This week I had been catching up on those overdue critiques for some writing colleagues, enjoying my zombie flash challenge and the diversity of others' zombie stories, doing some academic reading for a two day workshop I am attending in August…reading, writing….writing, then reading etc. Drowning happily in words and not waving at all.
Except….I then began to feel irritated too – by some writerly spats that were going on – writers are adept at using their erudition as a powerful weapon, to really wound one another. But it has affected me more than I would like to admit…it’s difficult to keep the focus, the mood for words when they are used in that destructive way. It takes some of the pleasure away when I encounter hardness in people. I would like to be harder, a tortoise when it suits, but I still flip over onto my belly and get kicked accidentally, even if none of it is directed at me personally. I’m soft but also a bloody tortoise – I hate conflict, confrontation, fiery attacks. I want to be invisible. So I decided that the writers I love most – Chekhov, Turgenev, the sublime Helen Dunmore, even Hardy with his sentimental fatalism – they are writers with true empathy, kindness, understanding of the human condition. Those are the (famous) writers I aspire to most.
So I shook the irritation aside and tried to be more positive. Was rewarded. As Assistant Editor of Wolf Print, I have been asked to interview David Clement Davies (www.davidclementdavies.com), a fantasy writer who has penned adult and children’s books – some about wolves such as ‘The Sight’ and ‘Fell’ – the former I am already now reading. I must create some imaginative, intelligent questions to send by email that will avoid the huge clichés (Where do you get your ideas? – that always deserves a facetious raspberry, a tongue in irons) but be insightful and useful to profile this shy (handsome – did I mention handsome) and talented writer.
Then doubly rewarded. Also have been asked to write a book review for a prestigious magazine. I will not mention the name of it yet, because it has yet to be confirmed.
Another few steps. Even the earlier unpleasantness should be a toughening up process. None of us can be wilters. Not The Flea. I just have to work harder, be with people who I admire and respect (I am lucky with my friends – very lucky.)
To die may be an awfully big adventure but hey, there’s lots of mileage in living too. All you need is a filter to spit out the negative.
Don’t tell anyone, but I am still soft.
*The MOH scale is used for stones. It was developed in the 1800's and shows the strengths and weaknesses of the stone.
Measurement of Hardness Scale
- Julia Bohanna
- Shortlisted Bath Short Story Award 2013 Runner-up Cinnamon Press Competition 2013 WNNER: Don Louth Writer of the Year (run by Reading Writers) WINNER: Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012. SHORTLISTED: Scott Prize (Salt Publishing) 2012 for a short story collection. Writer/ Journalist - assistant editor and writer for the art and books pages of Wolfprint. Most recently published in Independent on Sunday and short story anthologies: Sentinel Champions No 9, 100 Stories for Queensland, 50 Stories for Pakistan, 100 Stories for Haiti and From Hell to Eternity. In a recent writing competition, Joanne Harris described my writing as '...compelling (but quite creepy)'
- ► 2009 (13)
Prizes and Writing Awards
- Winner Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012
- Shortlisted for Salt Publishing's Scott Prize for short story collections 2012
- Finalist in Brit Writers' Award 2011
- 2nd in Sentinel Literary Competition 2011
- Whitechapel Society Anthology to be published 2010
- Shortlisted for the Mslexia Short Story Competition 2009
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2009
- Joint winner of the Penguin/Decibel Prize 2008 - Asian Invisible. Published as The Map of Me
- Highly Commended in The National Galleries of Scotland Short Story Competition 2008
- Runner-up in Segora Short Story Prize 2008
- Joint Winner of The Lancet Short Story Competition 2007: The Resurrection Girl.
- Runner-up in Virgin Trains/The Guardian Short Story Competition 2007: A Small Revolution
- Winner of the Woman and Home Short Story Competition 2006: Ghosts of Jamaica.
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2005
- Runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Short Story Competition 2003
- Winner of The Sunday Telegraph Tourism for Tomorrow Travel Writing Competition 2002: Wolves of Rumania. Winner
- Winner and also Winner of Most Original Short Story in the Competition in Trowell and District Writers' Competition 2006