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Category Archives: Prose

Good things come to those who…

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I am delaying my book launch. I don’t feel guilty, or sad- I’m doing it for some very good reasons.

Getting my book “finished” has been an eye-opening experience. It’s gone from being a scrawl in an 80p notebook to a fully-illustrated story. Suddenly it seems like it’s actually worth something, and I want to do it justice.

I always knew The Heart-Seed was a story that I loved and was genuinely proud of. Back then, however, it only belonged to me. I was the only person who had ever read it. However, now that it’s Alma’s as well, I feel like I owe her something in making sure people actually see the beautiful thing we made together.

Now, I don’t know the first thing about marketing. But my brother does. He’s been an incredible help- from teaching me about the Amazon affiliates program to the nuance of placing Facebook ads.

I didn’t show The Heart-Seed to anyone for two years because it was private. I had written it from the heart- it shows- and I was a little afraid of baring myself to the world like that.

I’ve never been one to post my blog or my art to Facebook. I don’t like to be seen to be asking for attention. I don’t really have a self-publicising bone in my body.

99% of books make a loss, and I was perfectly happy to make a loss if it meant never having to speak about myself or my book.

But this isn’t just my book any more. It’s Alma’s and it’s Raf’s. I may not have faith in myself but I have faith in them.

I had often heard the phrase “It takes a village”, but I never understood it until now. Sharing my book hasn’t just allowed me to show off- it’s meant I get an outside perspective. It’s motivated me to do much-needed edits and means I now have something that looks an awful lot like a finished product.

But without me taking this extra time, it won’t actually be finished. So I’m taking the time out to finish The Heart-Seed, because that’s what we all deserve.

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Portrait: Hulme Park, 7th September

She walks across the grass, dragging her heavy feet: rollerblades. Ten minutes ago she was gliding, looping around me (and the park) in great rings, smooth and quiet. She’s streamlined: black leggings, black vest top, shaved head; she looks like someone you see in the background of an indie film, too cool for real life. Yet here she is, lying smack in the middle of the green, scrolling through her phone, untouched by the breeze.

Her rollerbladed feet cross at the ankles as if it’s the most comfortable thing in the world, as if they’re not heavy at all. And that brazen pink strip of sports bra, stark against the black of skin and cloth, is everything. It is an island of extraordinary in the ordinary, and so is she.

Crow on Deansgate

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A moment was exchanged in the street, and I found it odd. Two women, travelling in opposite directions, had expressed mutual sadness, then continued on their way.

I walked up to the place where they had met, and there, in a sunlit corner, stood the petrified corpse of a crow. Still standing upright, eyes open, beak wide in the ghost of a caw, it might have been alive- were it not for the telltale stillness.

Because I am a writer, I want to find meaning in this gory statuette, but because this is real life, I do not get that consolation. The bird died, mid-cry, as creatures in pain tend to do. In the heat of the sun, its meat will not last long, and later this afternoon, the most underpaid employee at the shop it happened to die in front of will be sent out with a bin liner to dispose of it before it frightens customers away.

That strange bird who chose to die loudly and publicly rather than quietly out of sight will be thrown out with the rubbish.

And it won’t mean anything at all.