First off this week: The HISSAC Winners anthology is now out, on Kindle, and in paperback format. Search for HISSAC Winners, and it’s sure to arise! What is it though? What it is, is ten years of HISSAC competition winners (or, what it says on the tin, to be imprecise!). Fifty short stories from almost as many writers – and of course, BHD is chuffed to be among ’em!
And another thing! Writer Vivien Jones will be reading at Aspatria Library this coming Tuesday (7.30pm, £5 on the door).
Vivien is a poet, playwright, musician, and writer of short stories. Among which, the two collections White PoppiesPerfect Ten are favourites of mine. Both are available from Pewter Rose Press, which you can find a link to on the left!

Thirdly…… There’s a new BHD collection of short stories, ‘Departures,10 short stories by Brindley Hallam Dennis‘ offered in a kindle edition at

Why not treat yourself to a copy….and treat me to a review if you like ’em (and even if you don’t!)
The point of doing things might not be that they are done. Instead it might be that the doing of them, and the having done, gives an opportunity for people other than, as well as the doers, to interact with each other. This would mean that the discussions we have about the done things, and our reactions to them, are more important to us, than the things themselves. I don’t suppose I’m the first person to think this (nor the best communicator of the idea). The thought grew out of last week’s blog, or rather, out of the comments that followed it. All that stuff about rules, and stories never ending. Reality never ends (except, so far as we know, for each of us), but short stories most certainly do, and rules being broken leads on to something new, or to something counterfeit.
Then I watched one of the Six Nations Rugby matches – which game, so myth, or that old bunk called history  would have it – came out of such a breaking.
There was the usual half-time discussion among the pundits. Do you ever sing in the bath (or shower)? I think that’s probably a good thing to do. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, it’s probably a better thing to do than to listen to anyone else singing, anywhere. To do a good thing badly, I would suggest, is better than to witness (or consume) someone else doing it, however superlatively. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth laying that doing before an astonished public!
Where’s all this going? Well, towards the thought, that we seem to have surrendered the discussion of done things – like games of rugby, and everything else – into the hands of ‘experts’, and that however good they are at doing the discussing, it’s not really doing us as much good as we did it ourselves (too). What’s all this got to do with short stories?
Well, it strikes me that we don’t discuss short stories the way we might. We might do it the way those pundits discussed the first half of that rugby game…looking at what bits work, and which bits don’t. And if we do, that would be getting a good deal more out of it, than listening to others doing it (even if we’re singing in the bath).
So far so good….but I’ve got an agenda of my own here, which is to do with the idea that, as an ‘art form’ the short story must have ‘forms’, just as poetry does. There must be types of short story, just as there are types of poem. You don’t have to be an expert or a pundit to make the statement, that’s a sonnet, or to ask the question, isn’t that a villanelle? Even if we don’t know the name for it, we can tell a pantoum from a ballad. Is there an equivalent for the short story? I’m not suggesting we create one, but that we look for it, and don’t just leave that looking to the pundits.
Or is the short story ‘form’ simply that formlessness of the casual anecdote, equivalent to Frost’s game of tennis ‘without a net’? The unstructured, random telling of a tale from life or imagination, without art, without artifice? Interesting, maybe compelling, astounding, or any other adjective you want to use to express your amazement at what it tells you, but not built, not made, not Art.
I rather hope it isn’t.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA