Only Connect – Harvest Time: with Gordon Lewis

CONTINUED from my reflections HERE upon the story collaborations in ONLY CONNECT by DF Lewis (1948- ) and Gordon Lewis (1922-2007): the original anthology of mostly ghostly stories in 1998 as published by myself under the name Cartref Press.

I still have some copies of ONLY CONNECT available from its only publication in 1998.

Below, I shall now reflect upon all the *other* story collaborations with my late father that I have printed, in April 2015, within a book entitled HARVEST TIME published HERE (non profit to me).

oc4
THE LAST HOME GAME
THE CRIME
MATILDA
A SOUL’S INSURANCE
CONNIE
FREIGHTED BY FRIGHTS
A SECRET ANCESTRY
STRANGERS OF THE KNIGHT
THE OPTIMUM POSE
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
BLUE MURDER
A MAN TOO MEAN TO BE ME
THE FEEDING OF THE FIRE
THE CHARADE
HARVEST TIME

I shall reflect on these collaborative stories in the comment stream below as and when I re-read them…

18 responses to “Only Connect – Harvest Time: with Gordon Lewis

  1. THE LAST HOME GAME
    “I am more hands on than Gordon Banks…”
    A brief engaging tale of a football-loving Uncle and Aunt (she much younger than him) who take on the responsibility of their orphaned nephew, followed by an inheritance of a supposedly haunted house. I don’t think I had fully noticed, before now, the implications of its wonderfully oblique ending.

  2. THE CRIME
    Complete strangers seeming well known to your wife, this after-the-cinema meeting in a pub is very disturbing as well as ostensibly absurd – and the ending was unexpected as well as truly shocking, a fact which is unexpected in itself as I probably wrote that ending!

  3. MATILDA
    “‘My husband,’ suddenly announced Pauline, ‘always used to say Never Delve Further Than You Dare.'”
    Two women – originally alerted to such a place by an Indian newsagent – breaking into a haunted derelict church. Or is it simply a dream of miscegenation? Whatever the case, this substantial creepy story has indeed creeped me out. I had no idea it was quite like this when I was first involved in sharing the writing of it. Mention of double-tiered trenches in the world war is not the least of it.

  4. A SOUL’S INSURANCE
    “The treble notes were not drowned by the fulsome bass, but they stood out like bright shilling coins in a pile of coppers.”
    A VERY strange story of Miss Roberts being stalked, a narration involving doorbells, CD Players, curtseys, mobiles or landlines, vulnerable entrances to her house, and I think I just understood the ending for the first time. Not sure it all works, but a sense of the sinister is prevalent.

  5. CONNIE
    “Indeed she was satisfyingly closer to the action with keys clattering against the paper one after the other, in quick succession, like tiny fists.”
    An ingenious story, if I may be so bold, of a writer who is visited by her own potential characters – or so it seems, until, via a visit to a zoo, we reach an ending which greatly surprised me. One of the best endings I can recall in this type of story.

  6. FREIGHTED BY FRIGHTS
    Ultimately, a story that doesn’t work, although it encapsulates a general leitmotif throughout most of my collaborations with Dad, viz. “Inheritances and legacies were evidently mysteries beyond even procreation. Any permutations of a thousand, nay, a million stories, making one.”
    And a sense of destiny of encounter and this:
    “No cliffs around here for an easy escape from life, thought Kevin. / Except the sheer sides of the universal mind, echoed a thought Sam could not prevent himself from thinking.”
    And, oh yes, there is a very interesting barmaid character called Moose!

  7. A SECRET ANCESTRY
    “Sandy shrugged. He felt decidedly ill at ease. His wife’s personality, too, was somewhat out of kilter. Nobody, tonight, was truly themselves. / The whole ambience seemed so sexist, so type-cast.”
    An intriguing portrayal of familial, genealogical, marital, gender / sexual and, most importantly, social/class politics, to the backdrop of watching World Cup football on TV, and the apparent sighting of a huge mind-shifting UFO. Like the men in the workers’ canteen, these stories sit side by side emitting staccato small talk to each other rather than articulately debating face to face. Ultimately, there is something or someone missing at the end of this story.

