Life, death, faith and joy

MSFeel free to slap my wrists for my neglect of this blog over the past few weeks; I’ve been busy, though this is a hopeless excuse because I’m pretty much always busy. The honest explanation is that I lost another friend recently and it’s knocked me off course. He was in his 40s, so way too young, and although I’d not seen much of him in recent years he was a man I spent a large chunk of my early adulthood with, along with a gang of others. We hung out together – lived in each in others’ pockets – the way you do when you’re young and responsibility free.  He was a man who lived on the edge, and when he was good, he was amazing. His death is a reminder that life is short, and precious, and not to be wasted.

It has been particularly hard because his death comes fast on the heels of another –the most generous-spirited and kind woman I am ever likely to encounter and who brought sunshine into the life of all those she met – and because my current work in progress is about love and death and faith and forgiveness. I feel as if I’ve been plumbing the depths a bit and it’s been tricky to feel light. I’ve reached the 30,000 word mark in the WIP; the point where I print out the MS and read it through, checking that the characters are taking shape and the plot has forward momentum. It’s written from three points of view, which is new to me (I’ve only written from two up till now), and I am enjoying the challenge, as well as tearing my hair out. I’m wracked with doubt about it, as usual, but reading it through has helped – for now. I need to keep the faith.

And there has been plenty of joy too.  An event at the Feminist Library and the chance to meet and work with Dr Katy Shaw, the leading expert on the literature of the Miners’ Strike, and news of a short story that is to be included in Unthology 7 in spring 2015. The Unthology collections are published by Unthank and are widely regarded as at the forefront of literary short stories. I am so flattered to be included amongst the cream of short story practitioners.

Holiday FlingFinally, I have a story in this anthology, Holiday Fling, from the fabulous award-winning independent press, Accent, who also publish my novel, Public Battles Private Wars. Again, I am thrilled and flattered to be in such illustrious company and I hope that some of you will rush out and download a copy. It’s free at the moment, so what’s stopping you! Buy here.

This post is dedicated to Joanna Thompson and Adam Lewis.

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