Small Stories Big Talent
Some of Bristol’s freshest writing talent came out of their caves to perform in front of real people last night. There was horror and tales of human darkness, but also some very observational ones. Louise Gethin with SIGNS, an eerie tale of love. Lindsey Turner with a very thought-provoking story WORDS (and the injuries they might cause) about male violence towards female characters in fiction. And Natalie Burns, who wrote SOMETIMES I WONDER, and accurately summed up the state of being a writer when nothing seems real or make sense.
I love the smallBAR. It serves great beer. Has excellent coffee if you’re in the mood for staying focused. And upstairs is a room with wooden floors and an eclectic collection of leather wing-back chairs. It’s an erudite den. Something that could exist on the fringes of George Orwell’s 1984 where dissidents meet to wax lyrical… not about revolution but about scifi, horror and tough-truth observations.
I woke up this morning with many of last nights stories in my mind. They got to me. They got into me. Not just because they are good stories but because the writer’s themselves delivered their work. Word of mouth. Work by mouth. It’s not easy. Transitioning from sitting in front of a computer screen where you (writer) are in control; you (writer) are GOD, from that situation to then standing up in front of a room full of strangers, handling your nerves, your voice, the microphone (??near/far – short /high – too soft – too loud ??) and reading words that may sound great for the internal narrator but sound utterly different with a real human voice.
Small Stories is exceptionally well organised. Great platform for local writers to test their mettle and promote their work, new and established – so get yourself along to the next one. As is BristolCon Fringe (Science Fiction & Fantasy) and Let Me Tell You a Story Jack (open mic night for story-tellers), two other platforms that have sprung up to showcase Bristol’s hothouse of creative talent.
Here’s a list of the authors who participated last night, along with links and some photos where I was able to get them.
- Peter Sutton: @Suttope + http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/
- A.A. Abbott: @AAAbbottStories
- Thomas David Parker: @tomofbristol
- Matthew J Hall: @MJHall1979 + http://www.screamingwithbrevity.com/
- Rosie Sharratt: @write_as_rain
- Clare Eddington: no contact details
- Natalie Burns: @NBurnsy http://knowledgeporridge.co.uk/
- Lindsey Turner: @robot_tiger + http://leturnerwrites.wordpress.com/
- Louise Gethin: no contact details
- Suzanna Stanbury: + @SuzannaStanbury + http://snubtry.weebly.com/
- Ian Millsted: no contact details
- David J Rodger: @davidjrodger + http://www.davidjrodger.com
Live Illustration performed by Tommy Parker (@t_mmyparker + http://www.tommyparker.co.uk = evil twin of Thomas D Parker). Event flyers and collateral designed by Sam Rowe.
Tommy secretly selected one of the shorts to illustrate during the evening. He chose “Fire and the Fox” by M J Hall. This is the final result:
Arnos Vale – somebody was digging up graves…
I wanted to push my boundaries. So rather than read the story I wanted to perform it. Deliver it as a verbal tale whilst making eye-contact with the audience. Reading their expressions and reactions. Adjusting to the feel of the room. I reckon I nailed it! Fantastic feeling and had great response from folks after. Here’s a short snippet on video:
Arnos Vale in reality is a fantastic Gothic cemetery near the center of Bristol. On the A4 road heading out towards Bath. It is beautiful in daylight but at night, the atmosphere changes dramatically… I spent 11 years living up the hill from it and went there on a number of occasions, to walk, think, soak up the atmosphere… but several times I had intensely spooky experience. Here are some photos and a video I shot there whilst researching the story…
Thomas D Parker
Keep your eyes peeled for news about this chap (@tomofbristol). Yet to complete his first novel but I have high hopes for his tale of Gothic horror, The Ladies of Walthamstow, which will follow in the grand tradition of M.R.James. It was our mutual adoration of M.R.James and all things spooky that led me to join Tom one night at a place seeking horror… it gave me an opportunity to take some great photos. See more images and read write up here: In Search of The Horror.
BUY ARNOS VALE
You can buy the story ARNOS VALE as one of 15 short stories I put together in the anthology Songs of Spheres – a selection of my favourite shorts from each of 15 years of writing, accompanied by a brief intro about each tale.
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