Secrets…

Thanks to Charlotte Castle for a Facebook link to the PostSecret website – a glorious find.

People send anonymous secrets on postcards and these are collated into books (available via the website). The display on the website itself changes daily, but there’s an archive too.

Some are poignant, some funny, some discomforting – all are stories in miniature; tiny graphic flash fiction. They’re quite beautiful.

C S Lewis said, miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. These postcards – their tiny summations of big stories – perfectly illustrate this. We hear, see and read details about other people and their lives constantly. Swamped with information, impact can be lost and it takes something simple to hit home and make us think.

One of today’s offerings was hand-written on a postcard showing a black and white movie clip of two men in suits pointing handguns. It read: She lied, I NEVER Raped her. So simple, so poignant and behind those six words, an event – a story – the impact of which doubtless spreads beyond the two people directly involved.

The fiction writer is forever seeking these small nuggets – shrinking down the noise of all we see, hear and understand about people to find these simple core notes. Once we’ve found them, and have our pitch, we expand them again. But for us, the trick is expanding into a more controlled noise, so that this essential nugget isn’t lost as it often is in life.

The postcard at the top of this blog I thought intriguing. It triggers a thousand stories.

The one on the left just resonated personally… I know. Pathetic, isn’t it?

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On being a Townie…

Having recently moved to the delightful town of Shrewsbury, I am a Townie again and it’s Grand.

Silence, broken periodically by the thunder of a milk-tanker passing the house at 80mph or a nearby cow in labour pain, has been replaced with the glorious revelry of Friday night drunks. Just now a party of hens has staggered by, singing badly but with commendable enthusiasm – an exultant symbol of Life (though I wouldn’t want their heads in the morning).

We can walk everywhere – river, park, shops, restaurants, theatre, school… in fact the latter is so close to the house that once I’ve taught my country bumpkin children a bit of traffic sense so they can see themselves over the road, I shan’t even need to get dressed until it’s time to nip to the Deli for elevensies.

I was, towards the end of our rural life, going quietly insane. Whilst village life and a small school were quite brilliant when the children were small, we’d all pretty much outgrown the Good Life and the negatives were beginning to niggle. I was utterly sick of the sight of green fields (I know, I know, it’s an awful admission) and the sound of silence, and it was a royal pain in the bum to have to get in the car just to buy bread.

We miss our lovely friends – though we’re not far away and they all have an open invitation – and the dogs miss the rats. But other than that, life here is just Grand. Of course, there is a potential downside: a person can’t spend much money in a shopless village, but in a town full of designer shops… Well. So far I’m being very good.

But last week I saw this gorgeous coat in a little boutique…