The Mist Of Sleep

Through the mist of sleep, my eyes were forced to gaze

Upon such an image of beauty that my heart did so shamelessly crave

I realised I was just a touch away from paradise in its iniquitous extreme

But it was as I reached out to her that I was shaken, and woken from my dream. 

With lonely frozen tears into sleep once more I did descend

Searching for the dream that I could not find, or could I comprehend

Chilled I lay, impossible to move, as entrapped without hope I was enclosed 

I begged for life. I cried for warmth, but there was no pity in the voices that arose.

When my conscience stopped regretting the past a path was shown ahead

But a voice cried out with caution—‘The path is not straight. Be careful how you tread’

Deep inside the shadows great arched ceilings could I see

And there beneath the last high vault lay a figure that looked just the same as me.

Confused was how I felt. Suspicious of everything I’d ever tried

It was as if the life I thought I knew had suddenly turned on me and lied 

Did nothing count as honourable? Was there no truth in what was said?

Was it no lie when I overheard you saying that you wished for me to be dead?

Under this arch, do you come to find me in the arms of a waiting death?

Do you wish I plead for life? Or should I plead for breath?

No, not either! You know me too well, I ask not what you can give

My dying wish is not for love from you, but yes, you are perceptive. 

My memory may have eroded but love was never a friend of mine

My illusion did nothing to excite me. It was dull, it was tedious, it was anodyne

Failure was the key. To fail without love is not failure, it is a death that awaits

Life was an illusion. Death leads into a form of life, where…Is it death that life creates? 

A wretched and torn memory watches over the body as it fades away

It has always been like that and that’s how it will always stay

Any strength you had will become a weakness as your dust returns to earth

It was not you, it was life that started to kill me from the day my mother gave birth.  

© 2023 Daniel Kemp All rights reserved  

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

Mitch Teemley is asking for several friends….

Mitch Teemley

  • Why night falls, but day breaks (and why they’re both so clumsy). ~me
  • Why a butt dial and a booty call are two completely different things. ~allisoncollins (
  • Why writers write and painters paint, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? ~unknown
  • Why parents always announce the birth of their new baby (“We just had a new baby!”). Do some people give birth to old babies? ~me
  • Why go can meananything: “So, I go (say), ‘I have to go (use the toilet) before I go (leave).'” ~me
  • Why people always deal with “odds and ends” together, but never separately. ~me
  • Why oversee means to watch carefully, but overlookmeans the opposite. ~me
  • Why there are no young fogies. ~me
  • If womb is pronounced “woom” and tomb is pronounced “toom,” shouldn’t bomb be pronounded “boom”? ~death-lines (
  • If vegetarians eat vegetables, do humanitarians eat humans? ~me

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9 of 52

This is such a well-put-together short story of growing up.

Type AJ Negative

I Love You, Dog

The boy was born on a Wednesday, the same day his father picked up a puppy from the shelter. Though the world was a scary place at first and thoughts were only emotions and feelings, the boy sensed the puppy. The puppy sensed the boy, as well.

It wasn’t long before the puppy was sleeping on the floor in the baby room. Not long after that, the puppy and the boy connected in thought if not in words.

“Hi, I’m Boy.”

“Hi, I’m Dog.”

And so the bond was made.

What the parents would hear is a baby’s coo or gibberish, and what they would see is the puppy’s floppy ears perk up and its tail wag from side to side. What really happened were exchanges of joy.

“I love you, Dog.”

“I love you, Boy.”

As they grew, the puppy stayed with the boy and…

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Meaningless Words

If you read the final words that are ever written

And you hear the last song as it’s sung

Why do you ask me what happened to freedom

That was fought for when we were very young?

Look around and see where lay the dying

In their rotting layers found under your feet.

It was because the bodies kept on mounting

As the politicians only made more plans to meet.

Words were spoken by the righteous

Many times and most intellectually,

But words never save the poor from dying

Nor open any grave and set them free.

