Word Play, a new full-length of previously unpublished short stories, will be launched by Postbox Press at the Scottish Poetry Library on Saturday 30th June (1pm – all welcome). It’s been a long time coming. I used to think I was a prolific writer of poetry, but there were days, weeks even, when I didn’t write any new poems. Not so with the short stories. I can’t stop writing them. I write every day, and most of my writing is short fiction.
Selection was always going to be difficult then, but by the end of last year I had a group of stories I had confidence in. There are twenty in the book. I hope readers will find them varied and interesting. There’s no theme, but they are mostly about relationships between people. I find that my ‘characters’ quickly become people. I can see them in my imagination; I can hear their conversations, their interactions.
I’m the editor at Postbox Press, so it might seem there’s a conflict there, but I submitted them to Sheila Wakefield, founder and publisher at Red Squirrel Press, in the same way other prospective authors do, and the decision to publish was hers. I’ve written in an earlier blog post about my decision to send them for an impartial and objective assessment and critique to The Literary Consultancy. I think that was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a writer. The feedback was spot-on and invaluable, even if it did mean rewriting the majority of the stories.
I’ve now proof-read the text, expertly and cleverly set by Gerry Cambridge, who also designed the cover. It’s out of my hands now, off to the printer, and I can now turn my thoughts to other things. Except I can’t. I’ve noticed this before with other books. There’s a dip in my energy, my inspiration, after a book is away. I have lots of unfinished stories on file; lots of fragments, starts and endings I could work on, but every time I start looking at them I feel restless, and dissatisfied with them. Some of them might go somewhere, others will definitely not. No doubt after the launch I’ll knuckle down and begin work again, but until then I’ll just continue writing my daily journal, and not worry too much about new stories. They will come.