  8. STRANGERS OF THE KNIGHT
    “The friend was an old one, it seemed, but not close enough to be called anything but Mr Jones. A strange friendship that.”
    As well as the usual theme of legacies and past mysterious deaths, this accretively absurdist tale conveys another theme I can identify in some of these stories, one I call the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ effect, of familiar faces in unfamiliar stances. It features a pub in Jaywick near where I live today and not far from the Walton on Naze of my earliest childhood, and a memory of something from that childhood…
    “Gradually, he recalled his Mum and Dad – in the old days, fetching out their red tin, with compartments for paying the bills – loose change, painstakingly, lovingly, shared out for those who wanted their dues.”

  9. THE OPTIMUM POSE
    A rather farcical situation at the foot of Attic Slope where a painter is interrupted painting his model by three things: an earth tremor, the arrival of a Lord and Lady who want to be painted in Hunting Pink and an army surrounding them while on manoeuvres.
    But I was surprisingly intrigued by the ending and the character of Mrs Arkson.

  10. RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
    “Rhythm was just another version of rhyme on the hoof.”
    What strikes me today as an absolutely delightful tale of a dapper man on a ‘Lonely Hearts’ sort of blind date at the seaside, his hotel twin beds, the dual nature of the hearts … and the Sgt. Pepper type bandstand and … His being haunted by his boyhood self chasing raindrops down a train window.
    First published in Red Republic of Parasol in 1998.

    • A Man Too Mean To Be Me
      mantoomean

      The Child is father of the Man … William Wordsworth

      ‘THE CHILD is father to the man.’
      How can he be? The words are wild.
      Suck any sense from that who can:
      ‘The child is father to the man.’
      No; what the poet did write ran,
      ‘The man is father to the child.’
      ‘The child is father to the man!’
      How can he be? The words are wild.
      —Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918)

      The Large Hadron Collider is being restarted today on Easter Sunday – to shake up our CERN Zoo…?

  11. BLUE MURDER
    “It was not really a pursuit. More a race. I was not fleeing the crowd but rather competing with it. The race never seemed to finish – but was continuous from dream to dream.”
    Along with ‘Betting on Heaven’ in ‘Only Connect’, this is a story about mild gambling on the horses, also based in Colchester. But it has antique auctions and car boot sales in the tradition of ‘Flog It’… And a man and a woman as a mild sort of Bonnie and Clyde in this world of barter. A romance and a race. With dreams. And oblique motivations. I’m not sure it works as a whole, but I enjoyed reading it again. And it features Rachel Mildeyes! And John Bello, a name from ‘Agra Aska’.

  12. A MAN TOO MEAN TO BE ME
    “One moment I was supposed to be chasing tails in the murky world of Insurance claims, the next moment closing in on an aberrant husband whose imputed dabblings with joint bank accounts had never made much sense in the first place.”
    Unlike the other stories in this book, I remember this private investigator crime noir one very well. Whatever I now tell you about it will be a spoiler. Just read it and tell me what you think.

  13. THE FEEDING OF THE FIRE
    “He thrives on broken links. His whole existence depends on misunderstandings and cross purposes. He lives off shattered mirrors. / He revelled in complexities, piecing together whatever he was investigating as one does with a giant jigsaw puzzle.”
    I am sure this further private investigator crime noir story is an acquired taste, with its anthracite nuts and an Aga stove, its manholes, its multiple electric companies that don’t efficiently butt up to each other, its Tv celebrity quandary, its crawling through a house for clues, a desk with a rolled-top, double agents like Mata Hari and much more. I hope you can acquire that taste!

  14. THE CHARADE
    “A charade is a party game and has no real drama.”
    An odd story about antipathy towards a transvestite in a lift or is it a surreal role-playing frieze combining many of the leitmotifs in this book’s gestalt? I think I know. And I think I know Dad would think otherwise from what I think I know.

  15. HARVEST TIME
    “During one’s youth, one spreads seeds in a seeming fertile ground with the (perhaps unthought) hope of harvest in the future. Each act an investment. Each human-to-human touch a search for something other than itself.”
    …like this book? This very real-time review?
    I somehow think this substantive story is our masterpiece together. A tale of fear of the heights of life, from London to Paris to Snowdonia, a deeply poignant writerly tale of Proustian unrequited love, from callow youth to old age, and, for Dad, no doubt, an expression of his Welshness, or ‘Hiraeth’. Coupled with my Aickman-like undercurrents that may or may not add their power to the story’s already inherent power. I’ll leave you to decide. And by chaos theory… “–and my father had been a vital component in this great march of humanity.”
    This story first published in Enigmatic Tales (2000).

    end

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s