Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Hori Project - My good advice cured a pakeha jokers ulcers

A very merry hoho to you all.  This blog has been quiet because I've been imbibing of several merry  ho ho which tends to dull my usually rapierlike wit.
Regular service will resume now that I've sobered up and as the next post is scheduled to be the latest instalment of the Insecure Writers Support Group I promise it'll be a nice big one that you can sink your teeth into.
Until then I present proof that the Hori Project lives!

I was sitting on the lid of the dustbin the other Sunday enjoying half a gallon of cool beer which the missus had put in the fridge for me the night before. A pakeha joker from up the road has a gink at me and says “well Hori, what are you looking so pleased about?”

Well, “ I say , “it's a kapai morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the beer tastes plurry good and I have had a good breakfast of bacon and eggs and the curried crayfish which the mother in law couldn't finish on account of having too much pakeha tucker at the indoor bowls meeting last night”
This pakeha coot says to me, “what you think about the yanks sending monkeys and things into space?”
I say “I don't know anything about this news”
He says, “Don't you read the papers?”
I tell him “Only when they make the korero about the Maori not being allowed to go and play the Springboks in Africa” I then say to this jokers, who looks about as cheerful as most pakeha fellers do on a Sunday morning “will you have a drink and a cold whitebait fritter?”
He says, “Cripes no. Don't you know that I have a stomach ulcer?”
I say “How you get thing this thing?”
He says “It's the worry about the income tax and the share market and one thing and another. Don't you get the ulcer sometime?”

I tell him that I don't pay the income tax 'cause I got too many kids and I don't make enough dough to buy the shares. I also tell him that even I f I did get the ulcer it wouldn't have a show fighting the good tucker that I eat like the crayfish, the paua, the pipi, the corn on the cob and the pig's head.
This pakeha coot he then say “Don't you ever worry at all?”
I say “Py korry yes, sometimes when the wife’s brother rats the fridge and pinches the pigs trotter which I always have about two o'clock in the morning to keep me going till breakfast”
This thin faced pakeha says “what you think about the Russian situation and don't you worry about world affairs??”
I say “Py korry what you think we keep all these jokers at the Parliament for? We pay them to do the bellyaching and worrying for us, so why do the worrying ourselves?”
He says “Stiffen the crows... you've got something there mate”
I say “Cut out this worry business. Don't worry about the Yanks and the Russians. Just go ahead and eat the good kai and drink the good beer. Have the good wahine and kids and the good mates to enjoy the good things”

Do you know what? I talk this coot into having the pigs trotter and a few pots and he soon forgets about the ulcer and the income tax.
All of a sudden he says “Hori, your talk has done me good. I feel a lot better”
In that case I tell him we better have something to eat, so I bring out the mussels, the pipi, the corn cob and the pickle onions a also another jar of beer.
When he go he thank me very much and say goodbye.

I don't see this pakeha for about two weeks when I am having a pot with my mate in the pub about ten to six on Saturday. I see this joker standing on a chair making the korero to about about 20 pakehas.
He wave the arms and says to this mob like this You fellers worry too much about world affair and your own personal selfishness. Also you don't eat the good tucker like the pig's trotter, the pipi and the crayfish. Watch yourselves “ he says “ or you will finish up with a good crop of stomach ulcers.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Devils Sooty Brother or Work is hell!

Christmas is almost upon us and in my country it means BBQs, cricket on the beach and singing about all those lovely carols how cold and deep the snow is and Santa has to wrap up warm to deliver presents.

So it's a good job that I stumbled across this little gem when I did because my version of the nativity was going nowhere fast.
    Inkeeper: We don't often get mothers of potential deities in here
    Mary: At these prices I'm not surprised.
Better to leave it on the cutting room floor and spare myself a lifetime of dodging lightening bolts addressed to “That smartarse who thinks he can make fun of my mum”

It's actually one of The Brothers Grimm stranger stories, it doesn't follow the rule of three [1] that so many of their stories do, except in the most roundabout way and I suspect that the only child that was given this as a bedtime story grew up to be Hannibal Lector.
Its another one that will most likely never get past the doors of Disney [2] But that's not a bad thing because this is clearly a more of a Mike Mignola type story anyway.

