This will be followed in 2022 by my second novel The Worry Bottles which has been longlisted for the Mslexia novel competition and shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writers. Find out more in this interview which first appeared in book&brew.
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Read on for an extract from Sapling, the short story I wrote for the Portsmouth News, or find out more about me here.
I know it was a Saturday when I first saw the sapling, because it was the same day I drove Lydia to the station, and I don’t like to drive on Saturdays. During the week there are site visits to fit in so I’m expected to drive to the office, to sit queuing for inch-gains of tarmac, to inhale the same invisible particulates as everyone else, to allow my spine to curve into the car-seat shape, soft and passive.
At the office my childhood conditioning is reasserted. I sit or stand with spine erect as I draw lines. ‘Don’t slouch boy, it will become a habit.’ My father’s voice. His figure in the coffin remained unbent, a long straight line.
On weekends I don’t drive. I work in the garden using only manual tools. So, after dropping Lydia at the station and saying an awkward goodbye – watching her struggle to hoist heavy bags towards the departure door – I returned home and garaged the car. I headed for the wildest part of the back garden, skirting around the collapsed remains of the insect house, which looked like one of those simulations: the effect of an earthquake on a low storey building. A few dispossessed insects were making their unsteady way across the garden. […] read more