My latest contribution to STORGY:
Category Archives: Storgy
New on Storgy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The days and nights, I drift, like flotsam on the tide.
Soon I’ll wash away entirely.
Of course, there are moments when I grasp on, when I hear the stampede of life, and remember what I was; when all this started.
I’ll tell you about it, while I’ve got time.
Physically, I felt odd for a while, with lack of sleep getting the blame. I was recently a new partner at Fassett, Masters & Jones, and found it difficult at times, though nothing I couldn’t handle. Yet each day, I became increasingly off-kilter – a strange sensation, like losing myself.
Oscar laughed. ‘What? Don’t be daft. You’re just tired, that’s all.’
‘It’s more than that.’
‘You need a change… A weekend away. Me. You. No kids…’
That’s the trouble with Oscar. Things need to fall down around him before he takes them seriously – but I knew it…
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Here’s my latest story on the Storgy website. Inspired by the glory of hot air balloons in the morning sky!
Sunrise over Cappadocia
‘Come here. There’s sleep in your eye.’
‘Mmmm…That’s good to know.’
He leans closer, and with his fingertip, removes the offending article. I can feel the softness of his skin as he takes the tiny haul from the corner of my eye. He smiles, proudly, displaying the crustie, then kisses the end of my nose. The room is draped in shadows, and the pale blob resting on his nail is barely discernible in the dim light.
‘How can you do that?’I say.
‘Why not? It’s part of you.’ He wipes his finger on the side of the bed.
‘You wouldn’t do that for me?’
‘Not squeeze the blackheads on my back?’
‘Would you cut my toenails if there was ever a time I couldn’t reach them…’
‘You’d be lucky.’
He edges across the bed, so his face rests…
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My latest story on the Storgy website, with the stunning photography of Tomek Dzido as inspiration.
Stepping from the bus onto the estate, I smell bacon frying. It’s years since I left, but nothing’s changed: the houses, clean and neat, overlook characterless gardens, and the street itself is airless; stagnant with marriage, kids, invisibility. The bus drives away, and I’m abandoned with my rucksack, heavy on my back.
I look at the house. Karen’s car is parked in the shared driveway. She offered to pick me up from the station, but I said no.
I see a bike, flung carelessly, to the right of Karen’s car, and I laugh, a small, indiscernible sound.
‘Seems to me, Charlie, you think the world owes you a favour.’
‘Your bike. On the drive.’
‘Dad – I wasn’t…’
‘Money Charlie. Hard-earned cash. Bike’s aren’t free, you know?’
‘You can’t look after anything – ’
‘Dad – I…
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Another light-hearted romp from the Wilkinson imagination! Hope you enjoy, and please, tell me if you do. And if you don’t, please tell me why…! I only get better if I know how to improve…
A FORGOTTEN COLOUR
Judith draws back the curtains, securing them with tie-backs; gently fingering the black beaded ends. David chose them. She glances around the room. It could do with a polish, and a hoover. Instead, she settles for smoothing the duvet with the palm of her hand. Aubergine. David’s favourite.
It’s purple, Mum, he said, snorting.
That’s not what they call it on those design shows.
The conversation she remembers verbatim, but it’s a while since she’s seen him, and lately, she finds it hard to recall his features, such as the line of his nose, and the natural hue of his hair.
She likes to keep his room tidy. That way, it feels like he’ll turn up any minute, though the bedcovers are rumpled from when Frank stops in here. Why can’t he clean up after himself? It…
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This is my latest Storgy story, though really, it’s one of my earliest stories.
AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
Though it was early, with the sun suspended low on the horizon, the sky was bright. On the estate, a fine layer of frost coated the grass and cars. Sarah, concealed by a tree, stood watching a house across the street, a hood obscuring her face and hair. In her hand, she clutched the handle of a long, wheeled, black bag.
It was almost eight o’ clock. Any minute now, Richard would leave.
As if she willed it, the front door of number ninety-two opened, and a tall man with dark hair stepped into the cold. He fiddled in his pocket, extracting a bunch of keys – she could hear the faintest jangle from where she stood. Double-locking the door, he tested the handle, then headed towards the station, his breath visible as a thin vapour. Sarah stepped back. For a moment, as…
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Photo by Steven Michael
Seth sat on the bench trying to think of the right words. In actual fact, there were no words for what he had to say; for what he was about to do. He looked at the paper again, which he’d stared at for the last thirty minutes. Dear Grace. It was as far as he got.
