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  • steven holding


Updated: Apr 8, 2021

The temperate season is upon us (which poses the question, is a temperate season the same as a dry season? Answers on the back of a sealed envelope please...) unleashed like a series of coiled metal loops, squashed for an eternity, then finally allowed to be dramatically, dynamically released. It’s amazing really, but a hint of sunshine and a little bit of daylight is most certainly a terrific tonic for chasing away those dreaded Blue Meanies. Meanwhile, the end of March saw the publication of two more pieces of my flash fiction. GAZE UPON A MOUNTAIN FACE appeared in DARK MOMENTS, the Black Hare Press online publication, while another micro-story PIRATE VIDEO: CURSE OF THE BARGAIN BOOTLEG was featured in TREMBLING WITH FEAR over on THE HORROR TREE website. Links for both pieces will soon appear in the CREDITS section. I was also really pleased when my story IT’S A TRIP (NOT A ONE-WAY TICKET) was lucky enough to reach the Judges short list in the Andrew Siderius Memorial Contest, a competition organised by the website FRIDAY FLASH FICTION. My piece was selected by Judge Jim Tweedie (which was pretty cool, as he was responsible for a story called ERRATA which I was a big fan of, and it would be well worth a minute of your time tracking down that tale on the FFF website and giving it a read) He kindly had this to say:

“Steven’s story goes beyond being well-written by weaving together a series of lean, yet easily-accessible images perfectly sequenced to create the effect of an emotional crescendo which, in turn, leads to a beautifully crafted expression of love that is honest without being judgmental, compassionate without being condescending, encouraging without being preachy, and hopeful without being sentimental. The story rises above and beyond mere prose, reads like poetry, and, for me at least, it sings.”

Thanks very much Jim! Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s always groovy when someone pays you a compliment about something you have created, but for me, what’s most important when getting feedback like this is the sense of communication that develops between myself as a writer and the audience that is receiving the story. The circuit that is created when someone makes something, be it a song, a poem or a painting can only really be fully completed when another party receives that message, regardless of what their final emotional or critical response may be. In this case, a set of characters and events that unfolded to me in a series of short lines that I scrawled down on a piece of paper in my back pocket at six am on a miserable Monday morning, managed to eventually convey the feeling and mood that I was aiming to capture and then transmit that to an individual who I have never met on the other side of the planet at a completely different moment in time. That is the magic that is art, and for me, that is, and always will be, pretty fucking cool. The poet and writer Kae Tempest has recently published a book entitled ON CONNECTION in which they examine the relationship between creator and audience and the importance of creative connection. I highly recommend it. Finally, in what is becoming a regular section of my monthly (ish) blog posts, here is another (unsuccessful) entry to PRIME NUMBER MAGAZINE’s monthly 53-word story competition. The theme this time was FOSSIL…


She sifts through sand, delicately shifting grains, dusting bones thousands of years old.

Revealing the past piece by piece; wondering what mother earth holds in her embrace. The answer, a human skeleton, only seems to pose another question.

Why does this remnant of a man have a perfect rectangle clutched in one hand?

Finally, in the immortal words of Sgt Phil Estherhaus…

“Let’s be careful out there…”

End of transmission. Over and out.


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Found this disturbing message, scrawled upon a slightly soiled napkin, folded up and tucked into my front right breast pocket after leaving my jacket in a hospital locker. TOO MUCH INFORMATION… by Den


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