#News.1: Accepted For Creative Writing Masters degree At Edinburgh University

Dear all,

I have received great news as I am sure you have understood by the title, I have been accepted for a Masters degree in Creative Writing. My hopes are that this will allow me to perfect my writing and become by tenfolds a better writer!

Furthermore, at the end of this degree, alumni are published in a literary magazine. This would be spectacular and could help get my name out there which would by extension enhance my chances of getting a literary agent and being published!

I will continue to post as regularly as possible and keep practicing my style which undoubtedly will improve dramatically throughout the year as I plan on working very hard on bettering my writing.

Kind regards,

Issa Dioume

Style Training With Ursula K. Le Guin, Exercise.2: Am I Saramago {1st attempt}

The instructions for this 3rd piece of writing practice are as follows:

“Write a paragraph to a page 150-350 words of narrative with no punctuation (and no paragraphs or other breaking devices).”

As always, here is my 1st attempt at this exercise, ENJOY! :

“The birds were falling in mass from the sky and people were rushing and running about all over the streets as though red ants had crawled down their trousers they clamoured about and elbowed their ways across the stream of people outside desperate to avoid getting hit and some were seeking shelter in cafés and bars while others just ran desperately with bags or briefcases over their heads as they hurried to work or wherever it was that they had to be and I stood there simply looking up at the sky wondering why this was happening at all as I recall it had started off a couple of weeks ago when suddenly a hailstorm of lifeless birds had been observed falling off the edges of the sky in gallops around some beaches of Spain close to Santander and very soon the phenomenon was reported happening all across the globe the experts naturally claimed it was some sort of flu or something to do with the pollution in the air but I knew as I stood there watching men bumping into one another violently I knew as they hurried about still trying to maintain a semblance of  civility amidst this catastrophic event as they continued to head to their jobs despite the horrible forecast weather of well bird rain that had laster for so long already obviously it was perfectly normal as this had never happened before everything had remained perfectly sensible and logical and controllable but suddenly chaos had erupted and nobody had any idea how to carry on with their lives with this weather  and cars could no longer drive calmly down the streets as they would undoubtedly get pierced by a falling pigeon or falcon should the schools be closed down was what questioned one political figure on some tv show I saw last night he did not have an answers for why this was happening and seemed very reluctant to admit the reality of what was happening but I do yes I know now as I did then on the very first day all this began taking place that there was no explaining it the world had simply gone mad and that the weather and seasons we had for so long been able to trust and take for granted had all been completely spun around on their heads my theory was proved a few months later when came what would be remembered as the moowinter when cows began spouting out of the clouds overhead in hoards but sadly that was only the begining”

I had a lot of fun writing this one hahaha. I hope it will prove as enjoyable as it was to write. The aim is to understand where punctuation is necessary for one’s punctuation style and what does a lack of said punctuation bring to one’s work for one it can bring a certain style or a feeling of a rush or speed all of which are stylistic attributes which can be used to elevates one’s style depending on the story one is attempting to write. I recommend testing out this exercise writing a scene where something hectic is happening, I think it truly helps translate that feeling onto paper.

– Issa Dioume

The Fall [Short-Story] by Issa Dioume

…I’ve been falling for a while now – uncontrollably tumbling downwards. I’m certain I have already seen this very same scene before, somewhere deep within the misty forests of my memory. Surrounded by grand blue skies as I ride the gusts of winds leading me earthward, to the ground. There’s no use resisting, of course, so I simply let myself be guided without insisting; gliding in a whimsical sea of air-currents rocking me to and fro as though I were the ball in a prolonged ping-pong match between two great invisible beings.

Time stretches out differently up here. At the confluence of sugary heaps of clouds and the brown delicious earth, one sort of loses that sense of belonging one has when seeping into earth’s soil or assembling in sweating cotton skies. Gravity can make one feel overly heavy and confined, sometimes. And, in clouds, one is just waiting – anticipating the inevitable fall. So, out here a considerable weight is lifted off one’s shoulders.

I am falling – still. Of course. Closing in on the awaiting ground. Nonetheless, I am not worried. It is natural, after all – that I should fall. Don’t we all? I half-expect to see flashes of past events traverse my mind’s eye. It’s what one would expect, right? Unsurprisingly, nothing happens, it’s far too clouded for thoughts to pierce through. The sound produced by my body rushing through space is mellifluous, and the rays from above – oh! Those elegant rays! Carrying warm caresses from the sun which bounce off my coating; in sum creating a sort of ethereal dazzling molten light. Making me into liquid-sunshine. What a sight to witness and experience!

