EDitorial ± 22-Sep-2014

Let Them All Talk

Chronological literary eventualities:

October 2013
Ahead of one of those Ipswich writers' cafe thingies, I knocked together a one page story entitled Strumble Head. After reading it to the scribblers (and that Emma Healey), a very nice lady had a quiet word. Your tale, she said, no offence, would be ideal for a women's magazine. Ooh.

November 2013
In the local M&S, I bought a copy of the Woman's Weekly Fiction Special with "20 fabulous stories to brighten your day." Even the shorter ones were around 1000 words, double the length of mine. I planned how best to extend my few paragraphs and, over time, did nothing whatsoever about it.

15 May 2014
On the table at Brightwell Barns was a copy of Let's Talk, "East Anglia's best-loved magazine", full of nostalgia, gardening, etc. Not quite my demographic, but hey. What caught my eye was the short story competition mentioned on the cover. Entries must be received by June 30th, it said. Thought bubble: maybe I could redo my story from six months back.

June 2014
Checking the magazine's website, they'd published the best entries to last year's competition. A count of the winning story produced a tally of around 1400 words. Yikes. Many more words required. Unlike almost every other competition I've gone in for, entries to this one had to be postal. Meaning, can't wait until the night before. I diligently burnt a midnight energy saving bulb at the dining room table with a few days to go, did a last edit or two at work, spent five minutes thinking of a better title, printed it out and posted it early evening on June 29th at the sorting office. Got to be in it to win it.

22 July 2014
Off to lunch one Tuesday and the mobile pipes up. Unrecognised number. Is that Ed? It's Let's Talk magazine here. I'm delighted to say you've won our short story competition. (Yes!) Can you come up to Norwich sometime to have your photo taken?

1 August 2014
2pm on a super sunny day and I'm in Jarrold, the flagship department store in that Norwich. Meeting me are Peter and Helen from the magazine (they comprise half of the four person team of competition judges), a photographer, plus Carole Slaughter from Jarrold, the contest sponsors. I'm presented with a glass of champagne -- awkward -- and pictures are taken, me mugging up, sparkly in one hand, photocopied story in the other. It's all very lovely and flattering, made lovelier still by receiving a bunch of vouchers to spend in store. More yay!

14 August 2014
Come the publication date, we're on hols in France. No matter, since Mum comes up trumps by going out to buy a copy in l'Angleterre. She emails through a photo of the double page spread plus my embarrassing champagne snap. Story came out well. Mighty chuffed.

September 2014
My story pops up on the Let's Talk website. Not sure how long it'll remain there so there's a copy here. That title? Comes from a poem about Grace Darling by a chap named William Wordsworth. Now, there's a proper writer.