Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Welcome to my new website! It was designed and built by my talented brother, Andrew Mackintosh (Little Po Design) who – conveniently – does this kind of thing for a living. We’re still fiddling with the details and eventually there will be a brand new blog/newsletter and Midatlantic will become an archive, but, for now, I hope the website will serve as a handy introduction to me and a showcase for my published work with links to all of my stories that are available online along with a gallery of pictures of me reading my stories at various events.

As some of you know, 2018 has been a red letter year for me in terms of writing. In April, I found out to my utter astonishment that I’d won the 2018 Fish Flash Fiction Award with a story called The Chemistry of Living Things. And at the end of October, I was equally thrilled to discover I’d won the October 2018 round of the Bath Flash Fiction Award with a story called Siren

These wins along with other competition placings and journal publications this year have been immensely gratifying after many long years of toil, and these successes feel every bit as good as I'd hoped. But ironically, I’m glad they haven't come till now. I believe I’m a better writer because of my many years of practice and, particularly, these recent years of writing flash fiction. My prose is now tighter and more disciplined in form but looser in terms of vocabulary and image. Sometimes it just takes a person this long to be good enough.  

Many years ago, I was working with a young Korean guy who offered to throw the I Ching for me. It’s an ancient Chinese method of divination based on a text that is around 3,000 years old. He said, “Think of a question you’d really like to be answered and hold it in your mind. Don’t tell me what it is, even after I give you the answer.” So I asked myself the question, “Will I ever have any success as a writer?” He assigned values to three coins and then threw them six separate times until he’d created a hexagram. Having added up the values of the hexagram, he consulted the text and said, “The answer to your question is ‘Yes, but late.’”

I know I still have far to go, but this year has taught me to have faith that, late though this clearly is in my life, the potential is there, and now I have to earn it. So the work goes on - which is ultimately the greatest satisfaction of all. 

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