Excerpt from M.A.G.D.A.
‘I am switched on. My consciousness starts up and I turn my head. Mrs Parkinson is standing in front of me, and is pointing at the sink. I run through my databank to determine why she is doing this. I remember the human family has had breakfast, which I cooked for them. Afterwards I return to the kitchen cupboard that was designed for me, to wait until they have finished eating.’ M.A.G.D.A.
I have always been interested in the idea of artificial intelligence, and how it might develop. This story came from imagining how a robot that had been given human feelings might react to being treated as a servant.
About jennifer west
I have always been keen on modern languages, which led to a love of travelling, especially in France, which I first visited when I was seventeen. When we are not away I live in Ayr with my husband David, within sight of the sea (if I lean out of the window and look sideways).
After a degree in French and German, my career was in computing. I began as a trainee programmer in the retail sector, then moved on to various roles in the IT side of manufacturing and the public sector. Because I always had a long drive to work, it was only after I took early retirement that I decided to concentrate on creative writing.
Ayr Writers’ Club has been a source of support since I joined in 2009. The friendly environment of the club encouraged me to try different genres of writing, and the constructive comments I obtained for my entries to club competitions led me to think of entering the SAC Short Story competition in 2016. Many thanks to Ayr Writers, just for being there.
You can find their website here.
I have written articles, memoirs, poems and short stories, and my current projects are a collection of M.A.G.D.A.-related short stories and a novel I have been writing for longer than I care to admit to.
Two of my memoir pieces were published in the Scottish Memories magazine, which has now ceased to exist, although its sister publication History Scotland is still going strong.
If I am in the mood, I write poetry. 'The Cormorant' was shortlisted in 2015 in the East Ayrshire Imprint competition, which is tied in with Book Week Scotland and is open to anyone who lives in Ayrshire. The poem came about because I used to work in British Shipbuilders and wanted to write about the decline of the shipyards.
Excerpt from The Cormorant
Landing on the river,
the cormorant glides over the still water,
leaving no past.
He has no memory of the clang of steel plates
The Mirrored Smile began in a writing workshop at Ayr Writers’ Club, when we were asked to bring along an object that meant something to us. I have worked on and improved this poem several times since then, so I was very pleased to see it winning second prize at Imprint in 2017.
Excerpt from 'The Mirrored Smile
We found him in the Danish shop,
My Dad and I. The friendly grin
of this good luck symbol infected us
- we had to buy him.
My writing place
My favourite place for writing is in my study, which handily has an inspirational picture above the desk. I downloaded a free app called Tomato Ticker, which I set as a reminder to take regular breaks from the keyboard, and sometimes this works. However when I get into the flow, sometimes I don’t hear the app letting me know it’s time to stop for a while.
Click to enlarge images
Our first anthology of short stories from The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition 2014-2018