Slush piles for all

One of the things that the net is supposed to be good at is openness and democratisation. Riders of various hobby horses bang on about it all the time, ad nauseum.

I paid it scant regard, until I got an iPad and installed iBooks and Kindle. There were, I was assured, shedloads of decent free eBooks out there. Just as well, I thought, because a quick look around the commercial offerings was underwhelming and expensive.

So I stocked up on Kindle Store and iBook store freebies. Erotica, fantasy, paranormal romance, unspecified fiction. My partner did likewise with other genres.

It was like stepping back in time, to when I was employed as an editor and one of my tasks was to monitor the slush pile while being appalled and amazed at the sheer drivel people felt compelled to try to get published. Bad grammar, worse spelling, idiot plots, idiotic characertisation. It was not a place to hang around long, not even when you were being paid to be there. It was not an experience you could share, as entry was strictly for those in the industry.

But now, thanks to eBook stores, you don’t have to be a professional editor to experience the horrors of truly bad writing that has not been through an editorial filter. With gazillions of self-published titles, everyone has the opportunity to clutter their reading devices with sub-literate gems that are mostly tedious but occasionally truly hilarious.


Goddammit. Once upon a time everything was normal, then the voices came.

One in particular. That sort of whiny faux-American all-purpose voice for animal commentary. I can’t remember if it was Bryn or Bryony who started it. “My name is Stigwump. My life is awesome” – the soundtrack to a dumbass shitzu/Tibetan spaniel blinking incomprehensibly at the big wide world.

And then the accent passed to Sprite, summer shivering and whippet wistful stares at the log burner. “Goddammit. Make a fire. Bitch.”

And so it went. And so it goes.

Now, it’s not just everything Sprite says. “Goddammit. Where’s my chicken. I can’t believe you haven’t got it for me yet.”

It’s Helen’s cats. “Goddammit, you expect me to go OUTSIDE to take a dump. You dumb human bitches.”

Tomato seedlings. “Goddammit. I don’t know why you don’t put me where it’s warmer.”

And then, it’s me. “Goddammit, I can’t stop talking like this.”
And then it’s some of those other parts of me. “Goddammit, the only difference

between slaughter and laughter is an ‘s’, why you disrespecting my hobby?”

Some people are beginning to get worried.

“Goddammit, I don’t know why they get so wound up. I ain’t stopping my dumbass talking like this no more.”

About this site

This is Andy Oldfield’s site for news about psychology, relaxation and mindfulness meditation. It’s also where you can find out about hiss meditation music, his audio relaxation aids and hypnosis mp3s. For more details on downloads head to The Music Shop

Andy is a storyteller, musician, trainer, psychologist and hypnotherapist who has studied psychology, shamanism and altered states of consciousness at under-graduate and post-graduate levels. He holds:

  • BA (hons) Social Sciences Nottingham Polytechnic
  • MA Religious Studies, University of Lancaster
  • MA Writing, Nottingham Trent University
  • PGCE and DTLLS, Plymouth University

Additionally, he has trained in various schools of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy including: clinical, cognitive, behavioural, neuro-linguistic, analytical, Eriksonian, alchemical, human givens, humanistic, psychosynthesis, and transpersonal. He is a certified Master Hypnotherapist following training recognised by the UK General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and the International Network for Humanistic Neuro-Linguistic Psychology. He is also a certified trainer of NLP, an NLP Master Practitioner (certified by six organisations), a Business Communications NLP Practitioner and Advanced Coach.

He is a qualified trainer with a PGCE and Diploma in The Lifelong Learning Sector who has taught: level 3 diploma in anatomy & physiology, NLP coaching techniques, hypnomassage, self development, self-hypnosis, creative writing and journalism. Besides individuals in private practice, his coaching and training clients have included: Cornwall County Council, Cornwall College, Nottingham Trent University; The SEED Institute (Surrey); Essentials For Health (St Thomas’ Hospital, London); The Poetry Society; Nottinghamshire Police; The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.