Darker Fables

Writing and reviews. Adventures, maybe? Exciting, definitely.

Winter Comes to Paris

It’s the last day of the month, and tomorrow Advent begins, but it seems the weather is ahead of itself here, because after a faint and disappointing flurry this afternoon, it is now full-on snowing in Paris.

And the stars have aligned for me, because tomorrow I don’t have work until four, and am free to spend the day reveling in it!


I think I’ve been a better blogger this month than I have been in some previous months. Hopefully I can keep it up over December, but since things are going to be busy (special highlights include a coach trip towards and through London the day before Christmas Eve – madness!) I can only promise to do my best.

For the record, bringing a wool coat to Paris is among the best decisions of my life. I’ll need it tomorrow, when I intend to go for a long long walk and hunt for inspiration in the snow.



The funny thing is
I’ve been told I have a gift
for expressing complicated ideas.

But of course there’s complicated,
and then there’s shooting
one spinning coin
from horseback, eighteen
miles away, blindfold and victim
to a chronic, unrelenting seizure.

And I really do mean that.
(I think, anyway.)

Swear, if I knew my name
I’d pin myself down like a moth
on a sheet of card and prise out
my teeth until I had some
more specific truth.

But even that is slippery,
silk on varnish, though coarser by far.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

More Songs, More Writing

Christmas might be well on its way, but that’s no excuse for keeping a lid on pens and fingers away from the keyboard. This will be the first time in several years that I don’t have to work over any of the festivities, and over the interludes I intend to use my free time well. I’ll be spending it with some ink, paper, and some good music. Here are my latest finds.

1. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey

Sometimes you find a song that encapsulates everything you’re feeling at a given moment, and for me, this is one such. With a perfect contrast of upbeat rhythms and melancholy lyrics, this is my song of the season. And the band’s aesthetic is good too! If you like this piece, be sure to check out ‘New Year’s Eve’.

2. Seinabo Sey – Pistols At Dawn

In short, I love her. That voice. It gives me chills, and this particularly dark song is a perfect one for inspiring dramatic scenes.

3. Lana Del Rey – Love

Something a bit more mainstream, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to like it. I find Lana Del Rey’s songs a bit hit and miss, but this one is one of my favourites. A soft and subtle song, but underneath its sweet lyrics this piece has a lot of power.

4. LANY – Super Far

Another one disguising a sad message beneath a catchy beat. I heard this one playing whilst I was out, and couldn’t rest until I’d tracked it down.

I feel like a post is never really finished without a nicely rounded ending, but I can’t think of anything, so I’ll just say blah, and bye 🙂

Life in Paris, etc.


Summer is a distant memory, and the wind in Paris is the kind that tightens the skin on your face. It’s almost winter, and my favourite time of year.

I’ve been busy! This week one of my best friends paid me a visit, and we tried to do everything there is to do in Paris. We went to and around the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, up and under the Arc de Triomphe, along the river as far as we could walk, and down beneath the streets to see the millions of skeletons buried in the Catacombs. And of course it wouldn’t be a true Parisian trip without a croissant, a French crêpe, and an evening view of the Eiffel Tower.

She even met my boyfriend, the first of my friends to do so in person. I was feeling really quite shy before Dekka arrived, wondering if they would like each other, but spoiler alert: of course they did. All in all, a most satisfying episode of my life.


Work and university have got me so stressed I’m like a thread held at maximum tension, but I’m holding it together, and getting stuff done. I’ve managed to get myself into a good rhythm, and I think this is it. This is what it means to be doing just fine.

Poems have been happening, and plans, and writing, and everything seems to be coming together in one great glorious smorgasbord of experiences. I know I’m going to look back on this period of my life with great fondness, and there isn’t a day that goes by without me feeling immense gratitude towards the University of East Anglia. Sometimes things really do work out better for taking a different path than the one you first chose, so thank God they rejected my application.

I could write more, but the truth is this is only a distraction from the work I should be doing. Next time I update, I think it will be almost time for Christmas! 😀 Until then…


City Girls

Somewhere there’s a red sky,
but I would have it nighttime,
a rumbling metropolitan blackness
of rain and flickering lights.

