Let Me Tell You a Story eBook

book cover

Out today from Lulu, this version preserves QR code access to the voice files, adding full web addresses for touch-capable readers, and the Readalongreads address for readers needing to access them from a different device.

Kindle doesn’t support the ePub format; Calibri is a small free app that will convert it to MOBI which you can send by email to your Kindle account.

Heatwave by Lyn Jennings

Taut as a crystal sheet

stretched across

the body of

the drowning land

the sea is mirage

in the shimmering haze

waves like the sighs

of a grieving widow

curdle softly up the beach

leaving a clean curve

in the dusty shingle,

 

sky cloudless,

as sun burns its way across

the fierce blue vastness,

 

at the edge of the sand

the necklace of huts

blisters in the heat,

flagstone patios

lolling like the tongues

of thirsty dogs,

 

pebbles cleaned.

 

Read this poem in full in Let me Tell You a Story and hear Lyn’s own narration by scanning a QR code on the page. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

Tears of Quang Tri by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

AFTER THE LAST American soldiers

had left Vietnam

and grass had grown

scars onto bomb craters,

I took some foreign friends to Quảng Trị,

once a fierce battlefield.

 

I was too young for the war

to crawl under my skin

so when I sat with my friends

at a roadside café, sipping tea,

enjoying the now-green landscape,

I didn’t know how to react

when a starkly naked

woman rushed towards us, howling.

 

 

 

Read this poem in full in Let me Tell You a Story and hear Que Mai’s own narration by scanning a QR code on the page. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

Nguyen Phan Que Mai delivered the International Women’s Day poem at the 2016 UN event.

A Soft Day by Anne O’Brien

“THE RAIN RUNS in muddy rivulets off the pile of earth beside his grave. No softening of the edges of this funeral. No fake grass discretely covers the mound, just a heap of mud, a pair of dirty spades, and two reluctant gravediggers in fluorescent jackets leaning against the neighbouring gravestone, silently willing us to move on so they can get the job done and head to the pub. Of course nothing will do the Ma but she has to wait until the last shovelful is put on. They pat down the soil with the backs of their spades as though they’re on a building site.
‘Don’t worry that it’s a bit high Missus. It’ll settle down grand in the next few weeks…’
Settle down on top of him and in time, when the wood rots and the earth seeps in, settle down until it kisses his face. I wish I’d kissed him now.
We place the wreaths on the grave as the rain buckets down,
‘Sincere condolences from all at Fahey’s.’ I tear the card off and stuff it my damp pocket before she sees it.”

Read on in ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ where you can also hear Anne’s own narration by scanning a QR code. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

 

 

The Literary Pig roots out some Readalong answers

@TheLiteraryPig, aka Tracy Fells, was one of the first who agreed to have her work included in Let Me Tell You a Story when it wasn’t much more than a twitch of an idea. In her blog she asks the questions neither of us could even have framed in those early days and hopefully gets some answers. It starts with people facing eviction or criminal prosecution …

Tracy_Fells3

 

 

 

 

Tracy has an extensive catalogue of writing ‘hits’ and read her work regularly at West Sussex Writers. Her contributions include Tantric Twister, Wood, and Phoenix and Marilyn.

Let Me Tell You a Story – on sale now

qr codeThis is an exciting moment because, in a world crammed with books and content in print and digital form, I believe this is different. Each story or poem has at its head a QR code; scan it and you go directly to the voice file of its author, which means you can read along with them; hear the words, the rhythms and the pauses the way they were written; get to grips with unfamiliar words or find a beat in a poem you didn’t know was there. This is what Ian McMillan says:

“Sometimes I can read a poem on the page and I can’t quite make out what the author’s intention was: there’s something there, I can tell, but it’s hidden in the language-mist. When I hear the poem read aloud, (or accompanied by music, or acted out by a variety of voices: anything is possible once you start down this road) then the clouds are blown away and the poem does what it meant to say on the tin, to re-fashion an advertising slogan.”

The contributors are accomplished writers (although I can hardly speak for myself, that must be in the eye of the reader) but they have gone out on what is for some, an unaccustomed limb and recorded their stories or poems too. I’ll be forever grateful that they were willing to take this step and help bring to fruition a project that has been stewing for many years, one that I hope will help enhance the reading experience for many, and make it more possible for those put off by their early struggles with it.

I believe it’s a first. I believe this hasn’t been done before. And I believe the technology and the incentive just came together to make reading a much more enjoyable thing for many more people. There are applications beyond fiction though – look out now for this #QR4PR; a campaign to get QR codes on public information leaflets so that no adult need have essential information read to them by a stranger, their nine year old son, or perhaps the person who will use that information to abuse them. There’s more about those issues here but in the meantime, please consider purchasing a copy of the book or asking your library to get it for you. Let publishers know you’d like QR codes in some of the classics when they come up for reprint, tell local language schools they could do this themselves for their own students with their own material. Give it a go yourself for your village newsletter, your promotional leaflet, your birthday card to the auntie who can never find her glasses. Let Me Tell You a Story – out now.

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Ian McMillan – foreword to Let Me Tell You a Story

Ian McMillan

Photo credit Andy Boag

Ian McMillan is a poet, broadcaster, and presenter of BBC Radio Three’s The Verb, a programme that celebrates the spoken (and sung, and chanted, and pounded, and whispered) word. Ian’s appreciation of language; its flows and rhythms and its very many forms are what drew me to listening weekly to his programme. His way of showing language as living thing that can dance on the page if you let it out of the reverential box it sometimes gets trapped in led to me ask if he would consider writing this piece for us.

Ian is a Yorkshireman; he writes the way he speaks, and he speaks with a voice like a pint of strong dark beer in a big dimpled glass. So ease yourself into the soft-padded fireside seat of your favourite minds-eye pub, take that big glass in your hand – both hands if necessary – and give your minds-ears a treat.

 

“Sometimes I can read a poem on the page and I can’t quite make out what the author’s intention was: there’s something there, I can tell, but it’s hidden in the language-mist. When I hear the poem read aloud, (or accompanied by music, or acted out by a variety of voices: anything is possible once you start down this road) then the clouds are blown away and the poem does what it meant to say on the tin, to re-fashion an advertising slogan.”