22/10/2018 Grapes and People and Marching

This week has been full of other things than writing. Now the MA is all done and dusted I decided to pick the grapes from the vine that grows in our back garden. As you can see from the pics below, this year has been a bumper crop. More than bumper really – this summer was perfect for grape growing and we might never see the like again. This and because it seemed like a terrible waste to leave them only to the wasps and birds made us decide to try wine-making. We picked thousands and thousands – me, Nick and Granny Dot (who’d come to visit for the weekend.) When we were sick of the sight of grapes and more grapes I washed me feet and trod them (mine were the only feet small enough to fit in the bucket). We now have litres of grape juice fermenting in a huge plastic vat in the inglenook which Nick reckons will make about 24 bottles of vino. That was one week ago so today it will need passing through muslin to sift out the silt.

This weekend, whislt the yeast was doing its thang, we went on the Peoples’ March in London and I can honestly say I have never seen so many people in all my life. Yesterday’s newspapers said it was around 700,000, and it really did feel like it. And yet there was no trouble, no sense of menace like there was at the poll tax demo all those years ago. It was full of families with their pets and picnics and groups of people with a common cause, NHS workers, the elderly, the young. And loads of musicians. We were next to a troupe of drummers who were excellent and a bloke intermittently playing Ode to Joy on a trombone. I hope the powers that be sit up and take notice because 700k is a lorra, lorra people to ignore. I hope more people get involved next time . I can recommend it. I felt honoured and uplifted to be part of something so well-intentioned, and it got me to thinking about the wine and picking the grapes. Each teeny weeny fruit wouldn’t justify a single swallow, but put them all together and each little dribble becomes a gulp, becomes a glassful, becomes a cellar. Someone cleverer than me once said that no raindrop ever thinks it caused the flood.

17/10/2018 That’s a Wrap

Its eleven days since the final deadline for my MA course in creative writing at the OU and its finally started to hit home that that is very much that. Its so strange how you go from full on super-active, full-throttle writing and feeding back to absolutely nothing. My headspace feels like stark white noise fading to the echo that ricochets around an empty cave after the scream’s stopped sounding. I have so many short stories ripe for final polishing and sending out but don’t feel like engaging with them yet as I have some original flashes to write first. I’m going to enter the Story for Daniel Competition (see following link if you fancy entering too). Its such a heart-warming and poignant competition – the theme is hope – and that is such an important quality/emotion that we could all do with channelling at the moment in this crazy screwed-up modern world. https://gaynor69.wixsite.com/astoryfordaniel

As the MA and life and stuff-and-shit got in the way of me blogging about the wonderful Flash Festival that I attended this summer, thought I’d say a few words now. I had the best time ever meeting flash friends and heroes; attended exceptional workshops and met flash-zine ghoulmates in the form of Molotov Cocktail editors and comp winners. Below are some photos of me reading my winning Molotov flash up close and far away and the whole group of us Molotov’s outside the venue of the festival. It’s on again next year with a whole new host of people giving talks and leading workshops and I  wouldn’t miss it for the world. You can’t bflashfestivaltinymereadingook tickets yet but here’s the link for when they go on mJan-Kaneen-498x1024sale. If you’re interested in flash even one iota it is so worth every penny and this year they had some subsidised tickets too. https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/