Why not ask if minds had been joined in a union

And the word peace carved with blood into stone

Then could man have found an answer

Instead of finding more reasons to postpone

But was real peace ever looked for by humanity?

When money was being earned by guns firing all the more.

Just think of all the different weapons that have been invented,

Because it’s greed that’s the reason behind the start of any war.

© 2023 Daniel Kemp All rights reserved

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A Crackle That Crackled

T’was a ghostly crackle that crackled loud in the night.

T’was an eerie crackle that caused all the fright.

But when the chilling crackle ceased to crackle in the light,

That was the time when the blood-curdling crackle gave rise to their plight.

Searching they went down the crackles path

Then inside a darkened tunnel, they heard a crackling laugh. 

So when the crackle appeared at its crackling worse

Some of our brave young trackers were carried away in a horse-drawn hearse.

Are the trackers finished in a crackles shrewish way?

Or will we see the trackers appear on another crackling day?

Meanwhile, if the crackle crackles down a street in your block

I suggest you stay inside and all your doors and windows you do lock. 

Never mess with a crackle when its crackle has been on show.

If you venture into your garden please check in your hedgerow

If the crackle lands and crackles on your head,

Don’t worry unduly as shortly you’ll be dead. 

But hark ye who live down in crackle land

There is more to the evil crackle I feel I can now expand

Crackles can die! Oh yes they can and what’s more— they do

Please, take a comfy seat while I explain it all to you.

Tie the crackle down whilst he doth sleep

Do this with a rope that’s fine, never use a rope that’s cheap.

Before he fully wakes force raw garlic down his throat

And believe me, for that treatment there is no antidote! 

You can if you feel lucky roast the crackle over an open fire

While you are still hungry and the garlic is exciting all that you desire

Don’t breathe on your partner who may have desires of her own

And I suggest you don’t roast crackles whilst you are at home!

© 2023 Daniel Kemp All rights reserved

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elvis has left the boat.

Heinz needs to find Elvis!
I was a little frivolous with my comment, but perhaps you can help.

I didn't have my glasses on....

Heinz wants to find the man who survived nearly a month at sea with nothing but ketchup and seasonings to help him buy a new boat

In a virtual message in a bottle, the company put out a request for assistance on Instagram last week.Elvis Francois was working on his boat in St. Maarten in December when he accidentally started drifting out to sea. The weather had suddenly changed, and he said in a video released by the Colombian Navy, who rescued him, that he had lost his ability…

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I haven’t been writing for long, I think it amounts to no longer than ten years, but one of the very first things I did was to look up what was considered to justify the label of being a novel, a novella, or a short story. 

One of the finest definitions I came across was this one, which I found on an internet site called blurb:

A novella is defined as a work of narrative fiction that runs between 20,000 and 50,000 words (the average is around 30,000). Once a story exceeds 50,000 words, it is entering the novel territory. On the flip side, anything between 10,000 and 20,000 words would be considered a novelette (it sounds too cute to be real, but it is an actual category of fiction writing).

If the short story had a big sister, it would be the novella. Short stories are usually only a few thousand words long and are designed to be read in one sitting, whereas novellas require more time and attention. Fiction genres are typically distinguished by word count, but you can also think of the average short story as 10 to 25 pages, and the average novella as 100 to 150 pages. That makes a novella short enough to get through in an afternoon, with a break or two. A standard novel is 250 to 300 pages, so you may need a few days to get cover to cover.

In terms of structure, a novella features more conflicts and plot development than a short story, but fewer subplots than a novel. Even though novellas may follow a traditional story arc and create the same kind of unifying effect that short stories are known for, they often lack the complexity and multiple perspectives found in novels.

~ ~ ~

This morning I read an article from a regular blogger about two novels that had been read and reviewed. The first novel was read in a day and the second just over a day, but could have been finished had there been more time available in the day set aside for the review.

I couldn’t go further into the books than the two reviews, both of which were full of praise and it piqued my interest. Not enough, if you’re wondering, for me to buy both on the back of those reviews. 

