Who pulled my plug? Who turned my light off?
Two days of darkness just from one day’s work.
Moving trough concrete, life should be easy.
Someone’s at home, but the lights are all out.
A draining conversation in the pool, about world news.
Skull in a vice grip, inside sounds like a broken fridge.
Every second and every day has to be paced.
Who drained me? Do you want to swap? No?
Well shut up.
copyright Samantha Henthorn 2017
The other day, I played ‘truant’ from hydrotherapy, so that I could go out with my Dad. We were researching my book, set in the 1960s about a young boy’s cycling ambitions. We had a great time driving around the Pilsworth cycling course, which starts on Pilsworth Road near where Asda supermarket is now, and makes its way to Heywood, and then back again. Up and down hill, last week when the sun shone brightly, flickering through the trees. An adventure into my Dad’s memories of cycling. Before supermarkets and fast food chains, before motorways and traffic islands (in that area, anyway) So little traffic on the road, that a cycle race could get underway, and do a U-turn in the road!
I have reached the end of the story, my dad is now helping me edit and improve and the trip out was for an additional chapter.
I did not take any photographs, because I was too busy scribbling down my dad’s words. When we arrived back at my parent’s house I took both of them out for lunch. My mum had opted not to come with us on our journey into 1962. I hope she isn’t getting bored! I feel as though I have been writing it since 1962, which is odd, because I was not born until the mid-seventies…
I must not get thrown off course!
Searching for the escape route
I am in a hole
Samantha Henthorn © 2016
I have a childhood memory, which until recently has been hidden away in the recess of my mind. I would have been very small, not long out of the pram, unable to read yet. One day, we visited some distant relatives- my mum’s cousin’s daughter’s cousin (or something) There was another little girl, the same age as me. I picked up a book and ran after my little fifth cousin twice removed shouting :
“I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY!”
Unable to read, I remember deciding to make the story up as I went along and pretend that it was in the book. I didn’t even get to make the story up… Childhood memories are funny things, this one has stuck in my mind because of what followed,
“I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY!”
I shouted and screamed several (hundred) times. There were tears and tantrums, the other little girl simply did not want to listen… and she was crying too by now. My mummy and daddy, and all the other adults in the room were laughing at us. Picture the scene:
“I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY!” (me)
“NOOOOO!” (little girl)
Was this my first rejection?
This happened thirty-eight years ago. Today, I received a return through the post of a short story I wrote about hydrotherapy. I hope it didn’t make the editor cry! It is important not to look at returns as a straightforward ‘rejection’ they just didn’t want it for their magazine.
This is how I look at it : When you go clothes shopping, you can’t buy all the dresses in the shop, you have to ‘decline’ some of them. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the remaining dresses, some of them simply won’t fit. I will now re-write this story in my own style for my short story collection. I also received an e-mail today, to tell me that my ‘success story’ is going to be included in the Bury Adult Learning Prospectus for spring/summer 2017. Swings and roundabouts!
Happy writing, Samantha
Mslexia https://mslexia.co.uk/ .
This popular, quarterly magazine for women writers currently has fourteen submission opportunities. I have had fun entering two of its competitions and received general feedback which has been very useful. Even though it is not individual feedback it goes into great detail and has given me inspiration for the next time. As I am the type of person that only learns by ‘doing’ I will keep entering competitions (aiming to have) original, believable characters living in stories that stand out.
Today I have written a short story inspired by how much I hate being patronised. I mean, who likes it right? Everyone knows what I mean, those moments in life when people underestimate your intelligence, speak to you like you’re stupid… just because. Well I would like to think the story I have written today is a bit of a corker. Not sure who I could pitch it to though… Maybe I will keep it to myself, then next time someone says something condescending to me, instead of having an imagined conversation with myself the following day about what I should have said, I can just smile a little smile to myself and say ‘welcome to my next short story’
Entering writing competitions. It is as though I am unable to stop myself. I am not a competitive person, it is purely participation. I read the guidelines, an idea pops into my head about what I could write, and before I know it, I’m paying the entry fee. Someone has to enter, so why shouldn’t it be me? As far as I can tell, there is no official way of knowing how many people enter each individual competition. Entrants do not know how many, or exactly who they are putting themselves up against. Each writer thinking ‘someone has to win, so why shouldn’t it be me?’
Now I have found a competition that removes pointless checking and rechecking of the email inbox on results day .. because if you ask for feedback, this competition will always get back to you.
The 1000 word challenge is a quarterly themed writing competition (they have a great website including all the information)
For a small fee, they will email you their valuable feedback on your entry. For me, this is priceless. Especially as last time I entered, the feedback I received informed me my story had been longlisted. This is the furthest I have got in a short story competition. I would not have known this, had I not asked for feedback. So now, results day does not matter, because I know that someone at the other end has read what I have written, and has something constructive to say about it.