My early short stories were blatant attempts to be published in lifestyle magazines or to win writing competitions. However, despite such riveting titles as, “An Album of Memories”, “Tender Reunion” and “Our Last Holiday”, magazine editors did not rush to publish my material.
Thankfully these were the days of gentle letdowns:
“I was pleased to receive your short story ‘Mistaken Identity’, which I have read with interest. Sadly I do not feel that this piece is right for publication in our magazine. I am sorry to disappoint you about this but wish every success with it elsewhere.”
Ian St. James Awards
I wasn’t disappointed, I read the rejections as encouraging critiques and re-focused my efforts on writing competitions, where I had critical success with the first short story I submitted to the then annual Ian St. James Awards, back in 1991:
This is excellent – well-drawn characters, convincing dialogue and fast-moving plot. Passed forward for our next round of judging.
Hurrah! Sadly, my story didn’t make it past the next round of judging and the stories I wrote in subsequent years never again received such high praise.
Life and Writing
Life overtook me and I stopped submitting short stories, but I never stopped devising plots and characters and writing whenever I could.
Much of my writing is shared on Tall And True, an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers. And in 2020, I published a collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story (available from Amazon), inspired by a short story I wrote for the Ian St. James Awards in 1994.
Selection of Short Stories
The following is a selection of my short stories. You can find these stories and more of my writing on Tall And True.
“And now the piece de resistance,” the Colonel announced, leading his guest into a sunlit garden. “What do you think, Mr Evans?” he enquired, waving his walking stick at the garden’s centrepiece. Two life-size figures stood on a pedestal, hands caressing each other’s cheeks, lips fused in a kiss.
I had borne guilt and despair over the fate of our overpopulated and polluted planet for many years. Then in a waking moment, I saw how I, a lowly middle-aged nobody, could save the Earth, her people and all her precious life.
The bench outside the school headmaster’s office was hard. It was designed to make you squirm. But once you’d sat down, you daren’t wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, the bench would squeak and Old Heavy-handed Hamilton would look up and note your fidgeting.
My class had a lesson on “conservation” the other day. Miss said that this was where people reused old things or used new things more carefully. She said conservation was important to stop the world from getting more dirty and to help make it healthy again.
Stevie was slumped on the living room sofa when his mum and dad returned home from the shops. Their angry shouting drowned out the old gangster movie he was watching on TV.
Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please contact Robert for further details.