Once I had started winding down my professional life by going part-time,
I began to get interested in short story writing. I found that I really enjoyed it. It made me feel like a kid, making stuff up. Although, as they say in investment circles, 'past performance is no guarantee of future performance', I'm enjoying the interest already!
I wrote some pieces for performance at the Broadstairs Lit Open mic nights. People seemed to like them so I produced a booklet and recorded a CD of the pieces, called ‘Ten-Minute Tales’, just for family and friends.
A friend suggested I offer the sound files of the tales to BBC Radio Kent for their 'Upload' programme. So I did. Again, they went down well. Leo Ulph featured all seven of them on his programme. My confidence was boosted by comments from Leo.
‘An absolutely beautiful little piece’, ‘Quite delightful!’, ‘Absolutely wonderful’, ‘A great talent for creating atmosphere’ and ‘Such a way with words!’ - Leo Ulph
Listen to my work
One of the stories, ’Where we are’, is included in the IsleWrite anthology ‘twentythirty’ published in 2020. You can listen to it here:
I have now produced extra copies of the booklet and CD for anybody who would like one for a price that simply covers costs. Please contact me if you would like a copy.
I had imagined that if I wanted to record more of my short stories for broadcast, I would need a proper recording studio. Once we were locked down due to the pandemic, that was impossible. But then I experimented with an app called ‘Voice Recorder’. I sent another piece off to Upload and it was judged to be good enough sound quality and was broadcast on Upload. You can listen to it here:
I hope this information will encourage others to experiment with home recording.
And now for my second short story collection!
Friends and family, good enough to accept my first offering of short stories, then encouraged me by asking for second helpings. So, I put together another collection called 'Short Comings'. The title reflects the fact that the stories are not long and have come to me unbidden; after overhearing conversations on trains, experiencing events, listening to friends or simply daydreaming.
The two words in the title, if joined together, indicate fallibility*, which is something I know quite a bit about. So, naturally, the characters in these stories and the stories themselves have imperfections too! I've read some of the stories out loud for the accompanying CD but not all. But, luckily for me, these recorded stories are now featuring on BBC Radio Kent's 'Upload' programme again, thanks to Leo Ulph, the programme presenter. Thank you, Leo!
* Shortcomings: defects, faults, flaws, imperfections, failings, foibles.
The child that never was
I was invited to write a short story for Mayah's Legacy, the charity supporting families who have experienced pregnancy loss. (www.mayah.org.uk)
You can read the story titled 'The child that never was' here.
What I've worked on in 2022 and 2023
THE POWER OF WORDS event at the POW Thanet, 2022 Festival.
THE PATHS WE TAKE
Jiggy Bhore started the afternoon with her short piece entitled 'Born, Female, 1950.'
Patricia Mahoney and Tessa Woodward then presented 'The Paths We Take' - a programme of short readings from their work featuring women as the central characters. The stories explored issues facing women from childhood to retirement and conveyed the joys, uncertainties, excitement, sadness and wonderful sense of accomplishment along the way. Guitarist Jamie Moore provided short musical interludes and incidental music.
The event was held in March 2022 at the Small Boat Owners Club, Guildford Lawn, Ramsgate.
Here are some audience reactions:
"It was really beautifully done and I loved being there."
“It was absolutely brilliant. Insightful, moving, witty."
"Such very talented women. Thank you for a fabulous two hours.”
I joined The Alliance of Independent Authors as an Author Member.
The IsleWrite Anthology launch took place at the Margate Bookie,
(The Friendly LitFest by the Sea!) in the Turner Contemporary.
I was one of the authors reading a story from the anthology. More
information at www.margatebookie.com
Six word stories
There's a well-known challenge in creative writing circles that involves making a short story of only six words.
Famous examples are this one by Ernest Hemingway: 'For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.'
And this one by Margaret Atwood: 'Longed for him. Got him. Shit!'
I tried a few. The following were featured on BBC Radio Kent's 'Upload' programme by Leo Ulph:
'Oh! I thought he could swim!'
'What do you mean, "Real" Dad?'
'Afterwards, rain on the roof. Sigh.'
'Passport, money, phone, even you, gone!'
'Caravans where the old orchard was.'
On Leo Ulph's 'Upload' show on BBC Radio Kent, they were each prefaced by titles such as, 'Accident', 'Revelation', 'Peace', 'Betrayal' and 'Progress'. Not sure if that improves them or not! What do you think?
Short Sketches for Play Readers
This selection of seven humorous dialogues, one sided dialogues, and monologues, to be read aloud, provides a couple of hours of entertainment, reading skill practice and discussion for a versatile play reading group. A set of twelve is available for loan from the Music and Drama Library of Kent County Council. If you would like a single PDF just get in touch via the Contact page.
I have a new collection of short stories out. It's my third and is called 'Light and Shadow'. The theme behind the stories this time is that no moment in life is either one hundred percent totally wonderful or one hundred percent awful. It's not all light or all dark but usually kind of dappled!
In case you like to listen to stories, I have made some rough home-made versions here of 'Fears of a Frequently Frightened Flyer' (above), 'The House in Kamakura' and 'Angels in the air' (below). Happy listening!
A Pop-Up Bookshop appeared in Broadstairs, Kent on July 29 and 30th..... selling the publications of local writers (including me!).
Hallelujah! I have my first full length work of fiction out! It's called 'In the Middle of Somewhere'.
It is available on Kindle and in paperback. I really hope you find it amusing
and interesting. (And if you do, please write a review!)
To find it, please click on this link:
Thanks to Phill Burrows for the lovely cover! Find out more about
his work at www.phillburrows.co.uk
My next public readings, with friends, are from 2-5pm, on November 5th and 12th 2023 at The Pie Factory,
5 Broad Street, Margate CT9 1EW within the exhibition by The Arborealists, 'At the Water's Edge'.
Hope to see you there!
The King Lear Prizes 2023
I discovered in October that, out of 1,500 entries in the Beginner Poetry category of this competition for the over sixties my poem, 'You're never more than twenty feet from a rat!' was Highly Commended.
I'm sure that the fact that Roger McGough, a man with a great sense of humour, was the judge must have helped!