Introducing Isabel Instance

Lovely subscribers, browsers-by, Google spiders and mindless spambots: hello. It has been a long time since I last blogged (an ugly word, like most ham-fisted neologisms; but then what can you expect given that it derives from the word log, which itself may have been created as an inarticulate grunt intended to convey the sense of something strangely massive).

For much of the time during which I have been not blogging, I have been having a sit, and for some of this time I have also been having a think. As a result of these thinkings I have made a decision, which is this: I am no longer going to fill this blog with random musings loosely connected to words. Not because I don’t like randomly musing on words. I am, after all, a man who has told a room full of incredulous adolescents that it is fun to read dictionaries and then attempted to demonstrate this in front of them to their bewilderment and scorn, during the process of which I did at least discover the words ‘ragabash’ and ‘homoeomery’.

No, I am going to forgo the pleasure of random musings for a higher purpose: story. I have decided that I like stories more than I like musings. So, starting sometime – let’s say tomorrow – I am going to use this blog to publish a short story, in even shorter instalments. It will be the first of a series of stories, which will be known as The Misadventures of Isabel Instance, Librarian and Friend to the Dead.

From now on this means I will no longer be addressing you directly in this chatty way, which I fondly imagine to be a discourse conducted in green leather armchairs before a fire while something amber winks in a glass. So this is my last chance to tell you about Isabel Instance before yielding to her. Um… what to say? She is 42, not an age she likes much, all sixes and sevens. She’s a librarian (obviously). She lives in Cambridge. She wears black, even on her fingernails. Her hair is dyed, she moves with the curious daintiness of a stagehand, and she knows the dead. Her closest associate is Aelfric Fouracre, who has been dead for a very long time, and her best friend is Persephone White, who knows nothing about the dead, which doesn’t stop her carrying on a kindly trade as a harmless but fraudulent medium.

Isabel drinks whisky and helps dead people, or at least tries to help dead people, which isn’t easy, as they tend to be angry and obstinate and much more inclined to potter and have an angry think about things. Given that they have no sense of time this state of affairs can last for a while – several millennia at least. But Isabel and Aelfric do at least make the effort, and as every poor cook and incompetent present-buyer knows, you can’t say fairer than that.

Anyway. The story starts tomorrow. New instalments will come out every week or so. Their purpose is to divert, nothing more or less, though arguably this is a high enough calling to be getting on with. As Frank tells us, we aren’t just artists, we’re something more: we’re entertainers.

So if you find them diverting, do please keep reading, and if you find them really diverting, do please share them. Sharing is an imposition, I know, but hey. It spreads the love and the word and the transmission of love and words isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially when unsoiled by the grubby mitts of mammon.

And, well, yeah. That’s all. I feel oddly emotional at the prospect of this imminent extinction into fiction. If I was the kind of person who went in for rambling self-indulgent musings about words, I’d say in an excruciating attempt at glib sign-off that vanishing into someone else’s story is, in the end, a fate that awaits us all. Lucky I’m not that guy any more…

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Will le Fleming is a novelist. His debut, Central Reservation, is published by Xelsion and available now. Read more...

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About this blog
The first post explains all - find it here.