Old is as old does

Wall

Yes, it’s a picture of a wall. Wherefore, ‘Arris, are you blogging a picture of a wall?  Well, all yous young things, this is what age feels like. Sometimes.

There’s a bit in AbFab where Edina is pretending to cry to keep Saffy happy. ‘Squish, squish, darling’. Such are the emotions of some when reading sentences like the one above. Squish, squish. You may well be one of those noble and dauntless individuals who are in the process of bending the entire world into the shape they want it to be, by next Tuesday at the latest.

Well, it don’t last. Though you probably knew that. What you can and can’t do kind of shrinks. Yesterday, on a visit to Taunton Hospital where a lady saw me in my knickers for the first time in many a moon – she didn’t run out screeching, but then she was a Medical Person – the spread of arthritis to my back as well as my knees and hands was confirmed. Squish, squish. Ten years down the line, I shall probably be stiff-limbing my way around the place like a kind of geriatric Pinocchio (fairy tale, look it up).

So my Writing Short Fiction site, on which I have lavished so much time and thought, is up for a new kind owner if such a creature is out there, altruistic, informed and benevolent, and if no-one appears to give it a new regeneration like a literary Dr Who, I will probably finish up colonising it, or at least the bits of it what I wrote, onto my own site at little old http://www.bruceharris.org. All in the public interest. Put my OBE in the post, David, when you’ve put that damn pig down for ten seconds.

So hold up on the squish squishes. http://www.bruceharris.org is still here and still going strong, even if its daddy is getting a little creaky here and there. Do please visit. It will be super to see you.  And remember, he says, with quiet and subtle allegory, walls is for climbing over.

Snake

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New look site with added material

www.bruceharris.org

has had a make over, adding new free downloads and making access to everything on the site a lot easier. If you are still depressed at the election results (a Conservative majority government which eleven million people voted for and nineteen million people voted against – work that one out!), why not have a look at the two downloadable funny stories, one about the trials and tribulations of a teacher working in an infant school, the other about a boy loaded down with his exam work observing his family’s bizarre summer behaviour.    Two funny stories

On the other hand, if you have now put yourself in a mood where nothing short of a distraction into tales of criminality will get your mind off the future the country faces, perhaps you might need to investigate a sinister chauffeur or a mysterious house with an imprisoned girl’s wan face at the window.    Two crime stories

Or perhaps you would prefer a lighter distraction, being a sporting lady or gentleman, for whom the sporting world is a good deal more congenial than the political (aren’t most?)  Try the manager and the apprentice in philosophical discourse after a relegation, or the gypsy boy who rises to stardom through his prowess on the football pitch.     Two sports stories

And, should you then get to thinking this guy can tell a tale, then why not avail yourself of Kindles and e-books all over the place by looking at the site’s Available Publications page, where you can not only get stuck into a whole host of fascination fiction, you can also check out what sort of stuff will win you things in U.K. fiction competitions.

Chin up, don’t panic, you’re literate, you’re intelligent, and only high class fiction will do!  Politics, whatever! It won’t happen again for another five years!

 

WSF updates again!

WSF updates again, with two new prize-winning writers and new winning pieces from four of our existing contributors. Welcome to the site, Lesley Glaister and Christie Cluett, with one story included in the Best British Short Stories of 2013 and another into the shortlist of the Magic Oxygen Prize. There are also tales from Booker-prize listed Alison Moore, and hers won her the Manchester Fiction Prize in front of thousands of entries; Andrew Campbell-Kearsey, with another competition winning piece to add to the hundreds he already has; Shirley Golden, with a story which came first in the always well-contested Exeter Writers’ Competition, and site editor Bruce Harris also weighs in with the runner-up in the 2014 Momaya Press Competition.

Check them all out at writingshortfiction.org, and while you’re there, take a look at our Debut Fiction section, with eight new writers taking a bow.

Debut Fiction Up and Running!

The new Debut Fiction section of the Writing Short Fiction site is posted today, and all of us connected with the site, including the group of highly successful writers whose work is in the Champion Fiction section, would like to extend a warm welcome to:

Jake Alan, S. Bee, Joe Eurell,  Mathew Lopez-Bland,  Shreyasi Majumdar, Steph Minns,  Olga Wojtas and Thomas Williams

Chances are you don’t know any of these names. Chances are you might do as time goes on!  Not all of them are publishing for the very first time, but none of them have published more than a few times and they are all in the early stages of their writing careers.

Jake Alan contributes I’ve Only Just Been Born, a haunting tale of a hospital patient.

S. Bee, the writing name of Sharon Boothroyd, has sent us an example of what she herself describes as a ‘womag’ story, about a romance blossoming in a radio studio, Tuning Into Love.

