Guest Blog by Neil Lawrence: Shirley Jackson and I

A guest blog fromTime and Tide contributor, Neil Lawrence.

I’m a ghost story fan. Ever since The Omen soundtrack drifted into my bedroom aged nine, I’ve loved the shivers being scared out of me. By the time I was thirty I’d compiled a ‘must watch’ list. On it was a black and white 1963 British film called The Haunting directed by Robert Wise (yes, the same guy who did The Sound of Music). Despite its age, and despite all the tropes one would expect, ten minutes into the story my breath was short.  As it continued the claustrophobia of the film was unbearable.

The ending puzzled and moved me. The main character kills herself in order to join malevolent ghosts who ‘live’ in the house (if  they are in fact real and not a projection of her own psyche). She chooses death to avoid going back to an empty life with an ambivalent family. One chilling scene showed a twisted relationship with her mother and it stayed with me long after  the 114 minutes had ended.

Ten years on I bought the book, entitled The Haunting of Hill House in a sale. I had no idea who that author, Shirley Jackson, was. It was not typical trashy fare. The prose was beautifully written; in turns affecting, angry, cutting, satirical and deeply, deeply unsettling. Jackson’s observations on frail human behaviour were uncannily accurate. Even more so than the film, the storyline was an outraged polemic of how restricted roles in society affected women’s mental health. I took an enormous amount out of it.

A few years later I was taking baby steps (and clichés) into my own life as a writer. After being accepted into a prestigious local group I was feeling overwhelmed. When I was offered advice on ways, I could improve my work, I was too defensive to listen. They suggested I write short stories. But having never had the experience of an inspiring anthology or collection, I was set against it.

Then a mate of mine gave me his copy of the The Lottery to read. He had come across ‘a very interesting article in the Guardian’ (why do people always say that? Sorry… different blog…) and thought here was a short story I should read. So, I read it. Mostly to stop him mithering me.

It changed my world.

Despite being first published by the New Yorker in 1948, The Lottery is a savage, unsettling tale. Its satire is unflinching. The tone is dry, so subtly mocking that I instantly wanted to emulate it. And again it was Shirley Jackson who had written it.

I sought out the book that The Lottery came from. Turned out it was unimaginatively entitled The Lottery and Other Stories. It was page after page of powerful and macabre messages, but also savagely funny.  In particular one story called ‘The Tooth’ encapsulated everything I wanted to write.

In it, the protagonist is packed off by her husband to see the dentist. To help cope with the pain, she resorts to pain killers mixed with booze. As a result, her awareness is skewed. The journey she takes is drenched with fear and bizzare visions. Time and place dislocate. After she senses a malevolent presence whilst in the dentist chair, she begins to dissociate.

Jackson drags the reader from the surface of the storyline into the turbulent and distressing  depths of the protagonist’s life.

The story hit me at a visceral level. After finishing it, I immediately began to write short stories. And have never stopped since.

Two other Shirley Jackson novels in particular have deepened my understanding of how to write.  One, her final published book, We Have Always Lived in The Castle, is a story about the moral landscape of small-town America. A family become the target of hatred in their local community when poisoning leaves only three of the household alive. The tone of the novel is light, comic even. It could easily have become like The Addams Family. But in Jackson’s hands the bleak humour is a deconstruction of ‘family values’ and an attack on the judgemental nature of humanity. Her command of tone and language are absolute.

The other, an earlier novel, Hangsaman, is about a young woman who experiences a traumatic event in the woods and then struggles with  starting her new life at college. Self-absorbed parents are neglectful to the point of being abusive. Jackson uses blurred images and incomplete narrative to describe the shattering of this poor woman’s personality and the results are harrowing but utterly believable.

Shirley Jackson died too soon at 46. In Ruth Franklin’s biography ‘A Rather Haunted Life’ she describes a writer struggling with feelings of outsidership and having to make a series of cruel compromises. She portrays Jackson as driven despite crippling self-doubt and a number of challenges presented by those around her. Many of the incidents in her life resonate deeply with my own.

Shirley Jackson’s writing has become a constant source of motivation for my own work and ambition. I keep her short stories and novels at my deskside, refer to them constantly. She is my touchstone, my inspiration, a writer whose themes are both modern and pertinent. She’s not a pleasant read, but I love her all the more for that.

