Tuesday 10 September 2019
Who's Laughing Now?
Well, hello there. It's been a while, hasn't it? The fact that I even managed to remember my Blogger log-in details bears testament to the remarkable resilience of the human brain. I'd assumed such trifling details would have been pushed out of my cerebral cortex long ago by the onslaught of barely having a decent night's sleep in the past three years, combined with being required to memorise the storyline of every single Octonauts episode by my ever-so-slightly obsessed son.
Anyway, I've dusted off the cobwebs and shooed away the various bots that have been visiting diligently over the past couple of years to bring you news. And it's news I'm very pleased with - my short story Five Toes, and So On has reached the shortlist of the 2019 To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition. I've been shortlisted there before, in 2016, which seems like forever ago, but - look - it was only a couple of blog posts back after all.
I'm a big fan of Chris Fielden's competition. For a start, it recognises and celebrates a often-dismissed but very difficult genre. Humorous prose is hard. I've said it before, but making people laugh takes more effort and skill than making them feel sad. Plus humour is notoriously subjective, and what leaves somebody helpless with mirth is pretty much guaranteed to fall flat with the next person to read it. So why would any sane person attempt to write humour? Maybe it's for that exact reason, the challenge of striving for something almost impossible to achieve. Or perhaps it's some kind of personality disorder. I dunno.
(Thinking about it, Five Toes, and So On is the story of a man who becomes obsessed with a severed foot, which might suggest a little more of the latter than the former...)
It's the first bit of proper writing I've done in a long time, and even though it feels like a bit of a cheat (it started off as flash fiction and I extensively reworked and expanded it for the competition, so it's not "new" in the true sense), it feels like progress after many months of being stuck in neutral, writing-wise.
If the story progresses to the Highly Commended category or one of the top prizes, that would be fantastic, but I'm very happy that it's already won a prize and will be published in the next anthology, which will be released on Hulloween, the 31st October 2019.