The Nameless Horror

Writers' rooms

Clearing out old files and found this, written to be copy/pasted into a Facebook comment on, IIRC, a link to (mostly, but not entirely) the most staggeringly pretentious load of old toss by writers on their chosen environments. It deserves saving, I think. This, then, would be my entry, in the same style (in reality, I like the pub just fine, thanks) as the originals:

“The Crown hostelry in which I sit has probably been here in one form or another for the best part of a hundred years, and at least two of the barely-functional alcoholics snarling what’s either deep-seated political commentary or jokes about the other’s parentage in what I take to be a fantastic and near-dead language have, I suspect, been in it for most of that time. My desk is chipboard under an unconvincing walnut veneer and I’m sitting on a wobbly chair probably only moments from splintering and dropping me on my behind in a cascade of swearing and spilt drink. There’s a single tealight holder on the table - not a present from anyone, and certainly not antique, but nonetheless possessing an unmistakeable air of mystery: I’ve been in or walked past here on all nights and in all weathers, and never once have I ever seen candlelight. Occasionally my eyes stray for inspiration to the magnificent view of the fruit machine under the TV, and the dead, hollow eyes of Noel Edmonds staring back at me, challenging me, defying me once again to cross into that sacred realm where inspiration and pure words combine, the vast and singular well from which I draw, slowly, delicately, afraid lest each should fall and shatter against the scratched wood flooring, every phrase, every utterance of my award-winning dinosaur erotica.

The alcoholic laughs. Trina, the barmaid, suggests he do something unlikely with his proposition. Bubbles pop inaudibly at the pinnacle of my glass. Noel stares at me, unblinking and unswayed. I compose my fingers on the keyboard.

Challenge accepted, old friend.”

(John Rickards’ latest, ‘Boffed By The Brachiosaur’, in which a failed poet seeking solace in the Amazon gets more than she bargained for, is out now through Morning Cock Press.)