writing

At any given time, I'll be working on at least three or four different projects, not including my guilty pleasure writing fanfiction (it's the reviews, you've got to love the reviews). Below are the occasional short stories or blog posts that I write, and I'll post links to external articles etc as and when they're published.

 

White feather 

White feathers keep finding me. They appear on my desk, on top of my record player, stuck to a giant sunflower I bought from the 24 hour Tesco at the end of my road. 

Apparently, some people believe that seeing white feathers is a message from angels, or loved ones who've died. I'm always scathing and envious in equal measures of people who can believe that sort of thing. 

During WW1, women used to hand out white feathers to men seen on the streets of London out of uniform, on the assumption that they were…Read more

Ink 

I had my first tattoo when I was eighteen. It's a little faded now, positioned as it is on an area that catches the sun all summer. Seventeen summers later, the black ink on my shoulder blade is closer to blue, and it's so ingrained into my skin that I forget I wasn't born with it.  

Tattoos are both public and private. Declarations we make to ourselves, visible to others. My first tattoo is symbolic, a little obscure, and deliberately behind me. My latest is none of those things. Words, clear and legible…

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Same same, but different 

I'm in Singapore for my sister's wedding, years after I was last here and and even more years since I briefly lived here. Everywhere I go, everything I see, the same phrase keeps coming to mind. 

Same same, but different. 

Not just the urban landscape, or the shops and restaurants, but the people and relationships. Nothing is the same as it was in 1999, but it's not really all that different either. Do we ever truly change, or do we just get better at handling ourselves? 

Every morning we have breakfast…

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Death isn’t cruel, merely terribly, terribly good at his job.* 

January always feels dark, but this year it feels both dark and full of death. I’m not drinking, and I’m having nightmares – I may be assuming causality where there is none. I miss whiskey and sunlight. 

I’m grieving for people I didn’t know, and for the spaces they occupied in my life, which now become tiny mausoleums. There is a graveyard in my head which is expanding with every passing week. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, I’m starting to fear the Guardian website and its flashing red ‘breaking news’ dot…

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Dirty Linen 

I work in a London street where almost all the buildings except my own workplace are hotels, of the most low budget variety. From the window of my office, I can see 37 hotel room windows staring back at me. Most have grubby curtains half drawn, a couple have plastic window boxes full of dying plants that hang over the edge like the optimistic beginnings of an escape rope. 

If you look up these hotels on Trip Advisor, there are unsavoury pictures of stained walls, dirty mattresses, mildewed bathrooms and…

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Fly 

There is a fly trapped in the corridor of my apartment building. With at least two fire doors separating it from the possibility of open air, the fly’s only hope is to make it into an apartment and seek a window. Each day the fly seems groggier, deprived of natural light and fresh air, flying ever more slowly as it bats gently against the walls. 

Last night I held the fire door open. I would have invited the fly into my apartment and shown it to the window. It veered away from me and retreated back to the…

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How I Got My Name 

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with how shops got their names. I was sensibly convinced that Selfridges used to sell fridges, and that Waitrose was so named because during a competition to choose the store name, a fella who’d had a row with his girlfriend ran past shouting “Wait, Rose!” so vehemently that the people running the contest were scared and named the shop accordingly to avoid being punched. 

That might have been my first ever short story, though I didn’t write it down, I just told it…

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Here Kitty, Kitty (inspired by The Writer’s Toolbox) 

Someone bought me The Writer’s Toolbox for Christmas, and to my shame I can’t remember who it was. If it was you, please comment and let me know!

Anyway, the Toolbox is designed to help you kick off a piece of writing by giving you characters, phrases or situations that you have to work into a story – it’s a sort of writing challenge. So without further ado, here is my short story, with a list of the cues at the end.

Here Kitty, Kitty

There were 17 cats living in Larry’s basement. Frank knew this, because…

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I wandered… 

My meeting ended early, and I don’t want to go back to work. I get all the way back to the station on the tube, check the board for train times, there’s one in ten minutes but I don’t want to catch it. If I catch it, I’ll be back in time to return to the office for an hour or so, and I don’t want to.

So I walk through the station, and out into the City. I have a vague recollection that there’s a Space NK nearby, and I wouldn’t mind a bit of retail therapy. I’m wearing business dress, I fit right in, nobody…

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Hair today… 

When I was little, I had a bob. I don’t really remember it, but there are pictures as evidence. By the time I start to have hair memories, I had long hair. I had really really long hair. Thick, and chestnut, and wavy, and all the way down to my waist. I had that hair throughout my first few years at senior school, all the way to GSCEs, and I didn’t particularly think about it – everyone had long hair, apart from the odd shoulder length bob, and that was usually the girls with that fine, blonde hair that…

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