Talking To Myself: Dec 2019 (Out of the Hermit Hole)


“Twas a cold and frosty night….”

I look over and Crow is shaking his head.

“Erm….” I search around for a different tack and venture forth with, “Once upon a time?”

“No. It was only a couple of weeks actually.” He gives me that look with his pupils all dark and deep. “So it’s not like we’re entering the realm of the enchanted, is it?”

“Guess not.” I sigh. I think Crow got a bit pissy that I hadn’t written him a Christmas story this year. I’ve some explaining to do apparently.

He pokes a finger at me. “That’s right! You disappear for four weeks and then come crawling out of whatever damned hermit hole you’ve been hiding in with nothing better than a lame blog post?”

“Not at all,” I reply defensively. “I’ve been busy, and in fact, I’ve got all sorts of things going on.”

“Yes…..” Crow’s eyes narrow. “You’re fevered brain is cooking up something new, isn’t it?”

I nod my head as he continues. “You’ve had some mad brained idea recently – it’s written all over your face – and you can’t decide if you can commit to all this work you’re heaping on yourself.”

I shrug. “Well, no one said being a writer was going to be easy.”

Crow sits down on the edge of my desk and lights a cigarette. “So, what’s the plan?”


“Well, dear Crow,” I beam, “I was away because it was National Novel Writing Month.”

“And how did Nanowrimo go?”

I show him my little digital reward.


Crow makes a wry face and rolls his eyes. “Impressive.”

“It’s not really about the digital slap on the back,” I reply. “The reward is getting the work done. I said I’d write a novel based on the Mind-Thistle Run short and that’s what I did.”

“And how do you think your audience took this little leave of absence?”

I shrug. “Not sure. But they knew it was part of the plan, so it’s no good them staring at me with those big old hurt puppy eyes. I was busting my backside to get it done.”

“Uh huh,” Crow sniffs. “That why you went on holiday?”

“Hey, it was a couple of days.” I give him a disdainful glance. “Don’t try and twist this. I took the laptop and got it done. Now all I have to do is get it whipped into shape.”

“You’re not going to use some cliche about slapping clay on a potter’s wheel are you?” Crow asks as he blows smoke over me. “What I want to know is how long is that going to take?”

I wave the cloud away as I explain. “No idea, but let’s be realistic – unlike some Nanowrimo’s that is – some people seemed to think BOOM! Done! Now I’ll just send it off to the publisher.”

“Is that really what people think?” Crow shakes his head in dismal wonder.

“I guess so,” I reply with a sad smile.


“Aren’t we all when we start out, dear Crow?”

“Alas, such is life,” Crow replies. “You still haven’t told me what you’re going to do about… them?”

“The readers?” I scratch my head. “Oh, I’m sure I can keep them amused with some other stuff for the time being.”

Crow arches his eyebrows. “Like what?”


I clear my throat and plunge on in. “Well, it’s about time that I got that Senlin Ascends review posted. I’ll do that in a little bit, just give me an hour to check it.”

“That’d be a start,” Crow nods. “And?”

“There’s a few others coming up. I just finished reading Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and I’ve got a little non-fiction thing to post.”

“Great.” Crow waves a dismissive hand. “Reviews are one thing, but how about some real content?”

Real Content?

I scratch my head. “Well…..”

“Don’t play that game with me,” Crow says, wrinkling up his face. “Come on.”

“Well, I’ll be doing the usual of trying to write a few articles – “

“Shorter than the last I hope.”

“Shh, don’t interrupt. I’ve got a few things to say about stuff, and yes, I’ll try to keep it…. concise.”

“Good. Don’t think anyone wants to hear you waffling on. People need it to be quick and snappy in this day and age.”

I roll my eyes. “Indeed. Anyway, I’ve got a lovely little follow up to the Wonderful Mr. Valentine.”

Crow nods. “That’s nice.”

“It amazes me,” I continue wistfully, “Just how enduring that post has been. People keep finding it, and so I thought I’d add a little follow up. I was lucky to receive a little relic that once belonged to Paul. It’s become something of a…. personal mission for me.”

“What kind of mission?”

“You’ll have to wait and see.”

Crow blows out a long breath. “Fine. What about the stories, the memoir?”

“On it. The memoir is probably going to be a bit rough because I don’t have time to draft it like Mind-Thistle, but it should be readable. I’ll just do it as I go along.”

“And the shorts?”

“I’ll try and add one or two in the next couple of months.”

“Months?” Crow snaps. “We can’t wait months!”

“Well you’ll have to. I’ve started organising the local open mic night once a month on top of all of this stuff.” I hold my hands up. “I am only mortal, dear Crow.”

“Alas, poor you,” Crow declaims with a shake of his head. “You still haven’t told me about your big idea.”

“Oh, I was just thinking about that last post, about something honest.”

Crow’s eyes narrow. “You don’t mean… political, do you?”

I shake my head. “It’s not just politics, dear Crow. It’s….. I don’t know. It’s just something personal, maybe funny, a bit political….. and you’ll be in it.”

“Aha. Now we’re getting somewhere. Is it Christmassy?”

“I don’t know yet,” and I waggle my eyebrows “Yule just have to wait and see.”

Crow gives me a withering look, taps his cigarette ash on the floor and disappears. I stare at the empty space for a moment, then realise I’m thankful he’s done with his inquisition. I’ve got work to do, and no doubt he’ll be back soon enough.


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