Writer-Performer based in the North of England. A joyous, flawed mess.
Please read my stories and enjoy. And if you can, please leave a tip. Money raised will be used towards funding a one-woman story-telling, comedy show.
The Portrait of Aphra Luscombe
In the maelstrom of assessment and diagnosis all Lois could find was loss. High functioning autism. Those words felt more pointed than expected and for Lois, they signalled her failure as a parent – the clues she had missed, how much she had misunderstood her own daughter, the torment she might have inadvertently caused her. Treasured memories were tortured by this new information. Aphra had spoken early. She had an enviable vocabulary. But Aphra had never been able to communicate what she was really feeling, her confusion, her fear at not doing the right thing, her panic at making a mistake, her need not to be laughed at. And now as a teenager she was beyond the usual sullen. She appeared almost unreachable.
For those of you who don’t know, Noel Clark was a respected actor, writer and producer in the UK film and television industry. However, some excellent, respectful and careful journalism has unearthed accusations by 20 women that show him to be a sleazy killer of dreams. The story was published in the Guardian on Thursday 29 April and already the narrative is turning towards whether his career will ever recover. His career. His career.
The day before she got her scar, Jane had been playing in the street with her little sister Lizzy. It was a residential road with large, unkempt, grey Victorian terraces looming up each side. The houses had been built as family homes, but many had recently been sectioned off into separate bedsits or had become student house-share rentals. The houses got noticeably tidier the further up the hill they were. It was cold enough to need coats, but not so cold that fingers hurt. They were playing catch, back and forth. The sisters smiled at passers-by, who for the most part were strangers. There was a hardness to this new city, that they were still negotiating.
Bellows and Wren
It was a stunning, book-lined office. Doctor Bellows had a grand view of the sea. He had been accused of living in an ivory tower, but it was more of a fortified castle. Sitting at his large antique desk, he could peer over his computer screen and through the triptych of deep-silled windows which made the landscape more dramatic. Hard work had staked his claim to this enviable refuge from the bickering of academic life. He had had original ideas, performed countless experiments all written up in high-impact journals to prove he deserved his leather bound desk chair and the brimming bookshelves.
A Sauna in West Berlin
Do you recognize the phrase, “Kein Schweiz auf Holz”? If so, you have probably visited a German sauna. For the uninitiated, it translates as “No Sweat on the Wood”.
Christine was sunny and bright. She smiled at strangers. One teenaged summer holiday, she volunteered for a project that provided respite for families with disabled children. Against her adolescent instinct, she would wake early and make her way to the local primary school. Christine and the project coordinator worked in a small, windowless room with school desks, low chairs and brightly coloured art supplies. Children usually stayed with the project for half a day, but Paul and Angela were booked in for a full week. Christine had read their files and looked up the syndrome in the coordinator’s hand book. They had a progressive condition so that before their brains had matured, they began a physical decline and developed dementia. Paul and Angela’s bodies and brains were collapsing. There was no cure. The cause was a rare genetic disorder. Christine had already outlived their life expectancy.
Hannah and Alice had arranged a date. Given the grief-stricken context of a pandemic, the setting was a computer screen. They mimed clinking their glasses and smiled “cheers”