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One word stories

Gonzo, my creative brain, loves one word prompts for stories. I've asked her why but she despises direct questions and insists on being mysterious. So, here's my best guess at why starting from just one word makes Gonzo (and me) happy: It's a playful process. Gonzo avoids anything resembling hard work. In play mode, I forget to worry about whether I'll ever be an agent magnet, then bestselling-critically-acclaimed-prizewinning nobel laureate and national treasure who'll politely refuse their MBE. Because of that, Sniffy Neg, my inner critic, doesn't even notice that I'm writing, let alone interrupt, so I can just get on with it. We're not starting with one of my treasured story ideas which I

How to become a Sage in Seven Simple Steps

Anyone can achieve their dream and be a sage. Just follow these seven simple steps. 1. Be a man. If you’re not a man, consider changing gender. Or, check out our guide: How to Become a Wise Woman.* 2. Find your inner sage type: justice, mystic, scientist, philosopher, poet, mathematician, or (our fave) all-powerful monarch. 3. Practice. You're not a sage unless you make time for saging every day. 4. Come up with pithy lines that pretend to answer universal questions. Keep saying them. 5. Move somewhere remote and, ideally, uncomfortable. See our guide: How to Live Up a Pole. 6. Hook up with six other sages and choose your Team Name. Hint: It should start ‘Seven Sages of’. 7. Ensure your lega

Ms H Takes Laurels

On Monday, Ms H overtook a younger woman on the walk uphill to the offices. She therefore expected a satisfactory day. On Tuesday, hearing footsteps behind, and despite striding fast as she could, Ms H was passed by the girl, who persisted in staying ahead. Ms H considered the girl’s long, tanned, unfair advantages and prepared herself for an unacceptable day. On Wednesday, Ms H wore her gym kit. She and the girl were neck and neck at the bus stop, but Mrs H took the racing line, forced her opponent into the shrubbery, and enjoyed an above average day. On Thursday, the girl broke into a run. Ms H gave chase and downed her. Bystanders broke up the tussle with no winner. Ms H’s day was middlin

Love is…never having to find the right word

How do I love? It’s impossible, I reckon, to count the ways. Here’s a selection in no particular order: I love Mr G, daydreaming, pokey cheese, when my sister phones, my real world friends and many of my imaginary ones, skylarks and grey herons, the first sip of the second glass, jumping and/or bouncing about, to be beside the seaside, obsolete words, made-up words, clean sheets of literal and metaphorical varieties, Gonzo, jaw-dropping first lines, making Mum laugh, bluebell woods, the week before Christmas, strong tea, winning at Scrabble unless I cheated, watching incense smoke, windy days, dresses with unlikely prints, the kindness of strangers and the existence of the universe. One word

Defining Spippish

Pears for tea, that’s what me and Albie called it. Ma twisted my ear until I’d the whole cake of soap in my face, I was coughing up bubbles for hours. If I’d known it was a dirty word, I’d never have brought it into her kitchen. Got to be more careful what you pick up off the street, Albie told me, words ‘round here ain’t hygienic. Where else was I to get ‘em? Make ‘em up, he said. If Ma had cared to ask what a twimbler was, or a glanky, or chongling, we’d have been blowing bubbles from both ends. She didn't. We called it Upsy and just me and Albie spoke it. After he was called up, we wrote it. A new Upsy word in every letter. Spippish, that was his last. Only I know what it means. First pub

 
 
 
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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