Stump by Jared Smith

The Man in the Tree

His head protrudes like the top of a bust, only he’s trying to free himself before the silent executioners terrorizing the city reach him and his home; the tree.

Every morning he sticks out a little further. He watches us for help, and his head turns as we walk past him, voiceless and in pain. He looks exhausted, afraid and trapped.

We debate whether we should help him or not. Whether we should gather our tools and creep out of our houses at night before the executioners get to him. Whether we should free him, save his home and reward his efforts.

By the time we decide to take action there’s nothing left of him but a stump. We look down at the rings left by his soul and go back home knowing he may have been the last one we could have saved before the overseers create a reason to cut us out too.

Eternal Love Suradej by Chuephanich 2

A Love for Honesty

You tie people together,

and I cherish the release you bring,

but your passion is striking,

sometimes cruel – I can hate you for it,

as the truth is a heavy load.

But without it my relationships are skin deep and open to pain.

Maybe you’re better left


. . .

but I wouldn’t want anyone to hide you from me,

for I know how much I love you,

and I know how much of a burden it is to keep you away.


Under the bridge by Marco Zak

A Love for Dishonesty

You are my safety net.

A guilty pleasure I shouldn’t come back to . . .  but I’m attached to you.

I fall back on you when I can’t explain

or reach for you when I need to hide from others and myself.

You conceal my thoughts, my secrets and

you let me get away with my worst actions.

You’ve saved me several times, and you’ll continue to do so.

My dear white lie,

my dear sin,

without you this life would be insurmountable,

for honesty is a weight none of us should have to carry alone.

I love you,

but our relationship is a secret;

one I will always deny exists.

Mannequin 3


My wife asked me to come to the mall, but I wasn’t in the mood for its crowds or life-like mannequins. “Careful,” I said, “last time one of them tried to grab me.” She laughed, left and never came back.

I reported her missing: “She has a green handbag and a scar on her forehead,” I told police. “She’s beautiful.”

They promised to find her. They never did.

Sometimes, I pass the store where she was last seen; one of its mannequins carries a green handbag and has a mark on its forehead. For a piece of plastic, it’s beautiful.

Note on Mannequin

I wrote Mannequin for Off the Shelf’s competition Retail Tales, which was made in partnership with Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield. The word limit was 100 words. It came runner up and appears on the Off the Shelf Festival of Words website.

Ink Splatter 11 by Loadus

Watch & Wait: A Timeless Anthology

Watch & WaitPublisher and release date: Cybermouse Books (2014)

Watch & Wait is an anthology put together to raise awareness of the cancer lymphoma (even the title of the collection is named after what patients do between treatments: watch and wait), and as Illness can be personal but still effect the people closest to us, it’s fitting that many of the stories in it revolve around relationships.

The opening story, Jungle Palace, by Angela Robson, explores people’s potential for brutality with ease and is one of the most memorable stories in the book – despite feeling like a snippet of a larger story. The following tales are less graphic and have different themes but are in no way less enjoyable. Bryony Doran’s Suppose I was to tell you . . . is an excellent look at a different culture through the eyes of a character that is watching from the outside in. Robson’s Wedding Pictures and Jemma Kennedy’s Fig Tree also touch on this theme to good effect. Further in the anthology recurring themes of support, love, isolation and jealousy are explored in stories such as The Enemy Within, Red Stripe Candy and Ghost Baby. Ian McMillan and David Swann also bring humour to the collection with their stories Mr Mason’s Story and Cock of the Block, the latter being immensely entertaining and one of the highlights of the book. (more…)

2014 In Review

WordPress have created a 2014 annual report for us, so take a look enjoy the stats! And we would like to say thank you to everyone who follows us.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ink Splatter 04 by Loadus

Swans – Love Will Save You

After writing for inkposts, Pete Vaughan tells us what he listens to:

“Feeling, big, strong and righteous? Good, good. Bring your strong hand down on the sad and doubtful, and pray you will never change. Or learn to question the ‘truth’ that someone else told you . . . or the ‘belief’ that someone else sold you – for a way of life that they promised you . . . Believe in anything but you, desire anything but belief in you, love anything but you, be scared of anything that is you. Do I want that stuff? Am I scared of change? Of me? No!”


