Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Memories and future memories

I am in Manchester, getting together with a few friends, chatting about writing and other stuff. And today, before I head back to Bristol, I thought I would go and wander around where I used to live when I was here as a student, 20 (!) years ago. I found the street I lived on in my 2nd and 3rd years, and as I wandered, bizarre snippets of memories came back to me. I couldn't remember exactly which tiny Victorian terraced house we lived in, so I wandered back and off to the Physics department, where I had spent so much of my time.

Manchester has changed almost beyond recognition since I lived here - the Maths Tower where I spent half my time has been torn down! But... in Physics, time stands still. Exactly exactly the same. I sat at the back of one of the lecture halls, dark and silent except for an odd buzzing, and was quite overwhelmed. I let feeling emotional, and not in a good way. The whole experience made me think of the choices I made then and since. Risks I could have taken then but insecurities that held me back. I was so so young. Weren't we all. I think that will be my last trip down that particular memory lane. Done.

Anyway, onto more positive news: The White Road and Other Stories is now available for the Kindle! Yes, I've gone all e-book-ish. I have no Kindle, never even seen one, so if you do have one and fancy purchasing TWR, I'd love to know how it looks, how it reads....

A Few Writers' Service Announcements:
The V S Pritchett Memorial Prize is looking for entries: 2000-5000 word short story, postal entry, deadline 30th June. Ist prize £1000. (I just wrote to them suggesting they follow the Sunday Times short story competition's lead and publish a longlist, so fingers crossed...)

The BBC Short Story Award closes this Friday, June 18th... and the Bridport Prize, which this year has a FLASH category for the first time, closes on June 30th.

If you want some stimulation and guidance to get you writing that winning story, my friend and writing colleague Vicky Grut, is running just the workshop you need on June 26th, just in time!

WRITING SHORT STORIES: June 26, 10.30-4pm

What makes a great short story? Do short stories need a plot? What about a ‘twist’ at the end? Where can you publish? We’ll look at these and other questions, and, using writing exercises, will explore elements of short-form storytelling in practice. Participants will be asked to read a couple of short stories in advance (texts will be supplied).

What people said about this workshop last year:

· Somehow, seeing the variety and quality of what other people – and you yourself! – can come up with on the spur of the moment, restores one’s faith in the human ability to be immensely creative.

· Vicky’s chairmanship was excellent. She kept firm hold of what we were doing and where we were going (so we didn’t waste time), at the same time as drawing everyone out and getting us all participating fully. She knows her stuff.

· A very supportive environment. Great balance between practical and talking and discussing - feel I learned a lot from both. You were probably altering what you did to fit the group and choreographing madly but were so calm and effortless that there was no pressure to do things or feelings of being rushed / incompleteness

· Thank you for today's class. I wish we had one every Saturday!

Workshop leader Vicky Grut’s awards for short fiction include the Chapter One International Short Story prize in 2006, and an Asham Award in 2009. Her stories have appeared in magazines and collections including Random Factor (Pulp Books, 1997), Reshape Whilst Damp (Serpent’s Tail, 2000), Valentine’s Day: Stories of Revenge (Duckworth, 2000), two volumes of the British Council anthology New Writing: 13 (Picador 2005) and 14 (Granta, 2006), and Waving at the Gardener (Bloomsbury, 2009). She is a reader for The Literary Consultancy and has taught for the Open University, The Arvon Foundation and London South Bank University.

The workshop costs £70, which includes tea, coffee and a sandwich lunch. Central London venue. Small group.

For moreinformation or to book visit the website or e-mail londonwritingworkshops@googlemail.com

I'd better sort my submissions out. Just getting used to my new laptop! (Cleo is doing well, improving every day, thank goodness). And the sun is shining! Not the Manchester I remember :)


Rachel Fenton said...

Wishing you better nows, then, to look back on in a while! Glad Cleo's on the mend and that you are back to business! No holding yourself back now!

sonia said...

thanks for competition reminders.

Sarah Hilary said...

I love the idea of "future memories". I'm glad you got to see Manchester, which was my old haunt also when I lived in Cheshire. Is Affleck Palace still thriving, I wonder? And Robinson's Records? I suspect the latter, at least, is long gone...

Lauri said...

About a year ago I was pretty much against the Kindle and the whole concept but now I've taken a complete turn. I love the idea of having all of my favourite books in my handbag. I think my shoulder is tired of carrying a heavy handbag since I always have a few books in there. So good luck to the White Road!

Tania Hershman said...

thanks, there have been many great memories since then. I was in a particularly fragile state when I wrote that blog! Had a wonderful meeting with a local library book group today which really cheered me up! And yes, the main thing is Cleo is ok.

Sonia, my pleasure.

Sarah, I was trying to find a way to link the various elements I wanted to write about in the blog post - so, my past memories and opportunities for all of us to make memories to remember in the future through short story comps! I believe Affleck's is still there, but no clue about RR, sorry...! Maybe we could go back together some time, it was fun!

Lauri, I know, me too. I do like that idea, that if you wanted to tell someone about a book you just read, you could whip the Kindle out... Do you have one?? I might succumb, one day.