Friday, 23 February 2007

A Blast from The Past

Last year, 2006, I had a short story, Out of the Valley, published by Velvet Mafia ( ). Apart from the usual pleasure at being published, deep down I felt a wonderful sense of satisfaction.

I originally wrote Out of the Valley fifteen years ago, only weeks after the break-up of my first relationship. At the time, it really was writing as therapy. Basically I took four real-life incidents, four things that happened to me as I didn't get over my ex, and added two further fictional scenes that had an almost desperately positive feel to them. Writing it went a long way to helping me deal with my feelings, that almost crushing failure that my first relationship went belly-up so quickly; when I’d finished it I just put it to one side.

I didn't exactly forget about it but I did put it on the back burner. Then, last year, I was looking for something that might be suitable for Velvet Mafia I came back to it. I re-read it and found it was about an obsessive love, a man not getting over his ex - was I really like that? Well I re-wrote it, added the adult scenes (i.e. sex scenes) that had only been hinted at, changed the ending to take out the over romantic one (adding one more fitting to the character) and then sent it off to Velvet Mafia. After some further re-writes they published it.

It was re-reading Out of the Valley that I realised how much I’d changed and how much my writing style has changed. In re-writing it I also found myself changing the narrator, he's no longer me but then I’m not the person who originally wrote it.

For so long I wrote in a vacuum, writing short stories that I never showed to anyone. Out of the Valley was one of those stories. It is satisfying that, years later, it still contained something good and, with some work, was able to be published.

(If you read it please be warned that it does contain adult themes and senses)


Nursing Standard’s Gay History Month Special

Welcome to the first entry on my new blog (Yes, yes, I know well behind everyone else, even Paris Hilton was here before me). I intend to keep it as a journal of my writing career to date so, if you’re interested, you can follow it. I’ll try and keep this updated as regularly as possible but no real promises.

The most important thing I have done this year is act as guest editor, for the second time, for Nursing Standard magazine ( on their Gay History month special. I wrote the editorial, a career’s article (on gay men’s barriers to accessing health) and a book review. It’s hard to say what a privilege this is, Nursing Standard is one of the biggest British nursing magazines and they asked me back to be the guest editor again – I guess they like me. I learnt so much from being the guest editor first time, doing so gave my writing career the kick start it needed and gave me a much appreciated boost of confidence. So often I write and write, finally screw up my confidence to actually send off one piece and then never hear anything back about it, or worse still get a two line rejection letter (“Your writing does not fit our style”!!) months down the line. With Nursing Standard the feedback was there and then and they were more then happy with my work.

Afraid my novel has been pushed to the back burner, somewhat, but watch this space, as they say.