Going Short by Nancy Stohlman: A Mum Life Success Story

I must say I’m very excited about this particular Mum Life Success Story. I’ve had the pleasure of featuring some truly beautiful, amazing and inspiring Mums through these Mum Life Success Stories and each one of them has had a unique and special story to tell, but never have I featured someone as well-known and accomplished as Nancy Stohlman.

I have to admit that when I received an email from her publicity manager, about promoting her new book Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction I didn’t actually know who she was. That is due more to my lack of time to read and search out great authors (because I’m busy with work, family and this blog) than it is about Nancy’s reputation. Once I googled her name, and announced the upcoming interview on twitter etc, I realised that Nancy was fastly becoming a household name.

After just a little research I discovered that Nancy was not only a talented performer, writer and professor, but that she was juggling it all with motherhood and so naturally, I had to request an interview for the next ‘Mum Life Success Story’ feature. Nancy happily obliged and answered all my probing questions about life, success and family and how she navigates it all. I was truly inspired and knew without a doubt that all of you would be inspired too. If by some off-chance you don’t know who Nancy Stolman is, let’s start with a bit of backstory direct from her publicity manager.

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra charge to you) should you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.


Who is Nancy Stohlman?

Nancy Stohlman

Nancy Stohlman is the author of four books of flash fiction including Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (a finalist for a 2019 Colorado Book Award), The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), and The Monster Opera (2013). She is the creator of The F-bomb Flash Fiction Reading Series and FlashNano in November. Her work has been anthologized in the W.W. Norton New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, Macmillan’s The Practice of Fiction, and The Best Small Fictions 2019. Her craft book, Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction, is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Fiction in 2020. She teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder.

When she is not writing flash fiction she straps on stilettos and becomes the lead
singer of the lounge metal jazz trio Kinky Mink.  She lives in Denver Colorado and dreams of one day becoming a pirate.

Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction

Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction is Nancy’s latest contribution to the world of literature. Writer and Teacher Kathy Fish describes it as “The definitive, and appropriately concise book on the flash fiction form”. I have read some of the book myself and I can say Kathy is right, If you’re a writer (as many of my readers are) or want to start writing, Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction is a resource you want to have on your bookshelf.


Mum Life Success Story

With Nancy being the seasoned writer that she is and needing no help from me to tell her story, I decided to publish this feature in interview format rather than the story form I usually employ. First I asked Nancy to tell us a little bit about her family.

Tell us a little about your family?

I have two kids—Maiya is 22 and just got her first apartment; Felix is 15 and just got his learner’s permit (yikes!). My partner Nick and I have been together almost a dozen years. We’re all creatives: Nick is a classical pianist and Maiya is a visual artist, so I’m proud to have passed down a family value of artistry. My own parents were also creative; I remember musical jam sessions, a lot of clowning in my household growing up.

When did your love for writing begin?

I remember I was 10 years old on the bleachers at a soccer game when I announced I was going to become an author. I was a voracious reader, of course. I grew up on military bases overseas, so books were my constant friends through all the moving and the various cultural and language barriers. After my author announcement my mother let me use her electric typewriter and I wrote a musical: Superman, The Musical (ala Christopher Reeve). I felt so important as I sat there clicking the keys, feeding in the paper. I don’t know what happened to the musical, but I still feel the magic when I sit down to write.

What inspired you to write your upcoming publication ‘Going Short’?

I was inspired to write Going Short about 10 years ago, when students and fellow writers kept asking me to recommend flash fiction craft books. I didn’t know what to recommend—there were almost no craft books aimed at this growing genre (nor by women). So I decided to take it on myself. I thought it would be easy, something I could write in a year or two. Ha. It took me almost 8 years! But I’m extremely proud of the result—I hope this book becomes a friend to the writers and readers who fall in love with flash fiction.

Are there any major obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get where you are now?

Oh yes. Self doubt. Fear. Creative deserts. Jealousy. Self-sabotage. It’s not easy to go for your dreams. There’s so much risk. Every step you think you might be crazy. Every step you expose yourself to…all of it. Not everyone is rooting for you, so you have to cheer yourself on no matter what. It’s not always easy. It takes courage and bravery, not just one time but every time. Over and over. So my challenge is to reach deeper and keep finding that courage. It’s either that or give up—which keeps me motivated on the hard days.

