Last night, we went to the theatre with our friends Helen and Nigel for An Evening with Pam Ayres. Their choice. Remember Pam Ayres? She was a fixture on our televisions towards the end of the 1970s and the 1980s, reciting humorous verse. That being the frenetically busy period of my life when I was getting married and having babies, I hardly noticed her. I wish I had. I should have. Humorous verse, read by a woman? Come on, bluecity, that was you all over.
What struck me most about Pam was her modesty. This wasn’t about her working-class beginnings; all too many writers reckon they came from humble beginnings and become insufferable on the subject. On the stage by herself for over two hours entertaining us with her poems and stories of her life, Pam’s message was not ‘Aren’t I marvellous?’ but ‘I’ve been so lucky.’ In her message on the theatre programme, she writes that it’s important to write about things with which people can identify. I quote (from the programme) ‘I don’t think it matters how ordinary the subject is, as long as you approach it from an original angle.’ She also mentions the ‘fascinating rhythm’ that words have ‘within themselves’ and how this can be harnesses to make a ‘marvellous bouncing tune’. Thank you, Pam, for a lovely evening.
On another subject, a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to learn that ‘Last Hot Chocolate in Mostar’ has been accepted by ‘Youth Imagination’, one of the magazines published by the American Silver Pen writing forum. I was starting to believe that ‘Last Hot Chocolate’ was untouchable, too dangerous for all those ezines on Duotrope, who reckon themselves so ‘eclectic’, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘shocking’. They wouldn’t go near at story which featured a paedo as a major character. Here it is on the home page of Youth Imagination’, a YA ezine dedicated to ‘remarkable stories that explore the issues, the grit, and the character of teens and young adults‘. I read around their mag before subbing (obviously) and their stuff is impressive. As someone who doesn’t get much time to write these days, or to sub much, I am well chuffed to be there. And I earned $10, increasing my earnings from writing during this financial year (which is about to close, btw) by… er… 100%. Weeell, Dear Reader, I’m not in it for the money.
I have been trying to sub my story to the Mslexia Women’s Short Story Comp this afternoon but I can’t get on to the link. The deadline is tomorrow (extended from last week). As we all know, Mslexia comps always attract a lot of entries – a few too many for their poor old server this time, methinks. I may try again tomorrow. Or I may not. It’s £10 and… get real, Charlie… probably out of my league.