On helping to judge a writing competition

As an example, I hate Moby Dick with a passion. It’s just so tedious. But I can still objectively see that it’s A Good Book. If I came across that in my pile of entries, I daresay I’d recommend it for the longlist, just as soon as I’d dried my tears of boredom. It’s all about objectivity, which I don’t think we’re always very good at as writers, and therefore we assume that anybody who reads our work is looking for reasons to ‘mark us down’, as it were.… Read More On helping to judge a writing competition

The last normal day

I met a friend I hadn’t seen for years for lunch. I was nervous about it. What if we had nothing to say to each other after all those years of Facebook likes, Instagram comments, and no proper, spoken words? I needn’t have worried. We passed the time like we were still at university together, not realising how weird it would soon seem that we were definitely less than two metres apart, shouting over the noise of a cafe that was packed to the rafters.… Read More The last normal day

Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

I knew the article I wanted to write, but I didn’t really expect anybody to want me to write it. I was just happy to say I’d tried. So, imagine my surprise when I got a reply to say ‘this sounds great, go ahead and write it for us’. Or, more accurately, imagine the panic attack I had. I was not ready for a ‘yes’. I was only prepared to spend a couple of evenings watching Schitts Creek, pounding Lidl pinot grigio, and cursing The Establishment. Or, The Man. Or some other faceless entity I could blame my dissatisfaction on that wasn’t myself. But that wasn’t to be. So I freaked out.… Read More Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

Saying goodbye to St Piran

Having recently embraced maxi skirt life and, as a result, having experienced a newfound inability to take big enough steps to do anything, I even let the nice boat man hold my hand as I climbed aboard, which I assume means that we’re married now.

Upon boarding, I was confronted with three vicars and bishop. I’d conveniently forgotten the whole ‘blessing’ part of the deal, so focused had I been on the serious business of having a pint on a boat.… Read More Saying goodbye to St Piran

Meeting the vicar without my knickers

They call over a nurse who tells them that, yes, they should be removing their underwear. After much outcry she scares up a few pairs of what look like cycling shorts made out of the same material as our surgical stockings. That way the doctor can cut them off if wearing underwear for an operation turns out to be wildly unhygienic. I think we all know which way it’s going to go.

“Do you want some?” She asks, waving a pair in my direction. I politely decline. I’ve already been without undies for a couple of hours and I’m feeling so liberated at this point that there’s a good chance I may never go back.

“She’s young.” One of the old ladies says, because apparently she feels the need to dismiss my being the only person who is actually doing as she’s told as youthful confidence.… Read More Meeting the vicar without my knickers

The kids in Cornwall are super-sporty and it’s terrifying

I once accidentally ended up in the middle of a huge surf lifesaving competition on the North Coast – children everywhere were just voluntarily wearing numbers and doing running as a fun Saturday afternoon activity. It was very alien to me. I mean, I will occasionally wear a number and do a bit of running if necessary but that is one hundred per cent for bragging rights and a reason to eat giant burgers under the guise of ‘refuelling’. It has nothing to do with enjoyment. And if you had suggested it to me when I was under the age of twenty four I would probably have wept.… Read More The kids in Cornwall are super-sporty and it’s terrifying