Lockdown Interviews: no14 Cassandra Passarelli interviewed by Jeremy Dixon

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Cassandra Passarelli (Liberty Tales, Five by Five,)  interviewed by Jeremy Dixon, Liberty Tales, The Other Side of Sleep, Dusk, In Retail 

Jeremy: You have had work accepted by many different publishers, has there been anything different about working with Arachne Press?

Cassandra:      Arachne is a very personal publishing house. They reach out to their writers and involve them. Five by Five was published two years ago but I still feel part of the Arachne family.

Jeremy: You are a Buddhist and a Yoga teacher, and I wondered if these disciplines and ways of living have had any influence on your writing?

Cassandra:      For sure. In fact, my PhD research at Exeter is motivated by the question of influence and overlap between writing and Buddhism, two practices that are of great importance in my life. Writing and Buddhism are forms of studying our own minds and those of others. Both require patience, mindfulness, attention to detail and being a deep listener. I would like to think that writing brings you in an experiential, slower way to an awareness of interdependence, impermanence, emptiness and the conditionality of everyday existence. Certainly, they complement one another.

Jeremy: Has the Covid 19 virus and the subsequent lockdown had any effect on your creativity?

Cassandra:      As a fierce believer in independent thought and personal freedom, the first few days were disorientating. First, classes at the university stopped, then the library closed, then my daughter was sent home from school. Then I understood I wouldn’t be able to visit people I love (who live in other countries) for some time. Then the shops in our town shut and basic provisions were hard to get. It was difficult to concentrate… my writer’s mind was analysing this reaction, predicting where it would lead us politically, socially and spiritually. So many people have been dying for years all over the world from things as simple to solve as diarrhea and malnutrition or more complex like malaria and cholera, yet this virus is inspiring an exponentially greater fear… perhaps because the West can’t escape. The suffering it will cause is staggering. But in this nook, an incredible peace has descended, birdsong has replaced car engines and night skies have cleared to reveal distant stars. My daughter and I began to talk with and assist the elders in my street and we found this gentle rhythm to do yoga, study, write, garden, read and take our long walk each day. New ideas are fomenting…

Jeremy: What writing plans do you have for the future?

Cassandra:      I don’t really plan much. I start new stories, as and when. I revise work in progress in between. I submit finished stories. I read.

I’m putting together my first collection gathered around the Buddhist concept of the three marks of existence (suffering, impermanence and non-self) which my creative writing supervisor at Exeter University, Andy Brown, is reading. And working on the second chapter of my thesis on the congruence between Buddhism and fiction in the short stories of George Saunders, that the University’s Buddhist Dean, John Danvers, is reading. And I’m running a workshop with a small group of creative writing undergraduates over the summer.

Jeremy: What is your approach to your writing?

Cassandra:      My approach? Every day I get up, do yoga, go for a swim (run, now the pool is closed), eat breakfast and sit down to work by nine with a cup of home-roasted, freshly ground coffee. I work till four o’ clock or so. Sometimes I pick up on something in the evening for a couple more hours.

Jeremy: Would your writing be the same without your experience of travelling and living in different parts of the world?

Cassandra:      No. Although I haven’t been on the road now for several years (just short trips here and there), my travels were a large part of my education. Leaving England for a decade and a half drew things from me that would have otherwise remained latent. I would say it made me stronger, wiser and (hopefully) less selfish; I met amazing hospitable, generous people who showed me other ways of thinking. This has shaped how I write and has accentuated my outlier mentality.

Jeremy: Do you have any writer heroes?

Cassandra:      I wouldn’t use the word hero. I admire writers who struggle, down here, with us, but whose brilliant minds soar.  Where to start? Recently, I read the often-anonymous, deeply moving poems of the earliest Buddhist nuns (reinterpreted by Matty Weingast) in The First Free Women. I still turn to long-time favourites like the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Essays of Michel de Montaigne or the poetry of the Mexican so-called phoenix, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. And the authors I grew up with; James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton or Raymond Carver. Or ones I discovered later: Eduardo Galeano, Maya Angelou, Tove Jansson, Charles Johnson, Jeanette Winterson, Kevin Brockmeier, George Saunders, Deborah Levy …

You can buy all the Arachne books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

Black Duck and her Eggs a Guest Blog/Story from David Mathews

Earlier in the lockdown,Arachne author David Mathews told us about his friend Jorge, and his dislike of spiders, and how he, David, was apologising for bringing the matter up by writing a story about the creature of Jorge’s choice.  Here it is!

