkinson

Sophie Atkinson lives in Hove with her husband and two young sons. She is currently studying for a MA in History with The Open University and writes her poetry in any spare time between studying and the school run.

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the march hare writing

The March Hare. By Andrea Wicks

T

he once upon a time ramblings of a teenager in the 70’s in her 5 year diary: complete with lock, key and built in time warp March 1 1974 Had chemistry test and got 9 out of 10 1975 After a lot of fuss went to see Dave Essex in Stardust at the pictures. It was really great and uplifting. Dave Essex 4 ever 1976 Went to Andrew’s wing loos with Jane and kicked a bar of soap around. I wonder if Mum’s lonely all the time. Grandmas had her appendix out suddenly. I’m very mixed up. N hates me now and I hate her. Thank you for listening diary. I’ll treasure you forever 1977 I must say feel better this year than last in one way but there’s work to be one and it torments me 1978 Made collar template in needlework. Played ‘murder” again - good laugh March 2 1976 Me and J talking again. N is a twat 1975 Kissing friends with Dave March 3 1974 Didn’t do a stroke of work in prep cos ached from hockey. Memories coming back from last year 1975 We kissed and he finished with me. I am one of his 3 best girls March 4 1975 Not talking to D. Mad with him 1976 Skin’s dry cos I washed it with soap

1977 Someone’s nicked my Kes. I feel worried, sad, mixed up about all sorts 1978 Finished my book. Ace! I have decided after reading it that I go for the distant type of man. After talking to H I have also decided that I grow on people March 8 1974 Midsummer nights Dream in English 1976 Did you know that Nivea only softens! 1977 I’m so fat and unfit. Wrote crap in English essay 1978 Went to library to work but instead I wrote a poem cos I felt like the desolate poem I wrote. I feel weak and low March 9 1975 At night had a cry. Just what I needed 1976 Had a bath and gave myself a beauty treatment 1977 Went to see Grandma and Granddad W but they were asleep 1978 Did meal on wheels for D of E. Me and Jane picked to go to Population Concern Conference in London. Wrote up my poem and felt down again March 10 1974 Chapel, Aunty Ruth’s, dinner, tv, tea, washed hair, watched film, bed 1976 Played 10 games of backgammon. Want to do well on o levels 1977 Charity 3 legged football on Green. Sold donuts 1978 Had German measles jab. Made me feel weak and almost cried. Think I may have a needle phobia

March 5 March 11 1975 Had radiogram put in. Spring really coming. 1976 One of those nothing days. Last night had a Lovely day bit of a weep. I just lay and thought of my darling witty dad who was so fun March 6 1978 Taping stuff. Pissed off with Spike 1975 M got off with Spiky. Had bug hunting cos nits are going round! March 12 1976 Went to Maggie’s. Ate loads. listened to 1977 Bought Carole King Tapestry LP records. V Cold 1978 Read book in careers library and sprawled out March 13 1976 Had haddock, chips and peas. Grandma’s March 7 out of hospital. Had appendix out just in time 1974 watched Miss England on TV before it ruptured. Huge scar on her belly

28 ~ what the dickens?


the march hare writing 1978 Reading fashion book. Washed my hair in a sink. Watched play on tv ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’

March 23 1977 Going to see Macbeth at Stratford next term

March 14 1976 Robert left the tech’. Granddad says he’s unsettled and Dad’s on his mind. Our family’s so muddled. Gosh I wish Dad was here 1978 Had another jab and blood test

March 24 1974 Mother’s day. Don’t feel well. Bitter cold boring day 1977 The Dance was good. Think my style has changed. Soul man! 1978 Read book

March 15 “Hi Andy. I’m a bit attached to you at this minute. March 25 Thanks for being a lovely friend. Jane.” Me and 1978 Watched Oxford Cambridge boat race and Jane are blood sisters ( see patch of blood on left!) wept at Wuthering Heights on tele. Sad and good. Think I’m going through a romantic era in life. I March 16 keep wanting to go back to the 1800s 1975 In meeting Mr Alison said that God takes the good ones first March 26 1978 We won the sexy legs section at the Ugly 1977 Mum’s gone to London for the weekend with Bug Ball. Had a good bop the WI 1978 Watched Love Story. So sad and deep and I March 18 think I am in love with Ryan O Neal 1977 Bloody freezing in my bedroom March 27 March 19 1976 went to new library in Town. It’s huge and 1974 Wrote out all of Joseph and my fingers ache modern. Bought Mum tulips for Mother Day 1976 Final game of hockey before 5th form tomorrow. Washed my greasy hair 1977 watched Rich Man Poor Man 1977 Hailstones... very cold 1978 Jane came to stay. Ponies got out again. 1978 Watched Victory at Entebbe and was proper Normal rainy day sad. God it’s happening right now March 20 1974 Sang Joseph in Meeting House. Went to Maggie’s and stayed for tea

March 29 1974 Mum and dad went to London for the day. I read my book and bed at 9 1976 Mother’s Day. Did all the ironing and got March 21 a sore thumb. Had a ride up to Sutton Bank in 1975 Set off for skiing. Met a few boys already. North Yorks. 130 miles. Had tea at Fortes cafe on March 22 Quite a few boys fancy me and one way back bought me a drink. March 23 Nothing happened 1977 Made some popcorn in a pan that Mum with Pierce. Just saw him. March 24 maggie is brought from London going out with Marty but nothing happened with 1978 Went to Aunty Elsie’s. Lisa’s got ginger hair Pierce. I want to go home. March 27 Got talking to a nice boy on the plane home. He winked and March 29 said goodbye to me 1974 End of Term 1975 Sprained my ankle March 21 1976 Nothing much going but did little things to 1977 In bed all day.. ill.. Very depressed keep me occupied 1977 More popcorn. Phone out of order so went March 22 to box to call Sue. Had to queue 1977 Really notice coming of spring this year 1978 Went to York to see Jane. Walked to the farm more than ever. Blossom outside the window from Sutton. Walked to the wood and picked 1978 Read my book. Don’t feel too happy daffies. Read a bit. Looked at the river at dusk.

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the march hare writing March 30 1974 Grand National. We all at a bet between ourselves. Rob won 1975 After breakfast went for a walk. Very cold. Today is Easter Sunday 1976 Chips and beans for dinner. Read on a poster ‘a good friend never lets you down’ 1977 Sue came. Went to town. Bought a pair of Falmers and both got bikinis. Had a drink in a cafe. Played Monopoly for hours 1978 Tired felt down and crap and looked awful March 31 1974 Dad working on the new house. Moving and burning wood with him. Lovely tea 1975 Rainy and cold. Went to Belle Vue in Manchester. On way back stopped and had tea on the moors 1976 Went to Windle’s and they don’t know that I spilt sherry on their posh settee 1977 Phone working. Maggie rang

Curse of the March Hare By Cleveland W. Gibson

T

he gravestones smashed on their own. The loud sound cracked the night air but fright drove the regulars to keep on drinking. I was petrified. I gulped my beer. A second sound emitted from within the Cotswold stone fireplace as the flurry of black ‘snow’ or soot dropped quickly down the chimney to spread out in a circle around the hearth. “The curse,” the man whispered gruffly. He mopped his face with a red spotted hanky. “The March Hare,” he added. “More like a mad hare or a ghost.” *** My journey from London to Oxford had been quick and I’d pushed on toward Swindon. But whilst still on the A420 a lighted sign swinging in the breeze caught my attention. It was the sign for ‘The March Hare’ pub on the outskirts of Faringdon. Something about the sign gripped my

30 ~ what the dickens?

1978 Cleaned the outhouse with Steffi. First time in years. It’s the sort of thing I used to do with Dad. Later Steff put plaits in my hair and I looked like a right fool Andrea Wicks: Wannabewordsmith. I love the fizz of words pulling threads from my brain: then moulding them on the page. The ordinariness of life, common language and words sparking off each other, inspires me. Less is more, so poetry and flash fiction suit me best. Listed author on Paragraph Planet.

eyes to force me to stop for the night. I was tired, in need of rest, good company and beer. The Landlord of the pub confirmed he had vacancies, and I said I’d be staying for B & B. In the bar I found about a couple of dozen men drinking. They paused to see I was a stranger but nobody took much notice. As the evening wore on I grinned , spoke a few words to the Landlord and explained what I was doing. “I’m Tom Moffitt, I said, “I work for the Noel Hawthorne Theatre Company. I had a call for props, then yet more props from the boss. I need to be in Cornwall on Monday with the boxes of stuff for a new production.” “Sounds interesting,” a regular commented. He shook hands and though he looked old I felt strength in his grip. He adjusted his red spotted neck tie. I laughed. “Oh, it is. I enjoy supplying props for certain Shakespeare plays,” I chatted on, often slurping my beer in my excitement at finding such a ready made audience. “Like McBeth, with the witches and all that?” somebody tossed in the question. “Why yes. I suppose so. Though this time I’ve a mix of stuff, taken from an old Church property.


the march hare writing Well legend has it , that’s what it was at one time until a recluse from India bought up the place. Lived on his own, and only his son knew a bit about him. It was his son who sold me the stuff collected over the years in boxes. Strange items. Black netting. Stuffed animals, and talismans said to ward off evil curses and the like.” At my words a certain look passed from one man to another. I caught that look but didn’t know what it represented. “Go on with your story,” the old man said. He loosened his neck tie. He nodded to the Landlord before draining his glass in one quick swig. “You’ll join me in a drink of our local brew, sir.” He coughed into his fist. “What you says is interesting, and I’m sure there is more to come.” “Kind of you Mr,” I said as I raised the beer glass to my lips. “Jarge,” he replied. “Folks here call me Jarge. And you are welcome, sir.” I drank some beer and glanced at the faces of the men poised on my every word. Jarge turned. He tapped a finger against the side of his nose. Some elaborate country custom, but I couldn’t work out what it might be. A few minutes later I heard the bolts rattle across the doors of the pub. The sound caught the men’s attention. It was five minutes to midnight. I walked across to the bar for a refill. “Am I missing something?” I said to the Landlord, after he placed a pint of beer in front of me. He flicked a cloth over the spilt beer on the bar surface. “I always shuts the door toward midnight,” the Landlord said. “It’s on account of the ghost hare. This pub is next door to a graveyard and we’ve had people killed by meeting that hare or else they’ve died of fright.” He shivered. I swallowed some more beer. “Heck! What fun! A ghost, a homicidal hare stalking regulars on their way home. You can’t buy that sort of stuff. Can I take a look outside?” “No. You didn’t hear me. It’s dangerous. I bet you even forgot it is Halloween night tonight.” The Landlord was right. “True. How about that. I’d completely forgotten. How come you stay open after midnight? “Special licence, so we can drink,” he replied. “It is the only way to forget about that mad hare that hops about outside waiting to ambush

