My love of literary escapism seeded young, when my Grandmother taught me how to use her old typewriter. After days merged into months that turned to years, click-clackating away, and proudly taking my first ‘novel’ in a battered old briefcase to show the dinner ladies at school, I knew I’d found my home.
My poems were published in a number of anthologies, though my family often wondered why they were so bleak. That big heavy head on my tiny little shoulders loved to look at ships in glass bottles and imagine how the sailors trapped inside must feel, or contemplate the wildlife in the countryside around me and imagine its extinction.
At 17 I was chosen to be part of the Writing Squad, a programme designed to support the next generation of writers in the North of England. But after a decade of maudlin poetry and unfinished first chapters I lost interest in fiction and started writing music, theatre and arts reviews for Now Then Manchester, BRASH, Cornerhouse’s Quarterly Guide, Kemptation and various other publications. You can read a selection of these at Contently.com.
After completing a BA in English and Drama and an MA in Performance, Screen and Visual Studies at Manchester University I’d had enough of facts and scholarship. So in Jan 2015 I returned to my first love, fiction, and that’s when things got delightfully weird.
My first published short story Mother’s Nature appears in Martian Migraine Press‘s ‘Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis‘ – released May 2016 and I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting homecoming.
“When I slept that night I wove a patchwork of dreams. My mother came to me, covered in mildew and smiling through a mouthful of foam. She’d been sharpening her fingertips with a whetstone and I marveled at her cleverness, eagerly doing the same. We sat in silence, honing our bones to pointed pins, threading our hands with muscle stripped from her thighs. Overhead the sky was dying, brown oil slicks spreading across its surface. Time to start again. She promised me that nothing ever goes to waste and we stitched oceans to oceans as the clouds dropped like bombs. Floundering monsters opened heavy lids, then clambered on the land like babies learning to walk, dragging blankets of crimson waves behind them. Every gill-less thing that ever was suffocated under that mantle and we sat patiently, watching them sink, our fingers twitching in anticipation.”
Mother’s Nature – Stefanie Elrick