Paul has got the hump today, coz it appears I did not win, nor even "run up", in Biscuit Publishing's Short Fiction Contest. I am further miffed by the fact that, although the winners were announced today on their site, their mugshots, bios etc are already in place, meaning that those who won knew they'd won yonks ago, whilst the rest of us were still refreshing the announcements page like total lemons until well into mid-morning. As if, in this age off mass communication (and a little thing called group e-mail, they couldn't have dashed our hopes that little bit sooner. Perchance I would be starting to feel better by now, instead of feeling like shit. I do not have the time and leisure to feel like shit. I'm a fulltime carer, and my job is to be relentlessly chipper.
The question, now, is whether to enter their current "Flash Fiction" contest, or to do what I do best, and sulk. Because most of my work was generated in response to creative writing class exercises, with a necessarily restricted word count, most of it does rather qualify as "flash" (which, so far as Biscuit is concerned, is up to 750 words. Most of what I submitted to the other contest barely scraped the lower limit of 1000 words. Maybe "flash" is more me, or at least more like the kind of work I've been producing in class.
Or maybe I'm shite. Who knows? One of the limitations of the class I attend, although I can see the reason for it, is that it is designed to encourage. Don't get me wrong, Lovely Barbara provides fantastic and detailed feedback on how things can be improved, and on points of grammar, etc, where necessary. But it's also part of her job to keep us interested by accentuating the positive. Once, when asked whether assignments would be graded, she explained that this is not appropriate for an introductory class, on the grounds that some students might be disheartened, and a competitive element might creep in. In this class, everybody gets full marks!"
I can absolutely see the sense in this. But I think for a while during the Spring Term, earlier this year, I was letting all the praise for my "really great" work go to my head, before I noticed that everybody else was "great" too. All the time. I need to keep attending this class, but I think I also need a class where I can get some brutally honest information about whether I'm any good and whether I'm getting any better.
Anyhoo, to cheer myself up, I've been working on my new comic/"graphic short story character. He's a black rat who's survived a shipwreck by finding a small box to use as a life-raft, and isn't too sure where he's going to end up...