Not quite there

I’ve been writing for myself since I was young, but aside from this blog which I do as a hobby, I’ve completed one novel (though honestly it needs more editing) which I submitted to the Wilbur and Niso Smith adventure writing prize (shortlist in link) and I’ve submitted one other piece to Asimov magazine. I neither got shortlisted for the award of had my submission accepted.

No big deal, I honestly didn’t expect either to be a screaming or immediate success.

What has somewhat surprised me is my lack of pessimism about this. If I had tried and failed 10 years ago then I probably would have packed it in altogether and focused on my current career fully and completely…or at least other things.

That’s not how I’m feeling though. I want to put more energy in. I want to refine and improve my writing and put more ideas down on the page.

Maybe I’ll never make it something I can subsist off of, though I can hopefully get something published and I can definitely enjoy myself while doing it. I’m not convinced the pure aim of life, of writing is to simply enjoy what you’re doing. It does feel like a good starting point though, if the business of survival is in order.

So, here’s to my writing hobby. Long may it continue.

Twinspiration

As annoying as I know some people will find the headline, I can’t help it sometimes and it does have a certain ring to it.

Some of the mannerisms and interactions of my twins started sparking ideas about pirates fighting over a golden submarine (the twins shrieking at each other over the one plastic yellow submarine bath toy we have – yes, we should have bought two but didn’t). Naturally the two pirates are related, though probably not twins. They’ll love each other but fight tooth and nail for the right to have what the other is holding.

If it’s a comedy (or comedic – not sure yet) they will of course have their unconventional pets (a sheep and a lion – stuffed in reality, naturally).

Maybe I won’t write any story along this lines. I do like the ideas swirling around in my head though. It’s certainly amusing.

A merger of unequals

Jess sat in her office looking out at her team, wondering what they were all thinking as she swiped through an “integration plan” someone had paid a couple of million for. It all looked so simple on the screen. This was just putting the nuts and bolts together though. People was always another matter.

It’s not that her team had any particular loyalty to their brand, to the company, to Bleecker Insurance, it’s just that Bleecker had always attracted a certain type of individual and that was not the type of individual who was attracted to Dreadnought Reinsurance – the company they were walking down the merger isle with. Jess’ team was young and focussed on how to drag the (re)insurance industry into the 21st century, even if kicking and screaming. Dreadnought was a survivor of an era of companies with similar names – Titanic, Endeavour, Fortress – all long since put down. Dreadnought still transacted a significant amount of business using paper. In a world where cash was disappearing and you could reliably video chat through WhatsApp with your customer on the other side of the world, Dreadnought kept all policy documents in paper, often hand delivered and stored in a warehouse somewhere in England or Scotland.

These same warehouses had often suffered catastrophic flooding or fires at times when it paid to have no documentation. It just happened. Wrongdoing was impossible to prove with armies of lawyers at the ready to defend the cause.

This was the type of place that was supposed to merge with Bleecker. It made economic sense on paper, but Jess wasn’t clear how the dinosaurs of Dreadnought who still went drinking at lunchtime would mesh with her team who, though they weren’t shy of a drink, spent most of their free time at work talking about how they might improve a piece of tech or increase presence on social media.

She was only on page four of the executive summary (which was twenty pages long) when Tim walked into her office, sheepishly and clearly on a fact finding mission he had no interest in completing.

“Hi Jess.”

“Tim. What can I do for you?”

“Is that the integration plan? I drew the Oliver straw and had to come and ask. I’m hoping to be treated better than Oliver if that’s ok…”

Jess couldn’t help but laugh out loud, “Don’t worry. Also, I’m only on page four, so I don’t have anything to tell you, even if I could. Which you know I can’t.”

Tim knew he had to squeeze something out and that the best way was just to linger around and wait.

Jess looked up finally, “all I can say is that we’re going to have to bring a few guys into our team. There might also be some system they want us to integrate. I’m almost certain we’ll have to change branding and all that.”

“I heard that John and Lydia are jumping ship.”

“What!? Who told you that?”

“Lydia’s chief of staff. You know how we’re friendly.”

“Reliable?”

“Course! It’s no done deal, but you know how against this they were. There’s a newish startup that will probably take them. They need experience. Not the bullshit they’re merging with mind you.”

Jess continued flipping through the pack as Tim stood there checking his phone. She landed on the new org chart of her department. She beckoned Tim to look over her shoulder at this piece of information. It was a large nail in the coffin of her career Bleecker – well it was probably more accurate to call it Dreadnought now, Bleecker didn’t seem to exist based on what Jess was reading.

“The fuckers are making you a co-head but it doesn’t look like there’s anybody under you.”

“Look, they want us to use there fucking paper system to back up our cloud policies. Have they lost there minds? What fucking cretin consultant drafted this thing?”

“One paid by Dreadnought to tell them what they want to hear.”

“I’ve had enough of this,” Jess chucked the paper report on the floor, “time to hand in the notice.”

Tim did a little fist pump and then walked out in front of Jess. There’s no way they could stay.

The Cazique’s Wake

A synopsis of my “Cazique if Poyais” novel in progress

Barcelona, Venezuela, 1816 – A Scotish Gentleman fights as a Brigadier-General in the Venezuelan Republican Army under Bolivar, earning equal measures of praise and ridicule. On the one hand being called the Xenophon of the Americas and on the other a Quixote and bluffer. During his time there, his less honourable thoughts get the better of him as he dreams of the road to riches and cooks up the con of the century.

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