8 thoughts on “Wan and Watchman

  1. A9954A39-F436-4F8F-8105-14A459DB7324Numbered 38 out of 200, with 20 pages.

    THIS MUST BE EARTH by Melissa Wan

    “, a woman too big and somehow too dark to be Grace, who had always been pale and slight.”

    A wan Moon, ironically, for the Grace of God, has slipped its tether and become a pencil sharpener or a drawing of a UFO or something or someone else altogether? This is a compelling, if discomfiting, piece wherein off-duty taxi driver George picks his daughter up at the train station for Christmas when more than just the Bethlehem Star has vanished from our dark horizons…
    The out-of-kilter sense of this work as we progress with more and more knowledge of George’s backstory, a watchman in a vigil thus to protect the night sky, in a long line of such watchmen on the spear side of his family if not the distaff, and actually he was born on a notable space exploration date in 1959, and we are also granted inside knowledge revealed for us about his own habits and secret salacious thoughts, and his sneakiness in not being observed by his wife (and I use the word ‘observe’ advisedly), and a gradual inexplicable entropy of expectations in his self worth seems to pan out. This work even causes an accretive lack of confidence by the reader in their own sanctity of self, I sensed, especially in the ability to clinch a bargain with this story and how it does actually end and why — indeed, why do major things go missing or are misunderstood and not recognised, and, just as one example, why was it George chose Mark Murphy and not Herbie Mann when planning the music to play in his unflagged taxi for when his daughter from university got into it after his meeting her train, while, perhaps significantly, thus off-duty….
    Our co-vivid dream for today?

    “Most people seemed only too keen to herald the end of the world.”

    My previous review of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/best-british-short-stories-2019/#comment-16525


    Cajun moon
    Where does your power lie
    As you move
    Across the southern sky
    You took my babe
    Way too soon
    What have you done
    Cajun moon”

    Herbie Mann music

  2. F5E5B70E-C6AA-418F-B605-F2C7A3E0AA4FCOCKY WATCHMAN by Ailsa Cox

    “A writer’s never off duty, that’s what I always told my students, and if the cabbie was a talker he’d earn his tip.”

    …and there are as many as Three Graces in this crepitating story, the pareidolia or apophenia in flames and the words to match.
    A creative writer as a form of Watchman employing this work’s taxi driver as Watchman to garner localese for writing inspiration and all manner of the day’s premature mischief needed for creative writing, the taxi driver who watches even another Watchman, the eponymous one, all of them no doubt nosey parkers, the cocky one of the burning cockpit being the one who used to caretake the local parks, one of these parks assonantly called Watts, in this atmospheric, time-changing, corruptly rebuilt, re-customised locale of Liverpool — and of other cities, no doubt, on this night before Halloween.
    The writer has noticed, too, Wan’s off-putting as an onset of odd ‘stand-offishness’ in his creative-writing students. From the Biggles of my childhood to the Star Wars of my own children to today’s instinctive “hazy impressions, as vivid and as fleeting as a dream.” Even the writer’s dog at home, dozing amid the noise of fireworks from outside, has such impressions in her head, if we but knew…the above morphing of cinder burning brightly again. A capstan full strength.

    My previous review of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/best-british-short-stories-2014/#comment-12320 (where I wrote: ‘an emotionally cold daughter your only legacy…’)

    As with the description of city planning in the second work above, the process of gestalt real-time reviewing is a jigsaw. But literature has endless pieces to fit together and we all yearn to have a picture on the lid to go by. The above two works are key pieces for the emerging picture that is already in my head. Cocky on my part, maybe, but it’s never too late, whatever it is that changes around us.


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