Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
And here we are a year later doing it all over again. Today’s prompt was to write a descriptive story. I’m more a fan of dialogue than description but wrote this one in this evening’s writing group (because the prompt was late) and here is my 345-worder.
Thank you for the Joy
Joy picked the book from the charity shop shelf and stared at the cover. An artist’s illustration of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina smiled faintly back at her. She’d never really been a fan of the classics but it was on her book group’s reading list and buying it here would not only save her money but mean she could read it ahead of time, helpful given its size.
Opening the front cover, she expected to see the price but was greeted with a small floral label with an inscription in neat, faded handwriting. She smiled as she read the five words: ‘Thank you for the joy’. A date accompanied the writing: 1st December 1942. Although long before Joy was born, 1st December was significant; not her birthday but that of her mother. The inscription was signed by a Thomas Manley and finally a location: Penzance. The man’s name meant nothing to her but Joy had been to Cornwall as a child and remembered the bleak, windy cliff tops, the desolate beaches, crowded only in summer. It was those crowds that her parents had wanted to avoid so they always went in winter, when others would travel abroad. They’d stay on a farm, she’d ridden a pony called Bracken and helped feed the pigs. Those holidays had lead her to become a vet, a job she’d only just retired from and found herself with more free time than she’d wanted, the book group helping with that.
It had been too long, she decided, since she’d been to Cornwall. With a free week ahead of her, she paid for the book and went to the coffee shop next door to use one of their computers.
There were more Thomas Manleys than she’d expected, even narrowing the search to Cornwall, but only one with any relation to Penzance; Tom Manley, who died the year before, a teenager and therefore not her Thomas Manley.
Then Joy put in her mother’s maiden name, Evelyn Scott, and there appeared a photograph of Thomas James Manley (1927-) beside a letter with familiar handwriting.
One to continue me thinks. You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.