Everything appears so much more beautiful from up here. I can probably see everything, surely. But, I am falling. At such a speed and from such a high place that I could have been thrown from the very heavens themselves. One could surmise that I would be burning up right now. Like crashing meteorites do when seduced by earth’s charm. Strangely, I feel fresh, fresher and more alive than I can recall ever feeling.
I know this moment is short-lived, but I also know it is worth a lot on the scale of things this biosphere has to offer.  And, I am a part of it. Under my belly, humans are occupied – scurrying about, always in a hurry, always busy, occupied with their well-recited day-to-day routines, never truly taking the time to look above their own heights, at the looming skyline and, at me. Comparatively the sky gives off the impression of moving in slow motion, impervious to the commotion of those gravity-chained creatures.
Yet, some of those beings, like me, are in the sky. On that aircraft, over there, leaving noxious imprints of white over softly lapping sapphire oceans – spreading its great dead wings which reflect sweltering rays at me.
I can see their fleshy faces behind bizarre transparent discs. Do they take the time to look out their windows and let the view sink in?  I wonder. A view so resplendent and breath-taking it would take years for one to describe fully. A view composed of a deep blue sky and, with a radiantly blinding sun illuminating everything in its path, and birds chirping and soaring through the sky like tiny little arrows piercing through clouds; those magnificent clouds rolling and roaring like the rushing waves pounding the shores. Sometimes puffy, or, at times no more than mere wisps of all shapes and sizes dashing across our azure ceilings’ tapestry, as if guided by the hand of a painter ceaselessly accomplishing his masterpiece. This view is priceless when compared to all million-dollar paintings, the spectacles that can be seen on this little planet are jaw-dropping. One might even say ineffable, you must see it in order to understand it. At times, our emotions speak of what our minds’ dictionary cannot.
I only just dodge the plane. Had I hit it, my course would have undoubtedly met a violent end. As with every race, there must be a start a middle and, naturally, an end. In this world all of us tend to hope that dreaded expiration date never comes knocking at our doorsteps, but, it never fails to do so and, always will. Despite everything, we might tell ourselves. Just like proud petals gliding off the summit of roses – one day or another, we must all fall. It is vital to the very cycle of nature and life we so avidly safeguard.
Below, the houses which used to be, but, vast fields of dots spread across a wide plane have morphed into big square cement blocks. I am sailing directly to a tree surrounded by greenery lazing like lizards in the sun. It seems the time to play my part in the natural cycle of life has arrived. I only hope that……..

I am in a park, standing there, fairly vertically and doing nothing. I could probably move, run, or, even dance but, I see no need to do so. All that I require is already here, around me is the beauty of life. I feel the wind rustling my skin causing me to shudder. It is so powerful that, sometimes, I need to bend and twist my body in order to not be uprooted. However, today it is not so robust. So, I stand there, sturdy and disinclined to move, merely observing the pedestrians pass by. Some solitary, some coupled in twos or threes, sometimes reading books next to me, or, running or walking those four-legged creatures called ‘good dog’, or ‘Rex’, or ‘Max’ or, ‘Cookie’ on leashes. I wonder if they see me. None has ever come to say hello. But their four-legged creatures do sometimes. In their own, bizarre, fluid ways.

I feel the veins of my body beckoning me: I am thirsty. And, this thirst cannot be quenched by what I find around me. I think to myself that, I may have to break my vow to never move. But, suddenly, my worries are stifled as onto me the first droplet of the day hits one of my leaves. And, I know that unfailingly more will soon follow, pouring down like little beads of crystal spouting out from the mouths of clouds, a place I can never see. Once more, I must thank them for what they bring me: Life. For they are what helps me to stay as strong and as long as I am. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to shelter all the pedestrians who are now hiding beneath my leaves from this deluge from another world that is, to them, cumbersome.

…it helps.

–  ISSA DIOUME

Style Training With Ursula K. Leguin, Exercise.1; Part.1

The following written piece which you will read is a result of my first attempt at testing out an approach to writing advised by the exceptional Ursula K. Leguin. For the first exercise, Leguin chooses to focus on the sound of prose and its importance. Reminding us that prose does not have to be poetry to sound great! She gives a few examples of texts where the sound of prose aids greatly to make the reader feel what is going on and to set the entire atmosphere of the piece. How for example, certain sounds or alliterations are used to translate ideas of sadness or of  joy or of action. And explain the intricacies of the ‘movement’ of prose.

