Nice to see you.




Order Lone Wolf World via Amazon or above
2018 Best New Talent - Short and Sweet Festival Sydney
2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. (more)

Books:



Get a weekly post delivered straight to your email. Email Subscribe to anthonyjlangford2@yahoo.com.au

Did she really do that for him? That sweet girl - Free story

 

Hi,

How you doing?

An eight year old girl creates her own special song but then has to perform it for a special audience, for all the wrong reasons. 

You can read this story for free below. Inspired by my daughter Tilly who was learning the guitar aged seven and eight.


There are thirteen stories in Us & Them. Listed below. 

(Order links after the story).






Stories of Us & Them


One simple song - Dedicated to my daughter Tilly

The price of adventure - Dedicated to Sally Jones and Jenny Corvini

The messiest eater in the world - Inspired by Tilly when she was six

The obligatory obituary (Life after death) - A writing style experiment 

Calling time  - Dedicated to Michael Sydney Jones

Why did the man with the mullet cross the road? - Based on a true story

The night we should have died - Based on a true story

Formerly known as slut

No egg on his face - Set during World War II

And the wise man said, I can't be bothered    

Racing to see the fall of the Berlin Wall Based on a true story

Revenge is a dish best served warm - Inspired by a reality TV promo

The lost tears of New York  Based on a true story



Download the story as a pdf HERE or read below. 







Story trailer HERE




One simple song

 

For my daughter, Tilly

 

 

One - Outside the train station

 

Clara picked up the guitar. All of eight years old. She begun strumming. Beauty poured out of her guitar like a Heavenly light. And yet the small crowd of onlookers could not recognise the song. Each, in their own thoughts, believed it to be a song they must not have heard.

Little did they know, that it was the song’s world premiere. The girl had composed it herself. She began humming. Her voice merged with the sounds as natural as creek water over rocks. Harmony. A symphony of one. Her gift to the people. A gift to her dear friend Joshua. He’s in hospital. He has cancer. He’s only nine. It was both a sad song and a strangely uplifting one. The people were moved, the girl could tell. One woman put her hand to her heart, as though to keep it from breaking. The girl knew at that moment, that she had done well. She had done something good. She had created a song. Even she, did not know where the tune had come from. She had been mucking about in her room recently, and the chords seemed to fall together all by themselves. She knew instantly that she should dedicate it to her friend, and that she would like to perform it for him. To him. She had grabbed a pen in haste, as though in danger of forgetting it, and wrote the chords down. When she was finished, she played it back. It sounded so good, so simple yet wonderful, that she could not believe that she was its creator. All she needed was practice, and an audience to test it out on. If others liked it, then she would perform it to Joshua. He was stuck in the children’s ward where he had been for weeks now. Felt like forever to her. It must feel very long for him. Poor boy. Her playmate and best buddy.

At the end of the song, the people outside the train station clapped. Very loudly. It made her smile. She had played only once before in public. Her father had stood off to one side to make sure she was safe. The people had clapped then too, but she got the feeling that they were clapping for the simple fact that she was a performing child, much like a performing monkey or dog. She may be young but she wasn’t stupid. She had been singing cover songs that day. Cyndi Lauper’s, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The Beatles, Hey Jude and Katy Perry’s, Roar. She had grown up listening to her dad’s record and CD collection, so she had a wide knowledge of music from different decades. She liked some of the older songs best.

A man stepped forward and dropped a five dollar note into her upturned hat. Wow. She had never received that much in one hit before. Usually, it was a dollar coin or two at most.

‘Was that your song?’ he asked.

She nodded.

‘I thought so. I play guitar too. The arrangements sounded unusual. I thought it must be an original.’

She smiled.

‘Well done. That’s fantastic.’ He turned around to the crowd that was beginning to disperse. ‘Original song folks! She made it up herself! How fantastic!’

She could see the surprise in a few faces. More people started to come towards her, digging into their wallets and purses. She looked to her father, who was walking towards her. He had a big smile on his face. She needn’t have been nervous. Her performance had been a huge success.

  

Two - Inside the hospital

 

Clara walked in through the main hospital doors, her father by her side, as he often was but not always. Her parents had separated when she was five. She spent time with her mum too but her dad was the musical one in the family. They often played together.

They walked to the front desk but had to wait behind two other people. It was very busy. There was a lot of activity to seize her attention. People were all about, some in a hurry, some with flowers, clearly visiting, some patients in pyjamas, shuffling along or being pushed in wheelchairs. When they reached the desk her father said, ‘We are here to see Joshua …’

She didn’t take much notice of the instructions. She merely readjusted the strap of her guitar case on her shoulder. She hoped that he would like her song. She was sure he would. Everyone else did. It was from her heart. Her soul. Whatever that really meant. It sounded good. Her father had said how immensely proud of her he was. He was always saying that. So often in fact, that she had stopped taking much notice. This time, she believed it.

