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Marge Herman, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story, 'Bestiary' by Marge Herman

Can you please tell us about your daily life? At the moment, my daily life is pinned to my chair and desk, delivering online teaching. I do get out for a breath of air, and enjoy going for walks in the countryside, and in the park near where I live: a great place for people watching, observing how everyone is valuing the natural environment, the well being offered by outside space and distanced interactions with others.

When did you start writing? How often do you write? I started when I was a child but have been writing more consistently in the last few years: I do about an hour a day, not always knowing what will emerge and waiting for that to be revealed by the process. I am new to publishing in terms of writing, so I am really thrilled to have had pieces published here and also by Fly on the Wall Press, in the Summer 2020 edition.

How does it feel to have your work recognised? I am at the stage where each piece of writing is a litmus test, firstly as I dip into the subject matter and put it into words, and then with publication, which means the protagonists' experience and journey have resonated with others.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Short Story? The short story form feels to me like a spring loaded capsule: I love its compactness, the construction process, and how a moment in a character’s life can be crystallised while reflecting facets of a bigger picture.

How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it? I have been working on Bestiary for about a year: I am interested in phrases in language, what they mean culturally but also within the dynamics of family and childhood.

Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short story? Listening and observing changes in behaviour, peculiarities, or habits. Thinking about where these come from and why? This is often a trigger for me. I guess being curious is part of that. The story I am writing at the moment came from a friend telling me about a relative, having left their country of origin to be closer to family, in a place which they said was ugly: I looked the place up out of interest, and was struck by connections between the geography of the place and aspects of the relative’s circumstances and state of isolation, in the midst of covid. It bugged me until I started writing it down and I have been caught up in process till last week. I am just having a break from it to get a bit of distance, before returning to the final tweaks.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? The best thing is having your work shared and reading the other submissions, discovering new voices.

Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP? Absolutely: I like its multidisciplinary vision, a real cross fertilisation.



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