I've been feeling lately like I'm stuck in a rut. Stuck in some superglue whilst putting together a model of the Millennium Falcon. Stuck, perhaps, in some chewing gum I just sat in on public transport. However and wherever I was stuck, I've felt like needing to shake things up a bit, to stop sitting in the gum and run forward until the sticky gum tendrils snap and I am free.
So yesterday I had a full day at uni, but instead of sitting back and relaxing after this, I went forward. Though it wasn't part of my course, though it wasn't free, I said a big 'yes' to the opportunity to see past Edge Hill Short Story Prize winners read out their work at the Bluecoat in Liverpool and have a discussion on short story writing. The two prize winners to attend were Graham Mort (Touch) and Tom Vowler (The Method).
Unfortunately, Mr. Vowler had to drop out due to illness, but Graham more than made up for this by reading out some of his poetry in the first half. I think the thing that struck me the most was the rhythm of his poetry. I appreciated the considered approach and how his exploration of an image groped forward to an interesting and thought-provoking point. His short story 'The Lesson' (from Touch) was very evocative in a sensual way, with focus on sexual relations, pervading pungent smells, the caress of the sea and so on. It made me think of life as a series of strings, leading to and from a person, so fragile and hardly noticeable that secrets and turmoils are almost necessary (at least for the characters in the story).
All in all, a fantastic experience to see such a master at work again. Imagine where I'd have been if I'd said 'nah, too tired tonight'. Stuck on a sofa with so much gluey crap feeling sorry for myself. Say 'yes' more, embrace life, you only get one!