They made their way along a corridor until they reached the lifts. They proceeded to the fourth floor and out into the children’s section. Her breathing was faster. She knew that her heart must be also beating faster. She was both excited and nervous. She couldn’t wait to play. And to see the smile on his face. Her old best friend. She had other best friends but Joshua had been her best friend in Year Two. They had sat next to each other in class. They played at lunch times. They even had weekend playdates. He went to her birthday party. She didn’t go to his because no-one did. It was cancelled. He had become sick. That was the first time. He did get better. But at the beginning of Year Three, he was sick again. For a long time, it seemed. Then he came back to school. Even though he was in a different class, they were still able to hang out together at lunch times. Play dates didn’t happen anymore as his mum said he was too tired, even though Joshua said he was fine.

Now it was sickness number three. He had been stuck in hospital for ages. He must be so bored, as in Year Two, they were both on the move like chickens with their tail feathers on fire. So, she had made him this song. Her very first! And what a cracker it was too! Her dad’s words. A cracker. Ha ha

Her dad reached a doorway. He looked next to it to check that the room number was correct. He nodded to her and walked in. She followed. The room was large. It had four beds. A girl was asleep in one. Opposite, a boy sat in a chair next to his bed, reading a comic. It wasn't Joshua. A lady, probably his mum, sat on the bed, busy texting. There was a curtain hiding the next bed. There were a few adults standing about. They went further into the room. She became aware of the sounds of crying. Her father slowed. There were people around the final bed. Adults. Teenagers too.

Her father stopped. He put out his hand to stop her from getting closer. Through a gap of people, she could see part of the figure in the bed. She leant to the left to get a better view. It was a boy, with his head to the side. His face was very thin. Very white. Joshua’s age. Asleep. A wire was attached to his arm. Another to a clip on his finger. A lady, the one that was crying, quite loudly in fact, slumped down and covered the boy’s body with her own.

Clara’s father took her arm and tried to pull her back.

‘Dad, don’t,’ she said.

The nearest people looked around at them.

Clara thought the boy looked familiar. ‘Dad?’

He let down and whispered, ‘We should go. This is not a good time.’

‘But I want to see Joshua,’ she said, too loudly, as more people looked around at them, including the lady, her face red and glistening from tears. She frowned. Then reached out to Clara. It was Joshua’s mum.

It was only then that Clara realised what was happening. She took a step back. Then another. All of the people were looking at her now. All except one. The sleeping boy. Who was not asleep at all.

She turned and ran from the room.

 

Three - At the service

 

Seven days later, she sat in the church pew, listening to the priest, but not really hearing or understanding what he was saying. He was talking like it was all normal. Just another day. Everyone else too. They were all so quiet. Well dressed. Not smiling. She didn't understand any of it. Was Joshua really dead? Was this all for him? How could a kid die? He wasn't fat or lazy or anything like that. He was healthy. He did exercise. Well, usually. Maybe not this year so much. He was already sick by then. It just didn’t make sense.

She sat like that, her head full of thoughts, as different people, she assumed from Joshua’s family, came up to the microphone and spoke. The words sounded like something out of the Bible. She wondered who they were talking about. Some of it sounded like Joshua but most of it didn’t. Maybe she was the only one who knew him properly. Nothing had been better than last year. They’d had so much fun. They were the closest of friends. Now that it was all over, she wondered if she would ever have anything like it again.

Her father nudged her. ‘Off you go sweetie. Just relax. You’ll be fine.’

‘Now?’

‘Yes. Take your time. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, okay?’

She stood. She began moving out of the aisle, edging past people’s knees. She was aware of the silence. So many people. Hundreds. She felt like they were all watching. She kept her eyes to the floor. She abruptly felt very alone.

She walked to the front and up onto the platform that was like a stage but wasn't. A chair, her guitar on its stand and a microphone awaited her. She sat. She picked up her guitar from its stand. Her breathing was fast. Someone coughed. She placed her fingers on the C chord. She looked to the people. She saw Joshua’s family in the front row. Some were looking at her, but not the parents. She was glad for that. She looked to her dad. His familiar face made her relaxed.

She strummed and the song began. She looked to the strings, concentrating on the chord changes. Suddenly, the music took her over. She forgot where she was. All there was, was the song. And Joshua.

‘Ohh my friend. My best friend.’ The words spilled out.

