03 Curfew

First.

Curfew 

Middle english. [Anglo-French coeverfu, old French cuevrefeu (modern couvrefeu), from tonic stem of couvrir cover + feu fire.]

1.

a. A regulation by which, at a fixed hour in the evening, a bell was rung, as a signal that fires were to be extinguished; also, the hour of ringing, and the bell. (The statement that curfew was introduced to England by William the Conqueror as a measure of political repression is without early historical support.)

b. Hence, the practice of ringing an evening (and morning) bell, in many towns.

2.

A cover for a fire; a fire plate.

Also attributively in combination curfew-bell (see sense 1).

Also in figurative use

1. ‘Well, ‘tis nine o’clock, ‘tis time to ring curfew.’ Romeo and Juliet IV. iv. 4.

Second.

Curfew

Middle English.

1.

A regulation by which, at a fixed hour in the evening, a bell is rung, as a signal that lights are to be extinguished; also, the hour of ringing, and the bell.

2.

A cover for a fire; a fire plate.

Also attributively in combination curfew-bell (see sense 1).

Also in figurative use

1. ‘Well, ‘tis nine o’clock, ‘tis time to ring curfew.’ Romeo and Juliet IV. iv. 4.

Third.

Curfew

1.

A regulation made to protect the public. At fixed hours a bell is rung as a signal that people must stay indoors; Also the hour of ringing, and the bell. At these times the hounds are released into the streets to catch terrorists and criminals.

2.

A cover for a fire; a fire plate.

Also attributively in combination curfew-bell (see sense 1).

Fourth.

Curfew

Middle english. [Anglo-French coeverfu, old French cuevrefeu (modern couvrefeu), from tonic stem of couvrir cover + feu fire.]

1.

A regulation made during the political repression. At fixed hours a bell was rung as a signal that people should stay indoors; Also the hour of ringing, and the bell At these times the hounds would be released into the streets. The government at the time said that this was “to catch terrorists and criminals.”

2.

a. A regulation by which, at a fixed hour in the evening, a bell was rung, as a signal that fires were to be extinguished; also, the hour of ringing, and the bell.

b. Hence, the pre-repression practice of ringing an evening (and morning) bell, in many towns.

3.

A cover for a fire; a fire plate.

Also attributively in combination curfew-bell (see sense 1).

Also in figurative use

1. ‘Well, it’s nine o’clock, and time to ring curfew.’ Robert and Julia IV. iv. 4.

Fifth.

Curfew

Middle english. [Anglo-French coeverfu, old French cuevrefeu (modern couvrefeu), from tonic stem of couvrir cover + feu fire.]

1.

A regulation by which, at a fixed hour in the evening, a bell was rung, as a signal that people should stay indoors; also, the hour of ringing, and the bell.

2.

a. A regulation by which, at a fixed hour in the evening, a bell was rung, as a signal that fires were to be extinguished; also, the hour of ringing, and the bell.

b. Hence, the former practice of ringing an evening (and morning) bell, in many towns.

3.

A cover for a fire; a fire plate.

Also attributively in combination curfew-bell (see sense 1).

Also in figurative use

1. ‘Well, it’s nine o’clock, and time to ring curfew.’ Robert and Julia IV. iv. 4.

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Updates

The first two weeks of this blog, I have updated almost every day. But that was only because I made sure beforehand to have a number of texts ready for posting.

From now on, I’m going to post at a pace I can actually keep. Which means that what I’ve written in ‘about’ will actually become true from this day, and updates will be posted each Wednesday.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will enjoy 🙂

 

02 Love


They met on the train. It was dark outside. He was on his way home. She caught his eye with her golden hair. For a moment he actually thought it was gold, glinting in the light of the fluorescent tubes. She noticed his look and returned it with a smile. He wondered if she could see it. Most unlikely. His skin looked completely lifelike. It even felt like human skin, if rather dry since he did not produce any moisture. Most humans would not notice even if they touched him.

He asked her what the time was, though he already knew it was 7.37 pm. A clock was coded into his brain. She answered him, and they chatted for a while about this and that. Nothing important. Many times he found himself thinking:

‘Would she mind? If I told her, would she mind?’ But why? She was just a stranger.

He got her number when her stop came. He noticed it was only three stops after his own. His detour was not long, and he soon arrived at his home. Just before he put himself in hibernation mode that night, he had a vivid picture of her delicate features crowned by her radiant locks.

He called her two days later. He did not want to seem too eager. She would love to go to the amusement park with him. Since he could not eat, he did not invite her to lunch.

When they meet at the entrance her smile almost made him short-circuit. He asked her later if she wanted an ice-cream. She said thanks but no, she was on a diet. Of course she was. How else could she maintain that magnificent figure? He found her charming, sweet, intelligent and funny. Often they burst out laughing with no reason at all, other than the obvious. She told him afterwards how much fun she had had.

In the following month they met almost weekly. After that it became two times a week. Soon almost daily.

‘Would she mind,’ he kept asking himself, ‘if she knew, would she mind.’

He asked her once what she thought of cyborgs. She frowned for a while.

‘I don’t really know,’ she said. They never returned to the subject.

The day came when they went for a walk in the park. The artificial plants were lighted with a dim red light, which was supposed to give the impression of a sunset. There were many couples here, some even holding hands. He had bought a ring for her more than a week ago.

They sat on a bench, almost touching. He said her name and looked deep into her eyes. He reached out his hand, she reached out hers. They touched. Her hand was neither warm nor cold. It felt just like a human hand, only rather dry. Completely dry. They both yanked their hands away and stood up.

They turned their backs on each other and left the park through different exits.

01 Introduction

She walked with a limp. Her hand gripped her upper arm so tightly that bruises appeared. Her grey eyes were downcast and saw nothing. She stumbled on.

