‘Beyond The Autumn’ has been shortlisted in the last twelve of this year’s Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle Short Story Competition, and by the end of this month, it will either be in the places or remain as a shortlisting. As the Grace Dieu competition regularly attracts at least 400 entries, even making the shortlist can be reckoned as quite a reasonable achievement, and it is an interesting result for me because the piece was something of an experiment.
I have met and known creative people of one kind or another – artists, poets, musicians, writers – who could be said to have something of a split personality between the creative being and the person who gets up and gets through each day on planet normal life; maybe we all do. Beyond the Autumn aimed to take the idea one step further, and portray an artist in whom the split was so emphatic that his consciousness more or less amounted to two different people, including in the account the kind of problems his partner had to deal with.
The risk was always the danger of tipping into pretentiousness at one extreme or a medical case study at the other. The shortlisting suggests that the balance was largely maintained, and whatever the subsequent outcome might be, the experiment looks to have been worth the effort, and probably another try with a similar theme.