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Showing posts from August, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday

Match
Yes! I punch the air and run around in circles and Fran jumps on top of me like they do on telly. The sun is really bright and for a moment even this scrubby patch of dried-up grass looks like a real football pitch. I can smell the turf, hear the crowd roar, chanting my name over and over. Then Pete throws the ball in and we’re off again, feet pounding against the packed earth, cold air hurting my lungs as I breathe in hard. The stained concrete tower blocks stare down as usual but I am sure that there are people watching. This is the best match we’ve done. Jon is attacking, legging it up to our goal. Matt tries to tackle him but he’s too slow, his fat legs wobbling under his tracksuit. It’s too small for him now, stretches tight across his arse. I go for it, speeding across the pitch to intercept the ball, but Jon sees me coming and belts it one. It’s a long shot but it almost goes in, bouncing off the top of the post and out into the road. I stop for a moment, heart racing, han…

Snake Road by Sue Peebles

Greetings Aphraites!

I wanted to take this opportunity to recommend Sue Peebles' new book, Snake Road. Sue was one of the tutors on our last writing retreat in Scotland together and she has been enjoying following this blog, in particular our 'A to Z' series.

Snake Road, which has just come out, is published by Chatto and Windus and looks excellent. I loved her first novel, The Death of Lomond Friel, and this one seems to be another winner.

Here are the opening paragraphs of a review in The Scotsman by Lesley McDowell to tantalise and tempt you...

"THE psychological intelligence that informed Sue Peebles’s remarkable debut, The Death Of Lomond Friel, just two years ago, is what also holds together the strands of her second novel.

As with that debut, we focus on a younger woman struggling to cope with the illness of an older member of the family: in Lomond Friel, it was daughter Rosie, come to look after her father after he suffered a massive stroke. In Snake Road…

Flash Fiction Friday

Refuge in Etiquette

When my wife was dying nobody came. She spent weeks in the hospice and every day another fraction of her dissolved into the sterile air. The lack of support contributed to her surrender to the end. She had no one to make an effort for anymore. Occasionally our neighbour would come, but her awkwardness in such a terminal atmosphere was palpable and soon those visits ceased. The hospice was a neutral, anonymous place. The walls, floor and curtains were all varying shades of cream, emphasizing the concrete grey of Helen’s skin. She lay on the bed in the centre of the room, tucked under the covers like a child, sleeping through the pain for most of the day. This was easier for her but it seemed such a waste of our remaining time together. I sat and watched her evaporate.
It was uncomfortably warm. Weak pastel cards and bright flowers arrived with worthless messages from absent friends. But nobody came. I think they were afraid. Afraid of seeing death in their lives. Afr…

The Growing Time

Welcome to the second Monday Poem where seasons reverse from depths of Summer to first intimations of Spring. Our first Flash Fiction Friday post was set in darkest Winter, so please submit a poem (up to 40 lines) or a piece of flash fiction (150-500 words) inspired by Autumn  for publication on Cafe Aphra soon.


‘The Growing Time’
We stumble half-dead from winter’s withered wasteland No march forward, we shamble into the light, blinking, Counting losses, bellies empty, sickness survivors. Is now the auspicious time? Creeping light, shocks of colour, flashes of warmth Promise change. But we can never be certain.
Court good fortune, shape the growing year. Propitiate our future with the right words Quick now, make the blood token that marks The end And The beginning So that next dark-time, we will not starve or sicken
Familiar pledges fill the air Fanning flickers of hope until belief blazes.
To appease, we take now one man, one woman. Make them pliant with sweet drink.Praise them for their purity, Lavish…

The Snow Weaver's Daughter

She was made, not begotten.
Her father, the Snow Weaver, had no wife.He was a cold man of the snow and his bed needed no woman to warm it but his snowcraft was a heavy burden to bear alone.
He longed to teach his craft to an over-awed apprentice—but no youth from the lowlands would ever climb so high.No, he must weave his own heir.
On the longest night of the year he ventured down the mountain, listening through the wind for the voices of stray villagers, sniffing the air for the bitter scent of coffee steaming from their aluminium thermoses.But all was safe.He worked swiftly in the moonlight, gathering heaps of the softest, purest snow he could find.He had no desire for an awkward, icy child.
He wanted a son, of course—most men would—but, as he followed the moon’s path across the mountain streams, he listened to low, muttering voices on the wind.The gods had other ideas.
No weaver, no matter how clever his fingers or flexible his loom, can make a living being all on his own.Fortuna…

Flash Fiction Friday

Running out of steam by Friday?  Then, why not have a blast of Flash Fiction to open new creative pathways.  You don't even need to have a laptop or pen and paper to hand - try Flash Fiction on your iPhone. Write 150 - 500 words on anything.  Cafe Aphra's first Flash Fiction Friday piece is coming online tomorrow.  Inspire yourself and enjoy The Snow Weaver.

Monday Poems

So... following on from the success of our A to Z series, we've decided to launch a few new weekly and seasonal writing routines here at Cafe Aphra. More on this soon, but for the time being here is our first entry for "Monday Poems" - a better way to start the week. :)