This week I received an exciting piece of news. A short story I entered into a competition made the Short List. As a writer it is the sort of news that sends tingles down your spine and puts a smile on your face.
Rejection is part and parcel of the everyday when you write, it comes with the territory. So when you get a short list or long list placing you can be assured that your story has had an impact – it is a wonderful feeling. Some days writing is thankless and hard, it can feel as if you are wading through treacle. You try your hardest to make your story sing only to have it land flat. Moments that make you fly are so important. They serve as a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes you can hold a tune!
Thankfully I do not have to wait too long for the results.
A few days ago I received some rather good news. One of my short stories has been shortlisted for a competition. After the initial ‘yes, it really is your story, no you are not dreaming’, came gasps of joy, disbelief and an overwhelming sense of all good things. Buried deep, almost hidden I found strength. Let me explain… Writing can be a lonely experience, the road is often filled with diversions. Great big signposts fill your head – ‘give up’, ‘you’re rubbish’, ‘not good enough’. Writing novels is a long experience and takes an awful amount of strength. As time goes by that strength can wane, as it does those ‘signs’ sitting on your shoulder grow bigger. Being shortlisted has refuelled me. It has given me strength, provided re-enforcement to keep going.
I do not know if I will win, but I do know that I am now superwoman and can conquer the world once more!
I first met Oscar last summer. He was compiling an ‘Interstellar Travel Guide to the Solar System’. His travels had taken him far and wide, covering thousands of light years in search of the next ‘big thing’. We sit on the veranda and watch the sun continue its rise high above the Montserrat Mountains. I give him quick sideways glances and tell him he is lucky to have landed in Spain. Oscar watches me intently as I fill his glass with my favourite Cava; his three purple eyes full of wonder. He sniffs it tentatively before drinking the lot. As I refill his glass his skin starts to change colour from a deep moss green to mustard yellow. He assures me this is a good sign.
“We are the third largest wine producer on the planet,” I say helpfully.
“You mean there is more of this… where?” Oscar licks his lips and holds up the now empty glass.
I take him on a tour of the vineyards. It is the most surreal wine tasting tour I have ever conducted. Over the course of the next six hours, we talk and drink. I tell him about Earth, about Spain, its peoples, and traditions. I tell of the historic and celebratory importance of wine, of the differences the soil and climate make to its taste and flavour. He listens attentively as I discuss the centuries of love and dedication given by each generation to the vineyards. He sips each glass I offer, holding it first like a precious jewel, his skin changing colour with each sample. The Cava makes his skin turn yellow again, whilst the big bold Tempranillo makes him glow red like a fire truck! His colour changing extravaganza seems restricted to the colours of the Spanish flag and I smile. If I have learned only one thing today it is that Aliens can hold their drink!
Earth he says will not be featured in the ‘Interstellar Travel Guide’ and my heart sinks. Oscar is at pains to explain that this is, in fact, a good thing, a very good thing. No other planet compares to the beauty he has found on Earth and none have such treasure as Spanish wine – he should know! He will direct future travellers to Jupiter, and we shall be safe from an influx of interplanetary travellers. He, however, shall be coming back next year. I agree to act as his guide and excitedly chart out a road trip from Madrid to Bilbao via https://winetourismspain.com/ . He is particularly keen to visit more vineyards!
Boarding his spacecraft he bids me farewell offering out his large green hand. Spain he tells me shall always have a special place in both his hearts! I raise my glass as he disappears into the starlit sky. I await his return with anticipation, I am already dreaming about the wines we shall discover. I am happy to have met Oscar and glad that Spain will be his solar secret!
A ray of sunshine shone into my world yesterday . My short story ‘Soaring’ has been shortlisted for The Black Pear Press Short Story Competition. Well, if that’s not headline news I don’t know what is! Not surprisingly I am very excited, even more excited than my crazy Springer Spaniel, and that takes some beating!