The skyscrapers looked down upon her with contempt, and from their windows hung many a fat bastard who told themselves that they would never be in her shoes. She shuddered in their shadow.

Behind her the building was still smoking, and a couple of people had already saved some of the furniture from the wreckage. For themselves of course.

Her hair fell into her eyes. She did not do anything to stop it.

Her nametag was torn but it might have read Misfortune or Misery. A single red pearl dropped from her nose, and coloured the debris.

As she passed me, I wanted to say something. I wanted to assure her that all was not lost, that someone would help her. But the words stuck in my throat. I am not even sure that she saw me.

She never raised her head as she disappeared into the crowded streets.

Old Ghosts

The lights, the lights and always the screaming, the screaming. They are burning, they all are. They are drowning in the light. The fire makes sure everybody sees. A woman, her hair alight, the perfect picture of agony. Wonderful contrasts come to their right, beautiful silhouettes appear. Then he remembers. They are dying.

The flames are catching them one by one and devouring them. Some turn their hunted rabbit eyes to him. He is a statue in marble, cold marble. His Greek mask of tragedy is magnificently lit, a work of art in all its splendour.

In the present he is trembling.

”Haunted by old ghosts again, eh?”

He is not sure if he hears the words. He is not sure if it is himself making a statement, coming to a conclusion. His vision looses none of its potency. He is not sure if he is even awake. He might be dreaming. It might all have been a dream. It might never have happened. But he remembers it when he is awake. But he might be dreaming he remembers it when he is awake while he is still sleeping. He cannot turn his back on the glow. His ears are blocked by high-pitched voices.

There is another voice trying to talk to him. It might be one of the other onlookers. He cannot hear what the voice is trying to say. He cannot see the source. The thought passes him that the voice might not be part of his nightmare. But everything is these days.

Review: Our Tragic Universe

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas is about a 38 year old woman who is an author. The whole novel revolves around her life both in the present and in the past. The book can be read as a realistic novel, but there are elements in it that can be read as either supernatural, surrealistic or even psychological. It is 425 pages.

As in her books Popco and The End of Mr. Y numerous theories and ideas are woven into the book often through the dialogue. That is, in many of the dialogues the characters are explaining to each other various theories usually on a very basic and easy-to-follow level. In Our tragic universe most of the theories are about writing and stories, therefore people who find such theories interesting, such as writers, will probably also find the book interesting. Unless of course they have already heard or read all the theories and do not like repetitions.

There is not much action in the plot. Most of the plot takes place in a small town in Devonshire, and there are no murder mysteries or detectives included. There are also plenty of reflections from the first person narrator which give the story a rather slow pace. It is the kind of book I would describe as ‘interesting’ rather than ‘exciting’ and ‘curious’ rather than ‘funny’.

There are some good instances of typical daily life that can make the reader smile in recognition. But again, this is only if the reader has some sort of connection to writing, friends with distinctive theories or dogs.

The best thing about the book is all the small quirky ideas and stories that pop up from time to time.

The most disappointing thing about the book is the ending. Do not worry to read on, there will not be any spoilers. Although it is slow, there is throughout the story a steady build up. It is released near the end of the story but more like the puncturing of a balloon than the breaking of a dam. In itself this is very aligned with the rest of the novel. The disappointing part is that the story then trails off. It is as if it tries to make a knot on itself and fails. It is as if something is missing and this leaves the reader unsatisfied.

Our Tragic Universe is an interesting book that will keep the reader entertained throughout the first 418,5 pages, but it does not leave much material for contemplation afterwards.

Tag words for this book: Writing, stories, supernatural, relationship problems

This would be a good read for: Writers, people who like to read about everyday experiences, people who like theories for their own sake, people who like small stories for their own sake

This would not be a good read for: People who want action, people who want overwhelming supernatural or mysterious events, people who do not want to hear about writing

Suggested further reading: Popco and The End of Mr. Y.

While the theories in Our Tragic Universe are mostly about stories and writing, the theories in Popco are mostly about codes and mathematics and the theories in The End of Mr. Y are mostly about language, quantum physics and reality. The End of Mr. Y is definitely the most action packed of the three.

End note, some personal experiences concerning the book

I came to a bad start with Our Tragic Universe because I did not like the title. It sounded too much like an answer instead of a question or something leading up to other questions. But I was surprised in a good way after only a couple of pages.

When I saw Our Tragic Universe in a book shop I first contemplated buying it, because I had read two other books by Scarlett Thomas. Then I thought I should much rather buy a book by an author whom I did not know. I ended up buying it anyway, together with the book Temeraire by Naomi Novik (whom I had not read before) which will probably also be the next book I review.

Sulphur

Yellow and orange flickered about him. He inhaled through his nose and welcomed the sulphur. The rumbling under his feet made him smile. He closed his eyes and stretched out his arms to both sides. He could feel the vibrations of the mountain.

With his hands over his head, he pushed upwards, growing stronger and stronger for each moment that passed. The mountain began to give. Small stones showered down over his head. Some of them entered his mouth. He tasted their rough surfaces which quickly smoothed. They melted before he could crunch them between his teeth.

When he saw the first streak of daylight, his laughter echoed through the mountain. This was it: The great eruption.

The Very First Post

Hello all possible readers,

As the title suggests, this is the very first post on this blog. The following posts will be either short stories, reviews or updates about how my writing career is coming along, some poetry might even crop up now and then.

I have prepared some posts in advance, so the first couple of days there will be a new post every day, but when the prepared posts run out, I expect to write a new post once a week. Perhaps twice a week if I’m productive. It all depends on real life. Since I cannot live off my writing yet, I sadly cannot afford to spend all my time on it.

Still, I will do my best to update frequently.

I hope to see you around.

Kind Regards
W. R. Woolf

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