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Truth, lies and telling stories

'A writer of fiction is really…a congenital liar.' Ernest Hemingway. Today is Honesty Day which, if I’m going to honour it, presents me with a dilemma: should I make stuff up today? As a child, I learned that truthfulness was my first and absolute duty. Cartoonish fights with Little Sis weren't allowed, but denying them was far worse. My favourite morning assembly hymn, the cool one with the knight in it, told me to set free with my youth, from the castle of darkness, the power of truth. I wanted that righteous adventure. An unfeasible number of years later, I’m not going to pretend I’ll never fib in a pinch. I’ve devised criteria for when and how I can tweak verity without her making me fee

Bluebell Magic

This is one of the best times of the year. It's the time to find a new bluebell wood, to guess where they’ll be and get it right. It goes like this. You’ll see, from a distance, from within the thicket, an unworldly cerulean glow. Your strides will lengthen, and, inhaling deeply, you’ll catch their scent: it is a more elegant hyacinth, has rosewater, sugared almond, strawberry leaves and wet earth. There is it is, perfect blueness, curled coyly around and between the trees, as far as you can see, at which moment you will skip and wave your arms about and, quite probably, sing a song of your own devising. And the word blueness will seem to have been washed out by the sky and you’ll breathe li

About writing: my advice for me ten years ago

Hello 2007 Me You’ve done it! You've thrown yourself off that career ladder, landed in your daydream. Now you can become a writer. Hooray! Exciting, isn’t it? Not really knowing what you’ve let yourself in for, pleased with yourself for going on instinct. I'll tell you what you’ll learn about writing over the next ten years, so you can judge if you've done the right thing. We both love a list, and obviously lists with ten points are the best, so: 1. You want to know how to be a writer. It’s like this - when you’re writing you’re a writer, the rest of the time you're not. That’s all. The noun is loaded with clichés that’ll weigh you down. Focus on the verb. “To be is to do”—Socrates “To do i

Give yourself the name you deserve

Today is Name Yourself Day. You can shake off the names you were given and inherited. You can choose a shining new appellation. The names we use help define us. They tell a tiny story about us, to ourselves and others. Today you can rewrite yours. I'm lucky enough to name many of my friends, because they are imaginary. I have learnt to take the greatest care: the wrong name can lead a person astray. Here are some things to think about when selecting your temporary tag: Who else has this name - do you wish to borrow their reputation, or perhaps confound comparison? How does it sound when spoken softly: like a line of poetry, a question, a promise, an insult or a complaint? Which of these do y

 
 
 
About

Reading, writing and smiling

I live in Sussex by the sea, writing stories and novels which are speculative, historical and literary. I blog and tweet about inspiration, happy writing and delicious words. My goal is to share a little everyday magic.

 

You can find my work in the NonBinary Review, Write Like You're AliveTrue Tales from the Old Hill , Hysteria 6, Everyday Epics, Stories for Homes, and Every Day Fiction.

There are also some tiny fictions on this site which I hope you enjoy.

 
 
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Book Reviews

My book reviews are over on Goodreads. I'm always delighted to receive requests from authors. If your book appeals to me I'll buy it, read it and review it. I'd love to hear from you.

 
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