That said, it left no possibility to investigate the structure of either novel, other than reading the few pages available on the Amazon site, both of which I found to be well-written as well as engaging. 

However, my real concern lay with the description this—regular blogger—used at the beginning of these reviews; one of two—Novels. 

On that same Amazon page was the sum of my concerns and what brings me to write this post. I can assure you I do have other things to occupy my time.

The first of those novels, the one that was finished in a day, had 42 pages and the second one had 55. I didn’t count how many words were on a page accessible on Amazon, but generally, using this size font and these spacings, it’s around about 400 hundred odd words per page which makes both novels not Novels in the principal of the descriptions I found. 

Here’s my dilemma; as I stated at the beginning, I have not been writing for long. Ten years doesn’t count for much time in the craft of writing and this blogger has, I suspect, a great deal more experience than I do.

Am I wrong in assuming both these novels to be short stories, with the 55-page one just edging into the novella bracket, and the other a tiny bit short, but as it’s a nice bright day, given the benefit of the doubt?  

How do you classify a short story? Is it as I do, anything up to 20,000 words? Are you then like Blurb and put a Novella from 20-50,000 words? Or, are you like me in pushing the level higher, saying a novel is only a Novel after it exceeds 80,000 words? 

How do you decide and where do you place your distinction?

© 2023 Daniel Kemp All rights reserved

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Author Clips on YouTube! (The Sequel)

These video clips are priceless: H.G. Wells and Boris Pasternak to name just two. All of them come courtesy of Dave Astor. There are more on his blog

Dave Astor on Literature

BuchiLast week’s post featuring author videos received a nice response, so I thought I’d do a second column spotlighting some other authors. As before, I made sure all the clips were short — and again started with living writers and concluded with deceased ones.

Fannie Flagg, whose warmly compelling novels include Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, discusses topics such as how she got her pen name:

Rita Mae Brown, who first rose to literary fame with her great lesbian-themed classic Rubyfruit Jungle, talks about her mystery series co-starring human and animal detectives:

Terry McMillan focuses on how she writes her novels (Waiting to Exhale, etc.) and the unhealthiness of staying angry:

Khaled Hosseini, author of books such as The Kite Runner, recalls his transition from physician to novelist and discusses how refugees make the U.S. a better place. Hosseini himself was a…

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Treasuring Poetry – Poet and author, Sally Cronin, talks about poetry and my review

It doesn’t get much better than the combination of Robbie Cheadle and her guest Sally Cronin talking about poetry and prose.

Writing to be Read

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author, poet, and blogger, Sally Cronin as my February Treasuring Poetry guest.

A collage of Sally Cronin’s book covers

Why do you write poetry?

Thank you so much Robbie for inviting me along to talk about poetry it is lovely to be here.

I loved nursery rhymes when I was very young, and for most children it is their first introduction to poetry. I wanted to write my own and would scribble down as stories that probably made no sense to anyone but me. I illustrated them and even put them together in a book I kept under the mattress and they were not shown to anyone. I was seven and my growing love of all kinds of poetry from short and pithy to the long saga adventures has never faded. As a teenager I switched to writing song lyrics and found it a wonderful…

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A History of the Elephant & Castle (Part Two)

First, the bombs, next the concrete and then—-what will be the future of the Elephant?

View from the Mirror

This is the second part looking at a history of the Elephant and Castle area of south London. To read the first instalment please click here

The Elephant at war

Being a major transport hub with a large civilian population, the Elephant and Castle was bombed heavily during World War Two. 

Londoners sheltering at Elephant and Castle tube station during the Blitz.

The worst raid to hit the area took place on the 10th May 1941, when bombers deliberately targeted the south London district in order to create a ferocious firestorm which rapidly engulfed the Elephant. 

A painting depicting the night in which the Elephant was consumed by flames.

After the war much of the Elephant lay in ruins, a shadow of its pre-war days when Londoners had flocked there to indulge in its many shops and places of entertainment.

Bomb damage at the Elephant, 1941. The destroyed…

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