My latest review for Short Review,
SHORT: An International Anthology of Five Centuries of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, & Other Short Prose Forms
My latest review for Short Review,
I’m delighted that I have TWO stories in the forthcoming Refugees Welcome anthology.
These are We Apologise for the Delay… a story of what it means to be a stranger and how communities form in times of need, told through the prism of the London Underground as the site for ‘first contact’ with aliens; and Queues a story about waiting at a border crossing and recognising someone from home. Both stories have at their heart the human instinct to kindness in a crisis, something I have been hearing from friends all over the country – offering their money and help and even their homes to those in need. All we need now is for the government to actually accept a sensible number of refugees: at the moment what we are offering over a number of years,equates too readily to the numbers arriving in a single day at the European boundaries. We need to offer proper help, not pretend we are doing anything when we clearly aren’t. A couple of stories isn’t much, but it is something I can do, so I’ve done it; all the writers are donating their stories, no one will make anything from the anthology. RWA is a charity book that combines inspirational stories. It is the 3rd project run by Greg McQueen and 100% of sales go to Red Cross for Refugees.
UPDATE publication date 19th November so you can help by buying a copy (or more than one!). The perfect Christmas/Solstice/Diwali present etc.
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of Déjâ Vu, and this story originated in something I wrote when I was still at school, a highly melodramatic piece about walking into one’s own past. That story remains as just one scene, as Lucy/Hilary steps out of the train at a station, and goes to a house she once lived in. The rest is dystopia and fairy tales – Sleeping Beauty and Snow White both get their tropes in, waking from long sleep and being offered poison by a door to door saleswoman. There is a hefty element of paranoia to the story – a Stepford Wives meets Smiley’s People cold war angle inspired by one of those what-if conversations. Huge fun to write!
Getting a book ready for publication (Typesetting, proofreading) even second time round and twenty years later, does send me back to the roots of the stories, and with so many of the stories in Mosaic of Air I can remember exactly where and when the idea first stuck its claws into me.
Ladies Pleasure, the cover story for Mosaic of Air this time round, came from a session in the darkroom. I like the radio on when I’m printing up photographs, and normally that would be radio 3 or 4, but in this case there was nothing I wanted to listen to, so I spun the dial and got Radio 2. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I’ve listened to R2 (apart from the folk music programmes). It was an afternoon, midweek in about 1984 and Michael Aspell was talking to elderly women living in a care home.
All I remember about the programme was one woman saying how difficult it was to get a male partner for dancing, and how it wasn’t the same dancing with a woman. I laughed quoted Alix Dobkin to myself and got on with what I was doing, but the seed was sown. What if like me, that woman had prefered dancing with women? What if she had always wanted to dance with women, or what if due to circumstances, women and dancing had always gone together? And there she was, Grace Carew-Petrullo, a minor character in one of those movies about brave gels on the home front, a bit player in a book from sixty years earlier, given her own voice, her unspoken jealousy of, and desire for, the glorious Jessica Markham still fresh after a lifetime of experience.
National Short Story Week this year is 13-20th November.
Now that I’m so busy doing publishing and stuff, celebrating the short story is all the more important to me, so I’ve done a guest blog over of the NSSW website, all about performing at Towersey.
Also, continuing the live literature theme, I will be reading my story Mirror at the Arachne Press hosted Armistice Tales, which is on 13th November, in National Short Story Week; at the lovely Ivy House in Nunhead.
Come along and listen, and join in the ‘flash from the floor’ 100 word challenge.
Bartle Sawbridge, Cherry Potts, Clare Sandling,
David Bausor, Joan Taylor Rowan, Rosalind Stopps
Read by Gill Stoker and Mike Burnside
Followed by a flash fiction open mic session for any other writers who want to join in, around 200 words: bring something along, or write in the interval.
Misty Moon Gallery, Ladywell Tavern, 80 Ladywell Road, SE13 7HS
Thursday 7th June 2012 7.00pm
No booking required, just turn up and grab a seat