Let’s drink smoke and cut the rug,
or maybe our aching feet.
It’s all just broken glass down there,
but how it sparkles, how it hurts.

Everyone here is screaming
‘Reborn! Reborn! Reborn!’
And maybe they even shed their skins
for gleaming new coats, brown fur.

It’s like everything ever dreamed,
like sex on ice and parasites,
like everywhere, every time between.

Open your arms and fist your teeth,
because it’s tough love with the wolves.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

A Day in April

There was a boy I once knew,
in the vaguest, passing sense,
before my knees gave way
in a pile of brown leaves
and my head thudded on the ground.

It happened before all this,
and I spit on the memory.
I rip the corpse of it to pieces,
and laugh,
with all my wicked friends.

Howling with my ancestors at the moon,
and flying through the snow by night
with steam rolling from my lungs,
I accept what a dog joy makes me.

The cold clarity of freedom
is a tingling memory of a yoke I shed,
and the way I left, with blood behind me.

Maybe you’ll mistake my nature,
for being the innocent then,
but truth is I wiped my sword.
I left the dead for dead.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Winter Sand

I would like to tell you
that my homeland
is in its spring,
that its colours blend,
and the sea sings…

But you made me a stranger,
and strange, to even my closest friends.

I’ve become an advocate of honesty.

I’m not who I was last year,
or even one short season ago,
but a rock watered into a new shape,
washed out from the end of the world.

I picture us, someday,
watching the great grey ocean,
as the moon pulls together
all the waters of the world.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Review: Paolo Bacigalupi’s ‘The Water Knife’



A solid 3.5. Far from the worst book I’ve ever read, but nothing groundbreaking.

The Water Knife is a three-protagonist speculative fiction novel, following the intersecting lives of Angel, a hired thug who ‘cuts’ water from those who don’t pay up, Lucy, a freelance journalist, and Maria, a refugee. The three converge in the ravaged city of Phoenix, Arizona, some years into a water crisis which has rendered the United States at war with itself over the limited resources.

It’s a very geopolitical novel, and has a lot to say, but personally I felt there wasn’t much being said that hasn’t been said before.

“This dust” – he shrugged – “it’s hard to get relief here, even with the filters over in the Taiyang. Everyone cuts corners. They’d never get away with shoddy work like this in California. No one’s really investing long term. Not even the Chinese. Not long term, anyway. It’s a doomed place, after all.”

The Water Knife reads as something in the same vein as Mad Max: Fury Road, though it’s a little less crazy, a little less exciting, and the characters are a little less compelling.

That being said, I did enjoy it. It is an intelligent novel, and the writing is, for the most part, not half bad (although whether the sex scene falls under the umbrella of quality prose is questionable).

Of the three characters, I found Maria to be the most interesting. Her desperate efforts to stay out of prostitution left me rooting for her, and I found her attitude to the dark world of this novel convincing. With Angel I was less invested, mostly because Bacigalupi really tries to make this man ‘cool’, and therefore renders him a bit of a bore. And with Lucy I didn’t really care whether she lived or died.

In the midst of the conversation, she’d seen the guards ushering someone out. She’d sipped her coffee, watching as it happened. Pitying the person but not really feeling their desperation. 

The plot is uncomplicated, though it disguises itself beneath layers of scientific and political jargon. It’s not a bad one, but to be honest the opening shows more promise than the novel actually delivers.

A cursory glance on Goodreads for other reviews suggests that a lot of people see this novel as a kind of voyeuristic depiction of extreme and sexist violence. In places I agree it’s overdone, but although The Water Knife features a spectrum of gristly themes, I’ve read worse.

The things I take the most objection to are the fact that only one of the three protagonists is a protagonist worth following, and the weird smut. As a depiction of the world we are perhaps heading towards, it is pretty harrowing, but it’s not more, or less, harrowing, than many other books out there.

All in all, distinctly average.

World History

There was a time,
way back,
I don’t even know when,
and it was different, then.

And yes, people were people,
and people are still people,
but these days you don’t hear
that someone died screaming,
and a woman bathed, gleaming,
in their blood.

At least not as a bedtime story.

These are ‘civilised’ days,
built on the spine of a
in bone.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

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