Joe Eurell’s Three Generations implies the connections which pass between families over the years.

Mathew Lopez-Bland’s funny, atmospheric and outspoken Pandas centres on a ‘gender exchange’ of revealing proportions.

Shreyasi Majumdar’s story, Dairy Unit No. 4,  describes a girl in a despairing situation who somehow finds courage enough to survive.

Steph Minns tells a tale of a past catching up with a guilty woman in The Glittering Sea.

Olga Wojtas tells a brief but very pointed old Polish folk tale in Nothing But Bone.

Tom Williams relates a fateful decision having to be made by a young man in a dystopian society in Falling Stars.

New kids on the block maybe, but the writing is worth a few minutes of anyone’s time. Give it a go at Debut Fiction

 

 

A Little Something for Easter

O.K., let us be charitable. Let us be understanding. Let us assume you are not some wretched old skinflint or skinflintess who never buys anyone anything except at Christmas, and only then because you want to get back the socks/tights/hankies you’re too mean to buy the rest of the time. Let us accept that you’re not, either, some wild spendthriftess or spendthrift who went so berserk at Christmas that you’ve been staying off bankruptcy ever since.

So you are, you really are, going to buy your Mum/Dad/husband/wife/brother/sister/daughter/son/nephew/niece/
extra special choochee face/lovely huggy honey buns/ something resembling an Easter present? Such as what?

Perhaps a lovely big chocolate egg? Well, maybe. But if you’re giving it to a lady person, all that will happen is that she will sit and look at it all holiday, thinking if I just even start unwrapping that thing, every dietary effort I’ve been making since turning pear-shaped over Christmas will be well out of the window and I’ll be so solidly back in mega-calorie land that the summer beaches won’t so much see me draping my gorgeous bikini-clad frame over the sand as being mistaken for a beached blue whale and floated out to sea.  Four days of solid kids off school and she will succumb, return to the avocado profile and hate your miserable tempting ass for ever afterwards.

And if you’re giving it to a male person, he will think what kind of a dork does this person think I am and throw it over the fence for next door’s dog to gobble up and then spend the next fortnight crapping all over next door’s house, garden and car, and didn’t next door have it coming to them?  Disharmony, boundary disputes, possibly neighbour-cide to follow, and you marked down as the great dozy trouble-making sod of the street.

And if you’re giving it to anyone under the age of nine, they will save it up as a special treat and then eat it all at once, meaning your best cushions/sheets/towels will finish up looking like someone’s just wiped their bums on them and you will forget yourself so much that all your liberal parenting ideas will go right out of the window and you will sock them one and thereby give them a complex which will end in them hating you for all eternity.

Perhaps a real Easter bunny? Well, maybe. But whoever receives it will then have to buy a warren or hutch or something, spend a fortune on lettuce and carrots, take it to vets to be inoculated against several dozen rabbity diseases at £100 a shot, and then, as soon as he or she leaves a garden gate open, see Floppily being dragged off by his ears by one of the local fox population, to be reduced to a bag of bones in the back yard, thereby causing you to have foxes sniffing around for ever afterwards and a RSPCA prosecution on its way for summer.

How’s about a collection of 25 prize-winning stories in a convenient e-book, which will start the recipient of it on a great literary journey towards Booker prizes and Hollywood blockbusters and make then turn somersaults every time you walk into the room for ever afterwards?  Yeah? www.bruceharris.org , book called ‘First Flame’, and yours at minimal cost, because I’m not as bothered about the money as I am about securing your eternal happiness.

Or perhaps a collection of published and prize-winning poems which will set your relative/beloved off on a verse-making odyssey which could see them finish up writing so many award-winning lyrics that their living room walls will consist entirely of gold discs and Grammys. Yeah? www.bruceharris.org , book called ‘Raised Voices’, at even minimaler cost. No, please, no profusion of thanks, it would be all too embarrassing. Happy Easter, and don’t eat too many eggs; remember the wisdom of our French friends: an oeuf is an ouef.

For all our Suns, our Moons and our Earths

For all our Suns, our Moons and our Earths

If you are a sun, the centre of other people’s universes, whether they be children, brothers and sisters, grans, neighbours etc., there are two kinds of sun you can be:

One is a corrosive, scorching, flesh-eating scourge on their lives, burning down on them as powerfully as a revenging demon and forcing them to hide away from your deadly rays in case you inadvertently, or even advertently, burn them to a crisp, or even a packet of crisps.