‘I will miss you to the end.’ She hadn’t written lyrics.

‘Joshua. I miss you.’ The words slotted in naturally to the music, like slipping on a t-shirt that fitted perfectly.

‘We had fun. Ohhhh, so much fun.’

Her eyes were closed.

‘I was number two. You were number one.’

She strummed and hummed. And when she reached the end, she played the chorus once more, repeating the words, as though they had always been there.

After the last strum, as the sound dissolved into the air, she leant closer to the microphone and whispered, ‘I love you, Joshua.’

She placed the guitar back into its stand, stood and walked back down the aisle. Joshua’s parents were looking at her. Faces full of tears. Most people were looking at her, if not all of them. As she continued walking, she noticed that many others were crying too. It seemed that every second person was. When she reached the aisle, the people stood up to let her in. They hadn't stood to let her out when she first went up. Some touched her back or her shoulder, as she shuffled past, as though she was special. It made her feel like she had done something worthwhile. That Joshua would be happy. He was smiling right now.

She reached her dad. His face was wet too. She sat and he hugged her. ‘You did really good Clara. I'm so very proud of you.’


end


Order print copy on Amazon UK

Or Amazon US

Amazon Australia


Order Book signed/inscribed HERE

Makes for a perfect Christmas gift!


 


Please help me out with this one. I'm taking a break now. It'll be the last book for sometime. At least 2024.

Have a good week.

Peace

Anthony


 

 

A look at the diverse mix of stories of Us & Them - something for everyone!


Hi,

Let's look at the thirteen diverse stories in Us & Them, from true stories to comedies to Oh my God moments and dedications. 





 In order as they appear in the book


One simple song - An eight year old girl decides to write a song for her sick friend. A beautiful story. Dedicated to my daughter Tilly, when she was learning the guitar.

The price of adventure - A mother and daughter's life changing meeting. Dedicated to Sally Jones and Jenny Corvini, mother and daughter who left this life twenty days apart.

The messiest eater in the world - Inspired by Tilly when she was six. She was messy then. It's a cute story. A comedy with a heart warming ending.

The obligatory obituary (Life after death) - Everyone writes to mourn the loss of Claude but how did he really die? Is the answer in the messages? 

Calling time  - A man remembers his life as he mourns the loss of his partner. Dedicated to Michael Sydney Jones

Why did the man with the mullet cross the road? - Based on a true story. A comedy.

The night we should have died - Based on a true story. Unfortunately not a comedy. I should have been killed at seventeen. How we didn't all die is absolutely miraculous. 

Formerly known as slut - A woman recalls her life on the streets but she's no victim. She's a survivor.

No egg on his face - A confrontation between the might of a German tanker division and simple villagers during World War II

And the wise man said, I can't be bothered - Four teens meets up in a country town for an afternoon of fun. A comedy inspired by my teenage days. 

Racing to see the fall of the Berlin Wall - I visited Berlin to see history unfold in late November in 1989. 

Revenge is a dish best served warm - A bitter reality TV contestant decides to get revenge. A comedy

The lost tears of New York  - She stuck out amongst the thousands of strangers on the street. Another true story from when I was backpacking at twenty three. 


My photo, from the top of the World Trade Center



Check out the stories in a video form with the new trailer HERE












Order print copy on Amazon UK

Or Amazon US

Amazon Australia


Or signed/inscribed at AJL Books

The perfect gift this Christmas!



Please help me share the word. Simply sharing the trailer would help me out. If this book doesn't do anything, then I will be walking away from book publishing. The amount of time, effort and money I put into it for a small handful of people isn't worth it. It's mostly what it does for me mentally. It's depressing and no way to live. So please... give it a share.




This is what you need. Video - Us & Them


How are you?

This is what I need at times. I feel as though you might too.

What you need



 

It's from my new story/poetry collection, Us & Them. What you need is on the first page. There are thirteen stories and seventy nine poems. 




Watch HERE or read below


What you need

 

Surround yourself

With nature’s green

In any form you can find

Trees, bushes, grass

And notice the weight

Or the emptiness

That threatens to suffocate

Quietly trickle away.

 

There’s a legacy

Of co-habitation

So long lasting

That’s it’s in our very cells

Working in unison

With the dirt

The open air

And the surveying sky

Watching over us like guardians

Amused perhaps

By our impetuosity

Our unique ability

To trip ourselves up

In the mad rush of our existence.

 

So, take a step out

Open yourself to that

Which has welcomed you

For an eternity

And the feel the subtle connection

You seek

And deserve.



(2022)


If you've missed previous books, this is the one for you. Makes for a perfect gift too!


