This year’s Solstice Shorts Festival will be held on 21st (or possibly 22nd) of December. It’s a leap year. We have to decide how pedantic we will be.
Frustrated by working under lockdown and worried that the 2020 festival might not happen, Arachne Press decided to continue as though everything would be alright, and asked writers to something that responded or reacted to or was inspired by a sixteenth century poem that editor Cherry Potts has always found comforting in a crisis: Robert Southwell’s Tymes Goe by Turnes; or that responded or reacted to or was inspired by some concept in it.
The poem observes the ebb and flow of fortune, nothing stays bad for ever, nor anything good – so get on with it while you can. And they have. Oh, they have. This isn’t exactly a response to Covid-19, but there’s an echo there – in Katie Margaret Hall’s epic train journey, New Orleans To Vancouver, and Jackie Taylor’s Rewilding; but there is also concern for the environment, and relationships and lives in need of nourishment they are finding hard to find.
As with Southwell’s poem there is a fine balance between dread and hope.
We don’t yet know quite what form the festival will take, we have to assume for now that it will be on line, but possibly live and from multiple sites. We are still investigating venues etc. against it being possible to have a physical performance and audience, or at the very least making the videos as exciting as possible.