Are there any funny, intense, or inspiring stories you can tell us about your experiences in writing and/or publishing?

For years I fantasized of spending “three weeks on an island all by myself just writing.” Sounds magical, right? Then, last year, I decided to do it. I was already in Italy co-hosting a flash fiction retreat (so amazing), and when it was over I found a super remote island in the Adriatic, rented a renovated wine cellar for $150 a week, and went on my own sabbatical. And I wrote every day. Every blissful day. I mean, I woke up, I wrote, I walked to get coffee, I wrote. I ate gelato, I walked to the empty beach. I wrote. It was magical, and I discovered what I call Holy Boredom. And because of it, I finished this book.

What would you say is your biggest challenge with balancing family life with your career? How do you find balance (if you do)?

Funny, but I think this question is part of the challenge—if I were a man I would likely never be asked this question. Because I’m a woman, there’s an expectation (even from myself) that I can and will do it all: be a loving mother, chef, teacher, partner, friend, housekeeper, nurture all my relationships…oh, AND write books, teach on campus, run retreats, and attempt to dream my own inspiration into being. And, because all women are amazing, we do it. All of it. But I like to envision a world where men are asked this question, too.

The short answer of how I balance it all? I fail. I succeed. Then I fail. I do my best. And sometimes I schedule a weekend to myself and that’s important, too.

How does your experience as a Mother help with your writing and vice versa?

Once I had kids I knew the luxury of waiting for the muse, was over. If I really wanted to be a writer, I had to begin now—there was a little person watching me. So I wrote during nap time and in the evenings after bedtimes. I mean, I wrote entire books during nap times, during pre-school. Later I wrote on trains and buses while commuting to campus. I learned to seize THIS moment, imperfect but available, because the perfect moment is just an illusion. So in a very real way my children forced me to get serious and make it happen.

And writing makes me a better mother, too, because I’m honoring that creative part of myself. I’m more present for my family when I’m present for myself. Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.

What advice can you give to other women (mothers in particular) wanting to chase their dreams of becoming a professional writer?

Just begin. The perfect time, the perfect location, the perfect idea—you could be waiting forever. The real day-to-day of writing is messy—there is nothing idealized about it. And yet, allowing yourself to be creative is amazingly, imperfectly perfect. On a good day, it’s still just as magical to me as that first time at my mom’s electric typewriter.

Plus, the very best thing you can do for your children is to show them what it looks like to not give up on yourself. They will be watching and learning from your actions far more than from your words.


More Mum Life Success Stories…

If you’d like to read more Mum Life Success Stories, simply click on one of the titles below.


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Thank you for reading this blog, if you’d like to submit a story for consideration to be published, please visit our submissions page.

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Micro Fiction Writing Competition Round 6: Deadline extended!

 

*Please Note: This competition has now ended. Please see our competition page for info on all our latest competitions*

Unfortunately, once again we have not received enough submissions to justify a fair competition. So we are extending the submission deadline for another 10 days. The new deadline will be October the 24th at Midnight AEST. If you can help spread the word, that would be amazing and would help to get this competition through to completion and offer the writers the healthy competition they deserve.

I understand that the $2 entry fee may put people off and whilst I’d love to keep the entry FREE, I’m not sure my bank account will thank me for it. The entry fee helps pay for the prize money, but what’s left has to come from my own pocket, which I’m more than willing to do as it’s a pleasure to hear such excitement from writers when their stories are chosen for a prize and publication. Your very helpful contribution, of a small entry fee, will help me to keep these competitions running and if we get enough from one competition, we can make the next one FREE.

See the original post for details on how to enter HERE

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If you’d like to be reminded when the competition is ending and when a new one begins please sign up to our mailing list below. You’ll also be kept up to date with all our latest news, stories, and promos including giveaways and writing competitions, plus receive a FREE Ebook exclusive to email subscribers.

 

Alternatively, go to our COMPETITIONS page for info on the latest competitions!


Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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Micro Fiction Writing Competition: Round 6 – Cash Prizes!

