100 Words of Solitude
Such great news: 100 Words of Solitude is going into print! Thanks to all at 100 Words of Solitude and Rare Swan Press.
I was delighted to have my 100 word piece, Lenses and Laughter accepted for publication in the 100 Words of Solitude project.
100 Words of Solitude is a project set up to capture and record human responses to enforced or self-imposed isolation.
As Covid-19 (Coronavirus) sweeps across the world more and more people in every country, through choice or necessity, are withdrawing from traditional social and community interactions. We are retreating to our homes, shielding ourselves from physical human contact and the shared experiences that make up so much of our personalities. We are obliged to renegotiate our relationships with ourselves, our homes and the communal spaces we are now avoiding but which normally make up so much of our daily lives.
100 Words of Solitude records creative literary responses to this situation. It seeks to capture the emotional, cultural and social impact of the developing situation, giving voice to writers across the world to explore the nature of solitude, of small group (family) isolation, of connecting to others across the void, or working and helping in spaces now dynamically changed by lockdowns.
Longlisted in the Retreat West Monthly MicroFiction Competition.
Every night, Mother would tuck him into bed and talk to him about the beauty of the night, about the fear being inside him, about how it was just the two of them now and she would always protect him. She would talk until he drifted off.
Every morning, when he got into the Tube cab, he’d imagine her voice in the darkness, pull the lever and the train would edge into the tunnel.
Last night, Mother died. Half way into the tunnel, he couldn’t hear her voice any more. He could only see his father’s face rushing towards him.
Longlisted in the Retreat West Monthly MicroFiction Competition. May 2020.
Mary buried her nose in the once-cream sweater. She could still smell him, if she tried very hard. The number of times she’d had to rescue that sweater from the wash and once, of all things, from the charity bag. I ask you!
Of course, Elaine always thought she knew best. “What do you always have to hang onto things for, Mum? Clothes you’ll never wear again and bits of old paper,” she said, shoving things into a bin liner.
“I’ll have me key back, thank you.”
The door slammed. Mary stuck the Knock and Wait sign in the window.
National Flash Fiction Day 2020
6th June 2020
I was delighted to have two of my pieces published on The Write In.
Playing by the Rules
Prompt #11 - A story in the style of game instructions.
1. Spend at least 3 evenings a week with your friends.
2. Fill your days off with individual chores.
3. Go out to dinner with your partner.
4. Argue over your partner’s choice of restaurant.
5. Return home in silence.
6. Sleep in spare bedroom.
7. Continue silence for days/weeks.
8. Move into spare bedroom.
9. Search internet for studio flats.
10. Book short break for yourself and your partner.
11. Argue over your choice of destination.
12. Return early from short break.
13. View studio flats.
14. Sign contract.
15. Hire storage facility.
16. Pack belongings.
17. Ignore any/all attempts to change your mind.
18. Leave house.
19. Post key through letterbox.
20. Leave your baggage behind.
Top Down Structure
Prompt #7 - Write 5 titles, at least 11 words long each one, and choose one to write a story, up to 300 words.
It was the first day of the summer term. “We’ve got a new car. You know that the registration changes in March now? So it’s brand new.” Joel was one of those kids from the cul-de-sac, where everyone had a front drive and double glazing. The three of us looked at him. We didn’t say a word.
We were none of us kids who could brag about new cars. We’d only got one car between three families up our end of the street. We were lucky, though, because our Mums and Dads were pals, so we kind of shared the car. Although, officially, Evanses owned it, our Dad paid the insurance and Ashley’s Mom paid the tax and petrol.
We shared meal times, too. It was usually something like fish finger and chips or sausage and chips. Basically, anything and chips. We’d eat in the back kitchen, all six of us kids. Sometimes the grown ups would be in the front room. Sometimes they’d be in one of the gardens. Most of the time they were all together. Just occasionally, a couple of them were missing. We never took much notice.
Our Mum put the plates down on the grubby cloth. It was supposed to be wipe clean but we never bothered with that. “Anything interesting back at school?” she asked us.
“Not really. Jerky Joel’s got a new car.”
We all laughed. Our Mum had the worst potty mouth. That’s where we got it from in the first place.
“Where are Ashley and Stephen?” Mum didn’t like food going to waste.
“Think they’re upstairs, playing Mummies and Daddies, like Ashley’s Mum and Stephen’s Dad.”
We wanted to be the same as our parents. That’s all we knew.