Midnight marks the start of another insomniacal session in servitude to The Mighty Pen… this clock tick-tocks beside me… a delicate refrain… it has served humanity some two hundred and forty years and shall surely continue on long after I am gone… unless the work can acquire immortality… who was holding this pocket watch in 1777… another writer… awake late at night in the delicious solitude of the suicide hours only real writers can truly take on without sinking into profound despair… ticking is a quiet assurance against the Kafkaesque critic creeping up the stairs… I must resist… I must finish this first draft of The Dark Side of Tinsel Town… despite perpetual poverty, a writer’s destiny… ours is not to question why… just “write it, damn you” Joyce used to say, “what else are you good for?” … to the manuscript as if to the front, let two hundred years of time tick along beside my lines… I remember T.S. Eliot writing, “Midnight shakes the memory, Like a madman shakes a dead geranium.”
Made in the 16th Century – circa 1777, this pocket watch is ticking beside me as I type. For the author who created a factory in the first novel which she named Tick Tock, for the inconquerability of Time, for the New Year now upon us, your humble narrator shall attempt to elaborate on this artefact in a literary manner commensurate with its beauty… to be continued…
Literary Resolutions for 2018:
1; “If you are doing business with a religious sonnovabitch, get it in writing. His word isn’t worth shit, not with the ‘Good Lord’ telling him how to fuck you on the deal.” — William S. Burroughs.
2; “Do not cast your pearls before swine.” — Source Unknown, (tell me if you know).
3; “Above all else, Know Thyself.” — Socrates. Later developed by Shakespeare for the mouth of Polonius in Hamlet as, “this, above all else – to thine own self be true…”
It was very late. I was in a room full of books; books which had not been touched for years. I love the smell of old books and that gorgeous loneliness which comes in the very early hours when the world is silent, safely surrounded by all those pages, written by all those brilliant minds and hearts who dared to leave messages for us… I chose at random; took out the first book which seemed to call for a look. It was a collection by the beautiful Robert Browning… I began to read. There was no sound except the camera clicking… the photographer stood over my shoulder when suddenly I saw the date of publication: of all the choices in the room, I had taken a book published on the exact same date on which I was now reading it – 154 years later… dead writers, living writers… a psychic universe… writers are telepathic… I didn’t choose the book that night; that book chose me.
The Naked Blonde Writer’s favourite Browning poem: My Last Duchess.
The following review was given to me last week. I am hereby posting it due to the very intelligent interpretation expressed within.
30th July 2017. Review for Blackout by Boyd Clack, Cardiff.
I read Blackout in two sittings. It tells the story of a young Valleys woman who meets the son of the amoral owner of the factory in which she and all the other women in the town work. She is unaware of who the son is. He has come to stay in a mountainside cottage which his father bought to live in when setting the factory up many years before. The son is a somewhat deluded would be rock star and the cottage is filled with recording equipment on which he intends to create the album that will break him in the business. He thinks the girl’s attitude and singing voice are perfect for his vision and she, excited at the idea, goes along with it. The story itself is interesting and well told but in my reading of it the story became ephemeral to what I saw as the core subject matter. The girl’s life, her relationships with her friends, fellow drinkers in the local pub, and her mother from whom she is alienated, indeed her entire perception of reality is filtered through the brain of an alcoholic. I have some experience of such all consuming dependency and know that it creates another world, a parallel reality that slowly takes over the old reality to become the new true reality. What Blackout does so well is to illustrate this quasi reality in a mundane setting. I once frequented a pub that I thought to be a wonderful sparkling place full of glittering lights and fascinating people for several months then went there sober one evening to see it for what it was, a seedy depressing dump peopled by fellow losers. Blackout shows the facade of such a ‘glittering’ world with the dream of a new life and love and fame but I was aware that none of it was real, that it was the delusion of a stage of drug addiction. It is this that gives the novel its power. It is this that raises it above proletarian reportage. It is this that gripped me. Boyd Clack. (Playboy of the Rhondda Valley; Poet Laureate of Despair.) X
…every candle had burned out… And Bronwen was trapped inside a very strange dream… They were searching the mountain… for Tessa… Quick, quick, Rupert was saying, hurry up, please, there’s no more time. All of us are waiting… Everyone: except Tessa. God knows where Tessa had gone… …she better say sorry, ‘cos I’m not fuckin’ sorry… She’ll have a shock now when she hears… Bronwen grinned from ear to ear…
Because one of these days Tessa would have to learn that a mother is a mother and, surely, Tessa must know deep down inside that whatever a mother does is never really wrong?
South Wales, U.K., 2010
Blackout – The Dark Side of the Valleys. Written & Read by Tracy Williams
Excerpts from Chapter 40.
They kissed. They kissed for a long time. They kissed as if they had been waiting to kiss their whole entire lives…
She saw his closed eyes. She saw the dream inside his head.
“Sam…” she said nervously, “if I kiss your lipstick off, will you take me to bed?”
Blackout. Excerpt from chapter 37.
‘Haunting sounds from invisible night creatures called across the black mountains as Tessa climbed ghostlike, directionless.
… turn away, Tessa, turn, turn away. Down there he’s texting, surfing, watching without listening. The machines are on – he is not. Turn away Tessa. The machines are on – but not for long.
Thunder. A flash. A momentary clash. And Tessa thought tonight is the night. Technology versus Mother Nature – Ready for a fight.’
–Blackout on Audio. Week 14. Chapters 31-34. Subscribe
A man in a Valentino suit – easy to spot up the Angel. Who did he think he was, dressed up like that? Looking a right twat!
“I tell you what,” Bronwen said, “gimme a lift home and you and me can talk in my house.”
The factory girls watched in disbelief… John poured another brandy… Bronwen, the biggest slag in the valley, was walking out of the Angel with the best looking stranger they had seen for years.
in Blackout: Week 13. Chapters 28-30.