David Mathews20200412_092644_Burst02

Black Duck and her Eggs

Easter is a dodgy time for fowl. Let me show you.

Come to a country garden, scruffy and large, full of hidden corners, on the bright, spring evening of an Easter Saturday. A family, three generations, has arrived at their customary gîte, an old farmhouse, and unpacked. Adults and children are making themselves at home in their various ways. Bottles are opened, and children are told to play nicely.

In her nest, well back from footpaths and the rowdy children, in a hollow in the roots of a willow, Duck sits on her eggs, fourteen of them. She laid the last ones four days ago. Next month, she will take her ducklings to swim on the millpond, calm these days, and a short waddle away. For the time being Duck simply needs to guard her eggs and keep them warm, easy enough when she is not disturbed. Duck’s eggs are white. Duck is black, mostly. Her drake is black all over. He comes and goes, but it was he who saw off a weasel at dawn two days ago, having got lucky with a beak in weasel’s eye.

The children, seven of them, in and around the house, not counting the baby, are used to feeding ducks and counting how many ducklings have been born each time, knowing that mother ducks can count them too, and never lose any, not through their own fault.

The older children, like the grown-ups, enjoy a duck egg for breakfast, on special occasions.

Tomorrow, on Easter Sunday, will come the Easter egg hunt. Where will Grandpa hide the chocolate eggs this year, on his own, without Granny for the first time? Where will the children search; how daring will they be? The children huddle to rehearse their plans in whispers, and trade chocolate futures.

‘If I find three, you can have one.’

Odd one out in a generation of daughters, the boy plots alone, almost.

‘I know how the game is played,’ the boy says. ‘They hide the eggs in the night, and then we look for them in the morning. And you keep the ones you find. And you eat them.’ The baby girl, to whom this intelligence is addressed, gurgles.

‘But if you go out in the dark, you get first dibs. And I’ve got a torch.’ Baby hiccups in response to his whisper, then burps.

The boy has brought his catapult, though he was told not to, not after last year and the squirrel and the woodpecker.

The sun drops behind the low distant hill. Long shadows vanish, and Duck stirs herself, needing to drink, eat and poo before dark. She arranges grass and down over her eggs; instinct tells her that will keep them warm enough for a while. Duck heads for the water, pecking at beetles and grass as she goes.

She drinks, steps into the water and bathes in her element, ducking and tumbling to wash dust from her feathers. On land she stretches her wings, and water droplets fall. Now she feeds in earnest, fast and catholic, among grass and weeds, but never out of sight of the tree beneath which her clutch lies warm. When she returns to the nest, she has been away 30 minutes, not that she knows this. She simply knows to settle over her eggs once more, her need to do so greater than her taste for more insects and seeds.

As the light fades, the children are called in for supper. The garden quietens to the evening song of birds’ nesting and asserting their territory. Near Duck, mice and voles rustle, but nothing larger, except for the drake who comes by. He quacks at Duck, feeds, swims, then flies beyond the millpond – to another duck.

Time passes.

Under a crescent moon, and among the willow’s roots, Duck and her eggs vanish into the dark. With her head tucked in, Duck’s few white feathers are hidden, and her eggs completely enveloped.

From the house comes a tall figure, bearing a basket.

‘No, I’ll be fine. I won’t be long,’ he says to someone indoors.

He moves around the garden, pausing, bending, reaching; he makes more noise than all the night creatures combined. As he comes closer, Duck draws her head in tighter. Her defences are stillness and her black plumage. At the base of the tree the man stops and tucks a silver egg into the tree roots, inches from invisible Duck, and another into a low fork in the branches.

He bends to float a toy boat on the millpond, attaches a mooring string to a reed, and sends a cargo of three eggs shining across the twinkling, moonlit water to the shadow of low bushes. When he stands, he clutches his back, and winces. For long minutes he gazes across the pond. He lets out a deep, deep sigh, wipes his eyes, and returns to the house.

The windows go dark, downstairs first, then upstairs.

A distant bell chimes twelve.

A beam of light sweeps back and forth at the side of the house, and advances towards dense shrubs. When a torch is placed on the ground, the searcher is revealed as a boy, the only boy. He tuts, having found nothing, picks up the torch, and sweeps the beam again, now higher in the air. The light reaches the willow tree.

