Food, Glorious Food

Publication in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology is an honour I wasn’t fully aware of when I first submitted two years ago, although I was quietly pleased when my flash ‘Onion’, made the cut and appeared in print in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed (the 2106 anthology).

Flash forward two years and I’m much more aware of both the flash community and the kudos that come with publication in this anthology. So I went all out, submitting three flash for the anthology and two micros for the 100 word flash competition. The theme was food and my money was on a 500 word humorous piece, stuffed with more food references than a cookbook. That flash got nowhere, neither did a shorter funny flash, nor my micros. But I’m thrilled that my flash ‘Habits’ has made the cut. It features some of the characters who appear in ‘The Neverlands’, a mosaic flash that was published in Jellyfish Review last month, and has me thinking these characters have more to say.

The as yet untitled anthology will be published in the next few months, but in the meantime, you can read the winning and highly commended micro stories here. There’s a wonderful assortment and it’s fascinating and inspiring to see what can be done with 100 words. Congratulations to Fiona Jane Mackintosh, Charmaine Wilkerson and Rachael Dunlop, who came first, second and third respectively.

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We Run Through the Dark Together

I’m so pleased to have a flash in ‘We Run Through the Dark Together’, an anthology released today by Inside the Bell Jar.  Editor in Chief Autumn Aurelia said she wanted Inside the Bell Jar to be “a home to those who are willing to openly discuss their darkness in a raw and honest manner.”

My flash ‘Postpartum’ is mostly fiction but there’s a smidge of reality in there. I’m so glad I mostly don’t recognise that tired stressed new mother anymore.

My story is on page 50 of this beautiful anthology:

 

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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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?

 

 

Poetry & Songs

Last week I relied on poetry to get me through creeping despair. This week another poem lifted my spirit. Driving in the car I heard the most gorgeous poem on Start The Week. It was called In Wales Wanting To Be Italian and was recited by its author, the poet Imtiaz Dharker. (You can hear it here, at about the 26 minute mark, but I don’t know how long it will stay on the website.)

I don’t read enough poetry, but when I got home, I googled the poem and promptly ordered the book of poetry in which it appears.

Here’s an excerpt:

Is there a name for that thing you do when you’re young?
There must be a word for it in some language, probably German…
What is that called ?
Being sixteen  in Wales, longing to be Italian
To be able to say aloud without embarrassment “Bella, bella”
Lounge by a vespa with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth
And wear impossibly pointed shoes.

And of course, since last week I’ve been listening to another great poet, Leonard Cohen. When I was an angsty seventeen year old, he was a constant companion. This song has been covered so many times, but no version is better than KD Lang’s. And I love the moment she shares with Leonard Cohen at the end. Enjoy.

 

You Could Make This Place Beautiful

Sometimes you can’t put into words the sense of despair you feel. You have to rely on the words of better, more powerful writers. Today is one of those days.

Good Bones by Maggie Smith:

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.