It’s Hammer Time

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I’ve been negligent (spoken like an ex-lawyer) in posting because we were away on holiday for a few weeks, about which more later. But I’m excited to share that I’m one of the judges for the flash fiction category of the 2017 Hysteria Writing Competition.  It’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m truly grateful. I know I will learn so much reading the entries and I’m excited to work with the other flash fiction judges who include some pretty amazing writers I follow on Twitter.

If you’ve never written flash fiction,  Alex Reece Abbott (Writer In Residence for the competition) has collated some excellent writing tips from flashmasters here.

I was a runner-up in the 2015 Hysteria flash fiction category with a piece called Reunion  (later published in the Hysteria 4 anthology).  The Hysteria competition is for women from all over the world. The judging is blind and the competition features flash fiction, poetry, and short story categories. There are low entry fees, cash prizes for the winners, and publication in the anthology for winners and runners-up.  So why not give it a go? But don’t worry; if you don’t enter, I won’t judge you. (sorry I couldn’t resist)

 

A Bigger Splash

Last night we took the train to London to see the David Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain. Thirteen rooms of Hockney artwork spanning six decades. It was wonderful. I didn’t like all of the pieces on display but I loved lots of them, including his double portraits and his overlapping Polaroids. Photography was not permitted, but I found this short video online which gives  a taster:

Our tour ended in the gift shop. Well, don’t they always? But for once, I didn’t mind.

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The Art of Writing

I can’t draw, but as a primary school teacher I used to create art with my young students. However untalented I was, my finished product didn’t look too bad when displayed alongside those of my eight year old charges.

Several years ago I wrote a short story about a guy  who was kicked out of art school, supposedly because he was untalented. In the story, he goes on to seek revenge on one of his teachers.

I’m delighted to announce that the story has just been published in the Spring 2017 edition of Still Point Arts Quarterly. The magazine is a perfect home for my story with its focus on “arts, artists and artistry.” Each issue features gorgeous original art work as well as features, fiction and some poetry.

You can preview the Spring edition, including its gorgeous cover, here. And you can purchase a copy, print or digital, here.

Now, go, make some art.

 

Writers & Company

Logan Mountstuart, protagonist in Any Human Heart by William Boyd, is a writer who had this to say of  a chance meeting with a fellow writer:

He inspired me. I’m always inspired after meeting another writer. And I realise we have our own secret brotherhood, even if it just comes down to sympathising with others’ moans and complaints.

That struck a chord with me because I too have my own secret sisterhood of writers who sympathise with my moans and complaints. And hearing it (I’m listening to Any Human Heart on audio) galvanised me to attend a  recent Loose Muse evening in Winchester.  These evenings, organised by poet Sue Wrinch, feature guest authors and an open mic session.

I hadn’t attended  for awhile because of the solo drive in the dark to Winchester. But as I rediscovered last Monday, it’s worth the drive. I had the pleasure of hearing poet Jill Abrams read a selection of her poems,including the incredibly  moving My Girl, which you can read here. Then novelist Claire Fuller read from her latest novel, Swimming Lessons.

Interspersed with these were readings by those brave enough for the open mic. We heard mostly poems, some memoir and a bit of fiction. And like Logan Mountstuart, I was inspired by my fellow writers. So much so that I’m going to brave the open mic next time. Eeep!

So tell me, what inspires you?

 

 

 

A Few Good Things

It’s getting so I’m afraid to hear the morning news. Is it me or was January 2017 particularly grim? But it’s the first day of a shiny new month. It’s past noon and  I haven’t heard any bad news yet. Maybe because I haven’t turned on the radio? Here’s what’s helping me cope:

Audiobooks – I finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith last week. It was a joy. Yesterday I started Any Human Heart by William Boyd. So far, so fantastic.

Books – I’m about a third into Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. It feels like ages since I’ve read such a zingy, humourous book. I highly recommend it.

My Library Card – which enabled me to get On Beauty, Any Human Heart and Today Will Be Different.

Prizes – Who doesn’t like winning a random prize? I won a guide to small and independent publishers (book and magazine) from Mslexia Magazine last week. A quick flick through it has inspired me to get submitting again.

Publication – I’m thrilled to already have two short stories accepted for publication in 2017, one will be out later this month, the other in April. (more details soon.)

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What gets you through? Tell me something good. Please.

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Notebook

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? We haven’t quite reached the middle of January so I’m going to go ahead and wish you all a Happy New Year.

Yesterday my buddy Independent Clause blogged about a stationery accessory she bought over the holidays. You know you’re obsessed with stationery when you buy it accessories.

Still, I’ve been known to obsess a bit about notebooks myself. Here’s my most recent purchase:

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Honestly, could it be more perfect for me?

You know what, it could. Give me a second. Yup, much better:

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What’s your obsession?

 

 

The daughter of strangers became one herself

I’m really pleased to close out the year with another publishing credit. My creative nonfiction essay, Her Story Repeats, was accepted for publication by Understorey Magazine. The editor, Katherine J Barrett, pushed me to make the piece stronger and I’m grateful for that. You can read the essay, which compares my experiences as an immigrant with those of my mother, here .

I’m taking a break from my Wednesday blogging over the holidays. I’ll be back in mid January. Until then have a tinsel-tastic Christmas.