LISP 2022 Short Story LISP Finalists, The Swan Song of the Hay Ensemble by Alan Kennedy
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I retired from my job as a storyteller two and a half years ago and live in San Sebastian, in the Basque country. My days are my own and I choose my activities from the broad offer there is here. I spend five hours a week learning Basque, my partner's mother tongue. I'm also part of a writing group (in Spanish) which meets every week. Apart from that, I play music, bagpipes, txalaparta (Basque percussion insyrument).
- When and how did you get into writing?
I try and write at least an hour a day. I have my little study where I do most of my work but I often write on my mobile. I always listen to what i've written on the voice app in Word as I love playing with rhythm. I started writing about six years ago and have had several short stories published, two of them on this page.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
As I said, I write at least one hours a day, but try and stay at it for two or three. I dont always manage, though. It's important to sit down and do something, even if it's just editing or organising. In my writing group, the organiser will give us some stimulus, be it a photo or other seeds.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
I get a great satisfaction seeing my work in print. Mostly because it means that people, apart from my family and friends have read and enjoyed it.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?
The best thing about writing is the chance to invent and then immerse yourself in a different world.
- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
I started writing The Swan Song of the Hay Ensemble at the beginning of the pandemic. I had been studying the Black Death for another story but wanted to include a lighter touch so I used the outline of the Ugly Duckling. As in many of my stories, there is a musical content. In this one, singing is prohibited because it is considered a virus spreader and the Hay family, being a singing group, live isolated in the forest.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a story?
Sometimes, it's hard to keep going. In my case, I usually have three or four stories on the go at the same time. Depending on my mood, I go from one to the other. But, I try and do something, even if it's just changing the font size.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The best thing about competitions is, they give you deadlines. I always work best if I have a specific time to do it in. This is also the most challenging aspect.
- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories to LISP?
I like submitting to LISP because, not only do the first three have the possibility of seeing their work published, but the runners-up too. Also, they give you an opportunity to explain a bit about your process.