Thursday Thing – week 1

It’s a new year. Time for a new thing; a new direction; a new challenge.

Eight years ago, I decided to venture into the writing arena and soon discovered that I could achieve levels of mediocrity to which most people could never hope to aspire. Since then, I have self-published in excess of a dozen books. I wrote them for the sheer joy of it and with no promotion, marketing or external assistance whatever, they have made not a ripple in the great pond that is the body of global literature. They were never expected to. They are there on my Amazon author page if anyone wants to buy them. The link is in the sidebar.

For reasons that I may go into at a later date, I find it necessary to cut back on the time I spend trying to focus on screens and so shall reduce my output.

Until I started this journey in 2014 I had attempted no creative writing since probably my second year in grammar school, which was a while ago – 1962 to be precise. It was about the same time that I dropped art – compulsory only in the first year – and started concentrating on languages.

What better new project for 2023, then, than one of the visual arts?

Having painted nothing except the odd wall for more than six decades, the obvious craft that I should aspire to master is, of course, painting. More specifically, painting with acrylics. I do not possess the natural talents of a Warhol, Hockney or Lichtenstein or the laid-back coolness (or the skills) of the late Bob Ross. I do have limited space available to practise painting and limited cash for materials and tuition. After looking closely at several online resources, I came across The Art Sherpa and particularly her Beginner Acrylic Painting Course. It is described as a complete painting program designed to take you from never having painted before to creating art that you can be proud of. The course is completely free and teaches you the basics so that you will paint with success and confidence from your home based studio, regardless of whether it’s the kitchen table or a fully decked out art studio.

That’ll do me, I thought. So I started. It’s presented live on Facebook and YouTube, and is archived and permanently available via YouTube or on the dedicated website. I’m currently in the middle of the seven background (theory) lessons and should start on the first of the ten practical sessions next week.

I’ll let you know how I get on — maybe with scans of my disasters!

 

Kreative Kue 393

Kreative Kue 392 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

Picture 021c

John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

The Watch by John W. Howell © 2022

“I say, Reggie. Any sightings?”

“Fraid not Oliver. Nothing all day.”

“A shame, mate.”

“Well, there is a positive side.”

“Yeah, and what’s that?”

“The hawk we don’t see today is the surprise for tomorrow.”

“You make that up?”

“Sorta.”

“Well, it’s crap.”

“Oh my. Why’s that?”

“In my mind, the hawk we don’t see today is one less hawk. Period.”

“You know, that’s a very pessimistic way to look at it.”

“I prefer the word realistic.”

“Hold on.”

“What?”

“I see a red tail banking over the lagoon.”

“What a sight that must be.”

“You can say that again.”

“What a sight—”

“Very funny. He’s headed right at me.”

“Does he see you?”

“It almost looks like he does. He has something in his beak.”

“Something like what?”

“Rolled up paper. Whoa, he just swooped over and dropped the paper.”

“Go get it.”

“On my way.”

“You back yet? Hello, Reggie. You back? Reggie?”

“Yeah I’m back. Give me a second to unroll the paper. Okay, it’s a message.”

“What does it say?”

Attention hawk watchers. We are no longer going to be the subject of observation. We are tired of the prying eyes constantly intruding on our daily lives. The hawks of the world are united, and nothing you can offer will bring us out of seclusion.”

“Boy, that is pretty harsh. You think they mean it?”

“Sounds like they do.”

“Can you communicate with them?”

“I have in the past. One on one only, though.”

“Well try again. Tell them we are prepared to offer substantial sums for visual sightings.”

“They probibly will reject money.”

“Offer corn or dead mice. I don’t care. We need to see them again.”

“Hold on. I have the hawk leader on the other line.”

“Okay I’ll stand bye.”

“Hey Oliver.”

“Yes Reggie.”

“The hawk leader says he’ll take a year’s supply of corn and mice.”

“Where we going to get a year’s supply?”

“Maybe he’ll accept installments.”

“You know how we are going to catch the mice?”

“Yeah. The cats will help.”

“Thought they were on strike for a vegan diet demand.”

“Oh dear. Maybe some traps.”

“Remember the cows are on a sabbatical so no cheese.”

“Is it my imagination or have we lost control?”

“Never should have let ’em all enroll in college.”

“We can say that now, but it might be too late.”

“Do we really have to sight hawks?”

“I was thinking the same thing.”

“Tell him to shove it.”

“Good choice of words, sir.”


My effort was:

The Camp

Okay, Jay, once you’re across the water, I need you to land to the left of the building on the right of what we called the left breast, near the cleavage.