His hand was unsteady, and the words uneven, and though his fingers were unused to writing, it was not this that made the pencil quiver. Outside, the wind cried mournfully, and frigid air crept into his thin clothing, but it was not the cold that made his body shake.
He only hoped she could forgive him. His hand finally allowed him to scribe.
It was not a decision easily made.
He sat at this bench when he first saw her, not yet seven years old. …
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My new story on the Storgy website.
The front door clicks gently, and as I step into the cool stillness, it reminds me of how the day used to start when I was a boy – with the electric whirr and clinking bottles of the milk-float. The sound was friendly, like the milkman himself. He’d come around, every Friday night and stand in our doorway, asking about Gran’s health, and about Eileen who’d moved to Australia three years before. Sometimes he’d tell jokes, or pull a sweet out from behind my ear, while Mum counted coins from her purse. His barrel-chested bonhomie filtered through to everyone he met. Many mornings, you’d collect your pint from the doorstep, to be greeted with a cheery hello from a neighbour or a passerby. You don’t get that now.
These days, people choose to wander supermarket aisles like zombies instead, barely able to glance up from their…
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As you may or may not know, I write for an online short fiction magazine called Storgy. The concept of the magazine is unique – readers are encouraged to interact with the writing process by choosing each new story title via a poll. The nine contributing writers then have a week to produce a story based on the winning title, so essentially, it’s written especially for the readers. It’s amazing how different each work is, considering there is no variation in the title.
Of course, each month I go through my very own unique torture, wondering how on earth I’m going to come up with a story in seven days, influenced by a title I’d be unlikely to choose myself. This month’s winning title was ‘Bring Me My Shotgun’.
Relatively quickly, an idea developed, but I approached it with caution, as popular writing wisdom dictates that the first thing that comes into your head can be unimaginative or clichéd. So, after dismissing my first idea, I spent the next five days pondering and cogitating until… well, actually… nothing. I scribbled, I typed, but none of my scrawling could be described as a story. Nothing gelled. On paper, I had a title about a shotgun and not much else. Pah.
That week, when I wasn’t frustrated by my lack of creativity, I did my usual things:
- I watched past episodes of Misfits, a series I’ve been aware of but never watched – WHY have I never watched Misfits? – and was distraught when loner Simon, and his girlfriend Alesha, left the series. I was totally caught up in his superhero transformation/time travel storyline. And yes, I do have a Superman fixation.
- I worked in a primary school where they ran a dress-as-you-like day to raise funds. Some of the younger kids came in fancy dress. Also, during that week, some children drew my attention for various reasons: developmental, learning or social issues, or difficulties at home.
- I went for country walks with the dog.
- I read (and enjoyed) The Humans by Matt Haig, which relates the story of an alien being visiting Earth to assassinate people he sees as a threat to the future of the Universe.
All of these things happened as part of my week, without me giving them much thought or consideration – but at the end of day five, an idea began to crystallise in my mind about a loner who received the best Christmas present ever, and what happened as a consequence of this.
The next day, I sat and I wrote my entire story in one sitting. Despite my worries, the week wasn’t wasted after all. Yes, I may have struggled with words and ideas, but it was because my brain was busy, busy, busy. It didn’t want to be disturbed; it had more important things to deal with – absorbing events around it and piecing them together with the title, like parts of a jigsaw puzzle.
No, my story wasn’t about the things that happened to me that week, but I’d used aspects of each day to create my imaginary world. Bizarrely, at one point, a memory of the fairy tale, The Little Match Girl – a story I loved as a child – influenced me too.
You see, our brains enjoy grappling with a puzzle. They like to connect and make sense out of fragments of information. That’s why one method for releasing ideas when you’re suffering from writer’s block is to use a number of unrelated words to conjure up a storyline. It’s a process which works in a similar way to what happened to me this week – though I made associations from the life around me.
My associations were made up of:
- a shotgun
- a child who is young for his age
- a primary school dress-as-you-like day
- winter countryside
- The Little Match Girl
Weirdly, these concepts all fit perfectly into a story. Yet they came about, not by sitting at my computer, but by getting on with my ordinary routine. (Although, having said that, sitting and staring can have its uses too.)
Writing is so much more than the physical process of writing itself. It’s also about about moving away from the keyboard, doing other things, communicating, relating to others, noticing the finer detail, and absorbing the things you experience.
If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Next time you’re struggling with ideas, or the story won’t flow, get up and go out.
Let your mind open itself to the world, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it will help you to perform your writerly magic.
If you would like to read my version of Bring Me My Shotgun click the link below: