Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lost for words

On Friday the 4th of May, I wrote a post about how I was so nervous of writing an entry for Maht of The Moon Topple's Great Big Awesome (short) Fiction Contest.

To be specific, I said:
I am a coward. I want to write something but ... but ... but. Yes. Paralysed by that internal chatter that informs me that it will be shit / boring / rubbish / cliched / nonsensical. Or, more likely shit, boring, rubbish, cliched nonsense.

So. Guess what?

I came first.

yuhuh! I really did! Really!

I can't quite believe it and I'm completely confused by how it happened. But most of all I am totally over-excited and hugely grateful to Maht for organising the festival, to all of you who put energy into encouraging me to take part, and to the other authors who wrote great stories and some of whom voted for me! Woo hoo!

There were some fab stories there. I particularly loved Ms Sign's horticultural chiller, Forget-me-not. I sort of feel like I must have fluked it, because I don't do that fiction-writing stuff. Perhaps that's the key - I've had 20 years to prepare for writing that one short story! I should surely quit now, before that difficult second album experience kicks in?

I actually ummed and ahed about whether to post here, or simply place my badge and be low key, and I thought sod it, I'm really chuffed, and my parents read my blog and they'll be dead chuffed as well, and deserve most of the credit for having put huge effort into encouraging us to read and write voraciously as children. And I'd like to thank my primary school teacher Mr Long, who taught me when I was 9, for being in favour of creativity and self-expression over spelling and neat handwriting.

So, er, I feel a bit shy, but you can read my story here. If you like. No pressure :)

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Blogger brumcunian said...

I'm ashamed to say that I didn't get it at first. My dads a dentist and I didn't get the references. Shameful. I blame lack of food and being in the 'decluttering zone' for my absent mindedness.

It made a lot more sense secomd time round and was really good. Now will you and Badger stop winning things and give the rest of us a chance! :o)

16 May, 2007 18:07  
Blogger Joni said...

Stray, I really really loved your story and I want to thank you for your insightful and kind words that you commented on my entry. I feeling bad because my husband was totally lost when he read it.

I hope you don't stop now! You're just getting started.

16 May, 2007 18:19  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

I love that you're worried about hitting a sophomore slump.

Wholehearted congratulations on your win. great tale, well told.

16 May, 2007 18:37  
Blogger Stray said...

Brumcunian - bless you ... perhaps that's why you didn't get the references?

Joni - Thank you! I really enjoyed yours (as you know) - your husband obviously wasn't paying attention! I don't think I will stop now - though I'm seriously worried that I've probably fluked this, this process was so enjoyable, and it's always fun to do something that terrifies me!


16 May, 2007 18:39  
Blogger Stray said...

Maht - you snuck in there!

Being British, I find the word sophmore extremely exotic, but shall have to google it to get the full meaning :) I think I get the jist though!

thank you babe, you have no idea how much I keep *blushing*. We UK people are a bit bashful about compliments and stuff.


16 May, 2007 18:46  
Anonymous trousers said...

I haven't read it yet, but - well done, seriously! After championing the successes of others this week, its fitting that your turn has come too.


16 May, 2007 19:28  
Blogger Stray said...

why thank you lovely trousers! it has been rather a lovely week, which is nice because last week was pants (no reference intended, to either yourself or ms that'sso).


16 May, 2007 19:51  
Blogger Brenda said...

Congratulations, dear Stray. A superbly written short story, even if I still don't quite 'get' it. What I like are the way layers keep opening underneath it, rendering it open but more opague too, since questions lead to other questions that can't be answered. Now, weren't we recently talking about repressed creativity being a real killer and that most likely you are an artist. Now I have absolute proof. xo

16 May, 2007 20:44  
Blogger Angela-la-la said...

Congratulations, Stray! I've thought about entering and then procrastinated so well done on jumping the hurdles as well as winning with such a cool tale.

16 May, 2007 20:51  
Blogger sheepish said...

I have to say that anything to do with teeth is a bit difficult for me as I have a bit of an aversion, but I could feel the emotion and the different layers.
Don't stop now as you obviously have talent.

Again well done.

16 May, 2007 20:55  
Blogger Stray said...

Aha Brenda! Lovely to see you :) I'm glad you find my story artichoke like! I definitely feel better when I blog more. Or possibly I blog more when I feel better ... ! xo

Angela-la-la - welcome! Thank you :) I think Mr Moon is doing is all again in August, so I shall hassle you then to make sure you don't skip it next time :) Thank you for stopping by!


16 May, 2007 20:57  
Blogger Stray said...

Sheepish - you snuck in! Yes, I wanted to make sure that if people didn't vote for me I at least left them feeling deeply uncomfortable ;)

Sorry about the teeth thing ... maybe there should have been a warning? I forget that other people are funny about that stuff. Thank you for reading regardless, and I do sort of plan to write something a bit longer sometime soon. But that's kinda scary. I shall say it quietly so my brain doesn't hear.


16 May, 2007 21:00  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Hey lovely, do you know what's weird about this? There were 2 stories that I really liked - because they were dark and a bit sinister and made the reader do all the work - and they turn out to be from you and Signs, who also happen to be 2 of my favourite bloggers. Now, am I psychic or do I just feel instinctively drawn to something about the way you write and think?

Well, I am really delighted for you and I think you are a most deserving winner. I do understand what you mean about that difficult second album though.... ;)

16 May, 2007 21:44  
Blogger Stray said...

Ms M - I thought we'd already established the psychic link with the obscure spanish dream you had?? :)

Thank you for saying nice things on my story!

Wait a second - are you claiming that I'm dark and sinister and make you do all the work? Erm ...

ok :)


16 May, 2007 21:48  
Blogger Caroline said...

You're a star sweetie.
I can't believe that I didn't read your story - it was the only one out of them all that I didn't read. I blame Maht for distracting me.

You know that I think you should be writing. That I am waiting for you to write. You have a trapped writer inside of you ... and that is rather cruel ... let it oooouuuuuuuut.

Proud of you hon.

17 May, 2007 08:55  
Blogger Stray said...

Cas - I know! I thought you just didn't like my story :(

If I do have a trapped writer inside of me it must be about the size of a six year old, because I'm only wee myself. Hmmm. That would kind of explain my story I suppose. I didn't really plan to write it from the viewpoint of a child (I didn't really plan it actually, but that's coz I wouldn't know how) but it just sort of happened - and now I understand why! I don't have room for a grownup writer inside me!

Yes. Writing is good.


17 May, 2007 18:38  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Well done Stray - Congratulations



17 May, 2007 19:16  
Blogger Stray said...

Thanks Pants, very nice of you to stop by :)

I have been hanging out outside your windows, but I fear I'm not well-dressed enough to actually come in.


17 May, 2007 21:06  
Anonymous Natalie said...

You deserve to win, lovely Lindz, it's a great story even if I didn't entirely get it either and am itching to know: what did she get from the chemist? Rat poison? How was it to be used as revenge? And who or what hit her between the shoulder blades? And who paid the 50p for the tooth? I'm one of those people who needs to have the plot explained to them otherwise they can't get to sleep. Anyway, don't stop writing and never be shy about it. So good to see you back -are you feeling ok? Is it All Better now? Lots of love and congrats and bouquets of flowers.

17 May, 2007 21:49  
Blogger Random Reflections said...

Well done, well done, well done! Really glad you plucked up the courage to enter, you were brilliant - as expected.

What a week for people winning things. Well done again.

17 May, 2007 22:01  
Blogger Reading the Signs said...

You had my number one vote and I reckon you've got the daemon. Sorry but I think you'll have to be a writer. And congrats!

17 May, 2007 22:14  
Blogger MB said...

Stray, it's really strong! I did get it, all except for what precisely was purchased at the chemist's but I can imagine that. The rest was all there and chilling. A very affecting story. Haven't read any of the others, of course, but yours definitely deserved to win. Hope you are feeling better in all ways.

17 May, 2007 22:21  
Blogger Stray said...

Natalie - thank you my darling! Oooh, I can't tell you things like that! Well, the money definitely came via the tooth fairy, but the rest is a secret.

I think I am just about All Better now. I am still feeling the effects of the anaesthetic, and my insides having been chopped and lasered, are a little bit sensitive ... but they did say that it would take 6 to 8 weeks to recover fully, so I shall make an attempt at patience. But mostly I am very much better!

RR - thanks babe! I'm glad I was brave (with encouragement) too! Oh yes, it has been a bit of a week or so hasn't it?

