New Writing by E.R. Murray on Terrain.org

Terrain.org, a journal of built and natural environments, is one of my favourite journals that deals with how the environment impacts our lives and how we impact it in turn – its content is so varied but always fresh, exciting and of an exceptional standard. So I’m truly delighted to have a piece of flash fiction, Discrimen, recently included.

Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments logo

Set in West Cork, Discrimen is a tale of loss, love, and hope. It’s a short read, and free – so please share with people you think might enjoy it! 

Publishing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interview and letters, Terrain.org is a real treasure trove, so have a good look around – and do share any of your favourite pieces you discover in the comments below.

And if you’re looking to submit your own work, you can do so here:
https://www.terrain.org/submit/

Happy reading, happy writing! x

Mobbed (a flash fiction piece)

KCPairHis dad had always said that a home wasn’t a home without a few ducks. Now, Declan wished he’d never opened his mouth about that. Amazing how foolish a few whiskies at a wake could make you.

Victor Sullivan hadn’t been an hour in the ground before his doting son had shared the anecdote with friends and well wishers. Within a week, there was an army of ducks in Declan’s care and yet another red face to contend with.

“Erm, here you go, lad,” murmurs Old Pat as he hands over a Khaki Campbell. A good layer. Over 300 a year. Better than the Saxony that Mrs O’Regan presented earlier; friendlier too, according to the booklet he’d been forced to buy.

“As if the funeral costs weren’t enough,” his wife had grumbled.

“Thanks, Pat,” Declan calls from behind the wriggling neck, before carrying the duck to the back garden and introducing it to the mob.

Wings flapping, the duck runs clumsily over young lettuce shoots and hides in the prized herb bed. Declan hopes it’s feeding on a juicy slug, rather than his basil. Marcy would like that as much as she liked his old man.

As the gate swings open, Declan crouches on his heels, sinking into the grass.

“Not another bloody useless duck,” tuts Marcy, eyes lifted to the heavens. “I swear, Declan, I won’t be back out here until they’re all gone.”

Following his wife’s gaze, Declan smiles. Maybe the old man was right.

 

(Originally shortlisted for the Anam Cara 250 word flash fiction competition, 2012, Theme: Garden of Eden)

It’s the little things that count

When you’re writing, you can feel like a lone wolf.

You spend hours typing away, hoping to produce something exciting, unique, thrilling… something special. Sometimes you’re delighted, other times disappointed. And on occasion, you’re happy if you can produce a piece that’s even readable next time you sit at the computer.

It’s no wonder that the pressures can tumble on top of you, making it difficult to see where you’re going next.

Winter seems to be a particularly difficult time for many writers. I’m hearing frequent complaints about how the inner critic is gaining in power as the nights draw in. Perhaps, like the wolf, we all feel more hungry and desperate for success as the nights lengthen and the chill spreads?

But remember – it’s up to us as writers to manage our mood and our workload. How we measure productivity, success and personal happiness depends upon our own attitude and approach.

So, don’t let the cold and dark get you down. See the long nights as a gift: a great opportunity to snuggle in and take advantage of extra writing time. And make sure you get plenty of fresh air.

Juggle your schedule to fit in as many outdoor hours as you can manage. I write full time, so it’s easy for me to jiggle my schedule to include a daily run, long walks and a bit of gardening. But just because something’s possible, it doesn’t mean it’s a given. We can all make excuses. I just make sure that I stick to my schedule because I ‘d get cabin fever if I didn’t.

Even if you work full time, fresh air and exercise are necessary. Try and squash in a walk to work, a lunchtime stretch of the legs, an after-work swim. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it. And whatever you do, don’t let the writing slip.

A good friend gave me some excellent advice the other day. She said,

“No matter what the bigger goals are, you need to get satisfaction from the little things you do every day. It’s the little things that count.”

After mulling this over, I realised how true her words were and I made the decision to try and appreciate the smaller things more every day. That means savoring the hot cup of tea, enjoying the extra writing time afforded by long nights, taking time over meals, admiring the scenery on my walks and runs and appreciating the people around me. Then unexpectedly, I got a nice surprise…

This week, I was delighted to find out that I was a runner up in the Easons Tiny Tall Tales competition. It’s not a major competition but it’s still a boost and like any other writing exercise, I learned something from it. The way I see it any little reminders like this really help a writer to keep going.

So – how will you keep your writing going and make this your best winter yet?

Mobbed: A Short Story

Mobbed

His dad had always said that a home wasn’t a home without a few ducks. Now, Declan wished he’d never opened his mouth about that. Amazing how foolish a few whiskies at a wake could make you.Victor Sullivan hadn’t been an hour in the ground before his doting son had shared the anecdote with friends and well wishers. Within a week, there was an army of ducks in Declan’s care and yet another red face to contend with.

Saxony ducks

“Erm, here you go, lad,” murmurs Old Pat as he hands over a Khaki Campbell. A good layer. Over 300 a year. Better than the Saxony that Mrs O’Regan presented earlier; friendlier too, according to the booklet he’d been forced to buy. “As if the funeral costs weren’t enough,” his wife had grumbled.

“Thanks, Pat,” Declan calls from behind the wriggling neck, before carrying the duck to the back garden and introducing it to the mob.

Wings flapping, the duck runs clumsily over young lettuce shoots and hides in the prized herb bed. Declan hopes it’s feeding on a juicy slug, rather than his basil. Marcy would like that as much as she liked his old man.As the gate swings open, Declan crouches on his heels, sinking into the grass.

“Not another bloody useless duck,” tuts Marcy, eyes lifted to the heavens. “I swear, Declan, I won’t be back out here until they’re all gone.”

Following his wife’s gaze, Declan smiles. Maybe the old man was right.

(This story was shortlisted for the Anam Cara flash fiction competition on Writing.ie. The criteria: a 250 word flash fiction piece on the theme of “Garden of Eden’. Congratulations to the winner, Runjhum Biswas)