Joining the 21st Century

Throwing back his head to swallow the tablet, Stanley said, “an Aspirin a day keeps the doctor away” then smiled at his St Bernard dog Bernie, who huffed and went back to sleep.

Stan looked back at the typewriter and sighed. He was already behind schedule and knew that even if he could rattle out a couple of thousand words a day, his agent, Delores Cooper, would be at him to work quicker.

“You need to get yourself a computer,” she’d said. “It’ll be more productive.”

Stan couldn’t see how, he’d be typing at the same speed. If the words weren’t coming out from his brain itwouldn’t matter what sort of keyboard his fingers hovered over.  But they were sore from slipping between the letters. So really there was no choice. His grandson could show him how it worked… 8 vs 80. He felt like a child himself.

“You could email your manuscript to me,” Delores had added, her eyes looking even bigger and scarier than normal.

Stan wasn’t sure now why she’d taken him on. She clearly saw something of value in his novel that he couldn’t. “You’re just being a writer,” he said to himself and he liked the thought of that. A writer. He had no day job so he could say he was. He pictured his passport, long out of date, stating it. He also imagined his picture alongside, grinning. He’d grin, to match, to the border guard who’d refuse him entry and they’d escort him away, the muscled arms of two security officers, one either side of him, lifting him off the floor. He’d be swept along, feet dangling and pretend he was parachuting down onto enemy territory in the dead of night like an undercover spy.

Stan did grin, there and then, and clapped too when the rest of his novel came to him. After making some scribbled notes, he made a call.

“Hello, Nathan. Are you busy on Saturday? Oh, great. Can we go shopping?”

Stan laughed as his grandson cheered, then after he’d told Nathan why, pulled the phone away from his ear as the boy squealed. “Well, Nathan, it’s time I joined the 21st Century.”

***

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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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