‘Yes,’ says the boy, and he swishes through long grass towards where he has seen the glint of silver among the fresh green leaves.

Duck wakes, alert to coming danger, but she does not move.

The boy stands on tiptoe to reach the wedged egg in its silver foil, which he does, just, with his fingertips.  The egg slips. He grabs at it a second time, but drops the torch, which lights the egg that Grandpa placed among the roots. Eager, he reaches for the second egg, and Duck, mistaking his quick movement for attack, pecks his reaching hand.

‘Ow,’ says the boy, and sucks the back of his hand.

He sees Duck’s eggs, remembers a breakfast last year, kicks out at Duck and stretches towards the nest.

Duck has no notion of escalation, not in the way of a military commander, but nevertheless attacks the boy’s hand and bare legs as if her previous peck were a mere warning, and this now is all-out war. She lets loose quacks of panic and rage that bring her drake flying across the millpond, equally vocal. Between the two, they raise the household, and, black fiends in a dark night, chase the boy into the arms of his mother.

Surely his fright will elicit sympathy?

‘You little sod,’ his mother says. ‘That’s why you went to bed with no fuss. Give me that egg. And frightening that poor duck. You should be ashamed of yourself. What will Grandpa say?’

The lad’s booty is confiscated, and the family members retreat into the house.

Duck and her drake still quack, though more grumbling than urgent now, and find their way back to the nest and the fourteen eggs, still safely warm. Duck settles. Drake flies back to his other duck, whose fresh-laid eggs will, late on Sunday, be plundered by Grandpa for his traditional Easter Monday scrambled duck eggs and smoked trout with fresh squeezed orange juice and Blanquette de Limoux, Brut.

 

David has two stories in our forthcoming eighth anniversary anthology No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book

Preorder No Spider Harmed… – out 8th August 2020

 

Lockdown Interviews: no11 Elizabeth Hopkinson interviews A. Katherine Black

 

A. Katherine Black has a story in No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book

as does her interviewer, Elizabeth Hopkinson, who we also published in We/She.

Preorder No Spider Harmed… – out 8th August 2020 for our eighth anniversary!

You can buy all the Arachne books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

 

Lockdown Interviews: No10 David Mathews, interviewed by Jeremy Dixon

David MathewsDavid Mathews has stories in Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time (Wednesday Afternoon was one of the judges’ five favourites),  Liberty Tales, Shortest Day, Longest Night, DUSK and Story Cities.

Jeremy Dixon

David is interviewed by Jeremy Dixon,  author of In Retail Jeremy also has poems in The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales, Dusk.

 

 

 

JEREMY:       You have a couple of stories in the forthcoming Arachne Press book No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book. Could you tell us about them, what was the inspiration (apart from spiders!) and how did you develop the idea into a story? And how did you know when it was finished?

DAVID:          I already had a spider story, set in space, outer space. I’d made a couple of kind of newsletters – ‘Stories of sorts, all short’, I’d called them – and one had a spider in a heroic role, if you like. I know next to nothing about spiders, but I like how hugely varied they are in appearance and, especially, how they work, as it were. So after I’d written my new spider story for Cherry, I risked sending her this old bit of nonsense too.
As for the one I wrote specially, I was keen to avoid anthropomorphising spiders. I don’t know how a spider thinks. What’s their consciousness? No idea. But how might a spider behave in a situation where things could go well or badly? Get the reader to wonder. Spider doesn’t. Spider just does her thing. I did learn how spiders are adapted to detecting vibration, and that ability gave me some real spideriness in the story. The thread, you might say. Sorry.
And you asked when it was finished? When all the changes I was making were reversions to earlier words or phrases. That and Cherry’s deadline, of course.

JEREMY:       What influence, if any, does your personal history have in writing a short story?

DAVID:          No big single way, but in lots of small ways, I suppose. For example, I was a work psychologist, and part of the job was to describe people’s work in very exact and concise ways. The habit of choosing words for that exercise is bound to come through in making short stories. Maybe it was a good training. Trouble is, it also makes me rather intolerant of novels. Most of them seem to me to need a damn good edit, though I’ve read some brilliant exceptions recently.
And then, where I come from matters. I grew up in Barry, not far from where you now live, Jeremy, and many of my stories are set in Wales. Can I put my finger on the precise difference that that makes? Not just like that, but I do feel that the English suffer from a kind of imperial condescension towards Ireland, Wales and Scotland. I’m also in many ways quite shy, which is not a problem for writing as such, but it’s there. So, for example, how much does, for example, my sympathy for my characters stem from Welshness, or from having been a psychologist – or is it just me?