us drinkers. Lost four last year. Two the year before.” “And the police?” He shook his head. “They don’t believe in that sort of stuff.” “Hell! It were four policemen that died last year chasing the hare. So they knows how it is. Same as you do too, now.” “Yes. I suppose I do. But what made the hare turn to killing? I’m curious,” I said. “Spells and witches,” the Landlord said. “That’s what Jarge says. Ask the old codger yourself. He’ll tell you... for a pint.” *** Old timer Jarge gulped his beer and gave a deep gasp of appreciation. He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his coat. “Sir, seeing you be new to the Cotswolds I’ll explain how it were about the witches. Sometimes in the old days they used to hide in elder trees, so if the tree were cut down it often bled. That were the witches. But they also looked like plain country folk cause many of the old gals lived in houses and cottages. They’d use the chimney as their escape route to leave their dwelling without being seen. One witch, Black hearted Martha, took on the form of a ghostly hare. Martha haunts the graveyard. Folk insist somebody put the jinx on her and her spirit hated that and wanted revenge.” Jarge dropped his head and then straightened his red spotted hanky around his neck. “How to stop her? I knows your questions, sir. But I’ve done with finding how to solve the problem.” “What do you need?” I asked, with a stupid grin on my face. “How’s that?” Jarge asked. “Well as far as I know,” I said, trying to find the holdall I’d dumped on the floor. “It is always the best and the only way to fight magic. I mean fight magic with magic. Now look at this stuff I’ve brought with me. I bought it from a man who a specialist collector in this field.” I emptied the contents of the bag onto the table, to spread out the artefacts and other items into some kind of order. “See these charms, are they any good.? Then what about this scarf. Supposed to have been worn

the march hare edition ~ 31


the march hare writing by a witch. Then these two talismans, another talisman in the image of a Roman God. No. What about a special bottle. Got it from a chap from India. Supposed to be good for shape changing. Then there is a wand to help spells work better. I heard sparks came out from the tip of that wand but I’ve not tried it my self.” Jarge raised his hand then gestured toward the objects. “Stop, sir. That bottle there. What’s in it? What does it do? I’d like to look at it.” I was surprised by his interest and picked up the bottle. It lay small in the palm of my hand as I gave Jarge the explanation. “I heard the bottle was bought from a fakir in India. The buyer wanted to do shape- changing. Whether it works or not I’ve not the slightest idea. I bought it all as a job lot. For a bit of fun.” I passed over the bottle and Jarge studied the writing on the label. He read the instructions several times and then he smiled. “Any good? Are you thinking of using it?” I asked. Jarge held up the bottle to the light. “Yes. My nephew was one of the policemen killed by the hare out there, but first I’d like another drink, sir,” Jarge said . “If I can trouble you that is.” I nodded and returned to the bar. While I watched the Landlord pull pints I wondered what might happen next. It was the abrupt rattle of bolts being drawn back sharply that attracted my attention. “Stop!” I turned in time to catch a fleeting glimpse of Jarge closing the door of the pub behind him. I raced across but he had jammed something up against the handle to stop me following. The others in the pub swarmed around a window and tried to sneak a view of what was

happening outside. Seconds later we saw a flash of lightening, followed by an explosion that we guessed snapped many tombstones. An animal started screaming , a hare I guessed. Then from behind me the muffled disturbance as somebody tried to enter the chimney. Soot fell in great heaps spreading out from the chimney and flooding across the hearth, and from there onto the floor of the pub. The soot seemed to be moving, at times I saw red eyes looking from within the pile of soot at me but couldn’t be sure. Instinctively I drew back and stood with the others along the pub wall, frightened and waiting for it all to end. *** At last morning came to end our torture. It had been a rough night. We never slept at all, too worried by what had happened. And worried for Jarge’s safety in his bid for revenge. The Landlord called the police and before they arrived I slid back the bolts, opened the door to creep outside. The graveyard was right next door and offered a clue to what might have happened. Every grave was trampled upon, the footprints of a bovine beast, the tombstones had been smashed, crosses scattered, flowers strewn across the footpaths as if there had been a battle. But no sign of the ghost hare. No sign of Jarge. No sign of the shape-changing bottle he’d taken. But high above our heads the sign ‘The March Hare’ started an irritating squeak. Tied to it like a mini-flag was Jarge’s red spotted hanky. Only the March Hare knew what had happened to him. I could only wonder.

Cleveland W. Gibson publishes on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com. He has worked for the Government, taught ESOL, been a carer, trained as a lifeguard and road race director. His writing has appeared in many forms. A current project is a fantasy novel, House of the Skull Drum

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the march hare writing

Wanting George Clooney We huffed, we puffed. I stripped, he rubbed, we’re on the bedroom floor. ‘The kitchen table next, my dear?’ Oh god, he’s wanting more! He wanted to experiment. He wanted to get dirty (I wanted to see George Clooney on TV at 7.30!) ‘The airing cupboard! Oh my dear, just feel that thermal lagging!’ I’m pressed against the rusty tank, my energy is flagging. His stamina’s enthused as I’m coaxed into the garage (not exactly what I craved for after 30 years of marriage) Recycling bins and cardboard, tins of paint; it all went flying. I hoped the neighbours would ignore the heaving and the sighing of my husband, ‘Yes, that’s it, dear!’ and ‘Not there! A little higher!’ (I wanted George. A glass of wine. My feet up by the fire.) ‘The bathroom next!’ He kissed my cheek. I really felt like swearing. I’d had enough, my knees were scuffed (that laminate was wearing!) I want to stop! I need my rest. My sugar level’s falling. I’m middle-aged and shaky and a nice Chianti’s calling. My joints are stiff, I’m feeling miffed as I reach the bottom stair . . . ‘You may enjoy your DIY, but I couldn’t bloody care!’ Jan Dobbs

Writer of fiction (unpublished) and humorous poems - love to raise a smile! Have had two poems published by Writers’ Forum magazine. Also a self taught artist who’s recently returned to painting & loving it! Most of my time is spent between the two arts - and tweeting! wix.com/janrdobbs/art

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the march hare writing

Dear Sappho; Agony Aunt I once was fed little women That seminal feminist text, I wanted, after a skimming, To kick men in the head. The Dormouse keeps falling asleep When I tell him why men are all pigs, And for Elsie and Lacie and Tillie He did not weep.

* * *

The Hatter killed time they say, and Has terrible table manners, Now he helps make banners which say ‘Time’s patriarchal anyway’. John Mcloughlin.

John Mcloughlin is a second-year undergraduate student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and has had a long time interest in poetry and literary theory. He most recently won a spoken word poetry competition organised by Literature Wales as part of Cardiff ’s Day Lit festival. His favourite colour is purple, sometimes green.

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The Day I Was Saved By An Angel By Sandra Yuen Mackay

I

t started out as an ordinary day as I played with my younger sister in the front yard of our pretty, white stucco house. It was just before noon and the sun was trying to break through the clouds. The air carried the scent of Mom’s lilac bushes that she planted last year. There was the faint buzz of bumblebees, sounding like violins playing not quite in tune. With their yellow and black coats, they blended in with the buttercups. Our yard had its fair share of dandelions. We plucked them to make pretend dandelion tea with the play tea set that I got for Christmas. We decided to play “throw me the ball and watch me miss it.” We had an inflatable red and white beach ball bought from the toy store. When my sister held it, I could only see the top of her head and the tips of her running shoes. It bounced out of reach and I chased it. Our property was built on an incline and, of course, the ball knew this. It rebounded off our birch tree and into the street. Having no sense of danger, I dashed out between two parked cars. A beat-up, black sedan barrelled down the street. I felt something push me out of the way. Screech! Thump! The car came to a halt. A victim lay motionless on the road. The driver, a grey-haired man with glasses, glanced once, and then he backed up, swerved and drove away. I doubted he cared if he had harmed anyone or anything. This time, I looked both ways then edged out from behind our family car. I looked curiously at the injured figure curled in a tight knot on the hard asphalt. “Hello, are you all right? Are you alive?” My voice squeaked. A moan, a flutter of eyelids, a shake of a wing, a scatter of loose feathers. The creature unfolded and stretched. He wore no clothes, but was covered in matted feathers. His head looked like that of a bald eagle and his hands and feet had tiny claws instead of fingers or toes. Unsteadily, the bird-man rose, ruffled his feathers, and flexed his wings. He was only about

my height and I was the shortest one in my grade two class. A gold medallion shone, dangling from a ribbon around his neck. Big, jade eyes looked me up and down. The beak opened. “You should be more careful, Sarah.” His voice was peculiar yet understandable. “That car could have hit me. You pushed me to safety. Why did you risk killing yourself to save me?” I bit my lip, puzzled by the situation. “And how do you know my name?” The jade eyes blinked. “First off, I did not risk my life. Angels never die, you know. We’re like the Omniscient One.” “The who?” “The Creator, the Almighty.” “Oh.” “Secondly,” he continued, “I know the names of many people on earth. And I was sent here to save you from what could have been a fatal or disastrous turn of events.” “Again I say, why?” I put my hands on my hips and stared at him, nose to beak. “Because Sarah, you’re important.” And with that remark, the angel poked me in the stomach with his talon. “What do you mean?” “One day, you are going to do great things.” The medallion caught the light and reflected it. I tapped my foot and folded my arms. “I’m only seven.” He tapped his claw and crossed his claws, mimicking me. “I’m only six hundred and three.” I laughed. His eyes danced with amusement. “Sarah and Melanie, are you there? Come inside.” I could hear my mother but knew that she couldn’t see me behind the car. “Oh, lunch is ready. I’ve got to go.” Suddenly, I was alone beside the family car. Scratching my head, I looked up and down the road. After kicking the ball back onto the lawn, I glanced over at my sister. She had missed the accident completely. Instead, she had taken off her shoes and socks and was rolling on the lawn. Taking her hand, I helped her up the stairs, and into the house. We ran down the hall into the kitchen. “Mom, I almost got hit by a car! Did you see it? Did you hear anything?” “Oh, my gosh. Are you hurt?” I shook my head. Worriedly, she knelt to check me for cuts or bruises but found none. “You look okay, thank goodness. What happened?”

