Date Night

 

He says my flat is like the Tardis, loads bigger inside than it looks from the street. He’s right, too. It’s got a tiny doll house front door and a staircase that goes round and round and up in a barley sugar twist, my living room blooming high and wide as you go in. My rooms are pretty like a chocolate box, soft furnishings of quiet pastel; the porcelain figurines my Gran left me lined up in rows on the shelves and along the mantelpiece, and on the top of the telly.

He calls our Fridays date night, but we’ve never been on an actual date. No dinner in a candlelit restaurant, or necking in the back row in the pictures, no dancing hip on hip, and lip on lip. I’ve never put on a nice dress for him or painted my face, and gone walking into town holding hands. But, just look at him. Tall and lean, hair thick and clean and blond like the beach in holiday brochures; close my eyes and I smell the sea, same as when you hold an empty shell to your ear and the water laps on a shore, right there.

One Friday, I watch from the bedroom floor as he’s pulling his jeans back on. The belt buckle slaps against his thigh.

‘I love you.’ It’s a shock when he comes out with it.

‘What?’

He blinks. ‘I love you.’

My words whoosh out. ‘Me too.’

‘Really?’ More age slips from his face.

‘Of course.’ But my larynx sheds rust.

Air is snatched from my lungs as it hits me. I’m not in love, am I?  I don’t love him, not at all. I don’t even bloody well like him. Not as a person. This isn’t what I want. He isn’t what I want.

I want to be in love.

I want to be happy, the sort I read about in books. I want to die of summer, feel the sun kissing my face more surely than he ever could.  I need the feel of a firm hand curving my hip and pulling me close, lips resting softly on my temple, the small of my back moist and sticky, cheeks flushed and pink, my pulse racing in my wrists. I want it all, and more.

And yet instead, I gift him a shy smile. Coquettish and coy, I get up and walk over. He covers my mouth with his. As our tongues dance awkward and slow, bumping this way and that, moving out of time, the figurines around us, my figurines, curl their spines into round shells, strike a pose, and freeze frame. The pile carpet thickens under my feet and, the ceiling pressing the top of my head, it bends my neck crooked, the walls around me closing in.

(First published National Flash Fiction Day Flash Flood Journal, June 2017)

A Folken good night

I did a talk for Liverpool organisation Folken this week, at new cultural space the Serving Library on Water Street, in the city centre.

I spoke about the ups and downs of writing fiction, more specifically my novel.

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Also this week, I have a personal essay in a new book. A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing will raise money to keep the A Room of Our Own initiative going.

And on 7 January 2017, Women’s Stories, Women’s Voices will be published, and carry one of my short stories. The launch will be at Waterstones in Nottingham. A very nice start to the new year.

@cathbore

My Folken talk

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I will be giving a talk on fiction writing at the next Folken gathering in Liverpool on 9th December. Pronounced Fol-ken (not Folk-en, that sounds a bit rude), which means “people”, the event aims to inspire and create networks and links for those who want to do something a little bit different in 2017.

It is free to get in, but you have to book here.

The Serving Library, 35 Water Street, Liverpool L2 0RD

6-9pm.

There will be wine!

In further news, I have a short story in Women’s Stories, Women’s Voices, a book published on 7th January 2017.

Read about my book reaching the second stage of the WriteNow novel writing competition, run by Penguin Random House, here

@cathbore

My book is through to #WriteNowLive in Manchester

 

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My book

Last month, I entered the first chapter of my book to WriteNow, a novel writing competition run by the publisher Penguin Random House UK, in association with Commonword up here in the north.

I’m dead happy my novel excerpt was accepted, and in February we pootle on over to Manchester to be involved in the next stage of the whole thing, the WriteNowLive event.

It’s all very exciting and I’m really chuffed. So, well done to my book.  I love you, book x

@cathbore

Radio show news

cath-kcc-live-nov-2016

I have a new radio show, 6-8pm each Monday. You can listen to it online here or if you’re in the Liverpool area, on 99.8fm. I’m playing lots of new releases, local music from the Merseyside area, and older songs I love a lot.

In other news, I have a short story in a new book, published in 2017. The book, A Furious Hope, will be available in print and e-book and, as the title suggests, is intended to offer some hope in these often grim times. More updates as I have them!

@cathbore

My week of libraries, and the humble butter pie

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(L-R) Cheshirati authors Zara Stoneley, (me), Nikki Ashton, Victoria Johns, Caroline James.

I chaired an author panel at Knutsford Library last week, with members of the fabulous Cheshirati.

We talked about sex (on the printed page, of course), self v traditional publishing, plotting (novels!), the value of writing groups, and why book bloggers are so flipping wonderful. We had a very lovely evening indeed, insightful questions from the audience keeping the talk lively and bopping along nicely. And there was wine, always a plus.

A third of the way through, though, a tangle of what looked like Donald Trump’s hair tumbled across the library’s carpeted floor…further inspection revealed it to be an orange-brown spider with the longest and thinnest legs in the history of the world ever. It was duly rescued and removed by a member of the audience. We wonder where that spider is now…

Afterwards, someone in Knutsford library tried to sell me a coat. In Liverpool pubs I’ve been offered ciggies, vodka, batteries, bacon etc etc – but it has never happened in a library before. I’m still musing over that.

Then at the weekend I was in Kendal Library, for a Get It Loud In Libraries show. As the name suggests, they put gigs on in libraries.

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Meilyr Jones at Kendal Library, part of the Get It Loud In Libraries initiative

I loved that Kendal Library was on a road called…

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Kendal!

On the way home the next day we stopped off at Wigan to buy butter pies, the good honest Lancashire comfort food of my youth.

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Butter pie!

The pie shop was on the corner of…

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Wigan!

I kid you not.

November is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. Read best selling crime author Elizabeth Haynes’ shares her top NaNoWriMo tips with me here.

@cathbore