I was approached by someone earlier this week about short stories and whether I’d be up for contributing to a thing. Then yesterday a new anthology of short stories called What Haunts the Heart was published – and I have a piece in it.
So, it’s official: I’m a short story writer.
This isn’t actually a new thing, and of course it certainly isn’t an important thing outside my own head. This anthology is the second I’ve had a story in and I’ve performed three short stories at various events. Then this year I joined Alex Townley’s Prompted Tales project which is specifically about short stories and pointedly about making us write the bloody things.
Each month, she sets a prompt and around ten of us toddle off to write something. I recognise the benefit of the deadline and the commitment, I also just find it absorbing to see how one thought spins off and out into ten such radically, enormously, preposterously different stories.
But it is the deadline that’s the thing so she sets this at the start of the month, we write and deliver by the end. This should mean that I’ve now written two short Prompted Tales, one for January and one for February. I have – but I’ve also written my March one. For I am a show-off.
Nobody comes to my door asking for a show-off, though. Instead now I get approached about short stories and while I’ve got to underline how rare the approaches are, the reason I’m blathering at you is that there are now some people who see me as a short story writer. They see me as that before they see everything else and there is no reason they should know about anything else.
Here’s the thing. It has taken a couple of years but it hasn’t taken a giant amount of effort: at some point I realised I wanted to write short stories so I did. Now without my truly noticing it, it’s become true.
We can, therefore, you and I, decide what we want to do and then do it and the next thing you know, it’s what we do.
So that’s it. I’m planting a flag in the ground today, this moment, and vowing to you that the next thing I’m going to do is become a halfway decent short story writer.