This book and others available at  AJL Books


There’s friends and family and then there’s the greater world. Them. Are we really all that different? Aren’t we all struggling to find meaning and connection amongst the chaos?


An eclectic mix of stories and poems, many based on real situations and people. All are dripping with truth and feeling.


Out now! 




Order print copy on Amazon UK

Or Amazon US

Amazon Australia


Ebook



Or signed/inscribed at AJL Books

The perfect gift this Christmas!

Please help me spread the word!





Have a good week. If not, fake it until you start to believe it. (Need to take my own advice. Not that easy, is it?)


Peace
Anthony





The stories include; 

A man who experiences a flood of memories after the loss of his partner.

A mother and daughter’s life changing meeting.

A dramatic stand-off between the German army and villagers during World War II.

A teenager's great risk in the night they almost died.

A first-hand account of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An eight-year-old performs her original song for a most unique audience. For all the wrong reasons.

The messiest eater in the world.

A woman recalls her dramatic life on the streets.

A unique non-encounter with a single person among the thousands on the busy streets of New York City.

An ex-Reality TV contestant seeks revenge and more.




New video trailer! Us & Them - A beautiful collection on connection

 


There's Us and Them

Yet, aren't we all struggling to find meaning and connection, amongst the chaos?


Check out a visual intro to the stories of Us & Them

Watch Trailer




13 stories and 79 poems on the theme of connection, searching, found or misplaced. Something for everyone. 18+ but nothing overtly offensive. Even your grandmother could read it. 



Signed or personally scribed copies available. Makes for a perfect gift this Christmas! 




Dedicated to the memory of Sally Jones (Corvini). 
My ex-partner, a beautiful soul and dear friend for a quarter of a century.
I know she would have liked this book. May she rest in peace.




Order print copy on Amazon UK

Or Amazon US

Amazon Australia


Or signed/inscribed at My Books

Great gift this Christmas!

Please help me spread the word!


Us and Them Book




The stories include; 

A man who experiences a flood of memories after the loss of his partner.

A mother and daughter’s life changing meeting.

A dramatic stand-off between the German army and villagers during World War II.

A teenager's great risk in the night they almost died.

A first-hand account of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An eight-year-old performs her original song for a most unique audience. For all the wrong reasons.

The messiest eater in the world.

A woman recalls her dramatic life on the streets.

A unique non-encounter with a single person among the thousands on the busy streets of New York City.

An ex-Reality TV contestant seeks revenge and more.


Don't miss this!


Purchase at AJL Books


Any help sharing would be fantastic.  

This is my last book for a couple of years, if not for good. (A post for another time).


Once upon a time in Thailand - A true story

 

Hi,

How are you going this week?


This is based on a true story, when I was in Thailand, aged 24. 

It's in my new book, Us & Them. 





Tropical conviction

 

I ambled to the beach

Two hours in a hammock is enough

Where he was working on his wooden boat

A shamble of a thing for two

Yet was an object of pride

And something for him to do.

 

He’d been on the island for a couple of years

And his accent was the same as mine

Not too uncommon in South-East Asia

Yet, this was an under developed island

No resorts

Merely travellers on low budgets like myself.

 

‘Come fishing,’ he said

Referring to a monolithic monument

Jutting out of the sea

Like a travel brochure.

 

Stunning yes, but fishing is not my thing

I explained

He was twenty plus years older

And convinced me

Though I wasn’t crazy about the roll of the sea either

Thanks to a Force Gale Five

In the Bass Strait

Three years prior.

 

I was soon staring into the bottomless blue

With colourful species foreign

The only fishing I did

Was out of a can of Thai beer

And listened as he revealed

His plan for the limited time he had

It was an era when having HIV

Meant certain demise.

 

I wondered if he wasn’t about to

Enact some dramatic tragedy

Right there and then

The beach and my hut

And the chance of seeing others

(Though there’d been none to begin with)

Hidden behind the rectangular mountain of rock.

 

I was too young to know what to say

Though maybe saying nothing was best

And we eventually rowed back

With a couple of fish

Though this knowledge

Added a more substantial presence

Considering that he had told me

That he would kill himself

The moment he began to lose his independence

As he was alone there

In the jungle

By the ocean

And I gathered the feeling

After I left a week later

That he was a man of his word.

 

 

2013

Based on real events in Thailand, 1991


The island was Koh Pha Ngan. I believe it's quite busy now but then, it was quiet and less developed, which is why I went there. I stayed for a week on my own on the way back to Australia, having travelled for 2.5 years.



Self portrait - I went for a long walk up the coastline, often in the water as it was a lot of 'jungle' and quite deserted. 



