The Blue Box – reviewed by Kelly Florentia

The Blue Box is a beautifully written tale of magic, fantasy and wonder.

A mysterious stranger delivers a small blue gift box to three students, but these are no ordinary gifts and this is no ordinary town, and so the story begins.

I thought this was a magical read, one that I couldn’t wait to get back into each night. All the characters, even the secondary ones, are fleshy and real and incredibly well drawn out. I could just picture them playing out the scenes in my mind’s eye. There is so much to this book, it’s entertaining and captivating, magical and, at times, chilling. It has depth, humour, suspense, and originality, all of which made it a wonderful read. The closing chapters had me flicking through the pages eagerly as the story reached its conclusion.

Overall, a brilliant read with a thought-provoking ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days. Mark Mayes is an incredibly talented storyteller and I can’t wait to read more from him in the future.

Kelly Florentia 


A Walk

Another Picture On The Wall

Is there anything as beautiful as a slightly clouded sunrise?

Yes, a partially clouded sunset.

Is there anything as tender as the touch of a newborn child?

Yes, the touch of the elderly one as they acknowledge their next journey.

Is there anything so hopeful as a spring blossom?

Yes, the dance of a falling autumn leaf.

Is there anything so intoxicating as a new love?

Yes, the acceptance of an eternal love.

Anchored to these – is the tightrope- that I walk upon

If I remember from where I came- and to where I am going,

The walk is not nearly as frightening.


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In the Closet

Another Picture On The Wall

A few years before my father died, I went into his closet and I was stunned to see how few clothes he had in there.

He was the kind who believed that a man only needed one coat, two pairs of shoes – one for yard work and another for going to church.

My closet was much different before the fire, but since then I have adopted his philosophy regarding clothes. Although, I still have to dress up a little bit for going to work, I have limited the shirts in my closet to just a few. It does make it easier to decide what to where that day and it also makes sure the laundry pile doesn’t get very large.

Sometime after looking into my father’s closet, I jotted down some lyrics and sent them off to a wonderful Soundcloud buddy, Chuck Aaron. Chuck made a couple of adjustments…

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‘The Blue Box’ – a novel by Mark Mayes

‘Gifts ought to be free, but they never are. They tie you to the wishes of others. To your own sad expectations. To the penitentiary of your dreams.’

Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever.

In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the box maker, must decide who his master really is.

The Blue Box is a story about identity, about fulfilling your dreams and becoming the person you always were … at whatever cost.

An Unfinished Story

Fictive Dream

by Mark Mayes

The little boy looked at the pictures in his picture book. He saw the Teddy and the Rabbit going down a long steep hill on red scooters. There were words beneath the picture he couldn’t read. His mum would read them to him later, and try and get him to repeat them. But he wouldn’t try very hard because he didn’t really want to know the words from the writing. He only wanted the picture and the sound of the words from his mum’s mouth.


In the library, the man who pissed himself was asleep on one of the chairs near the magazine rack. Mrs Aird, the big woman from the little café ostentatiously held her nose as she walked past him with a tray. If it was up to her he’d be kicked out on his ear, or his arse. He was useless, dirty and…

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The Trees – by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.