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the march hare writing “I ran to get the ball on the road and I met an angel. He was a bird-man.” I was breathless with excitement. She looked at me curiously. “I think your imagination’s got the better of you. Maybe you should wash your hands and come to the table.” She put Melanie on a booster seat at the kitchen table. I stood on a stool at the kitchen sink, squeezed out a bit of liquid soap, washed and dried my hands. I sat down and reached for my matching Popeye bowl and spoon. “Sit properly and hold the spoon right. Soup’s hot.” “I said I met an angel. He saved my life.” My sister bumped her glass of milk. It sloshed in the cup but didn’t spill for once. “Mom, did you hear what I said?” Mom frowned. “Sarah, I’m afraid to tell you but you didn’t see an angel.” “I did, I did, I tot I saw a puddy tat!” My sister gurgled. Distracted, Mom passed her a biscuit. “I don’t believe in angels, especially ones that look like birds,” she said. “There’s no scientific proof. Maybe you were dreaming.” I wanted to protest, but instead, I sighed and blew on my tomato soup. On that day, Dad took the bus home from work. My parents took turns using the car to save money. I always waited eagerly for him to come home. I stood on the sofa and looked out the window until he came into view. He crossed from the other side of the street, and then he stopped and stared at the road. He bounded up the stairs, put the key in the lock and entered our humble home. “Louise, did a car hit a large bird or something out front? There are huge, white feathers and fresh skid marks.” “Dad, Dad. I was saved by an angel.” I smiled, hugging him around the waist. “I was almost run over, but the bird-man saved me.” Mom’s eyes got wide. “I didn’t believe Sarah when she told me. There must be a rational explanation. Let’s check it out.” Soon, Mom and Dad were out the door, on the street, looking at the ground, and talking back and forth. Unnoticed, I followed them outside.

36 ~ what the dickens?

“She’s imagining things, Louise. There’s not a scratch on her. Just leave it at that.” “I should have been more careful watching them. I was vacuuming with the TV on. I guess I didn’t hear anything.” “It’s okay. You can’t protect them all the time. Sometimes you just have to leave it to fate. Maybe someone’s out there looking out for Sarah.” “Angels are real,” I said solemnly. They looked at me and each other. Dad swung me onto his shoulders and carried me into the house. Mom prepared a dinner of roast beef and mashed potatoes. I ate slowly, watching Melanie play with her peas. Afterwards, Dad put on his reading glasses and flipped through the newspaper. Mom cleaned up, put my sister to bed and tucked me in. She read me Cinderella, my favourite fairytale. “Is it possible for fairies or angels to change my life too?” “I don’t know exactly what happened today. Let’s just say I’m just glad you’re safe. Goodnight, dear.” “Nite.” She kissed my cheek and turned off the lamp. After she left, I climbed out of bed and put my hand in the pocket of my sweater which rested on a chair. My fingers recognized the round shape of the medallion. Holding the precious object, I got back under the covers and rubbed my thumb on the smooth surface. To my delight, it glowed in the dark. After the angel had vanished, I had picked the medallion up off the road and put it in my pocket. Afraid to be accused of stealing, I hadn’t told my parents about it. It was my secret. “Thank you, Angel.” I said. From the darkness, a soft whisper came. “Thank you.” Sandra Yuen MacKay is a writer and artist residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the author of My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness and Hell’s Fire. symackay.blogspot.com


the march hare writing

The March Hare Ears alert, lassoing the air, listening, quivering, wide-eyed, aware. Why leap so high, reaching for sky? Ready-steady-go. Frightened of man and the earth’s pull Mad March hare bounds in parabolas off to a place with no parameters saner than unhappy troubled man who wheels fire at frustration, shouting, denying, betraying his neighbour, unable to see. March hare leaps up and out, jumps to the moon, looks down and laughs. Or cries. Hare in the Moon dances from crater to peak prances through sunbeams and unblemished land master of glee and insouciance. Yet still no-one sees him, or pretends not to see too busy wielding the gun and the bomb or the judgmental finger and missing their target because it’s intangible. With hare it’s What You See Is What You Get: escaped March hare frolicking, pointing his paw at the world spinning on in smoke clouds and explosions, where underneath the tunnels of evil dig the earth’s downfall. Jugged hare in a bottle stares out with no eyes So run hare, run. Angela Howard

Angela has had short stories, poetry and novel extracts published in UK & US presses: Orbis, Chapman, New Writing Scotland, Paris-Atlantic, Littoral, Upstairs at Duroc, Poetry Scotland. Faber/Ottakar runner-up poetry prize. Readings in France, England, Lucian Blaga University, Romania. BBC broadcasts on Anglo-Saxon literature. She runs creative writing workshops and lives in France.

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the march hare writing

False Alarm By Jacqueline Pye

Naturally I was surprised and pleased to see the invitation shoved through my burrow box. The badger postie shouted, “Invitation for you, March. Coming through.” I wish he wouldn’t read my post, not to mention letting all the neighbours know. As soon as he’d gone, I put my glasses on and had a look. The Hatter is dyslexic, but you can usually make out what he writes. Usually.

Yuo are cordal cordilly CORDIALLY invitd to my TEa PARTY Tommorrow at 7am in morning tommorrow Please will yuo bring leef tee and yuo own PICNICK and £5 and a pillow and ect. But not a hat. My deprtmnt{{ Goody. I’ll hunt out some fresh straw in the farmer’s barn. They always laugh when I wear straw around my head. Something about “You don’t have to be mad to wear straw around your head, but it helps.” But what to take with me? Perhaps some pea sandwiches – the others don’t like them so they won’t pinch them. Pea/pee confusions notwithstanding. And carrot mousse – last time I made that, had to keep reminding the dormouse that it wasn’t made out of carrots and mouse. He won’t eat it anyway, just in case. Parsnip tea, that’s a given. So everything’s ready now. I’m just brushing down my fur, getting out the ticks and other things, when the badger’s back at my box. “Another message for you.” O. M. G.

SORRY. Canseled. SORRY. Pleese eat own picnick at home Reason: Dooremouse asleep in hat.

Jacqueline has been a prolific writer for many years in magazines and newspapers, mainly with non-fiction but recent publications also include flash fiction, poems, short stories and short drama. She’s a member of Southampton Writing Buddies and has four entries in their new anthology Wordfall. Her first children’s book is ready. jacpye.com jacpye.blogspot.com

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Bouquet

Bunches of us quite unexpectedly every time! Sallie Durham

Sallie Durham teaches English to all sorts of people. She has a lifelong addiction to writing, and loves zumba dancing. Sallie’s poem, Festival, was published in the winter issue of The New Writer magazine. She also recently won first place in the short poem category of the Plough Prize, judged by Sir Andrew Motion. Sallie lives in West Sussex with husband, child, cats and rabbits.

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the march hare writing

The March Hare

leverets. Then he lifted his eyes towards the dark forest and smiled. At least the adult hares had By Rosalind Johnston escaped and would be able to breed again. Back home, Michael sank into a chair; he had sudden gunshot reverberated around the been chosen to be the wretched March Hare this April meadow and the surrounding hills. year. Ironic, wasn’t it? They had drawn lots last Then another shot ripped through the melody night at the town meeting and he had got the short and Michael stopped playing, his hands still straw. He was supposed to don that costume and crouching over the black and white notes, his caper about the hills tomorrow night, on what he, ears straining to hear. Voices came to him on the who had been raised a Catholic, still thought of wind. Pushing back the piano stool, he strode as Holy Saturday. To celebrate the ‘rite of spring towards the window that overlooked his land. handed down to the people from the mists of A cluster of figures was clearly visible in the time by their noble ancestors’. He would have to middle of his field; their stamping feet betraying be jolly with a lot of people whom he feared and the fact that they seemed intent on trampling found obnoxious. down the fresh, new grass of spring. The men’s backs were hunched in a close-knit circle. He *** glimpsed the movement of flailing, wooden coshes. Instantly, he knew exactly what his “That Rosenberg fellow really gets up my nose. neighbours were doing. Killing the hares. His We need to sort him out.” Peter, the town’s doctor, hares, in his meadow. almost had to trot to keep up with Thomas Within seconds, he had burst from the door and Winter’s stride. was sprinting on long legs across the field towards Thomas’s cheeks flared red as he spat out his the men, who, having failed to shoot the adult reply. “Bloody incomer. His parents ended up here hares, were regrouping to pursue the animals into from the city just before the turn of the century. the woods. Their natural leader, the farmer and They bought that farm with their city gold. I’ve Mayor, Thomas Winter, had veered off after their been on to Rosenberg to sell me the meadow quarry, which had managed to flee as far as the for years, but he’s always refused. I think our field boundary. music teacher is too keen on sitting at his piano The men turned their faces in unison as Michael’s and gazing out at the vegetation. Or looking at outraged cry reached them, and their expressions attractive, young men.” soured. Winter stepped forward, his bulky body The group all snorted with laughter at their almost swelling with his sense of authority, but leader’s humour. They had reached the council the smaller man was undeterred. chambers where there would finalise the plans for “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Saturday night. Enjoying having a rapt audience, “Just doing our duty as citizens and ridding the Thomas warmed to his theme and began to countryside of vermin. You should know better mimic Rosenberg, putting on an effeminate air that to allow the likes of hares to proliferate on and pretending to play an invisible piano. When your land. They breed disease and bring bad luck the laughter subsided he spoke clearly, calling for to all those whose paths they cross. We’re saving silence as the doctor stood up to speak. you the trouble of dealing with them yourself. “My eminent brother, the leading bishop of You should be grateful.” our sacred Church, has asked me to oversee the “But this is my land. You can’t just come and kill protection of our community’s health and lineage my wildlife.” and Pastor Franks has agreed to assist me by “I’m sorry, Mr. Rosenberg, but as Mayor I can. examining parish records. All you whose families Now, get out of my way.” Thomas beckoned to his have been here for generations are to search your companions and the men disappeared into the minds for any indication of racial pollution or dense wood without a backward glance. Michael degeneracy among our more recent citizens.” turned slowly and retraced his steps towards the site of the hares’ form where he stood stricken *** among the still-twitching, mangled bodies of the

A

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the march hare writing Pastor Franks knew that Rosenberg only came to church when all the town’s inhabitants were required to attend. This Saturday evening, Franks noticed Michael’s eyes flinch away from the altar and deliberately approached him, making pointed references to his frequent absence and even asking about his Catholic background. After several uncomfortable minutes, Michael escaped through to the hall where the food and kegs of beer were laid out and people were gathering. He scanned the faces already seated around the trestle tables and caught sight of Winter and the little doctor and opposite them the place reserved for the man who was the March Hare. Reluctantly, he made his way over and sat down in the honoured seat. Pastor Franks stood to open the proceedings with a prayer. “O God who created this chosen nation, at this time of Nature’s rebirth help us to expunge anything from our midst which would displease or cause you to turn away from us. As we enjoy the bounty of your earth, may we give you our total allegiance. Amen. Now let’s tuck in.” Thomas Winter piled the fried sausages, potatoes and cabbage onto his plate and began to shovel the food into his mouth, as did his companions. Michael took a small portion. “What’s the matter, Rosenberg? Don’t you like eating the sausage?” whispered Winter, under his breath, “I heard you are partial to a bit of sausage. That’s what you make all those trips to the city for, isn’t it? To purchase a tasty bit of sausage for yourself. Something to suit your own particular taste?” The musician tried to ignore the comments and steadily chewed his way through the first course, the food sticking in his nervous gullet as he swallowed, until at last the hunting horn was sounded as the signal for him to slip out and don the costume of the March Hare. As soon as Rosenberg had gone, Doctor Müller began to speak about the importance of surnames in the quest for purity. A name could be an accurate indicator of lineage. Could the assembled men think of any names which might be tainted? Those listening were suddenly embarrassingly quiet. Each one averted his gaze, but there was only one name on everyone’s lips. Only one man in the town had an obviously Jewish-sounding name, and a typically Jewish profession. ***

