The inspiration for my story Lemonade, which was a finalist in the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition in 2015, came from an interest in the way teenagers use slang to express themselves. This can be a source of great annoyance for their parents, and it creates tension between the main character Rebecca and her mother. Rebecca meets Stanley, an elderly War Veteran who proves to be an unexpected ally and helps her with an important decision. Here is an excerpt
“Stanley is already out of the car. He looks like a human Zimmer frame; he stands with splayed legs and outstretched arms clutching a stick in each hand. His eyes are grey and watery; the rims are red with the cold. Zombie eyes. He’s frail but fashionable in an orange jumper. Not my colour, but it’s on trend this winter. The orange contrasts and complements a patch of bright blue sky behind him. He’s doddery, but the colours are dynamic. Superman Stanley.
‘Hello,’ he says.
‘It’s a chill wind,’ snaps Mum.
‘Aye, it’s backstabbing right enough,’ he says with a flick of his stick in Mum’s direction.
‘What, the wind?’ she says.
Surely he didn’t hear her talking about him in car? Whatever. He’s got Mum sussed. Skills Stanley.”
About Jane Swanson
I grew up in Yorkshire, where everyone loves a good story. I started out as an archaeologist uncovering hidden narratives deep beneath the ground, and have spent much of my working life as a primary school teacher. I find inspiration whilst walking and enjoying the beauty of the Aberdeenshire countryside where I now live.
I write short stories and creative non-fiction. My stories have been published in three Scottish Book Trust publications, Scotland’s Stories of Home (2014), Secrets and Confessions (2016) and Nourish (2107). My short story Presto Ponto featured in the Aberdeen Press and Journal in December 2016.
I’m currently studying at the University of Dundee for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study. I am a regular contributor to DURA, an online arts review magazine (https://www.dura-dundee.org.uk). DURA is a great place for up to the minute reviews of fiction, poetry, film, theatre and exhibitions as well as featuring interviews of poets, writers and publishers. I’m a member of the Deeside Writers, a group of local writers who meet monthly to share and critique their work in a fun and supportive way.
a writing life
I don’t have a special place where I write, I’m as happy writing on a train, or in a waiting room or a cafe as I am at home. I always have a notebook with me and if inspiration is lacking I’ll write a description of wherever I happen to be. I’m always on the alert for new ideas whether it’s a fleeting impression, a phrase or description, or an overheard snippet of conversation. Recently, I overheard a man telling a friend that he had a ‘ghost’ for sale and was planning to ship it from the States to the UK. My imagination went into overdrive. Later, I realized they must have been talking about the sale of a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost car, but it proved a great opener for a spooky short story.
Two beautiful places close to home...