Goodbye, Oscar

On Saturday 10th March, at 6p.m., a wonderful dog had to be put to sleep.

Osky 001He was my Uncle’s dog, a chocolate Labrador who lived in the same house as my Dad, my Uncle and my grandparents.

He was eleven. Still is eleven, wherever he is now. As a puppy, he loved to chew shoelaces, especially the ones on Converse trainers. When faced with dog food in a bowl, he would carefully pick out the dry biscuit-parts and put them on the floor before eating them.

He was a fan of Human biscuits as well, as well as chicken (with or without gravy) most types of vegetables and most types of fruit, although he was prone to funny stomachs.

He absolutely detested oranges. Whenever someone tried to persuade him to eat one, he would growl, long and low.

Whenever someone came to the door, or just past the door, or outside past the window, he would bark until your ears rang.

If you grinned at him, he tried to grin back…exposing his front bottom teeth only. He liked to lean his forepaws on the chair you were sitting on and stick his face into yours, asking for a cuddle. His wagging tail often hit furniture and people’s legs, but he didn’t seem to mind. He liked it when my Dad made nonsense whispering noises in his ear or whistled in one of his ears. He liked it when my Dad held his muzzle and clacked his jaw up and down. He loved walks (what dog doesn’t?) on the riverbank.

He HATED having his feet touched, and had to be anaesthetized to get his nails cut.

He once cut his tongue on a stick at the riverbank, the blood from which prompted a murder investigation.

He had big, hazel eyes. Whenever I walked through the front door, he would greet me by making a huffing noise through his nose. He shed hair like there was no tomorrow. He liked to rub his sides against my legs, like a cat, leaving me covered in the stuff. I will miss that.

He liked having his lower back scratched, near the tail. Sometimes he would lie in his basket and make grumbling “I’m bored” sighs, then doze off. He followed my Uncle wherever he went.

He would lie on his back on top of a toy in the garden and wriggle around to give himself a massage, which gave me the idea to try that myself for my back pain. (Genius!)

An aggressive form of cancer was what happened to him. It started as a lump on his chest, which was removed. The biopsy showed it was malignant, and would return. The last time I saw him, he had lumps everywhere, he had not eaten for a week, he lost weight. All he did was drink and could not decide whether to sit or lie or stand, and he kept making low groaning sounds. He kept standing there with his head lowered.

He was in an obvious amount of pain and discomfort. I hope that wherever he is now, his tail is wagging.


It’s The End of the World As We Don’t Know It

Good day, Earthlings.

Above is a link to my latest short story, “A Short History of the Future” included in Chaos of Hard Clay, an anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction edited by G. Allen and Kathy Cook. Available on Amazon and Createspace.

There should be a look-inside feature on it soon, so you can get to take a peek at its contents.

I am still cogging on, doing a specific amount of writing and typing a day, except at weekends. It does not take long for my back, neck, shoulders and so on to complain, so right about now I’m managing two to three pages a day and that’s it (in my younger times I could sit and scribble non-stop all day) when I’m not exercising everything from head to toe to keep on top of my connective tissue disorder and deal with extreme gender dysphoria, or lying prone on the carpet to rest. Resting on comfortable surfaces is now a thing of the past, as various bits try to sink too low and go out of line enough to trap nerves, which is excruciating. In fact, the only rest I get is when I sleep at night.

This makes me feel unproductive, miserable and irritable, as it would anybody. Though one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more creative this year.

Hoping that when (if?) I finally get on testosterone, this will change for the better. Then you’ll all be seeing and hearing more from me, I promise.


Batty bat-bats

Bats 002 (2)

You might be wondering what on earth I’ve been doing with myself over the past month or two. Well, this is one thing: drawing several pictures of bonkers-looking bats.Bats 001 (2)Aren’t they sweet? Not what you’d want to meet down a dark alley. My idea is to transform them into gargoyles next.

Speaking of the macabre, my story “Population II” has been included in issue 34 of Siren’s Call ezine:

The theme for that issue is “Feel the Fear.” You’ll certainly feel it.



A birthday, and a piece about grief.

Happy Birthday Edge (2)

Today is a special day in my brain. It is the day my favourite guitarist (pianist, backing-vocalist, organist? etc) was born. I have to say my life would be unbearable without the existence of U2. (Apparently chronic pain can be mitigated by music. Who knew?)

And here is the link to the latest bit of writing from me, in Ink Sweat & Tears magazine. It’s called Grief. It’s a stream of consciousness about feelings of, er…grief.