Michael played the Hare to perfection, chasing the good women of the town in order to give them a furry kiss and letting the children take turns to ride on his shoulders. His face was completely hidden, except for his eyes which reflected the flickering flames of the festive bonfire which it had been his privilege to light. All too soon, it was time for the women and children to head back home and for the real business of the evening to begin. The men of the town had been downing ale all evening and were already drunk when they began the ritual. The March Hare was handed the flaming torch which he was to carry up the hill in order to light the beacon there, before he had to try and make his way back home without being intercepted by anyone. Michael, allowed a head start, found his gloved hands were already sweating with anxiety as he set off, jogging through the forest and up the steep scarp. Thomas Winter was bent double with a stitch; fatty food, beer and running uphill did not go together. “You, Müller, you stay here and guard this track back into the town. Fischer, you stay with him, and don’t forget to listen for Rosenberg creeping through the undergrowth. Stark and Franks, wait by the old droveway and head him off if he tries to take that route. I’ll go with Braun and guard the main track from the hilltop. Remember what we decided. There’s only one way to tell and he’s not going to show us, so we’ll just have to take a look ourselves, won’t we. And give him a bit of a beating to show him who’s boss and that we don’t allow degenerate behaviour here.” *** The demonic chanting accompanied the jagged shadows which marched across the ceiling of the room. Michael managed to crawl towards the window and peer onto the street below, his bruised limbs sending spears of pain as he moved. Out of bloodied and swollen eyes, he could see a forest of flaming torches, held aloft by his fellow townspeople. Their animated faces were clearly visible and the word that they shouted in thundering unison echoed across the small street, “Mischling! Mischling!” The pack fell silent. A crash of shattering glass resounded through the still, night air as a rock smashed its way towards him. Then another window pane lost its flame-filled reflection as it broke under

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the march hare writing the hail of rocks. Bürgermeister Thomas Winter hurled the first burning torch and the men watched as flames enveloped Michael’s beloved piano and eventually the rest of the room. Soon the stairwell was ablaze and the crowd roared at the sound of crashing timber. Hungry for final destruction, the flames leapt onto the top floor. The roof collapsed with a shudder and clouds of brilliant sparks were swept upwards into the dark sky. *** Sunday morning dawned bright and cold. The night-revellers were dragged out of bed by their wives and scolded into readiness for the eleven o’clock church service. Many councillors were also members of the brass band, but they made a sorry sight as they trudged down the road towards the church, led by the Bürgermeister. As the procession passed the still smoking ruin of Rosenberg’s house, the playing faltered and the shocked women ceased to sing. The bedraggled townsfolk of Schwarzburg filed into the welcome silence of the church and their eyes automatically lifted towards the main altar. The sacred book which guided their lives, a leatherbound, gold-embossed copy of Mein Kampf lay there and above it the emblem which inspired their faith, the Nazi swastika, was emblazoned. Sitting in the pews at the end of the service, Thomas Winter leant towards his friend, the eminent doctor, seeking reassurance. “It is only Jews who are circumcised, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a foolproof test, isn’t it, Peter? And then there’s the name! Rosenberg is always Jewish?”

Blood Diamond By Owain Evans

J

ust stretching your minds, that’s all. Stretching it like cold, wet putty in my hands. That’s what people don’t get about the brain: it’s all water. It dribbled through my fingers and spilled on the floor. You slipped in it, didn’t you? I can tell by the red on your shoe. I didn’t. I saw it, you see. I’m special; a diamond in your restraining rough. The interesting thing about diamonds, you see, is that diamonds are made from carbon and so are we. Humanity. We’re all diamonds, I suppose.

42 ~ what the dickens?

His learned friend looked perplexed. “Well, there are a few cases of circumcision being performed for purely medical reasons, you understand. So it is possible that Michael wasn’t circumcised as a Jew… but no, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t so in this case. And as for the name Rosenberg. Undeniably Jewish. And he was most probably homosexual.” The pastor leaned forward, “Michael was definitely not homosexual. His fiancée died of Spanish influenza and he vowed never to marry.” The doctor’s lips thinned in an approximation of a smile; how he hated to be proved wrong, but the Bürgermeister for whom the question of homosexuality was of minor importance compared to the race issue, sat back and felt a sense of relief, until a sudden awful realisation hit him. “But what about our honoured, national leader, so close to the Führer and in charge of ideological guidance. His name is Rosenberg, isn’t it? Alfred Rosenberg.” *** Gunshots reverberated around his meadow and the surrounding hills as the Bürgermeister veered off towards the woods to retrieve the long, limp bodies of the hares, which, this time, had managed to flee only as far as the field boundary before they were summarily shot. Rosalind has had poems published in SOUTH as well as her translations of the German poet, Paul Celan published. Having taken part in the March Hare festivities in Germany in 1974, she felt inspired to write a short story Another cool fact about diamonds is that only diamonds can cut diamonds. But tonight isn’t what they mean when they talk about blood diamonds. Now, be a diamond and loosen these, sir. They’re chafing my wrists. Owain Evans is a young, Welsh writer currently studying English and Popular Culture at Cardiff Metropolitan University who will soon begin studying a Masters degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not describing himself, he’s writing, writing, writing. Blog: owainglynevans.wordpress.com


the march hare writing

The Quest I heard her call as she ran down the dark alleyway Golden hair lit up in the murky darkness. ‘This can’t be,’ I thought, hesitating to follow My feet rooted in concrete, as I Watched her disappear under the arches, Through a time tunnel of silence. Shivering I noticed the glow of her. Feet dangling, suspended above the cobblestones Botticelli’s Primavera, hovering like a humming bird Heavy footed, I anxiously trailed behind, unable to see her Only the sound of my footsteps echoing in the gloom As I too disappeared into the miasma of that dark alleyway. Lost in the ether. The wet moss dripping from the walls, Splashing its dewdrops into the open mouths of distorted gargoyles. Heart pounding. Drip. Drip. Trip. Trip. Stumble. Fall Only a memory of disembodied, floating. Sucked in by the exhausting wetness, Trembling like a lost lamb, seeking its mother. On and on, I ran but gained no ground. Fixed as if bound. Enveloped in an all-encompassing darkness. Searching for the golden glow, that had lit the alley Like a phosphorous flame, burning into my soul. Oppressed, by silence. Scared. Alone. Chilled to freezing, numb to bone. Only an echo, clattering on cobblestones. Crouching in agonies of deep despair It touched my face and pulled my hair. I hesitated in the cold, dankness, struggling to breathe the march hare edition ~ 43


the march hare writing

Then brightness, lightness, split the night. Blinding, dazzled by the light. So much sound! A merry go round. Demented figures. Prancing! Dancing! Jingled, Jangled. Discordant tunes with voices mangled. A hurricane of sound and din. A thin man, ribs protruding like a skinned carcass, Leapt on a bed of hot coals. Demonic laughter like someone scratching chalk on a blackboard Lost amid tarot signs and a melee of foreign tongues. Chatter, pitter, patter, glitter. Spiralling bodies drenched in sweat, Cuckolds, cackling, bonfires crackling Toothless hags, gums screeching. I knew this scene. I remembered well Hieronymus Bosch and his vision of hell. I spied her. Amongst those strange, contorted figures Smiling, and fading like a human Cheshire cat She waved farewell, like an air borne mermaid Searching for that which I could not find. Only phantasms in the mind. Jacquee Storozynski-Toll

I am a middle-aged actress and writer who has submersed herself in the life of Victorian England. I recently completed an English Degree as a mature student and have had my novel But a Walking Shadow published. It is a dark, gothic tale of disillusionment, tragedy, loss, rape, lunacy, child abuse, and frustrated love set in Victorian England. I am busy working on a second novel as well as poetry.

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The Collector By Peter Warwick

T

he Hare took his gold fob watch from his waistcoat pocket, and peered at the ivory face. He grunted his annoyance as he found it difficult to read with the full moon reflecting on the glass. He tilted the watch until he could see that it was one thirty two a.m. Perfect. He stowed the watch safely back into its pocket and surveyed the building sat in the valley beneath him. The remote farm stood in the harsh shadows thrown by the tall oaks that embraced it and the Hare could envision no problems with entering or leaving the building. He had four such visits to make tonight, so he could not waste time. The Hare thought back to the previous year. That had been a real rush, sometimes he had as many as seven children in the strict time window allowed, so just four tonight would be easy. The Hare glided down to the house and slid through its ancient walls with ease. He was confronted by a typical farmhouse kitchen. Large range and kitchen table, rows of boots and shoes against one wall underneath a dozen assorted coats and jackets. There was evidence of a tidy mother, rows of gleaming pots and pans on tidy shelves, breakfast bowls and cutlery already for the morning’s early start. The two grey Lurchers curled as one on the blanket in the corner slept on, completely oblivious of the Hare’s presence. The Hare glided through the door and up the narrow staircase. He noted there was a child’s safety gate at the top and half way down the stairs where they made a sharp right hand turn. He paused at the top, and listened for any sounds. It was particularly important that the parents were sound asleep. The last thing needed was for a mother finding her child’s bed was empty in the early hours of the morning. He could hear that noise that humans made when deep in sleep. Snoring they called it. Hare regarded it as one of those human traits he found particularly distasteful. He did have the advantage that he never required sleep, another human and animal trait that was so annoying and wasteful. Time was too precious to let it pass unnoticed and un-used. Hare stood in the child’s bedroom doorway. He could see the tousled blonde head just protruding from under the Hello Kitty duvet, and a Raggedy

