Notes for Writers of Historical Twentieth Century Fiction

Notes for Writers of Historical Twentieth Century Fiction

writers-life

1.2 Social Interaction

Greetings: during the twentieth century people greeted each other with handshakes, hugs, upper arm grabbing and kissing on various facial parts, including the lips. (Huge potential for disease transference and death of minor characters.)

Alcohol: could be consumed in restaurants, pubs, parks and other public spaces. This could lead to carousing, sentimentality, revealing of vital plot secrets, dancing on tables and break up of superfluous relationships  in which the writer has lost interest.

Relationships: the following were possible precursors to marriage – hand holding, dinner dates, getting carried away during the polka, long lingering looks, sexual congress and actual countryside walks.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Day 3 of London lockdown and I’m reading, writing, gardening – what’s not to love? All very ordinary; all very strange.

Greetings Friday Fiction buddies around the world (no kisses of course, except virtual ones) and many thanks to Rochelle to whom I raise a glass of red – or I will later since it’s still early afternoon here and standards must be maintained. (photo copyright Jeff Arnold)

Stay well my friends. x

(For previous nonsense writers’ handbook entries click here.)

Best Years of Your Life

carphoto

Best Years of Your Life

There’s the dress, the shoes, the hair – with or without tiara? And you must get the transport right. Pink Mini Cooper? Stretch Limo? Tacky, but what the heck.

My son preferred a lift in a vintage Cadillac and his Dad’s suit – fitted so well my husband never saw it again. My daughter, in gold home-sewn prom dress, walked there under a polka-dot umbrella.

But what a nuisance: the library taken over by chatting teenagers for weeks before exams, the park and playground filled with them hanging out doing nothing much afterwards. I won’t miss any of that.

Actually, it breaks my heart.

Miranda Lewis 2020

(Genre: unreliable memoir)

It’s Friday so I’m late once again to Friday Fiction and I find myself not very fictional.

Today, as schools close across the UK, I am just so sad for the children and young people, particularly those at crucial rite-of-passage stages of their education. No chatting instead of revising in the library for them, no prom night. My library will not be full of irritating teenagers this year as it will be closed; when I stroll through the park (alone) this May and even June there won’t be large groups of teenagers celebrating the end of exams and the start of a long summer by doing nothing in particular together. I still have exam nightmares but now realise there’s something worse than exams – no exams.

Thanks to our host Rochelle who deserves her own Friday Fiction purple Limo to conduct her to story land each week, and  to J Hardy Carroll for the photo prompt.

Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay to comment. Keep well my fiction friends.

No such thing as a prom (that more recent import from the USA!)  when I took O-levels in the long hot summer of 1976. But quite a bit of fun as I recall. Yours truly below!

schoolmiranda

Steam Trains and Bunting

train-station-sandra-crook

Steam Trains and Bunting, Red Flannel Petticoats and Buns for Tea

The 1970 film of the Railway Children (with the lovely Jenny Agutter as teenage Bobby/Roberta) transported me to the Edwardian countryside for a spiffing adventure of mild peril and temporary muddles.

Thirty years later Jenny Agutter played the mother in a television version. Are you enjoying it? I asked my small son. Yes, but Bobby is being very silly and pretending to be the mum. Confusing!

One day maybe, I’ll stoke up the old video player and chug off on a nostalgic journey with my grandchildren. And for Bobby’s famous line – Daddy, my Daddy! – it will be hankies all round once again.

Miranda Lewis 2019

(Genre: unreliable memoir)

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction! (Yes I do know it’s still Thursday and I am aware this isn’t really fiction.) A big brass-band-and-bunting thanks to our host Rochelle and a wave from the platform to Sandra Crook who supplied the photographic inspiration.

Steam trains will always conjure up E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children for me: girls in white pinafores and ribbons, boys in britches and caps; happy endings and of course those buns for tea.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment. For a world of other stories step aboard here.

Spoiler alert, this is that famous tear-jerker of a scene form the 1970 film (Jenny Agutter as Bobby)…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkHTT3dJL9E

And actually I won’t even need to preserve my old video of the 2000 TV version because it’s here in its entirety. An hour and a half well spent I’d say! (Confusingly Jenny Agutter as the Mum!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3zO0zm5FTU

 

Notes for Writers of Historical 1960s British Fiction

finding-a-signal

Notes for Writers of Historical 1960s British Fiction

1.1 Telephonic communication

In the sixties to locate a person you phoned their home; if they were out you rang later. (Location privacy presents obvious plot opportunities for writers of crime and romantic fiction.)