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*Please Note: This competition has now ended. Please see our competition page for info on all our latest competitions*

Final Round

It’s on a rather sad note that I announce this round. This competition has been a huge part of this blog for the last year and announcing this round as the FINAL round seems rather disappointing. So many great stories have been submitted and published etc, and great connections have been made with some amazingly talented people.

As sad as it is, it’s also extremely exciting  because we are that much closer to the first anthology to come out of Mum Life Stories. There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m hoping after this round, it will get underway and be ready for release by Christmas or at the latest, early January. Yes, the plan was for the end of 2020 but lots of extensions and other unforeseen events have put a bit of a delay on the process, but never fear it will happen and it will be awesome. I’m thinking about a little competition to name the anthology, so keep an eye out for that in a month or so. Subscribe to the mailing list if you’d like to be notified when it happens.

If you missed out on reading the winning entries for round 5, you can find them right HERE along with the shortlist HERE and don’t forget to visit our competitions page for all the past winners of our previous rounds.

The theme of this round is ‘Foster Mother’, a challenging topic I believe but I’m sure it will be the one with the most interesting storylines.  You could score yourself $50 (AUD) for first place or $20 (AUD) for 2nd or 3rd place. Exciting right?

Competition opens midnight AEST tonight, the 20th of September!

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.

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FLASH: Writing the very short story by John Dufresne


Micro Fiction Competition Themes

This Competition is the fifth of 6 Micro Fiction Writing Competitions run over the year of 2020, ending with an anthology publication, hopefully sometime before November 2020 (exact dates will be known closer to the time). Each competition will have a slightly different theme but revolve around the idea of Motherhood. The 6 different sub-themes are:

  1. Mother (November/December ’19 COMPLETED)
  2. GrandMother (January ’20 COMPLETED)
  3. Single Mother (February/March ’20 COMPLETED)
  4. Step-Mother (April/May ’20 COMPLETED)
  5. Great GrandMother (Aug/Sept ’20 COMPLETED)
  6. Foster Mother (Oct/Nov ’20 COMPLETED)

The comps will be run in this order and competition start and finish dates will be released at the end of each preceding competition. Competitions will run for 14 – 20 days (unless extended), judging for 2 weeks, at the commencement of which, the winners will be announced!

Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when a new competition has begun.




About This Months Micro-Fiction Competition

This month’s theme is ‘Foster Mother’ (September ’20) and it can be interpreted any way you like. You don’t have to include the words ‘Foster Mother’ but it must be clear your story is about, you guessed it…a foster mother.

Whilst I’d love to keep the competition free to enter, administration costs have started to take their toll on my bank account and it’s become necessary to charge a very small fee (to cover costs) of just $2 AUD. I do lose a bit of that to Paypal fees so what I’m getting is very minimal and doesn’t even completely cover the prize money that I give away so please don’t be put off by the small entry cost as you are helping contribute to your’s or someone else’s success and publication as an author. A noble deed indeed!

Please read the competition rules below and then follow the link to our competition T & C’s where there will be an entry form to fill in with your story. Good Luck!

 

Competition Rules and Guidelines

‘Foster Mother’ Competition Dates: September 20th 2020 – October 10th 2020 (Extended to October 24th) @ midnight AEST. Judging will commence on the 11th October 2020 (Extended to October 25th), with the shortlist being announced by the 25th of October 2020 (Extended to 10th November) and the winners announced shortly thereafter.

Open to: Worldwide (but must be written in English), 16 years or older.

Rules:

  1. 500 words or less.
  2. Narrative Fiction (no poetry please).
  3. Must be about a Great Grandmother.
  4. No gratuitous violence, sexual content, blood & gore or profanity.
  5. Must agree to the T & C’s.
  6. Your story must not already be published anywhere else.
  7. The $2 AUD entry fee must be paid via Paypal to mumlifestories@gmail.com and must clear before the competition end date in order for your entry to qualify. Please also insure you enter the email address you use for PayPal into the section provided on the entry form so we can match your payment to your entry.