Two is, quite literally, the light of their lives, spreading warmth, wit and wisdom all around like an eternal source of light and hope, leaving them with a splendid tan, a sense of well-being and no need to waste their money on cancer beds. To take a big step in direction two, you now have just eleven days to get your particular sunbeam of wit and wisdom into the Debut Fiction section of http://writingshortfiction.org

If you are a moon, the light in the darkness of the family and friends who surround you, the man (or woman) in the moon figure they all look up to, there are two kinds of moon you can be:

One is the moon of Dracula and the creatures of the night, werewolves, vampires, people who go on stag and hen nights, twenty four hour supermarket shoppers, looking for a pale, ghostly presence to tacitly bless the ‘orrible things they get up to (karaoke, blood sucking, stocking up on pot noodles).

Two is the wistful light in the night sky, the focus of the dreams and fears of those around you, the spectacle the lonely and the striving pull their bedroom curtains apart for, the inspirational sight in the dark for poets to write about and singers to sing to, albeit vomitingly soppily on occasions. To take a big step in direction two, you now have just eleven days left to loose off your individual and inimitable morsel of light and hope in the dark to the Debut Fiction section of http://writingshortfiction.org

If you are an Earth, the down to earth terra firma of your lovers, dependents or relatives, the ground on which their world sits, there are two kinds of planet you can be:

One is the raddled, polluted old git who breathes noxious gases into the universe, drops off sewage into the atmosphere like a drunk littering a beach and fills all our cities with foul stenches and unpleasant noises (think Top Gear convention).

Two is a bold and beautiful renewed planet looking forward to a brighter tomorrow, with rivers people can swim in without going orange, mountains people can climb without tripping over piles of discarded burger cartons, and air to take deep into the lungs without a cautionary oxygen tank to hand. To take a big step in direction two, you now have just eleven days left to send the fresh air and unpolluted scenery of your fiction to the Debut Fiction section of http://writingshortfiction.org

DON’T LET YOUR TALENT BE ECLIPSED, EITHER PARTIALLY OR TOTALLY!

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE OUT ON http://writingshortfiction.org !

For people who have Mums, people who are Mums, people who want to be Mums

For people who have Mums – well, does your Ma think of you as (a) a sensitive and intelligent creature, a weaver of tales, a creator of magic worlds, an astute observer of the human condition, a dream maker and imaginative sprinkler of fairy dust on the monotony of everyday routine?

Or (b) a big, ponderous lummox she had to carry around for nine months and whose uninspiring mush she still has to gaze on from time to time when she’s too slow to get out of the way?

If you’d rather (a) than (b), get a publishing history and send your fiction effort to http://writingshortfiction.org ‘s new Debut Fiction section.

For people who are Mums – well, what are you to them? (a) Someone who regularly renders their toxic undies wearable again in polite society? Someone who makes interesting jam or is consistently congratulated on her custard? Someone who keeps a store of incriminating photos of your naked self gurgling around on a rug to bring out whenever you take a prospective soul mate home for tea?

Or (b), a literate and perceptive woman who can cast fictional spells to intrigue the most demanding readers and critics?  A lady of words able to shut any mostly male dinner party the eff up with the sheer range and perspicacity of her philosophical observations?

If you’d rather (b) than (a), make a start by sending your first literary fiction efforts to http://writingshortfiction.org  ‘s new Debut Fiction section?

For people who want to be Mums and who are female – well, would you rather, (a) go through some long and sweaty business with a hairy male who you may never see again, carry a huge and rapidly growing presence inside you for nine months and then have it extracted from you by  more hairy males while they stand around looking superior,

Or (b), conceive and create your own new literary babe and send it to http://writingshortfiction.org ‘s new Debut Fiction section?

For people who want to be Mums and who are male – as you are more or less biologically snookered in this respect, there are two courses of action open to you:    (a) get therapy, or

(b) conceive and create your own new literary Maserati and send it to http://writingshortfiction.org ‘s new Debut Fiction section.

H. M. D. to all!

 

 

Debut Fiction – opportunities for all!

Writing Short Fiction  is putting its mission where its mouth is and starting a new Debut Fiction section. Since the whole site is dedicated to helping new writers, it seems to make sense to offer writers not only questionnaires, advice, tips pieces, samples of prize-winning writing and resources, but also the opportunity to actually get into print themselves. All through March, WSF will be taking submissions of pieces of 500 – 2000 words from people who have either never been published at all or whose writing ‘bio’ has only got to one or two items so far. If it’s rabidly violent, rampantly erotic, sexist, racist or homophobic, don’t bother; if it’s none of those things, well crafted, all your own work and worth anybody’s while taking a little time over, then send it to bruce@bruceharris.org and it will be WSF’s privilege and pleasure to put it up on the Debut Fiction section when it launches in April.

We’re waiting for your call. This could be your first step on a long, fascinating and rewarding road.