I’m on my annual trip to a London with my eldest daughter to visit her grandparents. This weekend, I took some adult time to visit the 3rd Hillingdon Literary Festival.
To be honest, I was amazed this existed. I remember back in the day that Hayes had an independent bookshop of which I was a frequent visitor and sometimes even a customer. But I thought the reading world had passed us by since the small town centre had been pedestrianised. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this council has recently decided to reverse this development after some 20+ years. Anyway, I saw the sign promoting the event at the train station.
I looked them up and to my amazement, Jonathan Coe and Will Self were due to speak, as well as short workshops on self-publishing and flash fiction. Even more remarkable was the event was being run at Brunel University and was free. I signed up immediately.
And having attended for most of the afternoon yesterday, and for a workshop this afternoon, I have to say it was very much worth the time. I think Ben felt inspired enough to complete a short flash fiction project I started at the workshop and even submitted it for publication last night. Let’s see what happens, but for now, I’ve posted it here followed by some images from the weekend.
I see it all now
I see it all now.
Time had left its appropriate stamps on her but had excavated me, leaving me sinkholes and subsidence. She seemed to walk on air, and my job was to make sure her feathers were well-tended, preened to perfection. I did my grubby best, but keeping up with the Joneses was beyond me.
I re-examined my wallet and it yawned at me emptily. I cursed it silently and it swore back, seething at its hunger. Just like all the yesterdays. Last year was better, before the court, but everything after that was rationed. I wondered if it was time for lunch yet. She shrugged but her shoulders didn’t. They were locked in place, hands fidgeting gently.
“Darling, turn around and let me look at you.”
She slowly came into view, her small frame revolving into existence, salty edges, glistening brightly.
“I know it isn’t what you wanted to hear.”
Blistering rays shot out and through me, filling my heart with rage, light, fire and smouldering regret. She nodded. “It’s ok, I’m used to it.”
I reached for her hand and she let me hold it for a moment before I felt her resisting the pulse to pull away, letting me hold her some more. She’ll fly away sooner than I will be ready. The dread fills me daily, even though I probably have years left. But my skittering future failure haunts me.