Carlton was a diminutive man with a rotund belly and a shock of tawny hair that swished from side to side as he shifted his head like a curious sparrow. He would drift through the working days in our publishing company brushing past his colleagues wordlessly in perfumed high-rise elevators, impossibly tight hallways and the tearoom where everyone gathered at mid-morning for an extra caffeine fix. He designed book covers for manuscripts that wove magical realist tales of invisible animals and children lost in ethereal kingdoms – fantasy worlds that seemed to give him sustenance, something maybe his surrounding environment couldn’t.Continue reading “Picture Frame by Tim Frank”
When we received this work we were undecided what to do with it. We knew that we wanted to publish such a powerful and emotional piece of writing but, in fairness, it isn’t what we would normally class as a story. I will be honest and say that it moved me to tears.
Anyway, fate took a hand. We were scheduling this week at the time and when better to publish this than Remembrance Day.
His name was Maxwell Max Dugan and this is his story, but only covers those disturbing and warful years between 1941 to 1947, just seven years chockfull of battles, combat, explosions, heroic people, deadly people on a world-wide rampage, and means of salvage, at least of the souls, if nothing else.
So, Hugh now joins the teeny tiny group – well I say group – there’s only one other, of writers with 100 posts on the site. CONGRATULATIONS. It is fair to say that it has probably been harder for Hugh. As editors I think we are tougher on ourselves than we are on other authors. We are so keen not to be seen to be showing any sort of positive bias that we are brutal with each other. However, Hugh always accepts rejections and edit suggestions with good humour, humility and professionalism.
He is the backbone of Literally Stories, he has kept on going through his own personal traumas, never letting what is happening in his life get in the way of his work on the site. He has been an incredible rock when the rest of us have had our own dramas, kind, sympathetic and stoic (hahahahaha – his hate word – ha) and he makes the work, which at times can feel overwhelming, worthwhile and rewarding. As well as the reading and emails, Hugh comments on the stories and together with other of us give feedback to authors who have requested such or who we feel deserve an explanation as to our decisions or a suggested edit. He writes almost all the Saturday roundup posts and let’s be honest they are hilarious and a brilliant end to the week, even though the times when he says ‘That’s it there, Diane. Sorry’ I do quake in my boots.
I have never actually met Hugh, or Nik in person, or Adam or Tobias for that matter, but I count them among dear friends, but Hugh, and Nik are the blokes I want to have a drink with, the blokes I can count on to unload to when life throws cabbages at me and I just want to say thanks and, Hugh, my life is richer for knowing you. You are a fearless, uncompromising writer and I admire that more than I can say and many, many Congratulations on reaching this outstanding milestone.
Never Being Confused
It was a typical day in the life of Jim and Debbie, the parents of SeptemberThe28th.
They were on The High Street championing their offspring’s cause as usual. They wore their ‘Asexual Is Not Fluid UCUNT!’ Tshirts, The back of which said ‘LGBTQI+Forever!!‘ And underneath that was ‘I am not a label!’
My Family Values – Tess Overland
I love my family.
My family is the most important thing in my life.
My family is the wings that keep me aloft.
My family, sometimes, on rare occasions, can be a bit too much for me.
The accumulative effects of dealing with my family can be exhausting.
My family is getting on my last fucking nerve.
This is one of two stories that I’ve been given free gratis with. I really do appreciate that and that is why I wanted to explain why I chose this one.
I was playing around, for so many reasons, with changed perceptions and this is what I came up with.
My fellow editors felt the content was too strong but it had to be for what I was going for. I wanted to see if I could alter a reader’s sympathies and to do that I needed the situation to be so abhorrent that they would need a real change of heart.
I wondered if we always fall down on one side or another with our sympathies or were there situations where, until all was revealed, our initial gut feelings may not be relied on and would be changed not just dramatically but more than once.
In my suitcase there were six pairs of knickers. Six was the number I’d need for a week of work, assuming that one night I’d swim or go to the gym and it wouldn’t be outrageous to wash a couple of pairs in the hotel shower.
I’d packed four tops, all of them black. Jackie in Rentals had told me that if you wear all black nobody notices. Once, she’d worn the same black shirt every day for a month and no one raised an eyebrow. Then she wore a yellow shirt twice in a week and four people said don’t you have another top?
Tammy had received her call back from NHS24. She went through the formalities and had been put onto the triage nurse.
She felt a tear as the pain got worse. Explaining herself for the third time didn’t help.
“Can’t you send a doctor out to see me. I don’t mind that.”
“Tammy, I’ve been trying to tell you, a doctor can’t help you. You need to be in hospital. You’re blood pressure needs monitored, bloods taken, medication decided on. We need to do something about the infection. You can’t mess about with it. We need to keep an eye on you.”
She thought for a second, but it was a no-brainer.
Barry sat on the bed as he read the letter.
“Well that’s old Jim away.”
She sat down and put her arm around him.
“Are you okay?”
“I suppose so.”
The weather was the culprit. Thunderstorms stranded Ella’s date in Boston. Flooding in South Carolina kept her son’s girlfriend in Charleston. Ella’s planned evening of formal dress, fine dining, forgettable speeches, and priceless facetime with clients and potential clients was a must-attend event.