There was once a soldier who had been discharged from the army, for reasons that were never actually made clear, he had nothing to live on and did not know how to make his way in the world.  While he walked through the forest he met a little man who turned out to be the devil.

Hi Devil” the soldier said calmly enough
Damn” replied the devil who had been hoping to spring the surprise himself “it's the pitchfork isn't it? I knew I should have left it behind. Anyway, I was just sitting here minding my own business when you walked by looking sad. Whats got you down friend?” [3]
I'm hungry” the soldier replied, completely ignoring the prompt that would have turned this into a musical number “but broke”
That's fixed easily enough. Hire yourself to me as my serving-man and I promise that you shall have enough for all your life.”
That sounds like a good deal”
The devil smiled like the slimier kind of used car salesman “Of course it is. All I ask is seven years and then you'll be free [4] My only condition is that you must not wash, comb, trim or cut your hair and nails. You can't even wipe the water from your eyes”
That's an amazingly specific list sir. I take it there’s a union?”
“Naturally. I am the devil after all” [5]

The pair shook hands to seal the pact and the devil led the soldier down into hell. When they arrived at the devils house he received his list of duties.
Official list of hell duties:
  • Keep the house clean
  • Drive all the sweepings behind the doors and make sure that everything is kept in order
  • Poke the fire under the kettles where the hell-broth was stewing.
  • Collect the mail
  • Walk the Dog
  • Maintain the garden
  • Manage my downloads
As can be expected the list went on for a while but the top three were the most important and the devil strongly cautioned him against looking inside the kettles.
No prob boss. You can count on me” and the soldier got on with the work while the devil went out again on his wanderings.

When the devil returned he had a good look round and appeared satisfied with the soldiers work and left once he had remembered that he was running late for an appointment in Georgia. [6]
Left to his own devices the soldier looked at the huge kettles and, overcome with curiosity, looked inside each one.
Inside the first was his former corporal who looked decidedly uncomfortable. Inside the second was his former ensign who wasn't having such an easy time of it either. Finally inside the third kettle was his former general. He closed the kettles up and made the fires hotter and hotter since these three had once delighted in making his own water very hot indeed.

Time passed and for seven years he didn't wash or cut his hair and the seven years seemed so short to him that he thought he had only been there half a year.
Well soldier what have you done?” the devil asked one day
Everything on the list. Poked the fire, swept the dirt behind the doors, walked the dog and got your mail”
Anything interesting in there?”
Just some bills. Price of coal has gone up again”
And they call me evil” the devil shuddered “It's been seven years since we met and don't bother denying that you didn't look in the kettles because I've got the whole father of lies thing sewn up tight. I'll just say that it's a good job that you kept on making the flames larger and hotter because otherwise you would have paid with your life. Anyway, now that your time is up will you go home again?”
I will” said the soldier “my father hasn't heard from me all this time so I'd better drop in and say hello”
Very well. In order that you may receive the wages you've earned in my service [7] go and fill your knapsack full of the sweepings and take it home with you. Also you must remain in your unwashed state and when anyone asks where you're from you've got to say 'from hell' if they ask who you are you must tell them 'I am the devil's sooty brother, and my king as well'”

The soldier held his tongue as he collected the sweepings from behind the door, added a few more logs to the kettles and left thinking that all he'd been tricked by his friend into working for this muck. When he returned to the forest he looked in his bag and discovered that his sweepings had become pure gold. He felt bad about what he had been thinking and whistled happily as he entered the town.

From whence you came?” called the landlord in fear of this horrible man who looked like a particularly badly made scarecrow
From hell” the soldier replied as the devil had instructed him
Who are you then?”
I'm the devil's sooty brother, and my king as well”
You're a loony” the innkeeper said to himself “but a loony with money and that means he's just eccentric”
Our friend the soldier made certain he had the best meal and rooms in the place which was easy since very few people wanted to spend a night under the same roof as the devils brother.
Finally he lay down to sleep but during the night the innkeeper stole his gold filled knapsack.
Of course the theft was discovered in the morning and the soldier returned to hell and talked with his old boss about the problem.

