Saturday, 23 July 2016

40 and Fiction

I turned 40 yesterday - and it turns out, 40 is a ridiculously good thing to be.

It started with an email the day before my birthday. The subject said 'Fiction Commission' and was from an editor in New Zealand who'd read my fiction online, and wanted to commission a story for her journal. I sent her a story called 'Dugdugee' which I’d whittled and tweaked for over a year, and within hours it was signed off, sold, and slotted for publication in September. 

THEN, I get another email from the lovely editor of Berfrois, a magazine I absolutely love, saying that they’d be publishing my story ‘Driving North’. The story was published yesterday. On my birthday! (I told you it was ridiculous.

AND finally, I got to wake up in Copenhagen with D and Chotto-Ma and a hundred sweet messages and phonecalls from all over.

And I thought, damn. I should've turned forty years ago.

PS. Here's my desk today. A strip of green called Sonder Boulevard in the Vestebro area of Copenhagen. This city is so my kind of place! Next to me, D and Raya are on their fourth game of chess. 

And here's 'Driving North' on Berfrois. This story surprised me with it's journey - it was longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award and shortlisted for the Brighton Prize last year. It was subsequently published in Rattle Tales 4, a print anthology. And now, in this great new home.

Of course, you have to be nice and read it because it's my birthday. Let me know what you think!


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Day Harry Potter Came Home

Every day, Chotto-ma eats breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a fourth meal which consists of devouring pages and pages of J.K. Rowling's imagination. The Harry Potter books have been Daily Dietary Requirement for the past year-and-a-half when they first came home. She started book one on her sixth birthday, and I saw her world shift a little. She has been eating steadily through them since. She reads them, re-reads them and then goes back to the first book and starts all over again. Oh there are other authors in between. And there's a book on Greek mythology weighing as much as she does, which she loves (she can tell you intricate details about every god, from Hera to Cronus, and their dark and twisted lives). But even gods don't wield the same power as J.K. Rowling.

We tried to space out the Harry Potter books, googled them for age-appropriateness, but after finishing each book, Chotto-ma would sit in front of the bookshelf, quietly, looking up at the set with the mournful eyes of a cocker spaniel. "Wait till you're eight" was obviously not going to work.

She has the final book left - we've managed to keep it for the school summer holidays, which means an excruciating wait of another fifteen days. This holiday incidentally includes a road trip through Scotland and ends with Edinburgh, where we're going to do the Harry-Potter-walking-tour, and visit the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote. The seven-year-old goes on her first pilgrimage.

While she waits this Excruciating Wait for the final book, she has decided to redesign the Harry Potter book covers since she doesn't like the ones they come in. So the books have now been covered with white paper, and yesterday, she finished illustrating the first one - 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.'

For the Muggles amongst you, the cover shows The Forbidden Forest, with a dead unicorn lying on the forest floor dripping silver unicorn blood.

Here it is, from Chotto-ma, to share with you. It made me awfully proud.