Selected short-story reading (vol. 5)

I’m just weeks away from the end my Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing and feeling out of my depth reading stage plays and film scripts and TV treatments. This term is all dramaturgy and I’ve taken solace in short fiction.

As the photo of me reading as a child demonstrates, escaping into story is nothing new—and I’ve got three more absorbing reads to share.

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The start of 100 days

"Even long journeys begin with a single step" - written in black felt marker on a piece of cardboard

I’ve been writing short aphorisms with my left hand nearly daily since the middle of February. The plan is to write a full hundred of these short, often blithely meaningless sayings, before the end of May.

Do I expect to be ambidextrously proficient after 100 days of left-handed scrawling? Probably not.

Will I at least get better at it? On day 28, my progress looks minimal, but I’ve got another 72 days to improve! And my intent is practice, not advancement.

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A fundamental force of nature

Sofie, a small black dog, amidst long grasses with a raspberry ball in her mouth — waiting to test gravity

It’s been a year since Sofie died.

Twelve months adjusting to her absence.

A full 365 days of missing her.

She’s still very much a part of our lives, so much so that she inspired one of the eleven poems I submitted for my term assessment in December.

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Selected short-story reading (vol. 4)

For the first year ever, I religiously tracked the books I read in 2021. From technical tomes on poetry and required reading for my Post-Graduate Creative Writing course, to cookbooks and the trashiest of romance novels, everything went into Goodreads. (Yeah, I’m not thrilled about it being Bezos-owned and the interface is pretty bad, but it’s the devil I know.)

The book-centric site can’t, however, capture all the smaller bits; the short stories, poems, and personal essays that fill my laptop screen or are thumbed through on my phone. Since starting the Creative Writing course, I’ve maintained a series of Google Docs where I sock away the best of those smaller bits. It’s useful when reflecting on what I read and how it influences my own work (a requirement for the final term assessments)—and it’s a great source for recommendations!

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Resisting stillness

Light purple sticky note with script reading "my brain has too many tabs open"

At the start of my regular Tuesday meditation sessions, the teacher usually asks how we’re coming to practice. Yesterday, I said I was feeling a lot of resistance. 

After her regular thank-you-for-sharing affirmation, she encouraged me to question what was feeling threatened by the practice. THREATENED. The word hit hard. The question caught me off guard. 

Partway through the meditation, I found my answer.

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Meanings, meditations, and modifications

The report from the most recent MRI on my right knee is filled with words I don’t understand — and not just because they’re German. ‘Subluxation’ is the same in English and auf Deutsche. ‘Chondral degeneration’ and ‘joint effusion’ are pretty close. ‘Arthrose’ translates neatly to ‘osteoarthritis.’ And meniscus is readily understandable with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c.’

The meaning of the medical terminology is opaque in either language. The effects on my life, however, are obvious — and leave me wondering about what osteoarthritis and a host of complications mean for meditating.

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The 22nd

The current term of my creative writing programme is all about poetry. Lots of reading, critiquing, analysing, and, of course, writing. We’re being asked to write about things that move us deeply. And to share work from published writers (who I think of as ‘real‘ poets) that inspire us.

The first poem I wrote this term is about saying goodbye to Sofie. She comes to mind so clearly on the 22nd of each month: the date of her death (in February) as well as the date of her birth (in December).

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