Published: A Kentish Summer (The Vignette Review)

I wrote about vignettes a short while ago and how they have been a way for me to do finger exercises for writing, to find my way into a story, or to get unstuck while in the middle of writing one.

This particular vignette, published over at The Vignette Review in their Spring Issue, began, way back in 2001, as just an image of a middle-aged British-Indian woman on a train journey from Brighton to somewhere in northern England.

I could not get her out of my head but I did not know quite what to do with her. I tried placing her into various stories I was working on but nothing seemed to work. I had to let her sit there for nearly two decades, checking in every couple of years to try to figure things out.

Earlier this year, I was going through old files and found her again. So I polished her up a bit and put her out in the world as a small flash or vignette. Someday, perhaps, I will figure out her larger story and revisit this. But, for now, it’s just this middle-aged British-Indian woman, on a train, musing about a possible reunion with an old love and making a difficult decision.

For the present, I have done all my parting. A big, fat family wedding celebration ended this morning. It has weathered me some more, this long week of my sister’s brood dashing against me ceaselessly like frothy waves. But I have raised a strapping, fair son to her three short, dark daughters. A healing man, he is doing his bit for the country in distant places. There’s something to be bitter about: him not coming home for over a year. I am easily cast off for others. All we ever seem to do with people is meet and part, meet and part.

A Kentish Summer, The Vignette Review

At barely 700 words, this is the second-shortest work of fiction I’ve had published. As I have said before, shorter works are actually harder to write — for me, anyway — because you have to allude to the larger story instead of writing it out.

Do read the entire issue, though — put together so well by the editorial team with artful photo and writing contributions.

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