I have just realised that I haven’t updated my blog since last March, which is crazy. Life (and writing) somehow got in the way! I had a wonderful writing year and managed to get many stories published. (The links are below) I hope yours went as well! Hope to be interacting with more of my fellow bloggers in 2019. All the best Mary
More Than This Published Memoir Mixtapes 04/04/18
This Man Published Marauder Literary Journal 06/04/18
Searching the Web Published The Fiction Pool 10/04/18
More than This Longlisted Fish Short Memoir Competition May 18
Are we there yet? Published Fictive Dream 25/05/18
The Last Day Shortlisted Cliffhanger competition Writing Magazine June 18
Sixty Published Flash Flood 16/06/18
In One Ear Published Firewords 25/06/18
Dandelion Clock Published The Drabble 27/06/18
A Wispy Kind of Gold Published Reflex Fiction 02/07/18
Why Did you Come? Published Ink in Thirds 01/09/18
One Night in Clapham Published Funicular Magazine 01/09/18
Obsession Published Spelk 10/09/18
The Goldfish Published Reflex Fiction 16/10/18
When Published Irreal Magazine 01/11/18
When a Bear met a Deer Published Ghost Parachute 01/11/18
Bunting Published The Drabble 19/11/18
The Moluccan Cockatoo Published Vamp Cat Mag 02/12/18
John Coltrane, he is not Winner Faber Academy Quick Fic Competition 08/12/18
Ladybird Recommended London Independent Story Prize 14/12/18
My intention this year is to write as much as possible and get published as much as possible, and it’s slowly starting to happen. I’m kind of believing that success is all about focus – where you put your attention.
On 14 March, my story, Full Circle was published on Ellipsis Zine and on 22 March, I had a short piece, ‘The Man Behind The Mask‘ published on Spillwords.
Today (27 March) my first drabble (100 word story) was published on The Drabble. The story is called So this is the End and is about death/grief.
After almost a year’s break, I’m back to the blog! I didn’t do much writing last year as I was focusing on a rather large cycling challenge (John o Groats to Lands End), which was over 1000 miles. However, in November I took a couple of workshops with renowned flash fiction writer, Meg Pokrass and they really kickstarted my creativity.
My aim this year is to get my stories published in literary journals and long-listed/shortlisted and placed in competitions, and so far I’ve had a number of pieces accepted.
On 1 January I had a story long listed in Reflex Fiction‘s quarterly flash competition – great start to the year!
In February I was runner up in Retreat West‘s quarterly themed flash competition with my story, This Time See White, a story based on the death of my father. I also had my story, How to Write Well. Or Not accepted by the Cabinet of Heed, and have a couple of other stories forthcoming in journals.
I’ve just started another online workshop with Meg Pokrass and am hoping it’ll produce some more stories.
I trust you’re all having a wonderful year so far!
‘Do you want to see him, love?’ said the nurse.
‘No,’ I replied as ‘he’ had gone. But the others took turns to say their final goodbyes, blowing noses and weeping softly as they left his room.
Later the undertakers arrived, did what they had to do and removed the body. I peeped through the curtains then and the drizzle obscuring the windows and glimpsed the coffin, the overworked windscreen wipers and the lowered heads. I then heard the crunch of gravel as the long black car transported my father’s body away from the home he’d loved.
Afterwards I crept upstairs into his empty room where I spotted his spectacles, open in his Bible at the page he was reading and his glass, three-quarters full of the water he was sipping up until 5 pm yesterday after which time he could drink no more.
This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction
I call them the three wise men. There are more of them obviously, but if I stand in a particular place; on the corner of Bessie Road and Gleneagle Avenue, in between the ‘s’ and the ‘F’ on the sign, ‘Gladstone’s Fish Shop.’ I can see them and only them. The lights are a mere five minute walk from my flat and even though I know the way, they guide me somehow, making sure I get home safely, and when I’m coming home at night after a hard day’s work, or a hard evening’s drinking, I gaze up at them looking for the answers they always provide.
‘Keep going,’ they tell me. ‘Don’t ever give up.’
And on particularly bleak nights like this one, when life seems pointless and all sense of purpose gone, they bore into me, deeper and deeper, blindly persisting until they connect with my soul. It’s this that enables me to go home lighter and slightly less despondent. It’s they that keep me alive – my three wise men.
This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction
They’d been arguing since well before Jamie got sick, and after that things only got worse. Fights broke out over everything – who would take him to hospital, when he should take his pills and how much they should tell him about what was going on.
It had been Amy’s idea to make the cake. ‘I can make anything from flour and sugar,’ she’d boldly declared. Jamie’s birthday was on Halloween and he’d always loved everything about it; the tricks, the treats, the craziness. This year, however was different.
Her husband took a step back and fixed his eyes on her latest creation. ‘The eyes are too close together and the scar below his chin, well, it’s just not symmetrical.’
