LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection Short Story, 'The Mirror Pond' by Ruth Geldard
Can you please tell us about your daily life?
Writing – stone carving/drawing – writing - dog walking – writing interspersed with eating obvs, and given current seasonal and plague restrictions, driven to watching far too many benign comfort films – keeps the dog happy though.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I try to write every day even if it’s only a quick toxic rant or diary entry. I am an artist/writer hybrid given to writing in the margins of sketchbooks. Early on I wrote feature articles about painting for magazines and then book contributions for publishers like Dorling and Kindersley. During study for an MA some years ago, the writing began to take over, then on holiday I forgot my paints and wrote a picture instead. This changed everything and led to short stories published in the Momaya Press and Labello Press Anthologies and flash fiction in Spelk online publication. Since then, I have had work longlisted and shortlisted for the Fish Prize International Prize, and my story The Parrot Dress was given the Sapphire Award for Excellence in Contemporary Narrative and nomination for a Pushcart Prize. You can see my artwork here: www.ruthgeldard.com
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Oh you know – I take it in my stride.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a short story?
The hardest thing about writing a short story without doubt, is starting. I might have the seed of an idea for ages, before being confident enough to start writing. It takes time for that first nebulous idea to find its legs and be strong enough to live out on the page. Once there though, in the time between working on it and sending it out, it’s like having a gorgeous secret that you can’t wait to go to bed just to think about, definitely the best bit.
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?
The Mirror Pond began life as a painting done twenty odd years ago, of a new pond in my parents garden. I was not happy with the painting which didn’t begin to express what I felt about the pond at the time. I think the story is the same idea but in transition – another version in another medium, to try and get at the kernel of the initial feeling. A lot of my writing started life as a painting. This story yoyoed back and forth between competitions, with a couple of near misses, and each time I would polish and tweak it between outings, before finding it’s forever home here.
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short story?
I think the best tip I have is to cultivate patience. Writing a short story is a bit like cooking in that you need to assemble the best seasonal ingredients, look at lots of other people’s recipes, mix them all together fearlessly and then after cooking, allow for proper cooling down time.
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
Getting something placed is the best feeling of acceptance and a proper writing tonic – waiting for the results though, kidding yourself that you won’t let rejection affect you, that’s a hair shirt.
Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP?
Double yes, as this is the second piece placed in a L.I.S.P. competition, they have proved themselves to be people of great discernment obvs.