Here is the result of my first attempt of the first exercise of  
Steering the Craft
[…] by Ursula K. Leguin, she suggested two plot possibilities to try out the learned techniques (Climax of a ghost story or Inventing and Island and events which occur on it) :

Georges, Shipwrecked

On an island in the far-off ocean called Pumpernickel, a lone man washes ashore.  Time passes unperturbed until, finally, he wakes.  George was this man’s name.  And George was a man of little words.  He had been a fleet admiral on one of Her Majesty’s many vessels when suddenly, a storm broke out, sinking his ship and throwing him along with his crewmates overboard and to the mercy of the oceans capricious currents.
And, as George rose from the sandy beach to take in his surroundings, he wondered how he had survived and whether any other survivors had been carried to this little piece of land.
George was a tall and lanky man.  He often stood a head higher than most of the men he had come across in his lifetime.  But now, George had no one to be taller than.  And the absence of other human beings was a feeling quick to wash over him as he circled the islands’ coast for hours before returning to the same spot having met no one other than, his own shadow.
He was left with no other option but to accept the unavoidable:  He was alone, and he was lost and soon he would be hungry too and in dire need of shelter.  He knew he had to make a swift decision as the sun was dimming on the horizon and its light would slowly dwindle until naught remained but the afterglow.
So, George opted to build a house first for rain might come during the night and without a roof he would get wet and getting wet would give rise to sickness.  Which would in turn leave him in no state to be rummaging around the island for nourishment.
George built himself a small hut out of palm leaves and sticks in front of the entrance to the islands’ forest.  As floor and bed, he used sand which he brought from the beach.  And in the comfort of his improvised hut, George lay comfortably resting on the sandy floor.  He employed carefully the time before sleep arrived to take him away from this nightmare, by trying to guess where he might be.  He had been sailing on course for the West indies and had just about completed half the journey before the storm broke out.  But, the storm had carried them way off course for a while before the ship sank.  So, he could not ascertain where he had been.  And putting his memory through hard and strenuous work he attempted to recall all the courses Her Majesty’s vessels took when heading for the West Indies. He hoped one ship might pass by the island on which he was marooned for provisions or a quick rest.  Then, perhaps, he might be rescued.
George shivered.  Not from the cold.  He knew how unlikely that scenario was.  Yet, he hoped all the same for a miracle.  But he was tired, and his bones still ached from the ocean waves his body had been rumbled through.  So, he went to sleep hoping that night would bring him many a solution.

By Issa Dioume

Where Do They All Fall? [Flashfiction] by Issa Dioume

My boiling blood told me they all fall one day, grow stark cold, then roll away, forgotten. Leaving behind a sweet serenade of stupor accompanied by the slow dwindling of memories. My boiling blood told me it would go cold turkey one day, too; simply stop warming my bones and flesh.Without warning. I know yet fear the cold. I can’t yet wish to escape its grasp, but then again, where would I go? I am tied by a twig to the tree of life, dangling in midair and ripe for the plucking.

At night, I hear flowing blood reverberating in my ears, urging me to listen to the beating drum of my heart; a repetitive rhythm slowly coming to a stop.

In winter my blood boils warmer, to keep me safe from the freeze. It’s effective. It cares for me, I think.

The landscape unravels like a fakir deploying his magical carpet and slowing floating toward the sky and off into the sunset. The clouds are pretty today. I didn’t quite like yesterday’s clouds. What will tomorrow’s be like? It’s, perhaps, not something people care for but, I do. I care, for clouds.

And, I care about where they all go when they fall. Those boiling fruits of blood. Hanging loosely from that dreadful tree.

