Since I was a child in primary school I have always had a yearning to create stories from nothing. I left school without qualifications, but with some encouragement from certain teachers concerning a few stories I had written. Now I was out in the big world, and having to earn a living. I thought it was about time to forget the big idea of writing; but that yearning, so deep within me, just wouldn’t let it go.
I finally relented to the yearning and bought myself my first computer. I was so excited. Now I could write stories to my heart’s content. But there was a problem, a big problem. Every time I sat down in front of the computer, the blank white screen in front of me stared me down, winning every time. I had some ideas, but I just could never get beyond the first chapter. My first chapters were always quite good, which is not surprising, given the amount of time I worked on them, tinkering around and pondering essentials, such as should this be a comma, or perhaps; a semi colon? I ended up with a whole pile of excellent first chapters.
I decided that I would never know how those first chapters would turn out in the end, because I was far too fearful to let myself go and find out. If I ever did let myself go on the very infrequent second chapter, my ego would soon shut down proceedings by bombarding me with ideas of doubt, ridicule, and unworthiness. So I ended up giving in to fear and shutting the lid of my laptop on my dreams of writing.
One fine day, I was walking passed Richmond College, and there was an open day, so I decided to walk in and have a look. I naturally gravitated towards the literature side of things. I picked up a little booklet of courses, and saw immediately a course that was titled, How to write a…novel in a month. Needles to say I signed my name on the dotted line.
When I turned up for my first day, the class was packed. And no wonder, who would not want to learn of a way to write a novel in a month? I think many of those in the class thought they were going to get magical fairy dust sprinkled on them, but of course, it wasn’t that easy.
The idea of writing a novel in a month consisted in pledging oneself to write 1,677 words each day, so at the end of the month you would have 30,000 words of a novel, at least a first draft. I did it, and realised that the magic consisted not in fairy dust, but the magic of writing faster than your doubts can form, and making a pledge to keep you sat in the chair every day and write those 1,677 words. It is quite amazing what can be achieved with daily discipline.
For the first time ever, this collection of short stories by Gary Troia brings together, in chronological order stories and memoirs from Spanish Yarns and Beyond, English Yarns and Beyond and A Bricklayer’s Tales into one complete volume.
“Excellent! A collection of short stories about depression, alcoholism and drug use. Very compelling reading. I read this short story collection all in one go.” (Maria, Goodreads.)
A Bricklayer’s Tales is the ultimate “I hate this job” story, written as a collection of short stories and memoirs, each one revealing a snapshot in the life of Ray. Troia captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. This book of short stories is sad and questions the reader to ask questions about their own life. This book achieves clarity without trying.
Ray has three expensive hobbies: drinking, drugs, and running away. Without the income that Bricklaying provides, he would not be able to maintain his chosen lifestyle, so he compromises his principles and continues with his trade.
A collection of short stories and memoirs that include:
The Cuckoo’s Egg. Boyhood antics lead to tragedy.
My Grandfather’s Shed. The making of an English key
No Comb on the Cock. Gypsies, champion fighting cocks, and career choices.
What I Did In My Summer Holidays In 1000 Words. Could having an idea ever be considered a criminal act?
My Best Mate’s Head. Did a weekend of boozing save Ray from certain death?
The Shetland Isles. A trip to sunny Benidorm, a chance meeting with some Glaswegians, and a cold, miserable job in Lerwick.
Pointing a House in Islington. Too much alcohol and cocaine don’t mix well on building sites!
Angel Dust. The peculiar story of a man whose new life in America leads to conversations with Ancient Greek philosophers
Peyote. Hippies, LSD and an idyllic refuge
Return Ticket. Handcuffed and ready for deportation. A sad departure from the States
When I Joined a Cult. Sober dating as Ray discovers religion.
Bilbao. How very, very English!
Teaching Other People. The grass is always greener-the escape from bricklaying.
A Week in the Life of Ray Dennis. With the prospect of no money for food or alcohol this Christmas, Ray has to find work quickly.
Catania. A meeting with a Sicilian fox, some Neapolitans, and a man with a camel haired coat.
Advert In The Art Shop Window. Will a new building job in Spain be the start of a new life?
Gaudi. A flight to Barcelona for a kebab, and a look at the Sagrada Familia.
The Day My Soul Left Me. “To be or not to be? That is the question”
How Not to Travel to The Alhambra. Hung-over, the wrong fuel, the car breaks down. Will they ever make it to Granada?
The Road To Ronda. A terrifying drive to Ronda, was it worth it?
Poking A Carob Tree. A new home and new neighbours, just in time for Christmas.
Spain Reborn.No more commuting to London. Lets celebrate!
Home From Home. A parallel world where the Spanish have taken over Weymouth.
Three Common Carp.An epic battle with a whale and marlin it is not.
Mrs. McClintock. An absurd farce in which a Glaswegian couple retire to Spain
Steak, Egg and Intensive Care. A harmless dinner leads to hospitalisation.
The Unchangeable Chameleon. Can a leopard change it’s spots?
A Bricklayer’s Tale. The story of a disillusioned, alcoholic bricklayer
A collection short stories and memoirs of British dark humour.
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Genre - Fiction, Short Stories
Rating - PG-16
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