Just a quick update to say that NCfSS, my upcoming collection of short stories and poetry, is well on it’s way to completion. Currently it’s being reviewed and edited with cover art being worked on too but, for the most part, the writing bit is done. Unfortunately I still can’t give a firm release date but early November is looking increasingly likely in both eBook and paperback formats.
I’m also planning to release a separate collection of short pieces around the same time which won’t be tied together by any particular theme. That’s an as yet untitled side project but it does mean that it’s going to be a busy end to the year, so hopefully lots to look forward to. If you want to be kept in the loop then I’ve included the sign up form for my newsletter below or you can follow me on Twitter @dylanorchard.
I’ll finish up with the brief outline of NCfSS that I put up a few months ago, as well as some links to excerpts which have already been released…
It’ll be a very different piece from either Crashed America or Laikanist Times. The style is far more ‘literary’, for what that label’s worth and given the subject matter it’ll be a far heavier read too. Which, hopefully, is no bad thing. A mix between micro-fiction, short stories and poetry it’s a collection rather than a single coherent story and in case you hadn’t guessed it’s about war. Not about the conflict itself but about the human result of it, the instances and effects that the individuals involved endure.
I’m not writing from experience here, nor am I aiming to present any ‘truth’ from the subject. Instead I’m trying to present potential ways to understand those experiences which lie so far beyond the normal realm of human life as to be incomprehensible. It’s an outsider’s attempt to make sense of what is so easily judged and so seldom understood about the frayed edges of human experience. I feel that personal ignorance is worth stating more than once. With everything human the only real representation is the original, everything else is an aspiring imitation polluted for better or worse by the creator. And hopefully with NCfSS my polluting touch leads to something worth understanding, or even better, just worth thinking about.
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One of the things that’s always struck me as, to be honest, quite funny about travel is the bizarre approaches people have to cultural their experience in the unfamiliar. I’ve seen gap year Hippies growing out their manky dreads while Buddhist monks play StarCraft opposite the residence of the Dalai Lama and I’ve seen red faced French ex-pats listening to the strains of traditional Oud music and buying up djellabas while local youths kick it to Hip Hop in their knock off Adidas. It can be hard to tell who’s desperately trying to find some cultural meaning and who’s just earnestly found some. Beyond that though there is something deeper. Not theft or appropriation, too strong an accusation on an individual level I think, but certainly some discomfort around the process of staking claims. Anyway…
They’d never harmed the beast or taken anything that wasn’t otherwise wasted. Tamouz was certain of that. They had no reason for guilt, no reason for shame and no reason to recoil from what they did. When they’d found it the creature had been half made and half blind, driven to agony by the infanticide it hadn’t even realised it had committed. Still leaking life though, unwitting as it drained off into dry sand. If they’d fed greedily was that a reason to look upon themselves with disdain? It wasn’t them who’d culled the infant calves after all. That was an old crime undertaken by lesser nomads. Neither Tamouz nor the others would offer any defence of that, a fact to shout out as salve for any awkward pangs of uncertainty.
Continue reading Tamouz
He woke up with a start and flailed wildly for her, again. She wasn’t there of course, she never was. Not that that ever stopped him from checking. It was a habit that even after two years he’d failed to break.
He dragged in the air with an almost indignant gulp and waited for reality to kick into gear and take over his half-asleep mind. Before long the room was slowly coming into focus and so did he. The empty spot beside him in the bed made more obvious by the fact that even now he didn’t dare stray into it for fear of her tired elbow driving him back. Part of the routine battle they’d fought for space, blankets and legroom before inevitably drifting back towards the centre and the warmth each provided the other. Continue reading Unburied Dead