A Brief Pause for a Micro Podcast

Photo by Cory Vincent on Unsplash

*Disclaimer. This is not my actual home studio because I don’t have one. Maybe I will one day though. (No I haven’t been looking up the usb microphones that Emily St John Mandel or Limmy use. That was someone else who looks like me) However, I did actually recently dip a toe into the water of podcast/audiobook/storytelling.

Micro is a podcast for short, but powerful writing

I have always wanted to hear one of my stores read aloud but it never occurred to me that I could be the one to do it. If you’ve ever wondered what my voice sounds like, now is your chance to find out! Please enjoy.

click here to hear me read ‘Minted’

Minted was first published by Dime Show Review back in 2019.

The episode on micropodcast.org was released on Thursday 4th February 2021.

This may be a piece of flash fiction, but recording it was not quick. I live in a house with thin walls near to a school, so there is always the sound of next-door’s telly, car doors slamming or children’s voices. To try to muffle as much outside noise as I could, I piled cushions and a duvet around my desk, and put a giant bath towel over my head to create my own personal fort. Even though my audience was me and me alone, I still had to try to manage the nerves of ‘public speaking’ my own words out loud.


Most of us are staying at home these days, and we’re all getting used to the majority of our interactions with other people being through a screen. My experiences of video calling, facetiming, MSTeams and Zoom are a bit like when Laura Dern in Jurassic Park goes near to a computer screen. Communicating in writing via the chat function, Twitter, texts, emails and WhatsApp are now my default.


I was overjoyed to be accepted onto a short story creative writing, professional development course called ‘A Brief Pause‘. It is run by Dahlia Publishing with funding from Arts Council England and support from The Literary Agency. The list of tutors for the twelve, two hour Zoom masterclasses is impressive. (Xanthi Barker, Susmita Bhattacharya, Rebecca Burns, Emily Devane, Melissa Fu, Divya Ghelani, Anita Goveas, Abi Hynes, Farhana Khalique, CG Menon, Mahsuda Snaith, and Alison Woodhouse.) So I have to try to be cool and not fangirl too much, because this does feel like a big deal for me. I also have to remind myself that I don’t have to buy every single short story collection or writer’s guide that is mentioned!

Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

Lockdown III (the most controversial of the trilogy) has seen me scour YouTube and rediscover old episodes of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’. YouTube is a rabbit hole for book research as there is always someone who is a specialist in just the exact thing I need for my novel. It sometimes reminds me of being back in the Brownies, when a guest speaker would explain the workings of some puzzling contraption or how something was made. It’s strange to think that during the editing process, I will delete much of that (as yet unwritten) backstory as it will no longer be relevant and considered to be an infodump.

Writing should actually be called rewriting.

122. The Seven C’s

I was running late and spotted that someone had put up one of those ‘Take What You Need’ posters on the noticeboard in the corridor. After class, Simon waited there while I talked to the tutor about my poor time management and why I needed an extension on my essay. As we walked to the refectory, I said, “which one did you take?”

“Courage,” he replied.

“Why’s that then?”

“I want to ask someone out but I think it’s too late. We might already be in the friendzone, so I’m a bit worried about risking it. What do you think I should do?”

“Well you picked courage for a reason. I think you should just go for it. If you don’t ask then you’ll never know.” I bit my lip and desperately hoped he wouldn’t notice that my cheeks were burning.

He didn’t reply for a couple of minutes then he said, “Do us a favour? Get me a latte please. I’ll be back in a minute,” and walked off towards the toilets.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

He was beaming when he came back. “I did it and she said yes.”

My stomach filled with lead.

“Nice one,” I said. “When are you going out?” I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, then fumbled in my backpack for a tissue. All I could think of was why did I even start this stupid conversation in the first place?

“Tomorrow night. Oh and thanks for the coffee. You alright? You look a bit deflated.”

“Yeah, I’m fine, a bit stressed out. I was just thinking about my essay.” I scrunched up the tiny piece of paper and rolled it between my finger and thumb.

“Oh ok, I never asked you what you took,” he said.

“Resilience,” I replied.

“That’s a tough one. Getting up after being knocked back.”

“I know,” I said.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

121. Old Bag

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

For years we were inseparable, and travelled everywhere together, slowly aging in the sun. He used to feel my scars, rub cream into my tanned skin, and adored me until he didn’t. It was quite the shock to see how quickly I was replaced. On holiday in Siena, his head was turned by another. Glossy, chestnut brown. She was younger, but then, they always are. Italians do everything better. The first time he saw her, he knew he’d found the one, so left me behind on a train. I was baggage he no longer wanted to carry. They don’t quite fit together like we did but he can’t stop stroking her. 

I wasn’t on my own for very long. A woman found me and took me home. I’m left on the shelf, but I like my quiet life now. Her touch is softer than his. She won’t use me but I know she likes having me around. I wonder if he’ll ever regret leaving me.

Photo by Timothy Buck on Unsplash