Incessant typing

A residency at Compton Verney this week, a video recap of #NaNoWriMo2016 and a train journey full of typing.

As I write this, I’m on a train heading for a residency at Compton Verney with Sarah Salway as part of our Spreadsheets & Moxie R&D. We’ll be hanging out in their rather unusual and special Victorian Women’s Library while Compton Verney is closed to the public, exploring and responding to the space ahead of sharing some of our work at the end of June as part of their Unsilencing the Library.

The cover image for this post is of the painted book spines decorating part of the library, so you can see why i’m so excited about the rest of this week. I’ll be blogging and broadcasting about the experience over the next few days; keep an eye out on my usual social media channels if you’re interested in seeing behind the scenes of a unique space, as well as some of the bones of a fledgling writing project.

Most of this train journey i’ve been typing up the seemingly never-ending supply of cramped, handwritten pages from my #NaNoWriMo writing challenge 2016: writing a new short story every day for the month of November. Still only a small way towards getting the (terrifyingly full) notebook transferred onto Scrivener; it’s been interesting for me to see how the stories match up to what I remember writing. I’ve compiled a nostalgic journey through the month in the form of a video, now available to enjoy on my Facebook Page.

Finally, the survey on professionalism for creatives (writers, dancers, painters, actors, etc.) is open until the 31st January 2017 – it takes 15 mins and is anonymous – please fill it in if you haven’t already, or send the link on to an interested acquaintance. Thanks for helping me out!

‘Default Settings’ at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016 #Storyshop

Broadcast live from the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016 on Friday 19th August as part of the Unesco City of Literature #Storyshop series. Watch the replay online & remember to check out the readings from the other storyshoppers while you’re at it.

Intervening Fictions: social workers wanted for feedback!

I’m looking for social workers to read three short stories inspired by the differences social workers make, and then to email me some feedback on them. Please pass this on to anyone you know who may be interested or have social work connections!

Download the pamphlet as a PDF: Intervening fictions story pamphlet

I also have a limited number of printed versions of the stories- leave a comment or email me to have a copy posted to you (UK only): vsadams (at) gmail.com

BACKGROUND: Intervening Fictions is a creative writing project run by the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA), Newcastle University. We intend to produce an anthology of short stories inspired by the work of social workers in the UK, telling the story of what they do; what value they bring and what differences they make. In this first stage of the project we have interviewed a number of social workers from across the UK and three fiction writers have been commissioned to write short stories using the anonymised interview transcripts as background research. We want to know what you think – please take the time to read these stories and answer the three questions at the back of the pamphlet.

 

Intermission #shortstory

Lying in a tangle of sheets, I watch a spider cross the ceiling while Jacob struggles unsuccessfully to open the window.  ‘I’m afraid I’ve broken off some of the paintwork,’ He holds up the thin white slivers, and lets them fall from his hands onto the wide windowsill of the triangular alcove. Continue reading “Intermission #shortstory”

My Quota of Joy (short story)

The highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness

–  John Locke

One morning at the end of February I look up at the colossal wooden frame mounted above the fireplace and I can see I’ve already used up my Quota Of Joy for the rest of the year.

‘You’re so greedy.’ My mother twists my hair between her fingers. ‘Always wanting more. No sense of self-control.’ She ties the end of the braid with a red ribbon. ‘You get what you deserve; we all do.’

Sulking makes no difference. Under her name, flashing red in the half-gloom, are a couple of spare weeks. She says she’s saving it for August, in case of fine weather. Continue reading “My Quota of Joy (short story)”

Breakfast (short story)

Hanging on the wall in the hallway of my parents’ house is a portrait of my great grandparents on their engagement day.  It’s one of those typical, non-smiling sepia photographs.  He has a massive moustache and her hair is scraped back off her face so hard it must have been painful.

They’re both facing slightly off centre.  One of his hands is blurred; it looks as if he moved it from resting on her shoulder to cupping her elbow.  Or the other way round.  I’ve walked past it a thousand times without ever really stopping to look.

My mother puts her hand on my shoulder and pushes me closer. Continue reading “Breakfast (short story)”

In a nutshell (specifically, issue 4 of @Nutshellmag)

The Christmas decorations were ferocious that year; blazing comets on every rooftop and wreaths of fairylights inside every window. Nobody spoke about it at the meetings but we all knew that dark places were dangerous…

Continue reading “In a nutshell (specifically, issue 4 of @Nutshellmag)”

Words Cannot Express (short story)

After reading the first line out loud, my mum falls silent.  I dig my nails into the palm of my hands.  She holds the piece of paper away at arms length while she reads and narrows her eyes.  Her reading glasses are in her bag but she always squints, claiming that they tend to smudge her mascara. Continue reading “Words Cannot Express (short story)”