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Birds. Light. Water. Sky. – Iain Robinson

On Writing ‘Dazzle’ As is so often the case when I start out towards a story, I began ‘Dazzle’ not with a study of character, or of an event, but with a strong desire to write about a place. I had, throughout the late winter and early spring of 2015, been exploring the North Norfolk…

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Writing ‘Feathering The Blade’ – Emily Devane

For years, I’ve wanted to put the experience of rowing onto paper. Having taken up the sport as a student, I continued for some time afterwards but gave it up when I became a teacher. I lived too far from a river and could no longer stomach those 5am starts, especially after a pile of…

Three Poems by Mark Blayney

Imagine being someone else   Their weight of history. Their different hair. Your nails a different shape. You don’t like tea. Imagine being your mum. Or your dad. How does that feel? I thought so.   Imagine being younger than you, or even a teenager ffs. Does it increase the fear, or reduce it?   Try the view from your new window and relax. You’ve left that job, thank goodness, or you’ve finally got it, ibid.   Let’s find that café on the rebuilt corner where you discover you prefer upstairs. Afternoons are better now. There’s a man, with a…

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‘Molly Bloom goes to yoga’ by Ingrid Casey

Yes I made three hearts, and hinted at one more, no I don’t feel like writing about scourges or gyres or changes or art because today the writing is about laminar flow, aquatic claim on phallic, no tumult or smashing or sloshing but a clear glass, illusive stream, the knowledge that during savasana there are…

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‘The Winter Child’ by Jo Mazelis

The boy never goes outside so his skin is as pale as the moon. Beside him on the sofa, two cats are curled, one purring and rubbing its rasping tongue against his hand, its fur warm and soft, while the other is stiff and dead. The boy strokes each cat in turn. He makes no…

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‘Pasterka’ by Dan Coxon

Outside The Goat’s Head he stops and spits, the ball of phlegm steaming on the frosted pavement. The bouncer eyeballs him, so Henryk pushes his tongue out between yellowed teeth. Raises a dirty middle finger, the nail cracked and bloody. A blackness swells around his heart. This is the true meaning of Christmas: drink, maybe…

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‘The Woman Who Shagged Christmas’ by Camillus John

Being always so goose-pimpled, luminous and hush-hush-hushy-it’ll-be-grand, she could make him cry at the drop of an eyelash. And all because Father Apollo had spat into her mouth at choir practice once, when she was a teenager. But he couldn’t say anything to Mrs. Phelan, or Cassandra, as she liked him to call her, not…

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‘The Two Parties’ by Gary Raymond

An unseasonal mist hung at eye-level. “Black cabs are everywhere now,” you said, Staring vapidly at the one before us at the traffic lights. “Not just London, and I’m not Sure how I feel about that. One of the many corruptions of Globalisation.” With a curve of the neck, a roll of the eyes. “Do…

On writing ‘A Dog Called Orgreave’ | Craig Austin

Any mention of the 84/85 miners’ is unavoidably evocative of a time and a place that did not deal in shades of grey. I may only have been a child at the time but that didn’t mean that I was unaware of the inky ‘NUM’ inscriptions that increasingly peppered the school-bags of the older kids on the bus into town; three fat initials that jostled for attention with equally fervent homages to The Smiths and The Bunnymen; a khaki collegiate collage of faith and unquestioning devotion. For adults and teenagers alike it was a period that sought to define which…

On Writing ‘CartWheeling’ | Jay Merill

I am just starting to write a whole collection of stories set in a mythic space which I’m calling The Botanical Gardens and I’m delighted by the response so far: Acceptance of ‘CartWheeling’ by The Lonely Crowd and the second story by Unthank Books for Unthology 10. Existential and moral issues are the themes which seem to be prevalent and it is gratifying to feel that I’m writing about questions people may find interesting. And I so much enjoyed writing ‘CartWheeling’ as it expressed something I really wanted to say about choice, decision and resolution. How do you choose between…

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On writing ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ | Rachel Trezise

I’m not entirely sure when I became interested in boxing. If it happened because of Rocky IV or because stories about boxing and boxers are inevitable in the Rhondda Valley, in South Wales, or maybe anywhere that’s predominantly working class. But since a fairly early age boxing and boxing stories were there in the way that oxygen was.