Every human being is convinced he or she is the centre of the universe. From day one, the brain is unable to cope with the idea of something being so big, and the person so tiny in comparison. So, the person creates his or her own small universe in which to live, sheltered from the huge, immeasurable space outside.

No matter how much you travel, of if you have an inferiority complex, or if someone showed you a map of the world with a tiny dot in it marked “You are here, pipsqueak,” it is still mentally impossible to picture how vast everything is compared to yourself. You may try, but only go so far for so long until the task seems too daunting, or you are unable to stretch your mind any futher. When this happens, you have two choices: retreat back into your shell or go mad.

Go on, try. I’ll give you five minutes. Open your mind and think about the space either side of you, above and perhaps even below you if you happen to be skydiving (though why you’re reading this falling through the air beats me.) Keep stretching yourself outwards – mentally, I mean, don’t bust a gut – and keep going. Towards the walls and the ceiling, pass those, towards the horizon, and then, er…ooh I’m going boss-eyed…argh help I’m stuck….no, no use, sorry, can’t go any further. My head aches.

3, 2, 1…Are you back with me? Yes? Not gone doollally? Good.

So now we have reached the limits of our awareness, shall we talk about something closer to home?

Never mind about being the centre of a universe, what’s at the centre of a person? Literally speaking, we have guts and all manner of stuff the likes of which we’ve seen on Casualty, but I mean is there anything else? There must be, or we would be plain animals. How do we be conscious and thinking, and conscious OF our thinking, all the time? It must be something to do with the black you see when you close your eyes. Or eye, if you happen to be a cyclops.

Where would this thing be situated? Is it really just your brain? That’s what I’d like to know. But then, if the thing that thinks is inside your head, it’s not in the middle of you, is it? So perhaps I’d be right in asking what’s at the centre of a person’s head instead.

So now we have tried to go the distance, outwards and inwards. We all deserve a long nap.

Which reminds me, the other thing I don’t understand is dreams.

For instance, how do I know I’m awake, and not dreaming? Or indeed asleep? You only seem to know you’ve been asleep after it’s happened. Maybe when you are awake, you are dreaming, and when you are asleep it’s reality. In which case, everybody’s been mixed up for years.


The other day, (which can mean anytime in the last ten years when it comes out of my gob) I saw a couple of lines written about love on the Internet.

They said that a girl’s head goes down, underneath the boy’s chin, because the boy is her whole world and she gets lost in it. The boy’s head, apparently, remains up so he can check no one else is looking at his girlfriend.

I do not believe this. On one hand, it is a lovely (if rather sexist) sentiment. However, isn’t it merely a matter of height? The same thing would not happen if the girl was taller than the boy. Not without a great deal of contortionism, which might result in whiplash or some other neck problem.

Then again, I haven’t got a romantic bone in my body, except for my funnybone.

They say — whoever they are, I’ve forgotten — that love is what writers and artists are concerned the most with expressing or explaining because it is difficult to understand. It is not difficult, it’s more that there’s so much to understand about it all at once and not a lot of people have the time to think about it in its entirety, (because they’re too busy being all fluffy and lovey-dovey, maybe). It brings with it all these extreme emotions so it is like unpacking a suitcase.

But you’ll be fine, so long as one of you remembers to buy a stepladder.

On a completely irrelevant note, my story “Safe” came out in Strange Fictions SF & F magazine, which started back in March, I think. Linky:




So, it’s been a while again. I’m at a point in my life where not much of note happens, usually (unless you want a comprehensive list of everything I eat and all the exercises I have to do.) Above is a copy of a Lowry painting I did, for my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. They got it framed.

What else has been going on? I’ve been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos type 3, and now Fibromyalgia. There have been a lot of trips backwards and forwards to hospital, and to a physiotherapist, but I’ve been discharged now. Some people really suffer with these chronic pain conditions but I am refusing painkillers (I know, I’m a loon) because though I have bad days I prefer to be sore than feel sick and not know where I am or what in high hell I think I’m doing.

Some publications I don’t know whether anybody missed:

My story “Winter Queen, Summer Woman” appeared in Timeless Tales back in January.

and “Tower of Words” appeared in MIROnline in July 2016.

And “Sentience” appeared in Poetic Diversity in April last year.


These days I prefer to go by the name of Han instead of Hannah. This is because, being unhappy with living in a female body, and after a lot of thought, I have decided to transition into a man. This is only a social thing at the moment, the gender clinic I’m waiting to get into has a LONG queue (minimum waiting time is 18 months, it’s depressing) so I am unable to transition biologically, much as I need to. That, combined with having two incurable conditions…well, my head isn’t exactly full of sunshine at the moment. Hence the long silences, and I apologise for leaving you all hanging.