Discoveries

I’ve been a bit adrift following a blizzard of activity to meet a deadline. So I decided to do a bit of electronic decluttering and reorganising. My files aren’t very organised to start with, and I’ve got bits and pieces of writing, journals, notes, fragments, everywhere. So I’ve been opening documents and seeing what’s inside. And I found this, a list of words at the start of a summary about some collaborative reflective writing about mirrors (pun intended). I have no idea why I wrote this list or what I was thinking when I picked out those words and placed them in this order, but I love the poetry, and I love the way you can insert your own punctuation to create different meanings depending on how you group the words. Here they are:

Think
Write
Time
Light
Mirror
Like
Really
Dark
Thing
Metaphor
Just
Space

My first poem with them, just playing, is:

Think, write.
Time, light.
Mirror, like really dark thing.
Metaphor.
Just…
Space.

And what if I put them in alphabetical order and then group them anew?

Dark
Just
Light
Like
Metaphor
Mirror
Really
Space
Thing
Think
Time
Write

Dark:
Just light,
like metaphor.
Mirror, really, space thing.
Think time.
Write.

I think I prefer the first one.

The Short Story Lady

Here at the Conclave we talked to Carol Ferro, known as the Short Story Lady, about her work and her stories.

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Thankyou for being here, Carol. Now, to start with, you call yourself the ‘Short Story Lady’. What does that mean?

I love short stories, be they traditional fairytales or snippets of observational prose. I am also only 5 feet tall, so the name ‘Short Story Lady’ is a dangling modifier, as both the stories and the storyteller are short!

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Very clever! I do like plays on language like that. Let’s hear more about your work. Tell us about your book “Memoirs of a Madcap Cyclist”. What made you write a full-length book? Do you see it as a departure from your short story work, or its progression?

“Memoirs of a Madcap Cyclist” is a collection of 100 stories, each exactly 100 words long, 12442773_579105965579451_400392435_nall on the topic of cycling. I wrote it because I wanted to combine my love of cycling with my tendency to narrate my life. Most of the stories are based on things I noticed while out on my bike, memories of childhood cycling, and tales collected from my cyclist friends. It’s very much a progression of my short story work, taking the short story genre to its logical conclusion. I enjoyed working to an exact word count, it was interesting making each word  matter in each story.

100 times 100 words! How intriguing. What do you hope readers will take from it?

I hope readers will find the book fascinating, entertaining and edifying in equal measure. All aspects of cycling are in there, from balance bikes to racing trikes, green lights to green tarmac, there’s something in there for everyone. It’s a window into my cycling experience, and while I might not be the fastest cyclist on the road, I definitely have fun on the bike.

It sounds like fun! Did you choose to go with a traditional publisher?

I actually teamed up with another local storyteller called Sharon Richards, who wanted to move into publishing. She set up her own publishing company and I wrote its first title, “Drabble Folk and Fairytales” to get the ball rolling. It was a steep learning curve for both of us, but having self-published my first book as an ebook gave me the confidence to make the move into print. I formatted several books for Sharon, getting far more “hands-on” than I would have been able to with a larger or more established publisher.

The publishing sounds like an adventure in itself. Quite a daunting prospect! I am glad to see it hasn’t put you off. Tell us about other work you have written.

My first book is a self-published Young Adult novella called “The Strangeling’s Tale”. Each chapter is a self-contained story which weaves into a larger tale, reaching a gripping conclusion. Transformation, love, loss, bravery and sacrifice abound in this gem of a book.

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My Second book, “Drabble Folk and Fairy Tales”, contains all the fairytales you’ll remember from childhood, a few you won’t have heard of and a few I made up myself. A Drabble is a story containing exactly 100 words, and this book has 100 of them.

Another 100 times 100! I spot a recurring theme here. What is your next project? What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a prequel to “The Strangeling’s Tale”, but I keep getting distracted by storytelling bookings at schools, libraries and events. It’s tough being in such demand, but I can’t let my public down! My next big project is an event at local libraries to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth. I’m in charge of co-ordinating all the storytelling, craft activities, quizzes and costumes, and chasing ever elusive funding streams. Still, if it’s anything like as popular as my previous library events, the libraries will be buzzing with activity.

I must say that sounds like a lot of fun and I wish you every success with it. Thankyou for sharing your story with us.

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Carol’s work is available here

And you can find out more about her life as the Short Story Lady here

Wheel-Mouse vs All the Crazy Robots

Wheel-Mouse vs All The Crazy Robots

This is about a book and about a little girl. Celyn Lawrence has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This means that she cannot move anything except her eyes.She also has to contend with life threatening epilepsy and she is life limited. And within that treacherous body that won’t work as Celyn deserves, there is a fabulous imagination, one that has produced a glorious work of children’s fantasy.

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The story is about a young mouse in a wheelchair. Wheel-Mouse, as she is called, has a marvellous magical power – zumming. This is something like zooming, only better, faster, more exciting. One terrible day something happens on Earth: robots land and start to spoil the place with their poo! With her magical zumming, it is Wheel-Mouse’s task to come up with a plot to do away with the robots and save the Earth. Simple, yet hilarious, this is a story children will enjoy tremendously, and laugh all the way through. And perhaps it will also inspire them to look twice at their wheel-chair using peers.

This is a lovely little book for children, written by a girl who was just 8 years old at the time of writing, and whose sense of humour is what shines out from the pages.

Not only that, but the book is for a generous cause: all proceeds go to the Children’s Hospice charity for terminally ill and life-limited children.

And here is Celyn herself, presenting the cheque for the money raised so far to the Hospice:

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You can watch Wheel-Mouse here on youtube, and it is available to buy on Amazon Kindle:

UK Customers

US/ International Customers