Ann doll with staring eyes clutched tightly against her cheek. Hare knew that she was almost five in human years, and her name was Ali. He knew by heart all the names of the children he was to collect in his area, the location, layout of the home, any likely situations that could hamper his work. Planning was all important to the Hares. There were many of them, all with different assignments, areas and timespans. They had been given the name Hare by one of their founders. Apparently derived from an old Gaelic word meaning ‘long-lasting’, their founder deemed it suitable as the Hares were eternal. The Hare started towards the child, and then moved back swiftly against the wall as she gave a startled cry followed by a deep sobbing. Hare had seen this before; the child was having an illusion, a deeply affecting brain image which humans called ‘dreaming’. Children were particularly affected, more easily distressed as their imaginations created more stressful situations which they called ‘nightmares’. Hare had often thought that there were many advantages to not requiring sleep. ‘Alright Princess, mummy’s here now.’ The child’s mother was at her bedside in an instant, smoothing the blonde ringlets from her eyes, and kissing her gently on the cheek. If the woman had glanced across the room in Hare’s direction she would only have seen the brightly decorated wallpaper, as Hare had swiftly shapeshifted to merge in with his background. Within a few minutes the child was sound asleep, wrapped up snuggly under her duvet, and Raggedy Anne tightly clutched again. Her mother backed slowly out of the room, pausing for a moment to make sure her child was soundly sleeping, and then returned to her own bed. Hare now knew that he had a potential problem. The mother would be super attentive to any noise that Ali might make, and would be only lightly sleeping, the way all mothers do when concerned about their children. He glided through the wall into the parent’s room, and merged with the rose patterned wallpaper whilst the parents slowly dropped off to sleep. Hare glided across to their bed and extended his right arm to hover just above the woman’s face. From his forefinger the nail extended and crackled with light blue electrons as he gently touched the woman’s brow. She would sleep for the next two hours at least, more than

the march hare edition ~ 45


the march hare writing enough time. Hare looked down at the man. He was already snoring again, but he lightly touched his brow with the fingernail. It was better not take any chances. Now he was satisfied that all precautions had been taken, Hare returned to Ali’s bedroom. He stood to one side of the bed and gently drew back the duvet. The little girl screwed her face up and rubbed her nose, but slept on soundly. The Hare stood over her and held both arms palms down over the sleeping figure. Slowly, the finger nails extended from all his fingers, and the soft blue electrons crackled and glowed. The air was charged with energy as Ali slowly lifted from the bed, hovered then glowed as her form slowly changed, and dissipated into a myriad of millions of sparks and glowing lights. Then she was gone. He was about to turn from the bed when he noticed that Raggedy Ann stared up at him accusingly. Ali had dropped the doll, and the rules stated that children’s comfort aids accompanied them. Hare extended his arms once more, and Raggedy Ann disappeared in a flurry of glowing energy. The Hare fetched out his time piece and noted the time. He had no time to waste; a busy night still lay ahead. Within moments he was down and out in the moonlight, heading for his next assignment. ‘Ali, hurry up, your breakfast is on the table!’ Ali’s mother rubbed her eyes. She had overslept, her husband had overslept, and on top of that her daughter was reluctant to leave her bed. She had the first signs of a headache, a hang-over almost, yet she had not touched the wine last night. It was the third time now she had called her daughter and she was starting to get irritable. She turned towards the stairs, prepared for one last angry call, only to stop with a jerk. Ali stood on the third from bottom step, hair tousled, and

still in her Barbie pyjamas. It was the expression on her daughters’ face that shocked her. Those sweet and beautiful features were flushed with what could only be sheer delight, extreme happiness and the pure joy of being alive. ‘I can see! Mummy, I can SEE!’ The breakfast bowl her mother had been clutching dropped onto the hard tiled floor, smashing into a thousand pieces with a loud crash, and the two Lurchers made a dash towards the open door, only too aware they were usually to be blamed for any upheavals causing noise. Ali’s mother gripped her daughter’s arms and stared into two large, blue and seeing eyes. ‘Tom, come quick!’ Her voice came out in a croak, she could hardly talk, yet her husband was already there, the dropped bowl had woken him and sent him rapidly down the stairs. A daughter who had lost her sight a year previously in a fall down those same stairs had that effect on a parent. The doctors had said that her sight could return one day, but they were not that optimistic. It was a miracle, a pure miracle. ‘Don’t cry darling, we should all be so happy’. Her mother wiped her daughters eyes dry. The emotion was too much for the child. ‘I am happy mummy, honest. But I can’t find Raggedy Ann anywhere to tell her!’ Against the far wall, Hare noted the outcome with satisfaction. He always checked up on the previous night’s assignments. He was incapable of feeling emotions, but what passed for annoyance spoiled the moment. The child’s toy had not been returned. Something to be investigated, loose ends were not permitted. There was only one more night until they moved into the time zone the humans called April. Tomorrow he would move on, and no longer be the March Hare.

I am ex RAF, now enjoying retirement. I am a member of The Lindum Scribes writing group, and I have written many short stories and a couple of novels. Walton Drive, an urban story of voodoo, is available on Kindle. I have had a stories published in People’s Friend, and in our group anthology. I was also listed in the 2006 H.E. Bates competition.

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the march hare writing

How the March Hare Joined the Tea Party Nonsense is the game, So don’t give me the blame! Yes it’s true, There was a March Hare at my tea party. And yes he did come out of the blue! But what’s your problem? You’re being so crabby! If you must know he’s a friend of Lewis Carroll. That could be why he likes to babble... Oh wait! I understand dear dormouse, He pinched your cheese! Well be fair, we are all in this nuthouse, So I’m sure there’ll be more as Alice agrees. Lindsay Evans

I am 19 years old studying Modern History and English at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I don’t get the chance to write a lot of imaginative work in university, so in my free time, I write novels, short stories and very random poems!

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the march hare writing

Moongazer

By Nuala Ní Chonchúir

U

p they come from the river Corrib like wild arrows: tharump, tharump, tharump. I can feel their gut and sinew deep in my breast as they bolt past. They settle then in their shallow beds and I stay as still as granite, except for hitching my shawl this way or that, for comfort. The sky is mackerel and buttermilk; I have to wait. I pass the time by remembering the island and its clear air; it never stank like this town. And I think of my husband, swallowed up by the sea so many years ago, his young body bloated and salty when I got him back. We were two months wed; we hadn’t even made a child. Dusk closes down over the riverbank by and by. The moon, I see, will be a poor lamp tonight – it is just a paring. I take a snare from my sack and set to work. I tie the snare to the sturdiest branch I can find and secure it with two twigs; I sweep my hand underneath to check it is not too low, not too high. Then I go back to my perch by the river and wait. My bonnet string itches my chin so I tease it with one finger. The grumble from my belly grows loud. I wonder if the hares will cuddle down and not bother to come out at all. But they do. One by one I hear them lollop about; they stop, testing the air with their noses. One of them – a

doe – is a moongazer and she sits on her haunches and turns her face to where the slice of moon rests. Then on she goes. She is my lady. I follow her down the narrow run where I set the snare and, sure enough, she is snagged there. The doe lurches forward and gets bogged deeper into the wire hoop. ‘Go easy, girl,’ I say, rubbing the plush length of her. ‘You’re a fine lassie.’ I grab her ears and flip her; I slice her pale belly in one quick move. Out plops a sack of leverets and I gasp. I look closer: three little ones in all. ‘You were luckier than I,’ I tell the doe. Tossing the babies into the long grass, I take their mother to the river to gut and wash her. It takes a while to find the cinders from my last fire but soon I am heating the doe’s carcass over the flames. The smell of cooking makes me weak and I pluck strings of pink meat and gobble them back. Looking into the fire I think again of Seáinín and the hours we spent wrapped around each other in the settle bed – every night of our marriage – with the turf glowing in the grate. I curse God for not letting a baby take inside me; for not leaving me something of my man to hold onto. If only I had a son to mind me, I wouldn’t have to scratch around on the banks of the Corrib, killing young mothers to fill my gut. I raise my face to the crescent moon and beg her to forgive me.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir is a short story writer, novelist and poet. Her third poetry collection The Juno Charm is just out from Salmon Poetry. Her fourth short story collection Mother America will be published by New Island (May 2012). Nuala’s story ‘Peach’, has been nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. nualanichonchuir.com

In early October 2010, a group of writers came together to form the Historical Writers’ Association – the HWA. This grew from the belief that we as historical writers need to have the same kind of professional body run by professional writers for professional writers (and their agents and publishers and booksellers) to sustain, promote and support each other and our work in the way that the Crime Writers’ Association provides professional and social support for its members.

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If you think you’d like to join us, or know someone who does, please mail our Membership Secretary on: tony.riches@ btinternet.com giving your name, details of your recent books and your publisher. Annual subscriptions stand currently at £75 per annum, if paid by BACS or Standing Order, £80 if paid by Paypal or cheque.


the march hare writing

What we remember fondly First cup of tea First sip— Acknowledging the warmth and comfort offered. Embracing security While affixing to our memory a comforting zone that of home and a parent waiting in attendance Never swaying or wavering— Instead always welcoming our need— For the warmth provided in that first cup… first sip… of that warm liquid known as tea a remedy to curing all. Ainee Beland

A self-published author who resides in Methuen, Massachusetts. I am a philanthropist at heart who enjoys volunteering for several charitable organizations. I enjoy leisure walks, yoga, and reading. Currently I am working on a book having to do with tea and the social aspect of tea in the American society.

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the march hare writing

The Essence of You By Caroline Auckland

M

arch 4th, the end of it all , the start of it all. The day that I went mad.

They zipped you up and took you away, still warm. I did not want you to go, but I had no choice. You had been clothed, dressed with hellebores from the garden, caressed with kisses, bathed in tears and candlelight and read bedtime prayers. You were gone, in the dark of evening time, in a black car with instructions to treat you gently. I watched you leave and then I silently screamed a primeval cry of pain and walked slowly up the stairs, my mind racing ahead to escape the emptiness that was left behind by your absence. I looked everywhere for you, for the essence of you. I shook open books but only silence floated out. The photograph albums were searched but you had only kept other people’s children. I wondered was it one of them that had come to visit you, knocking to come in. You sent him away, but the night before my madness started you said he could stay. Where were my messages from beyond? My comforting words? My mantra for the way forward without you. It was as if they were written in invisible ink and I did not have the secret pen to reveal the words. I was Peter Pan and was never going to grow old and you were my Wendy mother and never going to die. But I had been hit by the piercing arrow of truth and now life was draining out of me and I was hurtling toward oblivion. As you lay dying, I had read you Alice in Wonderland. My modulated voice telling stories as I watched your eyes caress my face with knowing looks. I had wondered what you were thinking but you would only smile. Your words had been stolen by the Leonardo’s head of Leda , that in your mind’s eye moved at the foot of the bed like a beckoning Angel. The symbolism was not lost on me. Like Alice I was falling down the rabbit hole and was feeling very small in the situation I was in. Time was running out and for you it was late, very late for that all important date. The date that has no name or time, but like the Cheshire Cat would appear every year without fail and sit and look at you and me . I now have three Alice’s, my grandmother’s, my godmother’s and my mother’s. My very own father, son and holy ghost, but this time a matriarch, the handing down from woman to woman. I gave, I read and now I receive. The mantle has shifted to my shoulders, the weight of responsibility that sometimes feels like a burden. Cloaks can shield , protect and hide, but sometimes they can conceal beauty and like a coat they can button up freedom and smother individuality .

