It’s not often that I write short stories that I can only describe as “little freaks.” It’s even less often that they get published. Reader, the feeling of seeing my little freak on the page…
…It’s simply immense.
thi wurd is a Glasgow-based independent publisher that had its beginnings as a collection of creative writing groups in 2001. It evolved into the literary publisher it now is in 2012, and has been going from strength to strength since. The team have worked with the likes of Tom Leneoard and James Kelman in their years in publishing. They place ambitious focus on shining a spotlight on the alternative and experimental. This is clear from their previous submissions callouts.
It was such a thrill and a rush to find out they had agreed to publish a short story of mine. The short story was the first thing I had written in a long time. It was entirely different from what I would usually write, and it became surprisingly dear to me. I wrote it, polished it, and held it close before I flung it out into the world of submissions.
To hear that thi wurd wanted to take my little freaky deeky story, THE SKIN THAT IS MINE…it just felt so surreal. Over and over again I read my acceptance email, unable to believe that they were welcoming my story to their anthology, Alternating Current.
What a rush!
I remember getting my acceptance email while I was at work. I accidentally read the first line wrong and thought I had been rejected. Since I had been checking my inbox every day for this, I felt immediately deflated.
And then I hit the fucking ceiling as I realised I’m just too lazy to read emails properly. My little freak was in!
Every day since finding out that they would take my little story was a countdown. Although I’d had a couple of poems printed here and there in print books, it was still ultimately a different dream to see a short story with my name attributed to it in print.
I spent time reading previously published works from thi wurd and could feel nothing more than disbelief and gratitude that I’d be sharing space with so many fantastic authors.
What’s more, there would be a book launch! A night welcoming these amazing authors and a chance to hear their poems and short stories.
Oh my god, book launch!
Alternating Current launched on the 26th of November, 2022, at Civic House in Cowcaddens. The place was packed, but still managed an intimate atmosphere. The vibes and the energy there was so unreal as readers and writers alike giddily anticipated a night of new lit.
Though I was happy to read an excerpt of THE SKIN THAT IS MINE, I was happier still to meet writers and hear passages of stories like Sambucca with Peggy by Katie Paterson and Pickled Thighs by Jamie Villacampa. The talent present at the launch was unforgettable and insane.
Seriously, what a thrill to bring forth my weird little baby short story THE SKIN THAT IS MINE and to see it mingle every amazing featured piece in Alternating Current.
THE SKIN THAT IS MINE
A word for the short story, because I feel indulgent and I like to remember what I clearly like referring to as my strange child.
I wrote THE SKIN THAT IS MINE during a block. It had been a year since I graduated from my creative writing course at uni, and I was struggling to maintain both a community and a motivation for writing. The whole pandemic and lockdown situation wasn’t helping much either.
But, I was still reading. I was consuming all sorts of stories. I was on the tailend of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, a novel that the bookseller who sold it to me had described as “seriously bleak.” (She was so right)
Hard to read as it was (complimentary), I really came to admire the book and its pre-stream of consciousness storytelling method. As we read the narrator’s thoughts pretty much as they enter her head, it can often be difficult to decipher her innermost thoughts. Especially when we witness these thoughts forming during traumatic moments in her life.
I became obsessed with the pre-stream of consciousness writing style
When recommending this book, I often recommend reading it in as little sittings as possible, which I believe is doable. I recommend this because the story telling method creates this language which I found easier to understand when I spent more time with it.
When I read for longer periods, it got easier. When I started again and again after shorter spells of reading, I had to scratch at the walls to re-enter the narrative.
I have a lot to say about this style, which is why I wrote my story in a similar style. I found it to be a really fun and (hopefully) effective way to explore unreliable narration and madness.
As I’ve said, I’ve never written a short story like this: something that’s maybe not super linear or comprehensible. As much as I loved it and took pride in it when I finished it, I was scared that it wouldn’t be received at all by anyone.
I’ve grown to admire Eimear McBride, so to suppose that I could imitate her style and come out with something original and maybe good felt like a longshot.
Which brings me back to thi wurd and Alternating Current. I am so grateful for Alan and the team for taking a chance on my little freak. Seriously, thank you for giving the little weirdo a home. I’m so excited to continue watching thi wurd as it skyrockets.