Tag Archives: September

Orange

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.

37 - Sept 2014 - Orange

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September’s Pictonaut Challenge

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.

37 - Sept 2014 - Orange

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The Crone

And so the sun does set on the month of September. Clouds gather and the nights begin to close in, but still summer ardently clings on with all the anthropomorphised might it can muster. Twenty degree days see-saw with fog so thick it hides every facet of the world. Summer cannot hold on forever and soon we will find ourselves in thunder, lightning or in rain. Already I have seen the drifts of curling brown leaves begin to form in the nooks and crannies of the village. Whole armies of conker shells lie shattered upon the ground, their shiny brown charges spilled and exposed. The year edges ever onwards into its twilight and into darker times. Times where mystery, magic and the possibility of things distinctly other does not seem quite as far-fetched as it did at the height of summer. It is the time of witches, it is the time of The Crone.

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September’s Pictonaut Challenge

Today is a bit of a special day. Today sees the commencement of September 2013 and with this the Pictonaut Challenge enters its 25th month. It is now 2 years old. The enormity of that fact still hasn’t quite sunk in. The original idea was something of a fleeting fancy, a passing idea, something I thought I’d give a bash and see where it went. My readership remains tiny and close-knit but I have accomplished considerably more than I originally intended. For two whole years I have kept this little exercise going and for a man who has a singular lack of motivation or perseverance this is a rare and truly beautiful achievement. It also shockingly means I have something that could be referred to as “a body of work.” That on its own is a terrifying thing to realise. A thousand words? Every month? For two years? I’m quite proud of myself.

Since I am a scientist by profession and trade I can’t help but be drawn to the statistics of this little endeavour. And even just a cursory glance at them boggles the mind. The 24 stories (or wordascopes as I have taken to calling them) which I have written come to a total of just over 28,800 words, an average of about 1200 every month.

But of course I haven’t been alone in grappling with this particular challenge, others have joined in too. Our combined efforts have spawned a total of 71 short stories. Based on my average output this places the total cumulative wordcount at around the 85,000 mark. Just let that sink in for a moment. Eighty. Five. Thousand. That is an achievement not to be sniffed at.

So what image have I chosen to usher us into our second year? Behold The Crone!

Sept 2013 - The Crone Continue reading


The Journey

September now draws to a close. I nights are beginning to get fat and heavy; longer; darker. We’re well and truly rolling into the twilight of the year. At the start of this month I gave you a picture which I entitled The Journey. An image which is quite clearly of a seriously massive [technical term] desert. There’s something perverse about this. Not in of itself, but simply because large chunks of my home country and the surrounding regions were very recently, mostly underwater. I’m sure a better, more philosophical man than I could make some point about dissonance and duality, but my general reaction was largely composed of a simple and succinct “woah.” A ten foot rise in water levels generally has that effect when you’re not being directly effected by it. At the end of the day sand basically just like water right? Except less wet, more solid and chemically different. That si to say, not like water at all. But it does however share a propensity for eating things just at a considerably slower rate. Flood water thrashes and bashes and necks its food like a mad gannet with a gizzard full of PCP. Sand takes it slow, it nibbles and savours. It’s a connoisseur of the devouring of human endeavour.

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September’s Pictonaut Challenge

The start of September heralds the end of summer in the traditional sense and the advent of autumn, in the words of House Stark “Winter is Coming.” I fucking love winter. Winter means that I can wear my coats. I love my coats, they are my armour against the world as much as it is against the cold. But in the interim I’m in Banbury. I’m once again off to see my parents while they’re a bit nearer to my neck of the woods. This of course means getting a train and we all know my feelings about trains. And now comes the segue, dropping like a thunderbolt out of a crystal blue sky, a meteorological phat bassline WUB. Since while you’re reading this I’ll be on a journey of sorts I’ve decided that September’s Pictonaut Challenge will be called The Journey.

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Grenade in the Rain

Last month I threw down the gauntlet and it did ring upon the stony flags like a particularly shit bell, a bit flat, not all that sonorous, kind of metaphorical. Despite this some of you rose to the challenge, writing one thousand English words about a heart wrenching picture of a young lady in a yellow macintosh, standing in the rain, holding a grenade. Also she’s crying, it’s beautiful in that sad sombre way that the emotional turmoil of others is. In the intervening month I discovered it was the work of a man called Marek Okon.

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