.....while crafting a snowman in the garden. Dishes piled in the sink, other monotonous jobs pushed from my mind. Packing snow with very cold fingers..three rather snow-phobic chickens at my ankles looking for grass and the odd frozen worm. They puzzled as this big white thing developing before them, especially Desdemona who has a particularly fear of all things white, including one of the other chickens, who she pecks regularly to keep her in place or perhaps to persuade herself that this girl is not a ghost, a phantom, a threat.
I shaped some boots for my man, because they never seem to have them. Usually snowmen erupt from the ground like fingers in a glove. I made these boots smooth, oh so very smooth. Handcrafted. Italian. The snow has to the packed so very tight, because I want him to be the last thing to melt when all the rest has dissolved to slush. Up up up he goes, spindly at first and then fatter. Bits of stone, grass and slate, speckling him so that he is not a plain creature, like an overweight aunt in Austen.
The snow is still falling and I have to catch some on my tongue, where it dissolves like sugar.
I have no idea of time as I work - it is like the best writing session, the ones where the flow is everything and the pleasure of watching something grow is organic, not laboured.
At the end I have a man. Controlled and created by me. Vulnerable to my destruction. The chickens stand back and cluck in some alarm, then run back into their enclosed pen where the man won't see them. But there he sits: comic, ridiculous in his awkward beauty.
If only a novel was a series of snowmen; each one a chapter - but with more complexity of course. For now though, I'll go with simplicity. The glow you get from building a snowman is like no other - it bridges the gap between the happy past and more difficult present.
- 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