The floor is lava

Three weeks of silence, so here’s a story. It was written very quickly over lunchtime last Friday, as is fitting for the Faber Academy weekly #quickfic challenge. The winner gets a batch of Faber books; second place story goes up on the Faber Academy site with the winning story. Third place isn’t really a place but does, it turns out, get you a nice email from one of the Faber Academy folks letting you know that you very nearly almost scraped in, and that next time you might nudge it. Good enough for me. Below is a screenshot of the picture prompt from the Faber Academy site, and my words. It’s worth heading to the site and reading back through all the winners. A pleasant way to spend some time.
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One step at a time

First off: sorry to all of you that received an email at the weekend saying ‘new post’, only to find your access blocked. That particular entry is me doing some test runs of the Literary Salmon project that’s due out at the end of next month – I’d forgotten about the notification thing until CM pointed it out to me. (No, I’m not giving you the password.)

Literary Salmon Project 1 is well on its way, though. With a week to go before the hardest work, courtesy of the writers, is finished, we’re ironing out some last bits and pieces of the plan. It is intensely exciting to see it all taking shape; it’s also a bit nerve-wracking. It feels as though Bernie, Jane and I have been talking about this on and off forever, but even when we actually got the thing going, I confess to having some doubts that we’d actually do it. But here we are – and I think the final result is going to be something of which all the project writers can be very proud. I really hope that it’s going to be the first of many such projects.

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But my comfort zone is so comfortable…

Oh, the bliss of a weekend at home! Which isn’t to say the past two weekends, out and about seeing friends, at weddings, having fun, haven’t been brilliant. They have, and now that I’ve run out of solid dates to be travelling across the country I’m missing everyone badly. But all the travelling and visiting and socialising is exhausting and I’ve been badly in need of a couple of days at home.

(Side note – I know there are people waiting for me to do some things for them, and I swear I will get on to those things this week. I just need one weekend!)

Three things this week that have involved stepping out of my comfort zone. First off: after a very kind offer of feedback on some of my poems a few weeks ago, I finally built up the courage to send three poems to my old uni tutor. I’m discovering that there’s varying levels of fear when it comes to putting things out into the world:

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Slowly does it

I’m still buzzing. I’ve forgotten how to slow down and not wake up in the morning with a ‘must do’ list already in place. The moving deadline that was egging us on last month is gone, and we are mostly settled, at least for the time being, with far less of a rush to sort out the remaining things. So there’s no need for me to be, in most areas of my life, demanding more (Why haven’t you gone to a poetry reading yet? Why haven’t you made an appointment with the bank? Go out! Join a gym! Move move move! ) But I can’t seem to stop doing it just yet.

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Richard Flanagan – I’ve Imagined the Post-Booker Interview so that The Mail Doesn’t Have To.

This is just brilliant.

Antonia Honeywell

I’m lucky enough to have an entirely imaginary Richard Flanagan (IRF) sitting at my kitchen table with an entirely imaginary journalist (IJ), and I’m witnessing the Post-Man Booker interview we’ve all been waiting for.
IJ: So, Richard – can I call you Richard? – congratulations on winning the Man Booker this year. We know your novel must be really good, because it’s just won the Man Booker, so shall we move on?
IRF: Well, I do have some things to say about the novel. It’s been said recently that the novel is dead or dying, but I don’t agree with that. In my acceptance speech, I said that novels are one of our greatest spiritual, aesthetic and intellectual inventions…,
IJ: Talking of aesthetics, I noticed that you wore traditional black tie to the awards ceremony. Interesting choice. Were you told what to wear, or did you decide to keep it…

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Easter Island – NASA, Bird men, Giant heads, Six packs and Childhood Dreams

Grief and travel – beautifully written and worth a read…

Riding storms

It took 36 hours to reach the most remote place on earth. Having never travelled anywhere on my own before I did have some slight concerns whether this was a good idea or not, especially when wandering around Santiago airport where none of the signs are in English and your only communication option with staff is the worst game of charades you’ve ever played.

I arrived in Easter Island at midnight, last off the plane I did the British thing and joined the first queue I found. Half an hour later, having reached the front of the queue I handed my passport to the guard only to look over the divide and see two men carrying my backpack away from the luggage belt. It quickly became clear I was in the flight connection queue for Tahiti, after snatching back my passport, ducking under the barrier and running full speed across…

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