A few little successes

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.

 

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Back to the blog

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!

 

‘Last Sip’ – Sunday Photo Fiction

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‘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

‘The Three Wise Men’ – Sunday Photo Fiction

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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

Sunday Photo Fiction – Symmetry is a sign of beauty

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           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!)

Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘The car boot sale bargain’

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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