Submission:

  1. Story to be typed in a doc, docx, pdf, rtf or txt formatted document.
  2. 12 point, Times New Roman or Georgia Text.
  3. The title of your story should appear at the top of the document and in the file name.
  4. Your name should not appear on the document (submissions will be read blind so if your name is on the doc it will not be accepted).
  5. Click HERE to go to the form where you can attach your story file, or go to the T & C’s page and enter there.

Judging:

There will be 2 judges, myself and one of our regular story contributors Fiona M. Jones.

  1. Stories will be read ‘blind’ without author names attached so as to avoid bias.
  2. We will not be giving feedback on stories at this point in time, apart from general opinions on the winning entries that will be published on the blog.
  3. While our opinions and personal taste will play a small role in the judging, we will be looking at the structure, form, originality and storytelling technique of each submission.
  4. We both have different tastes but will work together, discussing all elements of the story to come up with 10 stories for the shortlist and then 3 winners.
  5. All decisions are final and will not be open to discussion.

You can read more about the judges on our ‘About page.

Prizes:

1st Place – $50 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + a printed copy of the anthology + digital copy of the anthology.

2nd Place – $20 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + digital copy of the anthology.

3rd Place – $20 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + digital copy of the anthology

Shortlist (Top 10) – Published in anthology + digital copy of the anthology

Submit:

Click HERE to go to the entry form.

Go to the T & C’s page.

Sign up to mailing list to get a reminder when the competition is about to close & keep informed of upcoming competitions, plus receive a FREE Ebook.

Good Luck and Have Fun Writing!


413QErUcQ5L

 

Writing Flash – How to craft & publish flash fiction for a booming market (Kindle Edition)


 

Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

ebook button


Going Short: An Invitation to Flash

Micro Fiction Writing Competition Round 5: Deadline extended!

Unfortunately, once again we have not received enough submissions to justify a fair competition. So we are extending the submission deadline for another 10 days. The new deadline will be August the 24th at Midnight AEST. If you can help spread the word, that would be amazing and would help to get this competition through to completion and offer the writers the healthy competition they deserve.

I understand that the $2 entry fee may put people off and whilst I’d love to keep the entry FREE, I’m not sure my bank account will thank me for it. The entry fee helps pay for the prize money, but what’s left has to come from my own pocket, which I’m more than willing to do as it’s a pleasure to hear such excitement from writers when their stories are chosen for a prize and publication. Your very helpful contribution, of a small entry fee, will help me to keep these competitions running and if we get enough from one competition, we can make the next one FREE.

See the original post for details on how to enter HERE

M:Fiction Comp R5

If you’d like to be reminded when the competition is ending and when a new one begins please sign up to our mailing list below. You’ll also be kept up to date with all our latest news, stories, and promos including giveaways and writing competitions, plus receive a FREE Ebook exclusive to email subscribers.

Alternatively, go to our COMPETITIONS page for info on the latest competitions!


Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

ebook button


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Micro Fiction Writing Competition: Round 5 – Cash Prizes!

M:Fiction Comp R5

*Please note: This competition has ended and winners have been announced. Please check our competitions page for info on the next round*

It’s Back

I know, I know, “finally”, I hear you say. Yes, at last Round 5 of the Mum Life Stories, Micro Fiction Writing Competition is here. Let the crowds go wild, woot woot.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been eagerly anticipating the return of our competition, and I sincerely apologize for keeping you all hanging, but all good things come to those who wait, so I’m expecting this to be our best round yet!

If you missed out on reading the winning entries for round 4, way back at the beginning of June, you can find them right HERE along with the shortlist HERE and don’t forget to visit our competitions page for all the past winners of our previous rounds.

The theme of this round is ‘Great Grandmother’, so all those entries that featured 100-year-old grandmothers in round 2 (which didn’t make it to the shortlist) can be re-hashed with this new theme. You could score yourself $50 (AUD) for first place or $20 (AUD) for 2nd or 3rd place. Exciting right?

Even more exciting is that this is our second last round for the year, which means we are just one more round away from our 60 stories and our very first Mum Life Stories anthology. The top 10 shortlisted stories from each round, will be featured in this anthology to be published (all being well) by the end of 2020.

Competition opens midnight AEST tonight, the 1st of April!

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.