JEREMY:       Has the lockdown had an effect on your writing or your writing routine?

DAVID:          Not too much. And in any case, ‘routine’ is rather a strong word for what I do. ‘Habit’ would be a better word. I do miss being in cafés, and miss walking whenever and wherever I like, for the relaxation and time away from the keyboard. And casual conversations. And overhearing people talk.

JEREMY:       Can you share any details of what you’re working on currently?

DAVID:          Two stories. One about a search for perfection. A woman trying to make the perfect pot. Then there’s Mrs Cadwallader, landlady in the Vale of Glamorgan, and fierce opponent of three boys, becoming young men, who feature in several stories. There’s one in Liberty Tales. Via the boys I’ve been pretty hard on Mrs C, and I feel I should make it up to her. Her dead husband was a sailor. In May and June 1966 there was a seaman’s strike, and that becomes her moment. Working title, ‘Mrs Cadwallader rides again’.
And something that will probably end up as a chapbook. Thomas à Becket was killed in Canterbury Cathedral 850 years ago come December. I’ve drummed up a few friends to write some ‘Beckets’, stories between 1118 and 1170 words long, inspired by the drama, the man and all that followed, like pilgrimage and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Working title ‘Thomas à Becket’s Cat’, so you can see it’s not meant to be pious or devotional. I’m wondering whether the cat should be called Julian.*

JEREMY:       What advice do you have for any new and aspiring writers who may be reading this?

DAVID: I should be asking you that, on account of your booklet on writing tips, Allow Your Pen to Lead the Way? I can’t imagine that anything I could say would be of any use to anybody. But – and this is dodging the question of course – show me a story, and I would certainly have something to say. I am wary of generalisations, because we learn more from specifics. When I was in my first job, back in the dark ages, my boss called me in about the first significant report I had put in. On her coffee table was my document, covered in red ink. Seeing my face, she laughed. Don’t worry, she said, if it was no good, I wouldn’t have done that. Perhaps that’s advice in a way.

JEREMY:       You have a history of working with Arachne Press as a publisher, are your experiences with them different to other publishers you have worked with?

DAVID:          Two stories in particular would not have been what they are if Cherry had not got her hands on them. ‘Mouse’, my Longest Night story was decent, but Cherry’s guidance made it sharp. I wouldn’t have got there on my own. I’ll tell you a secret, if you want to know where stories come from. Read Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, then read ‘Mouse’.
And then there was the first story of mine that Arachne published, Wednesday Afternoon (in Solstice Shorts, Sixteen Stories about Time). I’d got the story sorted. It’s based, very, very loosely, on a real, long-term liaison. But I had told the story from my perspective, reporting what someone else told me. Cherry cut straight through that. She made my informant the narrator, and introduced a device to give credibility to her knowledge of the intimate details of the two lovers – the narrator and the woman of the couple routinely sharing a glass of Muscat. I did the rest, of course, but what a difference that made.
And then Cherry asked Carrie Cohen to read it. I’d never heard anyone read a story of mine in public before, so on the day I was pretty anxious. It was a thrill. And it was hilarious. And she’d found in the story nuance that I had barely recognised myself.

You can buy all the Arachne books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you. Preorder No Spider Harmed… – out 8th August for our eighth anniversary!

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

Watch Carrie Cohen read ‘Wednesday Afternoon’ at Solstice Shorts 2014 on YouTube

www.davidmathewsstories.com

*Is this a reference to Julian, the Arachne Press chief editor? [ed]

Lockdown Interviews: no9 Elizabeth Hopkinson answers questions sent by Rob Walton

Elizabeth Hopkinson (We/She, Time and Tide) answers questions sent by fellow author Rob Walton (An Outbreak of Peace,  Stations , Time and Tide, Dusk)

You can buy all the Arachne books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

Lockdown Interviews: no7 Katy Darby interviewed by A. Katherine Black

Katy Darby author  (Five by Five, Stations, London Lies, An Outbreak of Peace, Shortest Day Longest Night, Liberty Tales,  We/She)

 

You can buy all the Arachne books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

 

We’re still here and have plans to entertain you

There’s been some bad news in the book world, Gardners, the major wholesaler who supplies most independant booksellers has shut up shop for the forseeable. (Yes, this is C-19 related.)