Red phone boxes (found on most street corners) contained a book listing the names, addresses and phone numbers of absolutely everyone. (Huge potential here.)

Whilst sheltering from the perpetual rain, sixties teenagers enjoyed making prank calls from phone boxes. The false-alarm, reversed-charge call to fraught parents was popular.

All spies and boy scouts were taught to make unlimited free calls from phone boxes, using a crocodile clip and the reverse-dialling method.

Miranda Lewis 2019

It’s Friday already so I’m a bit late phoning in my copy to the Friday fiction party.

All hail to Rochelle who keeps us going through all weathers. And thanks to Susan Eames for the photo.

By the way, all of the above is true and my Dad (a boy scout, not as far as I know a spy) did explain the secret of how to reverse dial with a crocodile clip. (It exploited the fact that emergency calls were free from phone boxes.) However, he was such an upright honest person he only explained once dial phones were obsolete.

PS Did anyone else have a telephone table/bench in their house? Ours was under the open-plan 1960s staircase, with a place to sit, a shelf for the phone and space for phone books.

My Life in a Nutshell

 

piano-anshuMy life in a Nutshell

My mother was a nut – a walnut. When my beautiful, polished form first adorned the drawing room I was joined by matching walnut bureau and piano stool. Alas, my mistress was consumptive and my master broke.

After the bailiff’s visit I adjourned to the pub, a lowering of status compensated by variety. Contemplative days followed by evenings of carousing and company. One penniless student of composition spoiled me forever with his sweet sad caresses.

Nowadays it’s just me, the woodlice and a tickling of marigold roots. I’ll not complain; we all return to the good earth one way or another.

Miranda Lewis 2019

It’s Friday, it’s five o’clock and it’s time for Friday Flash Fiction hosted by the esteemed Rochelle and this week adorned with a photo by Anshu Bhojnagarwala.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment.

 

Tidying Up After

ronda-del-boccio

Tidying Up After

You left early, mid-sentence; grass uncut, the bird table you were attempting to mend face down on the patio. Mind you, you tidied away that last bottle to the very last drop.

Back home, I have taken to washing up teaspoons, burning old postcards, composting diaries.  Don’t be alarmed; I am but a finger’s stretch closer to the shadows. I won’t say anything significant, at least until I’ve cleared this cupboard.

My partner on the other hand is accumulating wood and screws, enough to open a hardware shop. Or build an arc. Or in the event, our coffins. Now that’s tidy.

Miranda Lewis, 2018

(Genre: unreliable memoir)

Welcome readers and writers to Friday Fiction, hosted by the indefatigable, inestimable Rochelle, with thanks to Ronda Del Boccio for the photo prompt. Now you might be thinking it isn’t Friday and this isn’t really fiction, but on the other hand it is 100 words.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. To graze on a whole pasture of stories click here.

Camping for the Bourgeoisie

 

lights-of-sturgis

Camping for the Bourgeoisie

The first year we bedded down in a tiny tent, the baby nestled between us.

Ten years later we’ve acquired:  three more children; a huge canvas castle; tables and chairs; three-ring gas cooker and ‘compact’ fridge; bikes and sand toys; tablets, board games and teddies. Fairy lights and bunting are inessential but fun. A bubble machine, bat detector and barbecue inspire admiration and envy in equal measure.

One day we’ll pack two mugs, a good knife and a hammock and head for the hills. In the meantime, I just have this load of washing to finish and a groundsheet to air.

(Genre; unreliable memoir)

Miranda Lewis, 2017

It’s been a while since I took part in Friday Fiction. Being under canvas when this week’s photo (copyright Jan Wayne Fields) was posted by our esteemed host, Rochelle, I couldn’t resist.

Camping is a strange beast. Once a cheap option for the shy, the adventurous, the lover of nature it has become a huge industry. It’s also a great way to people watch – on a busy campsite you can see almost everything that usually goes on behind closed doors (and probably hear everything you can’t see.)

To go right inside all those yurts, tepees, wigwams and tents of the world click here.

Here’s a comment from my friend Natalie who linked in from my facebook page. (Aren’t I just the social media butterfly!) This made me laugh: ‘Your story could be about my family. We started with all four of us in a little 2 man tent for a night in Poole. Ten years later we had a trailer tent with double mattresses, electricity, a fold out sofa, gas BBQ, fridge, gazebo…the works!’