Fiction writer with some non-fiction opinions. Writing often about that funny old thing called grief. Also trying to represent the wonderful, and often woeful, world of LGBTQ+ love.
Why Did I Care?
The 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO competition has set attendance and viewing records. It’s been accompanied by a commendable and long-needed rise in campaigning against misogyny and online abuse, including Not Her Problem and Her Game Too. These are fantastic strides in the right direction, and send an overwhelmingly positive message to future generations of players and fans, of any gender, that they are welcome participants in the world’s most popular sport. It’s wonderful to see how far we’ve come in respecting women as athletes. But this progress also serves as a stark reminder to me of my participation in a shameful culture of holding women back.
Why Are We Still Doing This?
Growing up, I often heard the expression “woman beater”. It was said of certain neighbours or of other men my family knew. The frequency with which it was used was, on reflection, concerning. What has become as worrying, with time, is the fact that it was the tip of a euphemistic blade that hid so much more. The expression, which described the cold, hard fact that a man physically abused women, was the closest anyone came to the truth. More often than not, when the adults in my life spoke of these men, they would sanitise the violence. Whether for their own benefit or that of the perpetrators, I don’t know. Tom down the road “knocked his wife about”; Dick would “come home and give his wife a slap”; Harry's wife would occasionally “wake up black and blue”, as if she were a tie-dyed shirt that had simply changed colour overnight. Nobody, of course, did anything about it. It didn’t occur to me until recently that society, or at least the one in which I grew up, had been so willing to adapt its vocabulary to male violence.
West by East
Digby wakes as his head crashes into the cognac cabinet. He scrambles to his feet. Blinking, he raises his fists and waits for his vision to adjust. He’s alone. What he thought was his master’s study is actually a small carriage, the cabinet its panelling. The [redacted] who’d forced their way into the house at midnight, mouths set and expressions grim, have disappeared.
Why Are You Telling Me This?
(Content warnings: food, diet, weight loss, body image) A female friend once remarked that she was envious of men for their ability to strike up a conversation with other men – at almost any social event and at any level of acquaintance – about football. It got me thinking: do women have an equivalent?
Why Are You Still Watching That Crap?
‘Why are you still watching that shit?’ If you watch Love Island, you’ll be familiar with this refrain from people who don’t watch it, and imagine themselves to be more intelligent for their abstinence. If you’re someone who just doesn’t like it, fair enough. Love Island is absolutely not to everybody’s taste. But what’s really annoying is people who criticise it just to try and look clever. There’s more to it than you realise.
Love grows still
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Ah, I see the corners of your mouth twitch. You think yourself familiar with tales of this nature, but I fear I must disappoint you. Come closer, that you might hear me better. The wind blows with ill will, tonight, and we would do well to stay near each other. I feel it pulling at my words, seeking to carry them to those who would despise our presence here, those who would stop me telling their secrets.
Politics is Murder
He opened the letter while last night's post-red-wine decision was in the shower. He couldn't remember his name. Wasn't sure if he'd known it last night, in fact. Red always made him horny, and shower boy had been eager and, more importantly, right there in the pub. He couldn't be arsed with the apps that everyone was mad for these days. He preferred to fuck the old fashioned way: just him and someone else, without getting Silicon Valley involved.
Politics is Murder
The thud of the envelope on the mat should have given away the weight of the situation. That’s what she thought afterwards, anyway, when she was practising how she’d tell the story to the press if she ever got out. As it had actually happened, she hadn’t heard the post arrive that morning. She’d been lying on the bathroom floor, two fingers inside herself, trying to work out whether her cervix had prolapsed.