Of Mattresses and Men

The new mattress is by and large a success, though it does have the bad habit of tipping us towards the centre, so we’re having to retrain it by lying towards the edges to flatten it out a bit. I once wrote a story about a mattress; called ‘Mem Mat’ it was about a sign I’d seen in a shop window which puzzled me greatly. What could ‘Mem Mat’ mean? Some sort of doormat? Finally the penny dropped and I realised it was a mattress made out of so-called memory foam.

I’ve never liked the idea of these. I don’t want a mattress that remembers my shape; I want to be free to assume any shape I damn well please. I want a forgetting mattress, a mattress with dementia, if you will. So I was never tempted to buy one. But the sign ‘Mem Mat’ stayed with me and sprouted into a short story in which – no, if I told you that I’d have to kill you. But happily, the story is published here and you can read it.

Everyday Fiction, god bless them, were the first people to publish me with a short story DIVORK (also available on the website). I’ll never forget the feeling when that email came back with the comment ‘this is almost perfectly publishable.’ They are quite an exacting website and wanted a couple of minor alterations but that was fine, and they went on to publish two more of mine, Mem Mat and Olympic Summer. It’s been a while since I’ve sent them anything, mostly because the stuff I write is longer than 1000 words nowadays, but maybe it’s time I di.

Speaking of Science Fiction (and with a quick nod to Chris Conway whose song Science Fiction Eyes is one of my favourites) it is quite shameful how it is disregarded in more literary circles. As OH never tires of pointing out, the concept in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is exactly the same as Asimov’s much earlier Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and you can pretty much bet that any speculative idea you come up with has been done, and most likely done to death, in the world of SF. So a little humility in that regard is called for, I think.

I will never forget though, the difference it made to me to be published, to be able to answer with a ‘yes’ the inescapable question, the question Monty asks Marwood in Withnail and I – ‘are you published?’

Yes! Yes, I am published. Have to leave you now to send off some more stories. Toodle pip.

Kirk out

7 thoughts on “Of Mattresses and Men

  1. Does self-publishing count? My first & only effort is quite a niche subject, to be fair, so I eschewed the traditional route for one that enabled me to get my tome out there, warts [surely not? 😉 ] and all, without the necessity of clearing all the standard hurdles [such as, you know, ‘saleability’…..]. With respect to the blogging, I mostly restrict it to subjects associated with writing & publishing [in no small part hoping it might scare up the odd spin-off sale], because I suffer from serious self-doubt that anyone is interested in whatever else I might have to say. Cheers, Jon.

    1. I did consider self-publishing but I know how crap I am at marketing so decided it’s not for me. Hope you had some success with yours

      1. Thank you 😀 I knew from the start that my book wouldn’t make me rich, so I look upon every sale as some sort of an achievement [plus I studiously avoid using Amazon as a selling platform: I only sell from my own, amateur, self-constructed website]. I’ve now surpassed the 60 mark 😉 and somewhat surprisingly, that’s about 75/25% in favour of print over download. I need to update my postage costs for the print version, but procrastination is so comfortable…… Cheers, Jon.

  2. It’s the biography of a grand-uncle [not great uncle, as commonly incorrectly termed], Wilfred Risdon, who was a miner in Somerset then South Wales, a medic in the RAMC in WWI, a union worker who was in competition with Aneurin Bevan for a place at Ruskin College, a Labour/ILP election agent then an unsuccessful Labour candidate for the Dorset South [Weymouth] constituency, then he met Oswald Mosley and liked his economic policies so joined first the New Party [1930] then the British Union of Fascists as a founding member and becoming the first Director of Propaganda [before William Joyce]; stayed with Mosley until 1939 when he knew OM’s chances of electoral success were non-existent so he joined the London & Provincial Anti-Vivisection Society as a canvasser, was interned for 3 months in 1940 under the notorious Regulation 18B, then engineered the amalgamation of that society with the larger National Anti-Vivisection Society in 1956 when he became Secretary, organised the relocation of the Society to the heart of the medical establishment in Harley Street, where he lived until his death in1967. Quite a life, and a lot of ground to cover!

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