My Birthday Month

It’s raining today at the beginning of my  birthday weekend — the day itself is on Monday, but the whole month has been particularly sunny with successes and fun events.  I was delighted that my flash fiction ‘Winter Spider’ won the Flash 500 quarterly competition and now, encouraged by people’s comments, I plan to write a longer sequence around the characters. Less organising and more writing is the mantra for June. Could this happen, I wonder, with the Flash Fiction Festival coming up in July?

In other writing news, my story ‘The Ways of the Flesh’ was selected for the National Flash Fiction Anthology, 2018. I’m very, very  happy to be included in this with a great line up of writing friends. Also, my tiny micro, ‘Wings of Desire’ — which does, yes, reference the film directed by Wim Wenders, received a  highly commended in a new micro contest judged by write and editor Jayne Martin in Bending Genres magazine. And was fun to write.

The evening of readings of Ad Hoc Fiction winners for Ad Hoc’s third birthday earlier this month in Bath went brilliantly with great readings and a birthday cake with a sparkler made by Diane Simmons. This length of micro (150 words) works very well read out loud when there are a lot of readers.  Eleven came from around the country and Louise Mangos came from Switzerland. The pace and the energy was perfect. And many people said how much they liked the variety of fictions and how much could be said in so few words.

Last week, I  had the privilege of going to the Saboteur Festival Day last week and was stunned and so thrilled that Charmaine Wilkerson won the novella category for her novella-in-flash ‘How to Make a Window Snake’.  And I am very pleased for Ad Hoc Fiction who published this beautiful collection of  novellas-in-flash last June and has had this acknowledgement.

This month, I also went to the reception for Creative Bath finalists where Bath Flash Fiction is a short-listed  in the publishing category. Results in June at a party in Queen’s Square, Bath.  Fingers crossed.

Finally, if you like —  check out my mini-interview with  Tommy Dean where I brave a messy desk picture — not the tidied up version seen on another post on this site.

Themes from Dreams

The wonderful flash fiction writer, Meg Pokrass who is reading in Bath on July 29th with Carrie Etter, Diane Simmons, K M Elkes and Tino Prinzi, is judging the  new Novella-in-flash competition we are shortly launching at Bath Flash Fiction Award. In an email interview I did  with her to be posted on the flash fiction site, she says, when writing flash pieces that might be included in a novella, “pay attention to themes that haunt your work and your dreams (they are often the same). Here you’ll find your most vivid and creative material.

Years ago, when I was working as Gestalt Psychotherapist, I ran a weekly dream group for a year, which ended on mid-summer’s day, (so we could  get Shakesperian and have a Midsummer Night’s Dream). All the members of the group were women and the dreams often synched. I remember one week  everyone, including me, had dreams about fathers.

Dream bookI’ve led sessions at Writing Events Bath with Alex Wilson on creating fiction from dreams. One great exercise we’ve occasionally used was taken from the Natural Artistry of Dreams by Jill Mellick, (Conari Press 1996). Mellick suggests working with a passing dream as if it were your life myth. This exercise can help you drill into the recurrent themes of your life and of your writing work.

This is what you do:

  • Title the dream ‘My Life Myth’.
  • Open your first sentence with ‘Every morning I awake having dreamed that...’
  • Add ‘always’ and ‘never’ where you can.
  • End your write-up with some statement such as ‘and I am destined to dream this for the rest of my life.’

Try it. You’ll be surprised – even if it’s a nightmare dream about Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage. Actually I couldn’t bear the idea of even writing that down as an exercise. Imagine this… ‘Every morning I awake having dreamed that Nigel Farage has mouthed off again…’ But I’m sure I would get beyond the literal if had such a dream and wrote it out in this way.

There’s a lot of really good ideas in the book. I recommend buying it. It could inspire you to tap into your psyche and write your novella-in-flash.