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)”

If you missed us live this morning, catch us live on STV Edinburgh tonight #dwf15

Jemma and I had a lot of fun (& surprisingly few technological mishaps) live broadcasting our writers tour of literary Edinburgh this morning as part of the Digital Writers Festival  ’20 Minute Cities’ strand. Continue reading “If you missed us live this morning, catch us live on STV Edinburgh tonight #dwf15”

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)”

Flashing around: June 2014 round-up

Mildred passed Ernie the small silver jug of cream and he attempted to balance the blue cup and saucer on the thick ridges of his corduroy trousers.

extract from ‘Things We Do Not Talk About’

Continue reading “Flashing around: June 2014 round-up”

Birds may fly (flash fiction)

Falling off the wall had been the most exciting thing ever to happen to Jane.  The doctor’s soft hands, the crisp white hospital sheets, the smoothness of the empty vase next to her bed. Continue reading “Birds may fly (flash fiction)”