Sit down soldier boy” the devil said and for the first time in seven years the man was made clean, neat and tidy. “now you go back to the inn and tell the keeper to return your gold or else I'll fetch him and he can work for me”
So the soldier went to the landlord and threatened him with servitude to the devil if the gold wasn't returned right bleeding now.He left the inn with a bad review, all of his gold and all of the innkeepers gold as well.

On his way home he strolled about making music, since the devil, as we all know, has the best tunes it had made sense to spend some time learning them.
It was a good thing that he had because a king heard his music and was so delighted with his playing that he promised him his eldest daughter in marriage.
Give me to that common muck and I'll kill myself” the eldest daughter proclaimed and looked around for a divan upon which to suitably languish.
So the king gave the soldier his youngest daughter who was happy to please her father and when the king died the devils sooty brother inherited the throne. [8]
The end.

  • The devils kettles:
    It's a nice setup. On the one hand if the devil says don't do this then you probably should but on the other hand he's your boss and you have to obey his orders. Either way he wins.
  • The men in the kettles:
    The three men who had made his life as a soldier hell just happen to be in the kettles? Methinks the devil didn't choose this soldier at random.
  • and the seven years seemed so short to him that he thought he had only been there half a year”
    this suggests that he enjoyed his work a lot I think we can take it as a truth that this guy wasn't going to be very nice even without the devils job.
    In fact we could go so far as to say that, by keeping him in hell and away from humanity, the devil of our tale is actually the good guy of the story. Um, yay?
  • Don't wash or cut your hair...
    I'm pretty certain that the devil was just messing with him. But could this be something deeper? Perhaps an attempt to make him look as ugly on the outside as he was on the inside?
  • Why did the soldier return to hell when his money was stolen?
    He might have resolved the matter by dropping the devils name into the conversation like so.
    “You know my brother, the devil, gave me that bag of money and I'm sure that Old Scratch, isn't going to like the fact that someone has taken it. Lets also not forget that his old boss sees everything that happens in the world and some of his staff are taking notes about things that people have done. Hint bloody hint mate”

    On top of that he's a soldier.  Any soldier who knows that someone has pinched his money, especially a sack full of gold, isn't going to bother with the law when there's such a thing as a rampage.
Its difficult to know what to make of this one and since it ends so abruptly I wouldn't be surpised if there was a part two floating around out there.

I think my biggest question is what exactly are the devils motives here?
He gets a serving-man for seven years but what is he really after?  The more I think about this the more I think that the whole thing was the devil using the soldier to scare an innkeeper into living a good life.
But how mean and nasty do you have to be before the man in the striped pyjamas looks up and says "Damn me [9] If I don't do something then this guy will be coming down here for sure"

  1. Three brothers, three godmothers, three this, three that. You get the picture.
  2. Unless there is one heck of a Christmas party the night before.
  3. Cavet! The devil calls everyone friend, be wary of this.
  4. “You'll also have a hard time explaining this to Saint Peter but I didn't say that”
  5. Boom Boom!
  6. He'd been practising and was confident of winning back his golden fiddle.
  7. Your completely voluntary service to the prince of darkness that is.
  8. And there was much rejoicing because nobody wanted to be the one that wasn't rejoicing hard enough. Not with the devils sooty brother sitting on the throne and watching everyone.
  9. Again

Friday, 9 December 2011

Can we guess your characters age? Blogfest Contest

We'll save the regularly scheduled post [1] so that I can post about this blogfest Which I stumbled across on Everything you didn't want to know about writing. [2] and is the brainchild of

The gist of the contest is that the first 250 words of your manuscript, regardless of whether it's finished or a Work In Progress. Then jump onto a few other entrants and try to guess the age of the character, give critiques, or praise [3] 

I did have to whittle it down a little to make the 250 word limit but it's only replacing a few words here and there.  All this really means is that if this ever does get published this excerpt and the first few paragraphs won't marry up perfectly but aside from that and without any further guilding of the lilly. Here's my Entry. 

Character Evelyn Oneeye [4]

For a time she dared to dream of escape, even a rescue, but she knew it was futile. There would be no rescue because she wasn't here, had never been here and, really, shouldn't have been here but the opportunity to tug the barons nose had simply been too much to resist. 