Untitled by Alessandro Galantucci

I Think so I Drink, by Pete Vaughan

Smile and the world laughs outside

money talks as the faces lie

you give your love they take it all from you

A friend in need’s your friend, don’t say it isn’t


I think so I drink I don’t drown

I drink ‘cause I think I am

I think so I drink oblivion come down

I drink ‘cause I think I am


The power they fought for, the freedom you taste

the suffering they brought was their weakness and waste

the world you enjoy is a prison of escape

the wall’s groan hope but you know it’s a fake


An easy day I read tomorrow

accept these gifts ignore the sorrow

the walls groan hope but life is truth

who’s your only friend? Don’t say that isn’t true

oblivion come down


Short Bio: Pete Vaughan began his transition across this life west of London, England. Loved and lost, once Peel Sessioned; now between just about everything.

Ink Splatter 10 by Loadus

No Matter What

Originally posted on The Midwife From Hell:

no matter what

Loving myself no matter what is the ultimate goal

Watching dreams unfold

Despite where life has taken me

Remembering I still hold the key

Learning to diminish fears

and wash away tears

Bury images of regret

and press on to respect

Hoping tomorrow will be a reward

and not just a recoil

Self impressions weigh large

Where love is always the factor

No matter what

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Writing What You Know

Originally posted on The Sarcastic Muse:

Writing What  You KnowWe all know the sage old advice of “writing what you  know.” It isn’t so much that we should limit our writing to our daily lives, but that we should use our highs and lows in our writing along with the physical sensations and emotions they produced.

To give our characters depth of emotion and experience, we need to lend them ours.

Normally a writer’s mind records the big stuff even as we go through it. It’s how we’re built. It’s much harder to remember the rest of our range of experiences but they also give life and flavor to our characters.

A writer’s journal is a good way to record events for future use–things like birth, death, achievement, loss, promotion–the big things. But also draw on other experiences such as childhood humiliation, betrayal, enthusiasm and excitement. Record your experiences of break ups, friends you miss, narrow escapes and if-only moments…

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Root scarecrow and Tree of Dreams by Patryk Sadowski 4


Originally posted on Routine Dreamer:

As my day finalises and I lay my weary head to rest,

I dream and fantasise of all the things I want before my death.

I break my back for money and I live a life I wish not,

Money’s got me in a muddle; I’m tied between two knots.

I fight my thoughts and battle with my inner demons,

Truth is I’m feeding a thought thinking about leaving as I’m slowly breathing.

Some days, I day dream even though I live life inside a nightmare,

What’s life’s meaning if I wish not and feel as if I don’t care?

My feelings are contorted and stretched,

But I have life, so I guess I’m blessed.

It’s a situation we’ve all dealt with; old and young,

Let’s live life without money, my rich is based on having fun.

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Kiev, Democracy

MMXIV, by Charlie Sellings

Minor distinctions between right and left,

A thoughtless democracy: an answerless test.

The power to influence, ability to control,

Barely significant, if majorities fall.

Freedom defined by how much it costs.

Future defined by how much is lost.

Money is opportunity, not happiness or faith.

Economical morality, leading humanity astray.


Minor distinctions between right and wrong.

Ethical apathy, the end has begun.

Empty questions inspire empty replies.

A political template: invisible lies.

Equality belongs to those who believe.

Captured ambitions, disguised within grief.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Dylan Thomas

Shedloads of Work – 100 Years of Dylan Thomas

The Off the Shelf Festival of Words is nearing it’s end in Sheffied, and the Shedloads of Work website was launched yesterday to celebrate 100 years of famous poet, Dylan Thomas. The website features pieces by several writers, including myself, who wrote about their workspaces or the landscape around them to celebrate Thomas’s work, which had a strong sense of place. You can visit the site and read my poem, I Locked Myself Away, and more, at Shedloads of Work. For more on Off the Shelf visit Off the Shelf Festival of Words.

Letter by A Flower by 500pixel

“To All My Facebook Friends” (2)

Originally posted on Before I Became a Great Writer:

We could unplug ourselves
From Facebook
And start writing
In journals.
We could write
Each other letters
And make frequent trips
To the post office.
It will take too much of our time,
Of course, but our correspondence
Will be longer
And the pleasure of conversing
Will be drawn out.
Anyway, a conversation
Via social media
Mediated by computer monitors
And profile photos
Isn’t really much of a
Conversation, is it?
Anyway, I want to see your
Handwriting, feel the strokes
Of your pen with my fingers,
And smell the ink and paper.
You don’t have to write and sound
Like Jane Austen, although that would
Be great, as well.
You can write like a cardiologist,
I wouldn’t mind.
There are nuances in our handwriting,
You know.
We could lie on roof tops
And gaze at the distant galaxies
And talk about our dreams.
We could…

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