Sunday 30 October 2011

Not A Wee Fiction: Mine

I don't have to go inside. I can see the oil stove burning in the middle of the floor, the patrons gathered round, talking, shouting, laughing, smoking. The scene could be duplicated in a thousand shops. And the talking, shouting and laughing would be the same in all of them, talk of money and the lack of it, of the state of the place, of what things have come to, of thieves, traitors. There is a lot I could add to the discussion, but I prefer not to. I remain, willingly, ametohos, left out, I have no stake in the debate. I am not of these people, I am from another place, a place with similar problems but no sense of itself. I am a stranger, ametohos, in both places. I am losing my mind. This is no personal choice, although it is the result of one. To find the richest seam one must dig deep. But the deeper one goes, the darker it becomes. There is blood on my hands from tearing at rocks which refuse to yield. I force a way through. I have to put myself in that place, to feel it. The seam, which is the past, is reached. It is a gallery of illusions, blackened with dust. Torn skin smoothes a mark in the kimberlite. The image is nothing more than a stain, meaningless. But I am now in the place. I lose myself in it. This is where I have put myself, willingly. A personal choice. This is where I have to be, where I must be, buried in this dark, mad grave. No longer ametohos. I hack at diamonds.

Friday 28 October 2011

The Rank Amateur and the Roman à Clef

He wrote a book. It was a minor hit. Nothing major. It got a handful of good reviews. It dealt with a defining moment in his life. This defining moment had to do with things falling apart. There was no analysis of the event, only a few details of the event itself, the facts, and some of the things which followed. He was all for people drawing their own conclusions. It was a roman à clef, which was irrelevant in the great scheme of things, seeing as he was a nobody.
A minor hit.
The names, as they say, had been changed. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, he wasn’t that type of person. In any case, the names weren’t important, it was the facts, the event. He hadn’t written the book to examine other people’s motives. He had written it to understand the past, and how the past had affected the way his life had turned out.
Then something happened, or was made to happen. Something directly related to the book, caused by the book, but at the same time unrelated to it. This thing that happened was founded in reality, in the present. He could write a good story, it was true, but when it came to emotions and people who play games, to reality, he was a rank amateur. He had created an aura, and the fragments of that aura were lying on the ground at his feet, shattered, broken beyond fixing. But when he looked more closely he saw that the memory, the memory of the event, the defining moment, was still intact. This was his delusion, the key to the roman à clef. For that he was grateful. Grateful to himself, no one else.  

Sunday 23 October 2011

A Wee Poem: Player

He scans the ground ahead,
left, right and centre.
Eyes are for seeing.
There's a line you shouldn't cross.
It's a line that marks a boundary.
He imagines it as
like a line
on a tennis court.

But this is no game.
There are no rules.
Although there will be losers,

He knows this.

He scans the ground ahead,
left, right and centre,
his eyes

He will never find the line.
The line is invisible,
in a game
that isn't a game
with no rules
only losers,
is fair.

In any case,
he crossed it
days ago.

Saturday 8 October 2011

The Next Stop Is Croy and other stories: fancy doing a review on Goodreads?

The Next Stop Is Croy and other storiesThe Next Stop Is Croy and other stories by Andrew McCallum Crawford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It might be a bit cheeky of me to review this book - after all, I wrote it. However, reader reviews have just started coming in on Amazon, so I thought I'd paste some excerpts here.

"...takes the reader straight to the bittersweet spot of the human condition...the writer manages to distil a lifetime into the spoken (and unspoken) language of fathers and sons..................the humour and veracity of Scottish life is laid bare..................Andrew's new collection is like finding a flower sprouting out of cracked concrete..."


Andrew McCallum Crawford grew up in Grangemouth, an industrial town in East Central Scotland. He studied Science and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and went on to take a teaching qualification at Jordanhill College, Glasgow. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in Lines Review, The Athens News, Junk Junction, Ink Sweat and Tears, McStorytellers, Weaponizer, New Linear Perspectives, Spilling Ink Review, Drey 2 (Red Squirrel Press), Ironstone, The Legendary, the Midwest Literary Magazine and the 'The'. His first novel, 'Drive!', was published in 2010.'The Next Stop Is Croy and other stories' came out in October, 2011. He lives in Greece.

View all my reviews

Monday 3 October 2011

The Next Stop Is Croy and other stories

Well, here it is. It begins like this:

The stories in this collection were not written in the order in which they appear here; they certainly were not conceived as part of a continuous narrative. However, I have decided to bring them together because of the chronology and themes which, it turns out, run through them. Please bear in mind that this is in no way a novella or novelette. It is a collection of short stories, and each story stands or falls on its own, as short stories must.

I find that the more I write, the more personal the writing becomes. I am putting more of myself into the work. This is not to say that my stories are autobiographical (although, admittedly, one of the stories in this collection is based entirely on something that happened, more than twenty years ago). There are moments of personal experience in the book, but I have used those moments, those brief scenes from memory, as the basis for something else. Exactly which elements from my life are contained in these stories is of no consequence. Readers may wonder, 'Did that really happen?', but in the final analysis it doesn't matter. They are Wee Fictions. They mean what they mean. And they will mean something different for each person who stumbles across them.
Do come and have a look. The Amazon pages for the book are here ( and here (.com).