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the march hare writing A quietness has descended and I know that my house is filled with lovely things from you. Things that can be used without sentimentality or worry of loss of value. You left me your cotton and lace handkerchiefs ‘ I want you to have them’ you said. How strange I thought at the time, but now I know that they were to wipe my tears and how many of them I have shed , how many are yet to come? We used to laugh at the amount of soap , perfume and china you gave us. Now I have bowls of loveliness, a lifetimes supply of perfume. I can wring my hands like Lady Macbeth washing out the past, regrets and grime of the day as bubbles of love caress my fingers. I can spray my body and the room with a memory of you. We can share a meal with you on beautiful plates of non-matching designs but individual style. I have your feet, one of my inherited characteristics. They take me walking when words will not come. They take me on journeys to places that sometimes I do not see as my thoughts are so busy trying to construct sentences that will flow through my protected fingers. I have been told that I have your gait, so now I feel that I walk in your footsteps. I am running to catch up with myself as I realise that time moves too quickly and I must not save the new for best, otherwise the best is for the rest. My garden is filled with flowers from you, for you, in remembrance of you. The white camellia and magnolia stellata you gave me bloom e v e r y year with beautiful buds of expectation. There is no need to paint the petals red, you were not that type of queen mother. I have lily of the valley from your own garden and a cherry blossom planted after you died, given instead of flowers for the grave. At the cemetery , we have roses, for that was your middle name. I wear rose jewellery as others would wear rosary beads. Now, I constantly drink tea and you are my companion, a constant meeting of my childhood and teenage life of afternoon tea as a treat and the kettle always being on. I have no need to tell my fortune in the tea leaves, I can tell my own stories. I am comfortable with my own

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the march hare writing madness, I am comforted by its companionable presence. You whisper childhood memories into my ears and heart and like a naughty child I run away with them and invent stories and create invisible friends. You told my children bed time stories now it is my turn to tell tales. On days when I least expect it, I will catch a glimpse of you , in the mirror. A flash of the eye, a turn of the head, a crinkle of wrinkles. So it is with some comfort that I accept the traditional saying that ‘all women turn into their mothers’, at least then you are with me. As we grow older, gone are the long summers of childhood , the nights seem longer. But now I do not mind as my fingers fit into your gloves and I hold hands with you in the dark and cold of winter. Not only the Jenny Joseph colour of ‘When I grow old I will wear purple’, but a whole collection of shades for every grey day and stormy night. The connectivity is still there, your guiding thoughts are with me in my actions. We can walk hand in hand through the rest of my life. So I have stopped searching for the essence of you as I have found it, it was within me all along.

Caroline Auckland Writer, reader, reviewer. Blog: newtonhouseltd.blogspot.com I write in words and pictures in a house filled with props waiting for their stories to be told. Equipment, Earl Grey Tea, chocolate biscuits, pen, camera and a very full mind.

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art

This was taken a Mahjong game in the afternoon in Malaysia. My grandparents used to play every week with their friends. It reminded me of the mad hatters tea party, but Malaysian style. They always had good laughs and a bit of gamble! Emma Syz: A lot of my work is about identity and place. I have photographed internationally and in and around the UK. Often the subject of my work is me, family and friends. I have tried to explore my identity as someone with duel heritage in some of my work. More recently I have been photographing the books of successful artist, DJ’s and musicians. I am also exploring their identities and the relevance of published literature in the face of new technologies such as Kindles in this project. I am concerned with the process image making as well, some of my work may appear random; the reason for this that I am attempting to create images that are challenging in some way either culturally or in composition. In a world saturated with imagery I am trying to create images that stand out and are original in some way.

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flash fiction newsflash

Flash Fiction Newsflash You may remember our Flash Fiction section from Issue 1 where we featured previous winners of the Flash Fiction competitions held on the WritersGifts website in 2011 (the precursor to this very magazine). One winner who unfortunately did not appear was D.C. McMillen from Toronto, Canada. Her story ‘The Unlucky Fruit’ won a WritersGifts competition last year and has now been featured in WTF?! An Anthology from Pink Narcissus Press. To find out more about D.C. McMillen head to her website: dcmcmillen.com For more information about Pink Narcissus Press and WTF?!, you can find their website at: pinknarc.com Corrective surgery gone wrong, punk rockers abducted by aliens, zombie sharks, dead matadors, exploding ice cream factories, and dwarfs obsessed with pomegranates are just a few of the things you will find in this anthology. From the quirky to the serious to the surreal, whatever happens in these stories is bound to leave the reader wondering WTF?!

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help! the dog ate my manuscript!

Help! The dog ate my manuscript! Share your writing problems with Gail Aldwin

I love all types of writing and genres and I can see myself writing in any one of them. How do you decide which one is the right one for you overall? Concentrating on the story you want to tell may be more important than worrying too much about genre in the first instance. You may be the sort of person who is able to write a story and then fit it into a genre, and in this way let the writing choose the genre. However, if you’re not writing with a specific audience in mind, there could be difficulties when it comes to approaching a publisher. Most editors will want to target your work to a specific market and if the work falls between genres, this makes the task problematic. Once a debut novel is successful, authors are encouraged to continue to write in the same genre to build on the following achieved through the first book. In view of this, putting some thought into which genre is right for you, is likely to be time well spent. Consider your reading preferences Writers benefit from reading a wide range of genres. It’s good to read books that fall outside your reading ‘comfort zone’ to broaden your experience. Keep a record of your reading choices and see if you have a preferred genre. If you feel comfortable writing in this genre, this may be a good starting point, as you’ll have considerable experience of the genre as a reader. Experiment with your writing Before starting on a novel, try writing in different genres to get a feel for the different writing styles: • Write a fantasy scene • Do a character sketch for a murderer • Try planning a romance

No writing is wasted: you’re building your skills and experience through all your work. Consider recycling some of your writing into pieces of flash fiction or create a short story. In this way you can extend your writing repertoire which may help you decide which genre is right for you in the long run. Try some writing exercises • Select random words from shopping lists, newspaper headlines, instruction manuals etc and see what type of writing emerges • Try emulating the style of an author you admire • Adopt the voice of a well known character and transfer them into an unfamiliar situation to see how they respond It is worth persevering with writing experimentation and exercises until you find a genre that feels right for you – one where you can sustain interest and application to complete the project. Avoid starting an extended piece of work in a genre where you’re not confident – you could end up abandoning the project to start all over again in another genre. If at the end of your novel you find that your work crosses genres, there are still opportunities to be published. Editors and agents are always looking for work that is new and fresh. If you understand genre well, you’ll be able to dovetail the conventions of each and produce a novel that is rich and compelling.

Got a question for Gail? Write to her via letters@wtd-magazine.com the march hare edition ~ 55


art

I’m Lily C, alias CakeCaptorLily, and I’m a young hobbyist manga/anime artist. Originally from China, I’m German and live in France. My drawings are inspired of the all-day life and dreams. If you like my art, please follow me on: cakecaptorlily.deviantart.com.

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the literary market

The Literary Market

In association with What the Dickens? Writing & Literary Gifts The Literary Market is a place where you can explore, connect and shop with artists both in the UK and Worldwide who hand make all things literary. A huge reason for me doing what I do is because I like to share and collaborate with others. I want to create out of all my projects an inspired literary community that work together to help each other move forward creatively.

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memories of spring... and alice

Memories of Spring... Spring – A Time for Coming-Backness

E

veryone loves it – that feeling of warmer sunshine on your skin. Everything quickens: animals, seeds, plants, even (probably) the electrical connections buried in our brains. That feeling of coming alive is not imagined – we really are waking up. People tend to sanitise spring. It is the most insipid of seasons – none of the extremes of summer and winter, none of the grandeur of autumn. We tend to overlook the delicious messiness of spring. We focus instead on the opening buds, the blossom and the fresh air – much as I have done so far. I want to right this wrong, and revel in the ooze, the splurge, the mulch and the slither of spring. First let me remind everyone that those glittering sunshine-flooded days we eulogise so often are a rarity, which is possibly why we eulogise them in the first place. Let’s face it, it normally rains for most of March and April. And that rain is a marvel. It makes an ooze of our solid wintry soil. We go out for walks and squelch back, our shoes gummed up with the downpour’s gifts: mud, grass, the odd leaf or wilted blossom. Far be it from me to rejoice in the destruction of carpets and kitchen floors,

but this grime is a sign of coming-backness. Coming-backness? Yes. Think as well of all those buried jewels – pearly roots and tubers giving birth backwards as they shoot up into that elusive warmth. Think of the striptease performed by unfurling buds at the tips of branches and firm green stalks, buds which open out their skirts like women at a carnival. All that popping, splitting, pushing, peeling and opening. Who knew spring could be so filthy in so many ways? Well, what did you expect? After all, April is supposedly from the Latin aperire: to open. But as well as opening, Spring, as I’ve already suggested, is about returning. Plants return to bloom, animals reproduce, replenish and repeat. In Greek legend, Persephone returns from the Underworld in spring, bringing the good stuff with her. And of course, spring is when we return: to the outdoors, to our brighter bolder selves. For me as a miserable adolescent, spring was always a time of coming-backness; a time of finding not just the clean (and not so clean) beauty of the world, but also those things that were worthwhile about myself. Come to think of it, that possibility of self-return still tickles me even at not-too-far-off-thirty. I wish you a happy coming-backness. Mike Rowland

Mike Rowland is an MA student at the University of Sussex studying literature 1700-1900 and is a reader first, writer second. He likes music, gin and the sea

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memories of spring... and alice

And Alice... M

y English teacher had decided we would do a read through of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as it was, she told us, a delightful story full of whimsical characters. Alice in her twee little blue dress and white apron; the Cheshire Cat with his lingering grin; the Queen of Hearts imperiously ordering “off with his head” at any given opportunity; the Mad Hatter mischievously provoking Alice at the tea party... all characters I was eager to be picked to read. So many characters, such wonderful prose, such an opportunity, ok yes, to show off a bit...11-year old me was very excited. Who would I be? Oh. The Dormouse. Right...well...hm. I have great memories of this particular teacher; she encouraged all forms of reading (she didn’t care what it was - as long as you read something, you were learning, absorbing information without

Doing an Alice... Memory L

ately it seems as if I am forever crawling beneath beds looking for her. Smaller, curlier, frecklier, and curiouser, flat on my pot-belly, nose to the page, I am there, five years old, hidden in the shadows, and lost in the worlds of other stories. A careful positioning of the book and a slip of afternoon sunlight down the side of the bed illuminates each page as I gobble up words and ignore my parents’ constant calling to ‘play in the garden...’ A small huff and I lay my face on a book because nothing feels better than your skin on cool paper on a hot day and all this reading is making me ever so sleepy. Fairytales, adventures and ghost stories piled up around me, I drift back to far more exciting places but none of them are ever Wonderland... A few years later I return to my secret room with the magical glass entrance (it’s an ex-kitchen

realising). Of course, I forgave her for denying my starring opportunity. And she was right about the book, she always was. And my Dormouse? It was brilliant (what else would I say?) and I will still squeak about being “in a treacle well” before pretending to clean my whiskers. And perhaps, having looked at my Twitter pic, it’s where my mouse originally came from. Donna Staveley @doonakebab: reader of books (avid); giver of hugs (real/virtual); maker of cake (and eater); believer of unicorns (they DO exist!); drinker of wine (explains the unicorns), trainer of juggling kittens (not really). Incessant chatterer/giggler; far too easily amused by too many things; every party should have me; novice sharer of words.

frosted, folding door with designer gravy-brown panels but it slides! It slides...) and my mother is there, drying her hands on a towel, and urging me to not hide myself away, “It’s a cupboard, darling. You can’t sit reading, writing and sketching in that tiny space all day...” “I’ve told you so many times. It’s not a cupboard, it’s my study,” I shake my head at her terrible memory and I lock myself back in via some masterful wedging of a piece of black plastic. Keys were over-rated then, and they are now. In the room which is not simply a generous cupboard suitable for very tall humans, I search through my drawings and paintings of ballerinas, My Little Ponies, and all of the elderly neighbours that I’ve added to our family in the absence of my own grandparents. ‘You can’t keep stealing old people and making them your grandma and grandpa, y’know?’ I smile at my wonky-nosed Grandma Nancy and skewiffy-eared Grandad Jack artwork then find an array of drawings of my favourite story characters... She’s not there. I run my finger over book spines, flick through more pencil portraits, and rummage through my tiny,

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memories of spring... and alice battered, paint-peeling desk and still Alice is not there... I know her and I know her world but I don’t know where I’ve placed the memory of when I first met Alice and read her story... Or indeed if I read it all but I know must have because Alice, has been, and is always with me....