9780393352351

FLASH: Writing the very short story by John Dufresne


Micro Fiction Competition Themes

This Competition is the fifth of 6 Micro Fiction Writing Competitions run over the year of 2020, ending with an anthology publication, hopefully sometime before November 2020 (exact dates will be known closer to the time). Each competition will have a slightly different theme but revolve around the idea of Motherhood. The 6 different sub-themes are:

  1. Mother (November/December ’19 COMPLETED)
  2. GrandMother (January ’20 COMPLETED)
  3. Single Mother (February/March ’20 COMPLETED)
  4. Step-Mother (March) COMPLETED)
  5. Great GrandMother (CURRENT)
  6. Foster Mother

The comps will be run in this order and competition start and finish dates will be released at the end of each preceding competition. Competitions will run for 14 days (unless extended), judging for 2 weeks, at the commencement of which, the winners will be announced!

Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when a new competition has begun.


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Rustic/Industrial Succulent Planters


About This Months Micro-Fiction Competition

This month’s theme is ‘Great Grandmother’ (August ’20) and it can be interpreted any way you like. You don’t have to include the words ‘Great Grandmother’ but it must be clear your story is about, you guessed it…a great grandmother.

Whilst I’d love to keep the competition free to enter, administration costs have started to take their toll on my bank account and it’s become necessary to charge a very small fee (to cover costs) of just $2 AUD. I do lose a bit of that to Paypal fees so what I’m getting is very minimal and doesn’t even completely cover the prize money that I give away so please don’t be put off by the small entry cost as you are helping contribute to your’s or someone else’s success and publication as an author. A noble deed indeed!

Please read the competition rules below and then follow the link to our competition T & C’s where there will be an entry form to fill in with your story. Good Luck!

Competition Rules and Guidelines

‘Great Grandmother’ Competition Dates: August 1st 2020 – August 14th 2020 (extended till 24th of August) @ midnight AEST. Judging will commence on the 15th of August 2020 (extended till the 25th of August), with the shortlist being announced by the 29th of August 2020 (extended till the 7th of September) and the winners announced shortly thereafter.

Open to: Worldwide (but must be written in English), 16 years or older.

Rules:

  1. 500 words or less.
  2. Narrative Fiction (no poetry please).
  3. Must be about a Great Grandmother.
  4. No gratuitous violence, sexual content, blood & gore or profanity.
  5. Must agree to the T & C’s.
  6. Your story must not already be published anywhere else.
  7. The $2 AUD entry fee must be paid via Paypal to mumlifestories@gmail.com and must clear before the competition end date in order for your entry to qualify. Please also insure you enter the email address you use for PayPal into the section provided on the entry form so we can match your payment to your entry.

Submission:

  1. Story to be typed in a doc, docx, pdf, rtf or txt formatted document.
  2. 12 point, Times New Roman or Georgia Text.
  3. The title of your story should appear at the top of the document and in the file name.
  4. Your name should not appear on the document (submissions will be read blind so if your name is on the doc it will not be accepted).
  5. Click HERE to go to the form where you can attach your story file, or go to the T & C’s page and enter there.

Judging:

There will be 2 judges, myself and one of our regular story contributors Fiona M. Jones.

  1. Stories will be read ‘blind’ without author names attached so as to avoid bias.
  2. We will not be giving feedback on stories at this point in time, apart from general opinions on the winning entries that will be published on the blog.
  3. While our opinions and personal taste will play a small role in the judging, we will be looking at the structure, form, originality and storytelling technique of each submission.
  4. We both have different tastes but will work together, discussing all elements of the story to come up with 10 stories for the shortlist and then 3 winners.
  5. All decisions are final and will not be open to discussion.

You can read more about the judges on our ‘About‘ page.

Prizes:

1st Place – $50 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + a printed copy of the anthology + digital copy of the anthology.

2nd Place – $20 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + digital copy of the anthology.

3rd Place – $20 (AUD), published on mumlifestories.com & in anthology + digital copy of the anthology

Shortlist (Top 10) – Published in anthology + digital copy of the anthology

Submit:

Click HERE to go to the entry form.

Go to the T & C’s page.

