Jackie Taylor: Rewilding

Author Jackie Taylor introduces her story Rewilding written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can pre-order the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Sean Carney: a memory forgotten

Poet Sean Carney introduces his poem a memory forgotten written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can pre-order the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Julian Bishop: Slow Burn

Poet Julian Bishop introduces his poem Slow Burn written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can pre-order the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Karen Ankers: In Dark

Poet Karen Ankers introduces her poem In Dark written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can pre-order the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Elinor Brooks: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Cat

Poet Elinor Brooks introduces her poem Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Cat written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can pre-order the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Ness Owen: Beach Clean

Poet Ness Owen introduces her poem Beach Clean written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can preorder the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders paying at least £5, get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Jane McLaughlin: Sketchbook

Author Jane McLaughlin introduces her story, Sketchbook, written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST. Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can preorder the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders who donate at least £5 get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Patience Mackarness: Roots

Author Patience Mackarness introduces her story, Roots, written especially for Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes goe by Turnes.The festival is online this year, 21st December 2020 8pm BST. Tickets are on sale now (donation: suggestion £5) on eventbrite

you can preorder the book direct from our webshop and get a free ticket, or ticket holders who donate at least £5 get the book half price if ordered by 8am the morning after the festival.

Katie Margaret Hall Tymes Goe By Turnes

Poet Katie Margaret Hall  introduces New Orleans to Vancouver, her poem for the Solstice Shorts Festival 2020, Tymes Goe By Turnes.

We are crowdfunding until 15th October at https://payitforward.london.gov.uk/solstice-shorts-festival-2020, if you felt like supporting this annual event for the shortest day of the year.

Guest Blog: Margaret Crompton – Borning Spidergirl

Today is international Jumping Spider Day! What better way to celebrate than with Margaret Crompton‘s blog about her story for No Spider Harmed in the Making of This Book, Spidergirl.

Sometime in January, Spidergirl was born, after what was, for me, an unusually brief gestation. Arachne’s call for submissions about spiders was a challenge I couldn’t decline. What did I know about arachnids? silk, strength, multiple births, delicate webs, agility. I ignored the fragments of fly-corpses on the laundry windowsill, & the cobweb tangle above. With only a few days before the deadline, and minimal arachnoid background, I avoided natural history, and I had no ideas for a straightforward human narrative. How could I interweave spideriness with humanity?

As I considered the purpose of the anthology, I saw that celebrating Arachne implied facing the horror at the core of the foundation myth: jealousy, rivalry, punishment, death. I challenged myself to explore the Arachne myth in the light of cooperation rather than conflict. Myths are about both everyday experience and mystery.

Mysteriously, I found Spidergirl attending my own school. The gym, in which Spidergirl performs feats of grace and power, was for me a torture chamber. My gymnastic efforts were devoted to avoiding the humiliation of failing to vault over box or horse, climb wall bars or swing on rope; I would generously remain at the back of the queue. My only achievement was walking along the narrow strut of an upturned form, using the balancing exercise to practise what would become essential for a writer – imagination: the floor, ten inches below my hesitating feet, became a fiery pit or turbulent torrent into which I must not fall.

The craft room caused equal anxiety. Most of my relations were – or are – highly talented in many arts and crafts. My own hands missed all those genes. But music has come to me through my father and paternal grandfather.

Love of literature and interest in myth was nourished by the tall glass-fronted bookcase in the dark corridor where from early childhood I was free to sit on prickly coconut matting and read whatever I chose. No surprise that my degree is in English Literature. No surprise either that, after forty years writing ‘professional’ texts about communicating with children in the context of social work, health care, and education, I began to explore other forms. In my 60s, with my husband, I’d also taught (adult education), and researched and written about English Literature. Since I became 70, my publications include short stories, poems, flash fiction and plays; Script in Hand has performed three plays (the fourth prevented, for now, by C-19).

Spidergirl, in a few hundred words, encapsulates the nearly 80 years of reading and writing between that girl with matting-prickled thighs and this woman whose legs are vein-webbed.

This year, Arachne has brought me more than publication in an anthology whose quality delights me. In the spring, I offered a guest blog – not a form which comes easily to me, so another challenge. But being stimulated to write anything at all helped to counteract that extraordinary lethargy which has beset so many people. I spent hours writing as well as I could, following that first blog with another, which Cherry posted, and a third which she didn’t.  Although I was disappointed, good outcomes included the stimulus of thinking about and writing the piece, which led to further reading. And I’ve been enjoying the blogs & interviews, meeting and learning about and from other writers.

Then came the call for Tymes goe by Turnes, another challenge I couldn’t refuse.  I followed leads which led, not to a story, but into fascinating areas of thought, narrative and discussion on our walks around the nearby field. Once again, Arachne called me out of lethargy, and Turner’s World of Twirls whirled me into the world of word play. Once again, I’ve enjoyed the excitement of acceptance, of posting the signed contract, of looking forward to the next publication.

Throughout these months, I’ve come to respect Cherry. I’m grateful for meticulous, patient, and honest editing which assures me that my work has really been read and, in turn, respected. I admire clear editorial principles and quality. I enjoy being a small thread in Arachne’s web.

We are crowdfunding for our next book, and Solstice Shorts Festival. The crowdfund ends on 15th October, head on over and see what we have on offer.