Mid-week writing prompt – Amsterdam bridges

While taking a boatride through Amsterdam’s canals a couple of years ago, I found myself fascinated by the shadowy underside of the city’s bridges.

Amsterdam bridges cr Judy Darley

This photo captures the both the underside and overside of one of the bridges, Amsterdam’s boat culture and bike culture, plus a hint of the canal-side views – so many directions to choose from!

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Mid-week writing prompt – murky pool

Pool cr Judy Darley

This week’s prompt shows my fascination with contrasts – this should be an idyllic summer scene, but where are all the people, and why is the pool’s water so murky and green?

Is this view of neglect a sign of some greater travesty?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Escape to Penzance for the lit fest

Penzance shore cr Judy DarleyPenzance Literary Festival begins tomorrow, running from Wed 17th till Sunday 21st July.

On Thursday 18 July I’ll be enjoying the glorious train line that runs from Bristol to Penzance, hugging the Devon and Cornish coasts wherever possible. Then, that evening, I’ll be reading one of my stories as part of the Telltales night at Admiral Benbow from 8.30 – buy tickets here.

The festival organisers invite you to “Come and meet a galaxy of prize-winning and up-and-coming authors, poets and playwrights, from West Cornwall and ‘up-country’ too.” And most of the events only cost a couple of quid.

Literary happenings that have caught my eye include a talk from artist, author, photographer, film-maker, maker of books, and ‘out-of-the-box thinker’ Andrew Lanyon, sharing details of “his latest explorations into the worlds of creativity, imagination and logic.”

On Sunday there’s be a chance to hear local poets Angela Stoner & Susan Taylor, in a performance called ‘Overlapping Steps: Poems that speak to each other‘.

The festival programme says they will “explore the connections they have uncovered in their separate voices by reading poems from their works that interact with one another.  There will be visual (and possibly musical) accompaniment.

There are also drop-in sessions for writers at the delightfully named Lost and Found café, guided walks around the Lamorna Valley, and much more. I’m really excited to be a part of it!

Different mediums for short fiction

Published storiesThis week I received two rather exciting packages in the post, each one containing a small bundle of words. The first to arrive, ’16 Single Sentence Stories’, is a gorgeous little book that does what it says on the tin, and one of the 16 single sentence stories is by me!

I’ve so happy to have my tale ‘A Hushed Space’ included in this very original mini-anthology, and to see my words illustrated by artist K. Sekelsky. ’16 Single Sentence Stories’ is available to buy from http://thechairparade.com/OneSentenceStories/.

The second is issue two of new literary title The Germ Magazine, and features my story ‘Little Blessings’. It’s available to buy from www.germ-magazine.com/issues.html

In other news, my very strange, very short story ‘The Bid’ was published by an online magazine called Cease, Cows. Take a look if you have a mo (or should that be a moo?)! ceasecows.com/2013/07/17/the-bid-by-judy-darley/

It’s always to good to get your work out there, and when that culminates in seeing your words in print, it’s thoroughly satisfying, not to mention motivating!

Quench

Tea cr Judy DarleyThis piece of flash fiction by Judy Darley was originally published in Scrapsan anthology of flash-fictions released to coincide with National Flash Fiction Day 2013. It is posted here with the editor’s permission.

Dressed in her winter coat and winter boots, Amma feels over-warm in the art gallery, so much so that she considers peeling off a layer, leaving some woollen aspect of her clothing pushed beneath a bench to retrieve before she leaves. The heat is making her contact lenses feel dry and her tongue is quietly, uncomfortably, cleaving to the roof of her mouth.

If she is quick, speeds through the exhibition fast, she’ll be able to escape into the fresh air outside, maybe go somewhere for a quick cuppa before heading home. The thought makes her smile to herself as she strides past most of the displays, giving them only the most cursory of looks.

The central piece of the exhibition is a gigantic block of tea, made from countless leaves pressed together – a full ton, according to the literature pinned to one wall. The block is as high as her breasts; its corners are as sharp as teacups are round.

Amma holds her face close to it to see if she can inhale the fragrance of tea, believes she may have caught the faintest whiff of tannin, but then realises her receptors are most likely simply telling her what she hopes to smell. The life has been squeezed right out of this tea, she thinks. For all its glossy solidity, it may well be as dry and flavourless as dirt.

Amma glances round quickly, checks that the security guard is absorbed in watching a gaggle of art students in the far corner. She leans in towards the block of tea, sticking her tongue out as far as she can, for one sly, secretive, inquiring lick.