BFI Shop. Let’s browse through all the bizarre DVDs we can’t afford to buy before we go into the seminar.

We are wandering along the Southbank towards the BFI on a Sunday morning when one of my closest and also ridiculously-annoyingly-cleverand-far-too-funny-for-his-own-good friends, Mike dares to suggest I haven’t read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Me: I saw Alice the other day in Brighton, y’know? It was a mural. But still.

I thumb through writing books and watch Mike as he engrosses himself in books about actors. I sidle up next to him. He reads on ever so intently.

Mike: That means nothing. Brighton loves Alice. Me: I don’t.

Me: I must have read it. I must have!

Mike: Hmmm. You said...Yet you’re still talking about her. D’you think the reason for that could Mike: Why? Because all book lovers are meant to be that she’s a terribly self-indulgent, awfulhave read every great book/classic/story of our decision-making, lost-in-her-own-world, nosey, time or face imminent death? slightly stupid girl who lands herself in the most ridiculous situations? Me: Nooooooooo. BecauseMe: Yes! Mike: You don’t want to admit that you haven’t read enough books. Finally, Mike looks up at me and slams the book shut. Me: I have! Mike: Well now, I know why you don’t like her, Mike: When?! When did you read, Alice, Sandy? SandBecause I don’t think you haveMe: And I saw her at the Tate. Not in a mural. But Me: I don’t know- But I know I have. in a book. Full of dots. Mike: How? Why?

Mike: Dots?

Me: Because I don’t like her. And because she’s Me: Yes. Lots of them. And tea-cups. And all everywhere in my life all the time. these other really cool eye-swirling patterns. It was amazing. We stop at the entrance of the BFI and Mike gives me the ‘Good god, here we go again, woman’ deep Mike: I’m sure it wassigh, and his scary intellectual arched ravenwinged eyebrow. Me: Yayoi. Me: Honestly, Mike. I keep seeing Alice-y things Mike: What-what? all the time. And I’m always ‘doing an Alice’. .. How would I know that I was ‘doing an Alice’ if I Me: Kusama. She’s illustrated Alice’s Adventures in didn’t know Alice? Wonderland. Tate. Exhibition. The shop. I looked at her bookMike: Well, I definitely do ‘know’ Alice because I remember reading the book, unlike you, but Mike: But did you read it? I have no idea what ‘doing an Alice’ is... Come!

60 ~ what the dickens?


memories of spring... and alice He cackles and puts the book back on the shelf. I ‘It just felt right...’ screw my nose up at him and walk over to the TV ‘Doing an Alice’ is me falling down a rabbitscreen and my nerves rabbit-jump. hole and waking up in Blunderland (hobbling to hospital) and later snivelling to my friend, Rachel, Me: Oh my goodness. Mike! Mike! It’s Alice! about the terribleness of it all. There! Look. Me: I’ve definitely sprained my ankle, certainly Mike rushes to my side and hushes me quickly. pulled my thigh, and without a doubt I’ve broken He grimaces at the film playing before us. my vagina! Mike: Oh good god.

Rachel: Oh my god. How?

I let out a small squeal as we watch Jan Svankmajer’s Alice talking to an array of evil paper-made characters covered in hearts babble on aggressively. One of the assistants smiles nervously at me. Mike cackles quietly to himself.

Me: The force of the fall, Rach. One leg went down the hole. The other stayed up next to the hole. And riiiiiiiippp I almost tore another hole... Rachel? Rachel? I said ALMOST.

Me: Look at all of these films, Mike. I should write down the titlesMike: Why? Because you’re more likely to watch a film than read the book? Me: Don’t be so horrid.

Rachel: Oh thank fuck for that. Me: Oh god, I didn’t even think of the fuck aspect... Rach: That’s not really a pressing issue for you right now so don’t worry too much. What’ll the doctors do about your fanny?

Mike: You make it far too easy for me. Time. We Me: Do? Nothing. don’t want to be late for our very important date, now do we? That’s not ‘doing an Alice’, is it? Rach: Nothing? I huff and follow him through the dimly-lit corridors, my mind puffing up smoky-clouded memories of clocks, locks, broken hearts and rabbit-holes. I can not remember the first time I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland despite constantly burrowing and searching my childhood but I do know why I ‘don’t like’ Alice. My memory of Alice isn’t so much a literary moment but a montage of mishaps and muddles... ‘Doing an Alice’ involves me managing to lock or get myself locked in my flat, toilets, a train, and numerous other places time and again. One day the battle between keys and me will end... ‘Doing an Alice’ is wobbly-hearted courage that hides itself away far too often and sometimes leads to me doing the opposite of what I need to do... ‘You have no job and you gave away nearly all of your stuff !’

Me: I didn’t tell them, you idiot. ‘Oh hello doctor, rabbits have destroyed my Doris. Please help!’ Rachel, I do have some standards, you know. And I might not have broken it... It’s very tender. But I am very brave. Either way I’ll do lots fannyfitness-strength-clenches for good measure... Rach: Make sure you do. I still can’t believe you fell down a rabbit-hole though. How big was it? Me: It’s all a bit of blur to be honest, Rach. The shock and speed of it all but I’d say I was definitely more than ankle-deep in it... Rach: Ankle-deep? Sounds more like a molehole... I have crawled and searched and rustled through my mind for the beautiful literary moment of when I first met Alice and her friends too many times. Now I have to accept that I just can’t

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memories of spring... and alice remember this moment. This could be due to me thumping my bonce on a hulking great parking meter as a child and losing a cluster of memories and impairing my vision for ever more because ‘I was looking at clouds, Mummy...’ However, I actually hold a great affection for Alice now. I do like Alice because I don’t like Alice. All of her mistakes feel like a lot of the mistakes I’ve made and her flaws make my nerves itch because some of them are my flaws too. Obviously Alice and I are different in lots of ways - I would never wear blandy blue all the time - but essentially when I look to Alice, I look to where I’ve made the wrong choices and wound up in ridiculous situations: I don’t know another human being who’s managed to lock themselves on a train, darling, and I’ve been to the university of life, let me tell you... I used to dislike Alice for all that happened to her and for all of her self-indulgent, self-obsessed, scatty ways... but then I realised as I kept seeing more and more of Alice all around me (even as I sit

here in the library now hiding myself away, I can see a book about Alice...She is everywhere, Mike!) that by the time she leaves Wonderland she’s done pretty well for herself and learnt quite a lot. I’d been so focussed on where Alice and I started that I forgotten about how her story ends... And it isn’t so bad after all. She follows her heart, she steps up, she struggles, and she eventually succeeds. I quite like that. And therefore from now on I’ve decided that ‘Doing an Alice’ is quite the opposite to making a mistake. It’s knowing what to do next and trusting yourself and carrying on regardless. I couldn’t find the memory I was looking for, so instead I’ll take this newly-made memory of Alice overcoming the odds and learn from that instead. And I will absolutely read the book soon. And when I say ‘read’ I, of course, mean RE-READ.

Alice in the real world... Your erstwhile magazine designer Ben as the Mad Hatter, with his very own Alice (daughter Alyssa...)

62 ~ what the dickens?


the old curiosity shop

The Old Curiosity Shop Weird and Wonderful Writerly Witterings, Tips, Tasks And Treats Sandy East

I

t is always my intention to provide a variety of writing (and resting-in-between-writing) exercises that will inspire and challenge the way you write. As spring, the season of fertility and new beginnings, is upon us the need to encourage ourselves to plant and grow more eye-widening, heart-soaring and nerve-tingling poems, plays and prose feels stronger than ever... Hopefully the following tasks will act as seeds for beautiful new ideas, or drive you to dig into something you’ve created before and feed it with something different so that your work blossoms in another way. However you decide to use these activities is up to you but all I ask you to keep in mind before you start writing are these questions:

TASK ONE: A WONDERLAND OF WORDERY...

S

o the first instruction I tell you to do is to make it new and then I give you my favourite starting point that I use with everyone I teach in schools, colleges and workshops... Bad, bad Sandy. However, my justification here is that word-pots work! There’s a freedom in writing down and cutting up an array of random or thematicallylinked words and blindly grabbing a very small

wheat

blossom coil allegory

teapot ribbon soul

Flora

Be bold, spark a charge, and go for the new... Enjoy!

handful and using just those to get you started. So many times I have students ask me if they can rifle through and choose the words themselves and of course I say NO, NO, NO! Let the gods decide what words find their way into your palm and go from there... A tad over-dramatic? Necessary. We all need a little bit of magic now and then! Even if the words you choose are ones that seem incredibly dull, stick with them and make them special, weird, beautiful, ugly, ghostly! This is your challenge...

Persephone well Venus

gold ram Sakura cat grass bud astrology

egg

green

moon

myth

Empress abundance cycle chicks Primavera grow blue clock

fertility

burn dig

1. Which idea makes you tingle the most? 2. What’s the line or image that keeps flitting through your mind at random times? Grab it! 3. If you find yourself saying ‘No way, I can’t write that!’ ask yourself if what you actually mean is ‘Oh, I want to write that but I’m terrified because I’ve never tried this before...’

hat

bounce gift goddess radiant

birds hole

moonstone heart

break blitz rabbit planet

rise seeds

festival flight

the march hare edition ~ 63


the old curiosity shop TASK TWO: REDISCOVER, RECYCLE, REJUVENATE, REINVENT, RE-IMAGINE. 1) COLLAGING: Get busy with the scissors! Take an old piece of your writing and cut it up into a mixture of smaller sentences and single words. Play around with the order, throw in new words, throw some away... Zoom in on a small, physical detail and make it huge; zoom out of a large, narrative-altering detail and make it tiny... Make your story into a small collage or simply rewrite it in a different style... 2) GOOD WRITERS BORROW: Take another writer’s words and use them as a starting point. Maybe a line from a song or an article or the title of a poem. Begin with this and develop a piece of writing that tells the OPPOSITE story to what the writer was telling, or find a smaller moment in that piece of music, writing or artwork and go forth.

