Ahead of herself,
grey squirrel in white apron
gathers winter food.
abandons cooked chicken egg
next to her dugout.
In June meadow land,
she meets her silly shadow
and it makes her laugh.
Winter’s black dog locked in cage;
birds, bees, butterflies abound.
I dedicate this tanka poem to my shadow, which needs locking up in a cage permanently, if it can’t behave itself.
Last week, I reached the conclusion that I was flogging a dead horse with the juvenile fiction market; I just don’t write the type of novel that appeals to contemporary children or young adults. Okay, full stop and amen to that.
Fast forward to this week, by which time my shadow had convinced me that I should give up novel-writing altogether.
On Monday morning, I went to check the results of the First Three Pages of a Novel Competition in The University of Winchester Writers’ Festival. As I scrolled down the page in search of them, my shadow said, “You’re deluded if you expect to find your name there, considering you’re probably up against brilliant writers, including MA creative writing students.” Then I read this…
Highly Commended: ‘Counting Magpies’ – Sarah Potter
To my utter amazement, I had reached the top six with the opening pages and synopsis of my adult speculative fiction novel. But it gets better, because in the reviewer feedback, amid some wonderfully encouraging comments, it said the magic words
…shades of Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman.
Well, those are some “shades” I can deal with; the sun has definitely got his hat on and is coming out to play.