A War on Dots and Dashes

Story Fragments: Just wrote a short story, A War on Dots and Dashes, one of those annoying tales that comes in the middle of the night and refuses to let you sleep till you’ve finished writing it. The story relates the demise of a teacher whose delight in correcting spelling and punctuation is rewarded in an unexpected and unwelcome way. You can both read the short story and listen to the author reading it.

  A War on Dots and Dashes [801 words, November 17, 2017]
Furious, she scored a diagonal through the page in blood-red ink. When would they learn? Spelling and punctuation mattered. Two out of ten. The mark fell like a death sentence but she had no regrets ….

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New flash soundscape. The Blinkin’ Box

The Blinkin' Box

Story Fragments: I have created a new flash soundscape using the flash fiction, The Blinkin’ Box. It tells the sad but poetic tale of an old man holed up in a pillar box the day progress comes knocking at his refuge.

 The Blinkin’ Box [460 words, June 4, 2014/Nov. 14 2017]
I peer out, my eyes pressed to the cold metal slit. The brick wall opposite often forms a landscape scarred with shadows, but today it is nothing but a red blur. It stings my eyes as I watch a…

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New header art

Secret Paths: The header artwork of a number of Secret Paths’ sites has been changed and simplified navigation has been added. The photo for Story Fragments was taken at Bow Cemetry during research for my new book, Stories People Tell. A major scene takes places in and near the cemetery, a venue full of magic. The image used for Author’s Notes was taken during the same trip. It depicts a former canal next to the Tabacco Dock in London, where a part of the action in Stories People Tell takes place.

Three new flash soundscapes

Story Fragments: I have published the first three flash soundscapes based on my short stories. I was inspired in doing so by the work of Dirk Maggs who, amongst many other productions, directed and was the sound master of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Douglas Adam’s Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not that I have Maggs talent or possibilities, but it was fun.

 Dr Freud and the Rabbit [681 words, July 26, 2013]
“Frankly,” the rabbit said after a long silence, making a show of staring off into the distance, “are you sure it’s only my problem?”…

  God be Blown [489 words, February 2, 2015]
The blast flung Scott the length of the corridor, through the back door of the pub and all the way into the yard. When its force finally waned, he crumpled to the ground to a round of applause….

  Oratorio for a wreck [371 words, September 5, 2009]
It was Sunday. An invited Orthodox choir sang in the cliff top church: an Oratorio in memory of those lost at sea. A breeze blew off the bay bringing with it a strong smell of salt and seaweed….

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The Secret Paths Constellation

Secret Paths: This site is a news source and the gateway to a constellation of other sites presenting the writings and artwork of Alan McCluskey (see photo). There are currently five sites:

Author’s Notes  … about Alan McCluskey’s novels and writing in general

Story Fragments … flash fiction and flash soundscapes by the author

Books … reviews of books

Artworks  … photos and other artworks by Alan McCluskey

Worlds Apart  … writings about the world and politics in particular

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