‘It’s not supposed to be. Symmetry is a sign of beauty and Halloween is not a time for beauty.’
‘Hmm. And don’t you think it’s just a little too green?’
Amy opened her mouth to reply and then the kitchen door opened.
‘Mum it’s perfect, said Jamie.
Amy looked up; her son’s wan face was infused with happiness. She turned to Simon and for the first time since Jamie’s diagnosis she saw him smile.
This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction
(Great prompt, thanks!)
Happy to win Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge this week 🙂 The prompt word was Tease and my story was ‘Maybe I will; maybe I won’t.’
Take part next week – it’s fun!
Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge
Rob was obsessed with car-boot sales and every week he scoured the paper for new ones. There were so many now, popping up all over the place like pesticide-resistant weeds. They started early too, 6am in general. We gradually became accustomed to rising at 5 for a quick bacon sarnie and mouthful of coffee, then stumbling bleary-eyed out of the house to join the long line of cars snaking its way towards the muddy fields hosting the events. Each time we’d take a bunch of old tat, most of which we’d return with, along with a bootful of new garbage, which Rob insisted would make us wealthy. ‘One man’s rubbish is another man’s riches,’ he’d say.
One particular Saturday he picked up a painted skull mask for £2.00.
‘How creepy,’ I said when I saw it.
‘It’s unique, Mabel. Quite a find. Look at the markings.’
But I couldn’t agree and the eerie thing even started to affect my sleep. I’d lie there for hours staring up at the ceiling, imagining it lurking in the next room. Of course we couldn’t manage to sell it and the E-bay auction dates came and went without a sniff of interest.
Then one day at 3 am, I heard a scuffle downstairs then footsteps.
‘Rob, Rob,’ I whispered. ‘Someone’s trying to get in.’
I felt nauseous as I heard voices that seemed to be getting nearer.
‘Ssh,’ said Rob and tiptoed next-door.
The next thing I heard was a blood-curdling scream as the would-be burglars made a hasty exit.
Five seconds later Rob came back into the bedroom wearing the skull mask.
‘I always knew it would come in handy,’ he said with a wry smile.
This post was for Sunday Photo Fiction
The first one was a surprise. The second too. The third produced a snigger. The fourth a chortle. The tenth, a flinging down of the spade.
‘Whatever’s the matter, Henry?’ said Beatrice as she rushed into the garden.
‘It’s these bones. They’re flipping everywhere.’
Beatrice looked at the ever-increasing pile. ‘I see what you mean.’
‘Any idea what they might be?’
She picked one up and rubbed the smooth surface with her fingers as though it were a genie’s lamp. ‘Ostriches.’
‘And how did ostriches end up buried in a Scottish garden?’
‘I’m sure there’s a logical explanation, dear.’
Henry remembered the odd comment made by the estate agent when they purchased the house.
‘You won’t be able to plant anything there, sir.’
Poppy-cock, thought Henry, but he suddenly realised that the previous owner must have owned an ostrich sanctuary and buried each dead bird in the garden.
There was no choice. He’d just have to keep digging until he’d got rid of the whole damn lot!
And so he continued while Beatrice went to stay in a hotel ‘until he came to his senses.’
He never did and six months later was admitted to a mental asylum, where he was often heard counting. 1,567, 1,568, 1569…
Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week #24– 2016
This week’s photo prompt is provided by phylor.
They’d been cooped up inside the hotel all day so when the rain finally stopped, both were desperate to escape; Dana to soak up the sights of this fabulous city and Jack to send yet another text message.
After a few minutes of ambling, the pair came across a park, its trees and shrubs glistening from the earlier rainstorm.
‘Wow, Jack. Look!’ cried Dana as she spotted an exquisite cherubic statue shining in the dazzle of the late afternoon sun. The armless child was gazing heavenward, a beatific smile etched on the poor mite’s face.
‘Who on earth could have done this?’ murmured Dana as she spotted the arms lying nearby. She picked one up and slipped on a string of brightly coloured beads that she’d bought at a flea market earlier in the week.
‘That’s better,’ she said and took a step back to admire her handiwork.
‘Sentimental old fool,’ muttered Jack, who’d been pinging text message after text message while puffing petulantly on a rolled up cigarette.
Dana stared at him. He’d barely said a word all holiday so how dare he make fun of her now. She opened her mouth to say so but before she could, a pigeon swooped down and landed on his head. But Jack was so absorbed in texting that he didn’t even notice.
‘Jack,’ said Dana. ‘Jack.’
But Jack carried on texting and when he eventually raised his head and said, ‘what?’ Dana quietly replied, ‘It doesn’t matter.’
So that was the day that Jack wandered obliviously around Paris with pigeon poo all over his head and that was the day that Dana finally decided to leave him.
This post was written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers