So the writing world clunks back into action as the dog days of August recede and we all gird up our loins (what does that actually mean?) and head for Christmas with due trepidation. Not such a bad send off for my scribbles, having managed to get not one but two pieces in a printed competition anthology. ‘Journeys Beyond’ is a book consisting of the poems and stories which have been successful in the annual competition of the admirable Early Works Press – http://www.earlyworkspress.co.uk I’m not saying Early Works is only admirable because I’m in their anthology; I think they’re pretty admirable anyway, with an enlightened attitude to helping writers in applied and intelligent ways. But the two pieces of mine in there, ‘Roxanne Riding Hood’ and ‘Home Movies’, are both favourite babies and, as any parent will tell you, try as you might to remain unbiased between your offspring, natural inclinations will out, as the actress said to the bishop.
‘Roxanne Riding Hood’ registered my second success in yer actual Bridport Prize, one of the largest and most prestigious short fiction competitions in the world (yes, really, check it out). Getting to the last 100 doesn’t sound like any big deal until you register that the Bridport usually gets well over 5000 entries from all over the world. Unfortunately, only the last 20 actually get published, which meant that Roxanne has been waiting patiently to appear in print, and now she’s made it, as all bandit-hunting drag queens deserve to do.
‘Home Movies’, on the other hand, ain’t won nothing nowhere, he says ungrammatically, but it’s still a sweet little piece which centres on a lad preparing for his A level year in the August heat, which once, some moons or so ago now, I was. I didn’t, at the time, have a movie-making mobile phone available to me to record for posterity the demented summer goings-on all around, but young Mark does, and his decision to eventually confide only in Duke the labrador can be seen, in the context of his situation, as entirely reasonable.
Bearing in mind that I’ve also recently made it into the Summer 2016 issue of Graham Rippon’s excellent ‘Carillon’ magazine – http://www.carillonmag.co.uk – with ‘Jason’s Window’, about a disappearing teenager, of whom there are many too many, and registered three poems (yes, poems, one is nothing if not versatile, isn’t one?), ‘Vivaldi and the Metro’, ‘Admission Times Five’ and ‘Waterloo Bound’ in the established and well-produced Indigo Dreams magazine ‘Sarasvati’ – http://www.indigodreams.co.uk – , my new publishing year is well up and running. If you’re a writer, I hope yours is too; if you’re a reader, the above may be worthy of your attention, should the return to work need a little recreational distraction or two slightly more intellectually demanding than Strictly whatever it’s called, where millions of people are trying to watch people who can’t dance dance, for reasons best known to themselves. Whatever. Have a laid-back September.