Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all, I hope you have a wonderfully literary 2010!

There is still a good pile of snow here and it looks magical.

Bewildering Stories: Fourth Quarterly Review

Bewildering Stories have published their Fourth Quarterly Review and my flash 'Eensy Weensy' is there.

Bewildering Stories have been very supportive of my work this year, so a big Happy Christmas to all the team there!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Cats and Snow

There seems to be a lot of love for cats and snow right now, so here's a little Simon's Cat treat for you.

Happy Christmas!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Brenda's Knickers at Every Day Poets

I have a very silly poem, Brenda's Knickers, up at Every Day Poets today.


Photo courtesy of, purveyors of some rather wonderful vintage lingerie.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

How Writing a Short Story is like Meeting a Cat for the First Time

Nik Perring has been asking us to draw story shapes of our Works In Progress.

Well, I had this in mind when I was writing a recent short story set in a motorway service station in Northern England. It seemed quite linear, with little drops into the past and some arches to the future, which would have made quite a nice scribble, had I tried to put it onto paper.

The afternoon was wearing on so I went for a run before the light went completely. It was unbelievably cold; the little lake was still frozen solid and my lungs were beginning to hurt from the icy air. Then I met a cat.

I was a little surprised as cats aren't allowed out of the house in this freakily-controlled Stepford-Wife-Perfect area I live in. Most are de-clawed so they don't shred the furniture. Yes, that is illegal in Britain. So I hadn't seen any cats around before.

I like cats so I wanted to say hello and make friends with it. I crouched down and held out my hand. It looked interested. I said, "Hello, Cat," in my most cat-friendly voice. It trotted over and bumped its nose against my hand. I stroked its head and it started to purr. It rubbed around my legs and let me tickle its chin. We had a nice chat about how cold it was and how snow is no good for kitty feet.

Then I said goodbye and trotted off. The cat watched me leave.

So... the point being: as I ran off up the Big Hill I thought about short stories and how they are like meeting a cat for the first time. The story is already there, that is what you have to remember. You just have to coax it out, make friends with it, and then it will start purring and roll over to have its tummy tickled.

So here is my picture of me meeting a Short Story Cat for the first time:

Monday, 7 December 2009

First Snow!

On Saturday morning it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing. The world turned dark, grey and invisible. It was a day that makes little writers want to take a Thermos of tea, a large bar of Dairy Milk and hibernate in their dens until Spring.

And then the next day something happened. The sun came out and the world turned to diamonds. I uncurled from my den, sniffed the air and ventured cautiously out into the sunshine.

What a stunning day. I walked about four miles from my house, taking pictures and wondering at the transformation; only a few weeks ago we had been wearing t-shirts and having barbecues.

I met two joggers and a man walking his dog. They all said 'hi!' in a 'well, look at this!' sort of way.

During the summer months the woods are filled with dense, lush vegetation that makes it all look positively tropical. This all dies back in winter and you can see much further into the trees. Things become visible that you are usually only aware of through rustlings and the sinister cracking of branches...
'Bugger off,' they seemed to say.

I spied a few snowmen but here was the strange thing. It was a beautiful, snowy Sunday but I didn't see a single child. Where were they all? In Britain they'd all be out pelting each other with snowballs and sledging into trees, right?

The place was deserted. Maybe the snowmen had made themselves or were visitors from another dimension.

Well, one thing's for sure. Winter has arrived.