Handing in semester 1 module for the MA in Creative Writing
Taking 2nd prize in the HE Bates short story competition
You can read her story 'Ancient Wing' here and the winning story by Anne Corlet - a wonderful piece which resonates with the truth of what makes a long-term relationship work (even in space!). Della Galton was the Head Judge for the competition and you can read her write-up of the winning stories here. Della also has an interesting post from HE Bates competition chair, Morgen Bailey, with some sensible advice on entering writing competitions, click here to read.
If you want to know the inspiration behind the story, then read on:
Ancient Wing is a modern re-telling of an Anglo Saxon myth, the story of the swan maiden, Olrun, and Aegl the archer. The swan maidens appear in other European legends, including the Norse Valkyries, so the story seems to resonate across many cultures. As a child one of my most beloved books was a beautifully illustrated fairytale telling once again the legend of the swan maidens.
For some time I had the title 'Ancient Wing' whirling round my head, but without a story to hang it on. On a seafront run I felt the urge to hold out my arms, as if I were launching myself over the sea. This prompted a thought about the Worthing Birdman competition, which runs every August off the end of the pier and suddenly I had a story about Irena leaping off the pier to re-join her swan sisters.
In chatting with my writing buddy, Wendy Clarke, it turned out her daughter had actually taken part in the annual Birdman competition and jumped off the pier dressed as a phoenix. I can't remember if she'd told me this before I wrote Ancient Wing or not, whatever the timeline it's evidence of synchronicity in action. The photographs on this post are provided by kind permission of Wendy. Above right is her daughter, the Phoenix, about to fly off the pier. The other two photos are the Phoenix before (right) and then after the event (below left) - doesn't she look happy? Makes you wonder if we should all have a go ...