All-Embracing-BookQ. Did any of the stories in the collection come as a surprise when they revealed themselves to you?

Yes, some did much more than others. ‘Wishbone Duty’ was interesting as it started out as an entry for a 25th Anniversary competition for some company, and the story had to have 25 in it. I started out with the thought of a bedside digital alarm clock moving from 24 to 25 at midnight on Christmas Eve, with a character desperate to be in bed before that moment. A dread of Christmas I suppose. Well, that wasn’t enough, and slowly I wrote it and the father revealed himself. Several things surprised me in the story, the line when the Father ‘threw the ball as far as he’d ever wanted to throw anything.’ No metaphor, no simile just how it was and I found it very powerful. Sometimes metaphor masks feeling I think. I was also surprised by how the story tidied itself, the presents got rejected, the amaryllis got the window shelf, the dog came back. It really is quite hopeful. I never entered it, I didn’t finish it in time. No surprise there.

Another one was ‘Rising Laughter’. I think when you’re stuck it can be refreshing to give yourself a challenge. I set myself the task of writing a story about someone telling a joke and we never know the joke. I’d often watched people telling weak or bad jokes, but it didn’t seem to matter because – them telling or trying to tell the joke was much more entertaining. Endearing and quite beautiful sometimes. Anyway, I had no joke in mind and just wrote the story fairly quickly, but there were many redrafts. It surprised me that it worked so well without the joke, and it was moving. But we’ve all told jokes, understand the emotional games we play with them. I sent it into BBC Scotland as a short story and they said that they quite liked it, but why wasn’t the joke revealed. Well, apart from that being the whole point of the story, I didn’t know what the joke was. Luckily, BBC in London loved it and took it, and then your good self published it – that was surprising.

Details: All Embracing and Other Stories by Dave Pescod

Pages: 1 2 3 4