This means it will be even harder to get books out to the public. We are however in the fortunate position of having the estimable NBNi as our distributor, which means bookshops can get books direct from them, if they have an account. All the big shops and quite a few of the smaller ones do. Phew!

WE ALSO HAVE BOOKS HERE.

Not in massive quantities, but enough to see us through of most titles. Yo can order direct and we will post them out to you, so long as they will fit through the post box slot, and so long as you have a large enough letter box. A couple of books might not suit – Outcome is probably ok, The Dowry Blade probably not.

Head over to our shop…

If for any reason our stocks dry up, or the royal mail goes into meltdown, we have ebooks available from your usual supplier, some reduced to 99p for the duration of the lockdown, and we are converting the poetry, which wasn’t converted before for format reasons, the first of these titles will be available 10th April with more on 17th and the last lot, the ones I think will be most difficult to work with electronically, on the 24th.

In the meantime we are working out ways to keep you happy.

We are organising some guest blogs from our writers, and some of them have offered to video readings. We are also getting them to interview each other. Some of these interviews will be video links (when I work out how) and some will be text based, but if you’ve always wanted to ask onr of our writers a question, we invite you to send some in! If there’s a particular author or poet you want to answer the question, let us know, and we’ll do our best. You can comment on this post to ask your question.

 

Videos from Departures launch part 1

Videos from the first half of the Departures launch at Brockley Brewery on 21st November 2019

Oscar Windsor-Smith reads This England

Carolyn Eden reads My Daddy

Joan Taylor-Rowan reads from Three Sisters on the Edge

more tomorrow…

Time and Tide stories: first lines

Continuing the dip into the detail of Time and tide – more first lines, this time from the Stories:
Elizabeth Hopkinson, A Madras Crossing: I thought the worst of the voyage was over when we weighed anchor off the coast of Madras.
Diana Powell, Ballast: Let me speak to you about the sea… how I always loved it.
Diana Powell, Sea Change, There are voices here.
Cathy Lennon, Casting The Stones: The party went out of the garden gate and set off along the duckboards.
Neil Lawrence, Diaspora: The man with huge whiskers is talking loudly.
Juliet Humphreys, Fisherfolk: In Quay Street, when a woman begins to moan with the coming of a child, word goes out.
Holly Magee, Granmama’s Paradise: When I was little, I slurred my syllables together.
Linda McMullen, The Fisherman’s Wife: When I met my husband, he was a modest clerk at a promising company.
Eoghan Hughes, Herr Dressler: I had left the Alma at closing time and was stumbling along the breakwater the first night I saw the light at sea.
Pauline Walker, Hingland: Constance was only just beginning to enjoy the voyage.
Roppotucha Greenberg, Listen, Noah’s Wife: He’ll install a foghorn to sound every night.
Emily Bullock, Man Overboard: All dreams of death can be forgotten on waking, except when under that final sleep from which there is no waking and only a long forgetting.
CB Droege, Metharme: I stand at the prow of the ship, one more in a long, long line of ships.
Kilmeny Macmichael, Remittance: Sir inform have not received expected amount this first of month reason
Barbara Renel, The Professor’s Daughter: Her dad locks the booth and gives her the key.
Paul Foy, The Answer, My Friend: It might be that the day takes you down to the beach with your book and wraparound sunglasses, your Beats and that blast-from-the-past playlist that you made when you realised that loss is all about finding again.
Rob Walton, The Dowager Duchess Of Berwick-Upon-Tweed: She hated the Dowager bit, and she no longer particularly cared for the Duchess part, but she had not yet decided what to do about any of it.
Maria Kyle, The Surgeon’s Mate: ’Tis no easy matter to cut off a man’s leg.
Cindy George, The Wreck Of The Kyllikki: Sea coal just washes up on the beach and no one knows where it comes from.
Sheila Lockhart, Turquoise: Every morning after breakfast Ibrahim walked down to the perimeter fence to look at the sea.

There’s some tasty morsels there to bait our hook with! Please support our crowdfund! 48 hours left