Ms Signs - wow, I'm so chuffed that you voted for me! You were my first choice too. Isn't that nice? :)


17 May, 2007 22:26  
Blogger Stray said...

Oh MB! Wow. I think you are one of my top few favourite writers, so you have nooooo idea how chuffed I am that you like it!

Wow. Wow.

Do read 'forget-me-not' by Ms Signs, that really freaked me out - you'll love it!


17 May, 2007 22:28  
Blogger Ad said...

Congrats Stray, found your blog via Ms. Melan.

BTW, ope ya don't marnd burav tagged ya owa at mi blog.


18 May, 2007 16:33  
Blogger trousers said...

I finally read it. And reread it. Then reread it again. It fell into place. Its fantastic.

19 May, 2007 11:33  
Blogger Stray said...

ooh Ad! A tag! I shall come and see what you've roped me in to ...

trousers - you've turned blue! It really does suit you my dear. Thanks for reading my story, and I'm sooooo glad you enjoyed it :)

19 May, 2007 14:26  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Stray - what is this?

'I have been hanging out outside your windows, but I fear I'm not well-dressed enough to actually come in.'

If you really had been hanging around outside my window, you would have called environmental health. Since I have not yet been condemned, I can only assume this is not true.

If it happens again, I shall be forced to make you a cup of tea - you REALLY don't want that, believe me.

19 May, 2007 18:26  
Blogger Stray said...

Ah, Ms Pants - much as I long for the heady transition from vietnamese food to fried chicken and freshly grown skunk that can only be experienced heading up the Kingsland Rd, I've not actually been in East London for far too long.

So, you and your rats are safe for another week or two :)

I'm afraid I was meaning in blog terms. I am rather impressed by your elegantly dressed posts, but as about 90% of my clothes come from Gap Kids (boys) I feel I have nothing useful to contribute.

I will ask Ms M and Cas to comment extra to make up for my silence on the topic. They wear high heels and everything.

I'm intrigued as to what could be so bad about your tea. I have some friends who live on a free-range farm and unless you bring your own semi-skimmed your mug is likely to be thrust under the first passing goat. I'm assuming you don't live quite that close to the city farm?


19 May, 2007 20:46  
Blogger me said...

im too scared to show people what i write
and even more afraid of what i am going to say
then most of the time
i think that people are too afraid
to say waht they mean

20 May, 2007 06:36  
Blogger Stray said...

well me - you just did show someone!

I really liked your writing on your blog. Amazing stuff.

I was talking to a friend last night about this - about being scared of writing. I think it have reached the conclusion that it is less fear of not being good enough, and more fear that what I say - the things I express - will not be acceptable.


I think you're right that a lot of the time people don't say what they mean, but I think it's possible to tell the difference between sincerity and niceness.

Good luck with your writing!


20 May, 2007 09:50  
Blogger nmj said...

Hey Stray, I just read your story, I read it twice to fully appreciate it, it is very powerful, am so impressed this is your first stab at fiction. Wow! Well done - I would say you deserved to win though I have only been able to read one other so far, that of Ms Signs, and I loved it too x

20 May, 2007 16:38  
Blogger That's so pants said...

No Stray, but I do smell pretty bad, apparently.

After my run last Saturday I popped into the newspaper shop to pick up my beloved Guardian and the woman in front of me blurted out 'oh my god' when she got a whiff. I'm SO not a pretty sight these days. Still fancy a cup of tea then?

20 May, 2007 22:39  
Blogger Stray said...

nmj - thank you! I'm kind of stunned into confusion by how many lovely things people have said about my piece. I have a sneaking suspicion I fluked it - again! It means a huge amount to me that people are taking the time to read it not just once, but twice or three times to get the full meaning. I appreciate you coming by to say you'd done so :)

Ms Pants - are you certain they weren't just uttering an involuntary exclamation of shock that there are Guardian-reading residents of Hackney still in the area? I think most of you have moved to Brighton / Yorkshire ... ;)


21 May, 2007 00:10  
Blogger PurpleSparkleBright said...

Glad you have noticed that you are a brilliant writer!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *goes to read story*

21 May, 2007 13:14  
Anonymous Hydrocodone said...

5Fh1dS The best blog you have!

02 November, 2007 11:40  

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