Sign up to mailing list to get a reminder when the competition is about to close & keep informed of upcoming competitions, plus receive a FREE Ebook.

Good Luck and Have Fun Writing!


413QErUcQ5L

Writing Flash – How to craft & publish flash fiction for a booming market (Kindle Edition)


Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

ebook button


I’m Sure Jesus Liked Cheese: A Micro Story

We’d love to thank Paula Nicolson from Scotland, for her story ‘I’m Sure Jesus Liked Cheese’, a sweet story about jet lag and childhood games, based on true events.

Paula Nicolson lives near Lockerbie, Scotland, with her family and is a mum to a teenage daughter, two grown-up stepchildren, and an overly chatty cat. She enjoys laughing, eating cake, and writing with Lockerbie Writers; preferably all at the same time. She worked as a scientist for 22 years in England, but now works as a librarian in a Scottish town where there’s more sheep than books (she made that fact up, but seriously, there are lots of sheep up there). She’s a published poet, short story, and a prize-winning flash fiction writer. She’s also a judge for BBC Radio 2’s 500 words and Castle Loch Trust’s children’s writing competitions.

You can check out Paula’s blog HERE

Photo by Alexander Maasch on Unsplash

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This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.

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I’m Sure Jesus Liked Cheese

Have you ever tried playing Hangman with a five-year-old that has only just learned to spell?
We’d just returned from a family Christmas holiday in California to our home in Portsmouth, Hampshire. We’d met every Disney princess going (and there was a lot), ate cinnamon pretzels until we too were twisted and smelt of apple pie, and had exhausted our replies to, ‘Have a nice day!’. But the after-effects of an eight-hour time difference was taking its revenge on our bodies: I was ready for my dinner at 3am and my bed at 6am. Not helpful if you wanted to get your body back to the UK industrial revolution clock.
To alleviate the insomnia, my husband and I took to watching the US series: The Walking Dead (a horror story of life after a zombie apocalypse). Yeah, hindsight is a wonderful thing; probably not the best method to lull yourself off to sleepy-sheepy land. But we already had a steam cleaner and didn’t need a zirconium ring from the shopping channel, and so we became hooked. I even sympathized with the zombies as I too felt like chewing someone’s arm off at night with hunger, and shuffling around the daylight hours groaning.
One night, I’d managed to fall asleep at 11pm only to be awoken by my husband at 1am striking up a conversation with me about cars (WT−), and then at 2am by our daughter with a request to play Hangman; a pink felt tip and scribbling paper tucked tightly into her armpit.
Yes, why not, I thought. Eyes don’t need to be fully in focus – tick; she’s already brought the materials – tick; we don’t have to get out of bed – tick. This will be easy.
However, after 10 minutes of running through a few letters, and drawing our one but last limb, we were seconds from being hung. How could we not get this three-letter word? It was G?T, after all.
‘I give up,’ I shouted, hurling my hands above my head and waving them in the air.
‘It’s “get” Mummy, you know G … I … T!’ she said.
I will say at this point, that I’m from the Eastend of London and my husband is from Scotland and we often wondered what sort of accent she would develop. However, we needn’t have worried as we’d just been delivered evidence that her own homegrown Portsmouth accent had finally come shining through. I imagined my mother at this point, squirming, for she was always a stickler for knocking any regional accent out of me. However, with my husband and I trying not to laugh (too much), I corrected her spelling politely and gently with, I should say, no mention of what ‘git’ meant.
We decided to have one more game before, ‘We really have to try and get some sleep,’ but the hangman’s noose was beckoning, again. Why couldn’t we guess ‘??EES?S’. We asked her for a clue.
‘He was born at Christmas and came down to Earth to tell us to be nice to one another,’ she said.
‘Jesus?’
‘Yes Mummy!’
‘But that’s spelt–‘
‘C … H …E … E … S … O … S! I’m good at spelling, aren’t I?’
‘Yes darling, you are,’ I said hugging her. And if Jesus loved cheese, which I’m sure he did, he would have hugged her too.
We did, eventually, go back to sleeping in line with the UK. Our daughter’s spelling improved and we are still fans of The Walking Dead.
But my husband continues to talk to me about cars, late at night; some things never change.


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