(Cross-posted with TaniaWrites)
Yes, Ghent is fabulous and not because it seems to have a chocolate-shop-to-person ratio of 1:1, but because it has a coffee shop with Free WiFi! Yay, back to my own keyboard, back to Google and Facebook not in Flemish (that was tough). I came here for the day, and despite the persistent drizzle, had a lovely wander in the older part of town, which has, of course, been overtaken by MacDonalds et al, but still retains great charm.
Unfortunately, the anxiety I have been suffering from for the past few months at home, related to the thyroid and hormone fluctuations, has followed me here. It means, as a very wise friend told me, that where before I may have felt a tiny amount of anxiety in, say, a new place, now that the anxiety "tap" has been loosened, that same situation releases a flood of it. It's strange and uncomfortable, but being online and doing the things I am used to doing definitely helps calm me. I am sure it will pass, as I get the hormonal and glandular stuff under control.
A quick, highly scientific observation from three days in Belgium: all the people, almost without exception, are skinny. Not slim, skinny. And there are chocolates everywhere. Conclusion: chocolate makes you thin. You heard it here first.
Ok, enough about chocolate. A big shout out to my lovely friend Susan who has done The White Road and Other Stories the great honour of being the first book in her monthly giveaways on Typescript, her beautiful new site and blog. I will quote one of the lovely things she says about me (!); "I first met Tania in November at a writers’ retreat in France, having since since enjoyed her friendship even from across an ocean. She’s wonderfully warm, creative, and talented, and it was a pleasure to get to know her, share this experience, and read her stories." All true, yes sirree. So, if you don't yet have a copy of my book - and if you're reading this blog and you don't, well shame on you!! - then head over there and you could win a free copy. (Pierre - another one for your collection??!)
I thought I might remind you - and nudge myself -about some imminently upcoming deadlines, just in case.
March 6th: Symphony Space Selected Shorts: 600 words, "a single short story that contains a surprise", win $1000 will be read as part of the Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space on May 20, 2009. Online entry. $10.
March 20th: Fish One-Page Short Competition: 300 words, win €1000, nine runners-up €50, publication in Fish anthology. Online entry. €12.
March 31st: 10th Raymond Carver Short Story Comp: 6000 words, "a single short story that contains a surprise", win $1000, $750, $500, 2 Editor's Choice prizes $250, publication in Carvezine. Online entry. $15.
March 31st: Press 53 Flash 750 words, short short 1500 words, short 5000 (see site for other categories). previously published pieces are accepted. Win glass trophy and publication in anthology. Online entry. $15.
March 31st: Bristol Short Story Prize 3000 words. Win £500, £300, £250 (plus Waterstone's gift cards), 17 runners-up receive £50, publication in annnual prize anthology. "We also welcome stories in any style- graphic, verse, genre-based, etc., etc." Online entry. £7.
March 31st: Jane Austen Short Story Award 2000-2500 words, inspired by Jane Austen or her writing. Win £1000, 2 runners-up £200, all three win week's writing retreat at Chawton House, 15 shortlisted win £40, publication in annual prize anthology. " Postal entry. £10.
I may just have a very slimming cake now. Research. Purely research.