Order print copy on Amazon UK

Or Amazon US

Amazon Australia


Or signed/inscribed at My Books

Great gift this Christmas!

Please help me spread the word!


The stories include; 

A man who experiences a flood of memories after the loss of his partner.

A mother and daughter’s life changing meeting.

A dramatic stand-off between the German army and villagers during World War II.

A teenager's great risk in the night they almost died.

A first-hand account of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An eight-year-old performs her original song for a most unique audience. For all the wrong reasons.

The messiest eater in the world.

A woman recalls her dramatic life on the streets.

A unique non-encounter with a single person among the thousands on the busy streets of New York City.

An ex-Reality TV contestant seeks revenge and more.


Hope you're well. Drop me a line if you wish. Any comments/sharing greatly appreciated. 

Peace

Anthony




I'm struggling with drug withdrawal and anxiety

Warning, slightly pathetic. ?


Hi,

I don't think I've posted something this personal before. And not this current. Only wrote it a few days ago. I'm hesitant to do as it reeks of self pity but it wasn't written with the intent of sharing. Merely as a means of coping/exploring how I'm feeling. 

(Exacerbated significantly by drug withdrawal. See recent post on my anti-depressant problem).


I'll share it quickly now before I change my mind. 




The struggle

 

Sometimes

Like now

(Increasing in frequency)

I feel like I’ve lost my ability

To write

To create

I’ve lost my drive

And my confidence.

 

Inversely

(If that’s even the right word)

I struggle to cope

With normal life

With work

School runs

Driving anyplace

Facing people

Checking emails

And texts.

 

Fronting up to social media

Pretending everything’s alright

(I need it to promote my work)

Mostly I avoid it

Tired of the fa├žade

Tired of the fear

Tired of the struggle

(Insert more creative phrases).

 

I hope it’s merely

Cymbalta withdrawal

Yet, it’s coming up five years now

So, I forget my prior self

I’m unable to determine

The differences

All lost in the fog.

 

All I know

Is that it’s getting harder

And it feels like

I’m running out of time

As though my body knows

I’m dying

But I haven’t been given

The prognosis yet.

 

Oddly

I don’t appear to mind

I’m not regretful

Or sad

Just tired

So very tired

And a little grateful

For all the good things

That have happened to me

And to my youth

That I enjoyed

And that I have lived fully

Unlike some of my friends.

 

Perhaps more than a little grateful.

 

I do hope

To be free of this poison

And that I many begin to recover

Physically and mentally

And restore

Those aforementioned losses

As I can’t go on like this

Not indefinitely.

 

Today

I’ve slowed my tapering rate

Hoping to improve

My quality of life

As much as I want off

I still have to live

And function

And work

And deal with the swings

Of parenting a teenager

While maintaining our relationship.

 

That’s going to be tough.

 

There are still plenty of highs

And I must keep up appearances, what?

Yet, today I needed to transcribe

The internal conundrums

That is the waking conflict

Against the self.

  

 

24.10.22  7.30 pm


(Not after any pity please. I'm not lamenting my life. I'm quite happy. This is the effect of anxiety AND of anti-depressant withdrawal (PAWS). But if you know someone on anti-depressants, or thinking of taking them, especially Cymbalta, worth sharing).


Worth knowing too that if I'm feeling good I will rarely write about it. I'm getting on with life. While I almost always battle, often if I'm actually at work or with others, I'm okay. I kind of fake it in front of others until I believe it myself. It's when I have to drive, or when I'm on my own or in a stressful situation that it's at it's worst. But it's always there. 

Example, the tinnitus, brain fog etc is 24/7. The anxieties are bearable most of the time. Sometimes I have to pop a valium or lay on the couch. I've been trying breathing meditation and cool showers. I don't drink alcohol anymore and have cut back on sugar and coffee. (A lot of sugar definitely increases anxiety). 

Exercise, sleep, diet, all these things help. Which is the approach doctors should be taking to treat people, not just shoving a fucking pill down their throats. The pill which has now increased my problems, not made them better. (Original Cymbalta post here. )

Something to be said for pushing through too. But there sure are times when nothing works. 



Where I do all my writing, (always handwrite) with the current poetry book.


No more navel gazing! Thanks for your patience. 

I hope to be off this drug by the end of 2023. But I may have to slow down, like I'm doing right now. Just to stabilise and hope I'll feel a bit better.  It's exhausting living with constant anxiety. 




My diverse story and poetry collection Us & Them should have been out by now but should be out in two weeks maximum. 

Please get yourself or a friend a copy as I'm not doing any new writing now aside from the odd poem. This will be the last book for some time.



The book we need right now


My Books



Take care
Peace