No; to the right of the building, just on the cleavage itself – okay, the valley, if you insist. I just thought the codenames we gave made it a bit more interesting.

I understand that making a single-handed incursion into what may turn out to be hostile territory can, in and of itself, provide as much interest and even excitement as you are likely to want.

And danger, too, if they’re highly territorial.

I’m calling them they because I don’t have a better word for them until we know what we’re dealing with.

Yes, I’m assuming some kind of presence on the left boob.

Not necessarily intelligence, but probably. That’d be my guess.

Based on what? Based on the heat signatures coming from the clearing about a third of the way up.

You can’t see it, Jay, because you aren’t carrying heat imaging kit and if you were, your visibility of the area would be compromised.

By the bloody trees, you moron!

Okay. I’m sorry. That was un-called-for and unnecessarily harsh. Just make your way to the coordinates I’m beaming to you now, will you? And let me know when you arrive.

***

Yes, Jay; still here.

How many of them?

Wow. And they’re camping, you say? You mean they’re behaving in a flamboyant, extravagant and foppish manner?

No? Just sitting around a campfire singing songs. Any songs in particular.

Well, that must be a coded message of some kind. Wait small, I’ll ruin it through the translation software.

Computer says no. Translation failed. No match with any a known language. You sure they’re human?

I appreciate that they look human, but little green men are hardly likely to appear little or green. Haven’t you seen any of the Men in Black movies?

Okay, withdraw to a safe distance and I’ll escalate the problem.

***

HQ from outpost 8, are you receiving me? Over.

Yes, HQ. Agent Jay had encountered a group that appear human but I have my doubts. They are chanting some kind of anthem or incantation. If I send you the words, can you have the boffins see what they make of it? I’m worried that this may be an advance party of some kind.

Okay, here goes: there are a couple of rounds of::
Ging gang gooley, gooley, gooley, gooley, watcha;
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo
then
Hey la, hey la chey la, hey la chey la hey la lo, and
Shally wally, shally wally, shally wally, shally wally followed by
Umpah, umpah, umpah, umpah and finally a repeat of the first part.

What’s a jamboree?


KreativeKue will be taking a break for a few weeks from today, returning on 13th February.

The Camp

Picture 021c

Okay, Jay, once you’re across the water, I need you to land to the left of the building on the right of what we called the left breast, near the cleavage.

No; to the right of the building, just on the cleavage itself – okay, the valley, if you insist. I just thought the codenames we gave made it a bit more interesting.

I understand that making a single-handed incursion into what may turn out to be hostile territory can, in and of itself, provide as much interest and even excitement as you are likely to want.

And danger, too, if they’re highly territorial.

I’m calling them they because I don’t have a better word for them until we know what we’re dealing with.

Yes, I’m assuming some kind of presence on the left boob.

Not necessarily intelligence, but probably. That’d be my guess.

Based on what? Based on the heat signatures coming from the clearing about a third of the way up.

You can’t see it, Jay, because you aren’t carrying heat imaging kit and if you were, your visibility of the area would be compromised.

By the bloody trees, you moron!

Okay. I’m sorry. That was un-called-for and unnecessarily harsh. Just make your way to the coordinates I’m beaming to you now, will you? And let me know when you arrive.

***

Yes, Jay; still here.

How many of them?

Wow. And they’re camping, you say? You mean they’re behaving in a flamboyant, extravagant and foppish manner?

No? Just sitting around a campfire singing songs. Any songs in particular.

Well, that must be a coded message of some kind. Wait small, I’ll ruin it through the translation software.

Computer says no. Translation failed. No match with any a known language. You sure they’re human?

I appreciate that they look human, but little green men are hardly likely to appear little or green. Haven’t you seen any of the Men in Black movies?

Okay, withdraw to a safe distance and I’ll escalate the problem.

***

HQ from outpost 8, are you receiving me? Over.

Yes, HQ. Agent Jay had encountered a group that appear human but I have my doubts. They are chanting some kind of anthem or incantation. If I send you the words, can you have the boffins see what they make of it? I’m worried that this may be an advance party of some kind.

Okay, here goes: there are a couple of rounds of::
Ging gang gooley, gooley, gooley, gooley, watcha;
Ging gang goo, ging gang goo
then
Hey la, hey la chey la, hey la chey la hey la lo, and
Shally wally, shally wally, shally wally, shally wally followed by
Umpah, umpah, umpah, umpah and finally a repeat of the first part.

What’s a jamboree?


This original fiction was written in response to Kreative Kue 392 published on this site earlier this week.