“Good evening Beautiful. It's a cold night out there tonight and no mistake” The voice of the Baron in question brought her out of her dreaming and she raised her head, the effort of even this small movement almost exhausting her “I've told you before, Don't call me that” 
His smile was contemptuous but then it always had been “Look at you still trying to give orders” without warning his fist, made heavy with tasteless jewelery, slammed into her face “Tell me who sent you!” 
She spat but it fell short “I don't speak with traitors. You couldn't break me when I was your betrothed and you can't break me now” 
“You sheep can bleat about traitors all you want. When the dust settles I'm going to be the one ruling Kalagrim while you'll be just another beggar rolling around in the filth” 

The door opened again with the blast of wind pulling the guardsman in with it. “Baron Trailin sir!” he remembered to come to attention and salute, Ambian style, just in time “a traveller at the gate requests an audience with you. He claims to be from the Carbine Barony” 


  1. That I totally had already prepared and ready to go. Honest 
  2. Which is always awesome and you should totally visit. Don't forget to bring cake because that's always polite. 
  3. Or money. I'll stress right now that money is perfectly acceptable.
  4. In the actual book her name isn't revealed until later for various reasons, but it doesn't hurt anything to include it.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Insecure Writers Support Group Post Day

Sometimes, sometimes you just don't feel like writing at all.  You've got no ideas and even if you do their either rubbish or totally stolen from somewhere else. [1]  
It's the season I suppose.  Work is piling up, everyone seems to either be on your back or in your face for no reason at all.  You can't escape it because no matter where you turn it's all mountains.

Eventually they all just run together into one big blob of negative and the only thing that you can do is to make soothing go away type noises in the vain hope that it will do any good.
Then they turn around and expect you to write something worth reading? [2]

But you start scribbling anyway and you aren't paying attention to what your doing, it's all just random.  Eventually you look it over and, sure it's rambling, angry, incoherrant and illegable but there's some good stuff in the mess as well.

What's my point?  It isn't enough to tell the reader that your main character is angry or sad or in love or whatever you've got to show them through their actions and their interactions with others.

Someone who's angry isn't going to listen to anyone else.  They'll rant to anyone within listening distance and if there is nobody in listening distance then they shout towards the heavens [3] or perhaps they won't, it might be that they are the type of person to keep things on a slow burn, staying silent and just turning it all over in their mind.  If they speak at all it will just be a repeating of a single word or phrase over and over. [4]

Think about the posture of a person as well.  No eye contact, not speaking, moving away when someone gets close are clear signs that they don't want to talk.

It won't always go the way you plan it.  I know the cast of Harts Change are becoming notorious for choosing option C when I could only see options A and B.

There was supposed to be more to this but I lost half my notes and work is killing me.
Also I'm listening to a really big fight that has flared up between the guy and his girlfriend who live in the house.
This is an epic level meltdown and by that I mean that they were a block away and we could clearly hear them in the kitchen [5].  Everyone went back to their rooms just now.  This is one of those fights that will stop for neither man nor beast.

Ok, she's just slammed the door in his face and he's gone around to shout at the window.  Hasn't tried to break anything yet.

He's walked round the house twice and now he's back inside inside and banging on the door.  Still shouting although it's pretty incoherent at the moment.  I'll let you know if anything comes of this [6]

10 minutes later:  There were some more door slams.  I think he did it twice for extra effect, now she's crying in the kitchen with his mum.  I don't know what the story is and I don't know them well enough to pry.  All I'm going to be doing is observing the actions of these two until they patch things up. [7]

  1. Very much like this post.  It's taken me days to get even this much down on paper
  2. Although who exactly "they" are I'm sure I don't know
  3. At which point the boss is looking down saying "Oh me!  Not this guy again"
  4. It doesn't have to make sense except to them.
  5. While part of me is hoping that they sort it out another part of me is doing the whole Jerry Springer experience
  6. if anything comes of this....incredibly convenient fight that you have no way of verifying for those of us playing along at home.
  7. which, of course, I hope that they do.  Greek tragedy is very much overrated.