At this precise moment I am probably somewhere in the deepest, darkest Cotswolds, valiantly trying not to melt. June is rapidly drawing to a close and Summer has finally realised just how late it was running for work. It has been a while since I produced any new word based content for you to devour or ignore. This is a fact which my friend the Lady Tonksington Smythe did not fail to highlight. She requested that June be a month in which I got off my lazy-ass and actually wrote something again. I have used this gentle needling as an excuse to add 1,800 words to a short story which had been sitting unloved, and unfinished in my writer’s trunk for about a year. It represents the 4th instalment in what has accidentally become an eight and a half thousand words long series.
It joins The Starwatcher, the stand-alone piece Orange, and follows directly on from the end of The Watcher of Stars. It sees the (almost inevitable) return of the mysterious Gayane Al-Taftazânî, her hapless friend Almund Skeete, and the strange, wondrous science-fiction world they inhabit. The series was initially based on the famous “Starwatcher” image by the late Jean “Moebius” Giraud, but has since rapidly taken on a life of its own. This is the piece I cryptically hinted at two weeks ago, and it was a true joy to write and I adore every last bit of it. I hope you do too.
From a solely official perspective, it is now Autumn. Finally it slinks into view, crawling out from its hidey-holes in masonry cracks and piles of mouldering leaves. A faint chill has crept into the morning air a threat and a challenge to those who would still dare wear naught but a t-shirt. But for all of the proclamations of an advent autumnal, the heat of summer still clings to the world, resolutely refusing to let go. Occasionally it will be beaten back by the slatey grey of scudding clouds or the assailing phalanx of the driving rain, but it does not yield. Every time I think it has finally been beaten and vanquished, it rallies and claws its way back into the sky. Arguments could be made that this is a good thing, but me? I just really want it to be coat weather again.
My monthly moaning about the weather aside, I suspect you’re here for some short stories. Either that or you’ve lost your way while navigating the seas of Google.
So September is here. September; the year of our lord two thousand and fourteen. Today sees the beginning of the 37th monthly Pictonaut Challenge. The mathematically inclined among you should no doubt realise that 37 divided by 12 is 3.083. Three and a bit. Which means that the Pictonaut Challenge is entering its fourth year. It’s all a little hard to take in. I expected to run it for a couple of months before getting lazy or bored, and give up on the whole thing. But no. The damn things has latched itself onto me and simply refuses to let go. It has become the most dangerous of things, it has become a habit. So here we go, number 37.
September seems to have become a month of haunting faces. The tears of the girl in the rain in 2011, the glare of the old Yemeni woman in 2013. September 2012 was an image of a desert, but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. I saw no particular reason to move away from this general and statistically prevailing theme. For September 2014’s month of faces we have Orange.