Monday, 22 April 2013

Less is more, sometimes

When I was in the top juniors, or Year 6, as it's known nowadays, I had a teacher who didn't like me.  Well, he didn't like my mum, who taught at the same school, and had recently been promoted to deputy head.  He didn't take kindly to a woman being in a senior position to him.  But that's another story, and one I might write one day.

In my end of year report, this teacher described me as 'taciturn'.  To this day, I regard that as an unkind word with which to describe a child who was painfully shy.   I'm a person who holds grudges.  I'm not proud of this, but it's the way I am.  I take after my Nana. He also said that I needed to be 'more prollific' in my writing.  He confused quantity with quality,   Which only goes to show how thick he was. Not that I'm bitter, or anything.

I'm a person of few words.  I say what I've got to say, and then I stop.  I'm not very good at small talk, and this has always carried over into my writing.  Throughout my education, I was always being told that I needed to write more, to expand, to embroider.  I felt inadequate, because I just couldn't do it.  It doesn't take much to make me feel inadequate.  I am a person of very little confidence, as well as few words.

In the light of all this, it's probably a bit strange that the only real ambition I've ever had is to be a writer.  I didn't do anything about this ambition until around four years ago.  I got myself an A4 ring bound note pad and started writing down all kinds of rubbish, with no idea of how to go about it.  Then I got a bit more organized, and took the Open University  Start Writing Fiction course.  My tutor said I should start submitting stories to journals and magazines.  I assumed she said that to everyone. 

Eventually, and I can't remember how or where, I discovered flash fiction.  Flash fiction could have been designed just for me.  You say what you've got to say in as few words as possible.  There's no room for rambling, showing off, or gratuitously explaining.  You really do have to show, rather than tell.  I love flash fiction.

Last week, I was proud to be part of Flash Flood , the online journal of National Flash Fiction Day.  I was fortunate enough to have three stories accepted, Irony, Dream Sequence and A Bite Of The Apple.  There are lots of wonderful stories on there, and I feel privileged to have been included.

And finally, another bit of trumpet blowing, I've been longlisted with two entries in the same competiton, which has never happened to me before.  So I am a bit happy and excited.  Although most people who know me don't know that I write, and just see me as the mad person who gave up a well-paid teaching job to work part-time for minimum wage.  But again, that's another story....

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