7) THE GIFTS WE BRING: Gather together with one or more other writers and make story-prompt packages. The packages can be whatever size you want them to be but I think smaller is better. Fill each package (use a piece of old cloth that needs recycling maybe? Or some old wrapping paper?) with 3-5-7 (no even numbers allowed!) objects and tie with string or ribbon. Drop all of your packages into a lucky-dip box, close your eyes and choose one. Unwrap the beginnings of your story and go from there...

8) THERE’S A STORY IN THAT: Old magazines, tin wrappers, used envelopes, leaflets, and any other visual labels, covers, pictures that might be headed towards the bin... Gather them together, cut some up, leave some as they are, and drop into an old tub or container (the bigger the mix, 3) POSTCARD STORIES: Take an old short story the better) and then select 5 pieces to create a or poem or play and rewrite it on to a postcard. character. Maybe the images will tell us who the Be ruthless and allow yourself just that space to person is, maybe they’re clues to a crime, or items work in. Send it to a friend and encourage them in a suitcase... You decide and write a monologue to do the same... for your character from here. 4) GROUP POSTCARD MONTAGE: Take the postcard story further and make it a collaborative story-art project. You write a postcard and send, a friend writes a postcard and sends, then another friend writes a postcard and sends... Keep the story moving (‘The gift must always keep moving’ - Lewis Hyde) until it comes back to you. Collate with images and objects (feathers, jewels, stamps, plasters, keys - items that connect the narrative) and make a montage with the other writers, or one each. The visuality and shape of a story can alter the way we read, even if the written content is the same... 5) IT STARTS AT THE END: Take your favourite last lines of all time from your work or another writer’s, and start a poem or play there... 6) KNOW YOUR ART: Research one of the following artists for just seven minutes either on the internet or through books or a piece of art and allow that to be your springboard: Botticelli; Andy Goldsworthy; Yayoi Kusama; Van Gogh; Zaatari; Keith Tyson; Rob Ryan. Use their art as the start to your art...

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9) IN THE NEXT LIFE: Spring is all about birth, rebirth, gods, and goddesses so what better task to undertake than that of re-imagining Venus or Persephone and putting them in a supermarket car park on a Saturday afternoon on a mission to deliver a message to anyone buying bread and condoms? Or something like that. Make the old, new - ‘Go for the jugular’ Natalie Goldberg 10) ‘WE’RE ALL MAD HERE...’ – The Cheshire Cat. We love him, we loathe him. Troublemaker and story-shaker and undoubtedly one of the greatest characters in Alice in Wonderland. Along with The Mad Hatter. And The March Hare. And the- Actually it’s quite hard to choose one favourite character... Anyway, the aim of this exercise is for you to choose a character and tell their story. For example: Stick the Queen of Hearts up in a tower block and down on her luck. Have a neighbour move in...Say a young blonde? Everso-inquisitive, bit irritating, prone to making the wrong choices, and who wears blue too much. The Queen sees her and sees a way of making a few quid...


the old curiosity shop TASK THREE: WE’VE HAD THE MOST WONDERFUL ADVENTURE!

I

am guilty of hiding myself away at times and *stitch, rustle, bouff* and ta-da! Oh and add writing and re-writing and growling and glitter. What d’you think?’ occasionally snapping at another human being d) The Engineer of Life: This is the person who from a shadowy, dusty room and then writing just knows how to click this to that and make some more and then realising I’ve not got very far that wheel turn and those grooves connect and at all and that I’ve turned beige (NOTE: Anything that stick stand and so on... They don’t know turning or being beige is the most awful thing how they know, but they just know, and they that could happen in my life. I am utterly baffled know really, really well. And they’re always so as to why beige even exists at all and can only shoulder-shruggy, sleepy-smily, easy-going and assume it’s used as a form of punishment and that patient about it all...Sigh. Try not to fall in love is its sole purpose and nothing more. I apologise with this person for being so blooming clever to all beige lovers. And I pity you too.) and musty and sensible and brilliant, ok? Because this and become all hermity... And then someone says could happen. ‘What you need is some fun and to be with other people!’ and, of course, they’re right so this is Just think of all the things you could make and what you might like to do: the fun you could have. Do this! DO THIS! 1) THE CRAFT OF TOGETHERNESS: Get together with a group of friends and have a BLUEPETER day (my heart is bouncing like a rabbit chasing a carrot fairy just typing this) and make STUFF. Dig out old clothes, old buttons, string, pictures, torn books, jars, bottles, whatever you have that is currently resting in The Box of ‘I’ll Use That One Day...’ and then get busy. You could set yourselves a theme and/or aim to make items for a sale of sorts. The greatness of making with friends is that each person in the group will be an expert in one or more areas of Blue-Petery-Crafting:

2) DAY TRIPPING, MAN!!! Every one in your group or has to arrange a different day out based on a theme! Set some rules to make it easier e.g. everything has to be free; each trip must last a minimum of three hours; there must be a physical, mental, and spiritual activity on each trip... Maybe arrange it so that one person in the group arranges a Music Day, another arranges a Nature Day, and another arranges a History Day, and you get the idea... Arranging to have a day trip every week or every fortnight will be a great way of engaging with something new, challenging yourself, and being with like-minded people in a) A Doctor of Glue: ‘Shall I tell you about the different places. Have fun. Julia Cameron will be fascinating birth of PVC glue while I just attach proud of you! You’ll be proud of you. Go. this fabric to this glass to this wood without spilling a drop or a dribble of this here high- 3) AND CALM... Take it easy. Balance your body. quality adhesive? Warning: IT WILL BLOW Massage your mind. Soothe your soul. Find the YOUR MIND.’ time to dedicate an hour (more if possible) to b) A Spinderella: ‘I used to rustle up bags, pure relaxation. Do this with other friends who pouches, hems, curtains and wedding dresses... you know will be equally focussed in seeking just small schnizz for summat to do, back in the some serenity. Maybe a quiet walk through the day. I’m not very good...’ God/Goddess who will woods? A group meditation in a sitting room know exactly which stitch will overcome any full of candles? An hour reading and reflecting sewing hitch... together in a library? Maybe painting a room c) The Mistress/Master of the Magical Eye together? Working together quietly and steadily who will know how to beautify, simplify or with other people can be brilliant for nurturing intensify whatever you’re making: ‘Babes, I your nerves and easing out tense thoughts. am totally LOVING the mustard buttons with the plum lace and those- what are they? Duck’s feet? Oh hands? Fab! But how about we lose the beads and *snip, tear, tie* and then maybe

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the old curiosity shop

Spring Word Search Find all the book, play, film, music, and art titles, and artists and writers connected to the themes of Spring, Alice in Wonderland and The March Hare... G

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AUTOMATED

PERSEPHONE

THE WESTMINSTER ALICE

IN JUST

AUTUMN SPRING

VENUS

A SPRING AFFAIR

CLARE

BOTTICELLI

CONSTABLE

SPRING PLOUGHING

ALICE

OFFENSIVE

PRIMAVERA

PHANTASMGORIA

BLAKE

TO SPRING

SILENT SPRING

SPRING AWAKENING

OWEN

SPRING MOON

DREAMCHILD

THE MARCH HARE

FROST

YOUNG LAMBS

SIGNS OF SPRING

YAYOI KUSAMA

BACH

66 ~ what the dickens?


competitions

Competitions Isabel Ashdown Glasshopper & Hurry Up and CONTINUED FROM ISSUE 2... Curiosity Interviews, A Wolf in Your Bed, My Wait p. 9 Vintage Summer, Pictures of You, (Issue 2, p.69, 71)

To win a signed copy of one of these books, To win a copy of each simply answer this question: simply submit your themed writing (as detailed by Sandy) to us by the closing date! Name the main character in Hurry Up & Wait.

What the Dickens? Literary Quiz, (Issue 2, p75) Suzanne Ruthven Life-Writes, p.19

To win a year’s subscription to Mslexia magazine, simply send your completed Literary Quiz (Issue 2) to the below address. Secret Rabbit... p.?? To win one of two copies answer the following question: Of which writer’s magazine is Suzanne an editor? To win a £10 National Book Token simply find the page number that is hiding a rabbit!

Email all answers to: competitions@wtd-magazine.com

Please include your name and contact details. All entries must be received by 15th May 2012.

the march hare edition ~ 67


art

Hello, I’m Iván Nájera... better known as Gerko. I’m from Mexico City, most of the time I’m working as a graphic designer but my real passion is visual art: darth-gerko.deviantart.com/gallery.

68 ~ what the dickens?


competitions

Competition answers from the last issue... What the Dickens? Literary Quiz

Lynn Shepherd – Tom All-Alone’s

There are no answers this time around because Tom All-Alone’s was based on Charles nobody answered the quiz! Sandy’s beating her Dickens’ Bleak House. drum, stamping her foot, hollering to an empty room...

Fiona MacDonald – Charles Dickens: A Very Peculiar History The winning answer was ‘Christmas’ but you could have also had ‘Scotland’, ‘Whisky’, ‘Vampires’ or ‘Royal Weddings’ amongst others. Secret top hat Yes, it was hiding on page 34!

Congratulations to all of our winners; Richard Tracey, Patricia Stowell and Caroline Auckland. Look at this big sad empty space. What are you going to do about it? The quiz and prize are still open (see the previous page) so get cracking!

Submissions The next issue of What the Dickens? Magazine will be out on 1st June 2012. Next issue’s theme will be ‘Olympia’. Full submission details are on our website: wtd-magazine/submissions.html

Credits Editor: Victoria Bantock Extra contributions: Sandy East, Gail Aldwin Magazine & Web Design: Ben Ottridge benottridge.co.uk Advertising contact: advertising@wtd-magazine.com General contact: victoria@wtd-magazine.com

the march hare edition ~ 69


the old curiosity shop

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop. Lewis Carroll

70 ~ what the dickens?

Profile for What the Dickens? Magazine

What the Dickens? Magazine: Issue 3 - The March Hare Edition  

What the Dickens? Magazine. Bi-monthly magazine for writers, readers and all literary types. Issue 3: the March Hare Edition

What the Dickens? Magazine: Issue 3 - The March Hare Edition  

What the Dickens? Magazine. Bi-monthly magazine for writers, readers and all literary types. Issue 3: the March Hare Edition

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