A TUMULTUOUS VOYAGE, Part. 5 [Short-Story Series] by Issa Dioume

They docked in at Gravenfall bay early that morning. The city was still sound asleep and not a soul could be seen creeping around its long-winded roads. At the docks, however, fishermen were getting busy as they prepared to head out with their trawling nets and fishing lines.
The fishermen eyed the Braided Maid quizzically as it reached the dock. They wondered why such a tiny ship had sailed at night in the Branock waves and how it had made it here. “They probably have a Windwhisperer, no one dares sail these waves by night without.”, proposed someone.
As they geared up, Bramin and the crew got off the ship and took what felt like their first steps on stable ground in years. Bramin then took the time to help the crew tie their ropes up and clean the deck. On this perilous journey the adventure he had lived with these men, had created a silent bound of trust and understanding between them. Each had had to rely on one another wholly and this had given way to a very strong form of trust. I am going to miss them, he thought quietly in the silence of his heart as he pulled a rope and tied it up on the dock.

A few hours later, the time for departure came. He bade them all a good farewell and thanked the captain endlessly. This one, as response simply gave him a “No problem lad” and a smile showing the gleam of his golden teeth. Then he proceeded to boasting about heroic he was and how he had challenged and conquered the Queen of the ocean. “This will make a riot in the taverns! A tale to tell for the ages!” He seemed to entirely have forgotten about the pangs of remorse he had felt before the wave.

Turning his back, Bramin walked away and did not look back. He knew that if he were to do so he would be tempted to stay with these men aboard the little BraidedMaid and spend his years sailing the seas and drinking beer. But, no. His destiny awaited him elsewhere – he would not let himself be cut short, not here. He would head for the wild jungles of Azerkah where he would find its long-lost treasure and sweep all the glory away from under the feet of other explorers. He walked on, bringing with him fresh happy memories and taking his first steps towards new adventures awaiting him.

[…To be continued]
– Written by Issa Dioume

Author’s website:
Writing, Improving, Coffee

Ruby the cat

(Writing by Issa Dioume & Picture: by artist – V)
Sometimes, before shutting my eyelids and drifting into deep slumber, I imagine a miniscule-looking black cat standing firmly atop clouds, around midnight; bathing in the moonlight. Like a piece of charcoal in the night’s sky; only made visible by the grey clouds beneath its paws and a tail-shaped lantern. How he got there is a mystery. When I think of what its name must be, all that comes to mind is Ruby. Ruby the cat: a cat sailing the clouds of the sky at night when the sun is no longer bright and the moon has come shine in its place. Darkness suffused through and through like a dark mantle with tiny beads of light. The clouds leave trails in the sky as they drift by like exhaust pipes of city cars or factories.

Ruby’s coat matches the night, but it’s blue eyes match the day. Sometimes I wonder: what is Ruby doing up there? all alone. Perhaps lost and unable to find the way back to the moon. Calling out every night for it to come down and bring him back to his world of magical cats. Or, perhaps, Ruby is just a cat and sleeps eighteen hours a day waking only at night to chase around cloudmice or starbirds. That sounds like it would be fun.

Sometimes, I am Ruby and just let myself drift along looking down at the kaleidoscopic landscape, sharpening my claws on some cloud rock. Yawning as I feel the zephyr blowing in the welkin. Walking on the edge of the veils coating the heavens, opening my mighty jaw. A powerful roar streaming out, echoing throughout the stratosphere.

As I stand ,proud as a lion, watching the cloudmice run away in fear. I feel like the king of the ether jungle.

Then sleep ineluctably clocks in and I sail away into the river of dreams.

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Early morning delights

Written by Issa Dioume

The familiar aroma of the roasted coffee beans pervading the café’s air. Taking you back to innocent moments of your childhood. The ambient soothing rock music playing on the speakers ‘ oooh pretty little baby! I love you baby’!

Waiters rushing in all directions. Always gleaming with radiant smiles plastered on their faces. Cleaning and waiting tables, talking amongst themselves. Some looking slightly tired but energetic all the same.

And then there’s You. You, sitting with the salt, pepper and sugar at your small rectangular dining table. Cup of coffee in one hand, spoon in the other; melting your sugar cube in the hot beverage and evenly mixing your coffee so the sugar can be tasted in every gulp you take. Slowly sipping on that drink admiring the decorations of the room. A framed yellow blue-dotted women’s swimwear. Paintings of beaches and nature. Loud voices and satisfied fresh out of the shower looks of your fellow happy customers. Some smoking outside enjoying the morning’s fresh air warmed their coffee. Plants in pots decorating the room. Giving life to it. The silence filled of noise, smiles and newspaper reading. An invigorating atmosphere galvanising you to have an amazing day. Making you hopeful for the rest of your waking hours. It is those small fleeting precious moments that make up the early morning delights.

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