Sunday, 31 March 2013

Feeling A Bit Hysterical

It's been a strange couple of weeks since I last posted.  I have started a new part-time paid job.  I'm not very good at it yet, and I don't know if I ever will be.  I don't like doing things I'm not good at, and looking  stupid and incompetent.  I've been doing quite a lot of that lately.  It's not a nice feeling, but hopefully things will get better.  It's not easy learning a completely new set of skills when you're over 40!

The postman cheered me up, a few days ago, when he brought my proof copy of the Hysteria 1 Short Story and Poetry Anthology, published by the Hysterectomy Association, which includes my story 'While I Was Ironing'.  What's even more exciting is that you can buy this excellent publication on Amazon.  I was childishly excited (again) to see my name listed in the product description. 

It seems like a long time since I submitted my story to the Hysteria 2012 competition.  Reading it for the first time in ages, I have to admit that I'm quite proud of it.  It began life as a simple idea about a woman doing something routine and everyday whilst, unbeknownst her, her life was being changed irrevocably.  I had an image in my head, from who knows where, of someone searching for a missing button. From that, a whole story evolved.  It doesn't sound very interesting, when I try to describe it.  But I still like it!

The end of March is a deadline for lots of short story competitions.  I've entered as many as I could afford to.  Now the waiting for results begins.  When my poor, rejected babies begin to straggle home, I will be sending them out elsewhere.  I am determined that they will all find homes, eventually.....

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I Have Good News!

The life of a 'wannabe' writer is a depressing one, consisting mostly of disappointments and rejections.  You need to be thick skinned to cope with it.  You need to be thin skinned to be any good at it.  You need to learn not to care when someone describes what you do as 'sitting at home twiddling your thumbs'.

Sometimes, thumb twiddling pays dividends.  Last week I got a letter (yes, I know, how quaint!) telling me I was the First Prize-winner in the Microfiction category in The New Writer Annual Prose & Poetry Prizes 2012.

This makes me happy for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I came first and Tania Hershman came third.  And I happen to know that Tania Hershman is a very, very good writer.  I know this, because I've read her book The White Road and other stories. She is a writer I have heard of.  It's kind of like beating the class swot in an exam.

Secondly, the competition was judged by David Gaffney.  Not to be confused with Dean Gaffney, who used to be Robbie Jackson in Eastenders, because that would be a bit weird.  David Gaffney is another writer I have heard of.  I have one of his books, Sawn-Off Tales, on my Kindle.  A writer I have heard of picked my story as a winner.  And what makes it even better is that, from reading his comments, I know that he completely 'got it'.  He said my story, which is called I Blame The Parents, and will be published in July in The New Writer magazine, was 'both funny and weird'.  I love it when people find my writing funny, because people who don't take the time to get to know me often think I am serious and humourless.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Then there's the prospect of seeing my work in print.  And although it's not the first time, it's always exciting. The prize money is nice too, and will be paying some bills. 

In other news, I have just submitted my entry to the Mslexia Short Story Competition  I know I have next to no chance of winning.  But I love the story I have entered, and I wanted to give it a chance.  My next writing task is to find a couple of 500 word pieces of flash fiction to enter in the Flash 500 competion, which closes on March 31.  I got shortlisted last time.  Maybe next time I will get a bit further.  Onwards....