Inside the Spiegeltent.

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Thank you to everyone who attended my Story Shop reading today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was an unforgettable experience. Once again I was reminded of how wonderfully supportive the Edinburgh literary community is, and I was especially grateful for everyone who took a moment out of your day to let me tell you a story.

I hope to tell you many more!

The full text and audio excerpt of my story “Leftovers” are available on the City of Literature Trust’s website.

My publications and other appearances are listed on my “Fiction” page.

Story Shop 2014

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I am thrilled to announce that I will be reading my story “Leftovers” for Story Shop 2014, hosted by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Story Shop is a series of daily 10-minute flash fiction and short story readings by local emerging writers.

My reading is on Wednesday the 13th of August at 4pm in the Guardian Spiegeltent. Drop by for a free story!

“Paper Turtles” – a story by Halsted M. Bernard

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My story “Paper Turtles” has been published in Innsmouth Magazine: 15. An earlier version of this story was written for performance at my first Writers’ Bloc show for Halloween 2012. I am so pleased that my weird little tale about animal ghosts found a home in the last-ever issue of Innsmouth Magazine.

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Cover illustration: Anja Millen

Innsmouth Magazine: 15 is available for purchase in print directly from Innsmouth Free Press as well as Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Barnes & Noble.

Innsmouth Magazine: 15 is also available in digital formats. The ePub can be purchased through Smashwords for 50% off through the 31st of July with the code SSW50. The Mobi version is in the Kindle UK and Kindle US stores.

If you enjoy it, please share it on your social media sites of choice. You can also add Innsmouth Magazine: 15 to your to-read lists on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari.

Handwritten.

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Handwritten.

I love my stationery and sealing-wax, but I rarely use them. Today I received a sealed, handwritten invitation in the mail to dine with friends later on in the month. It gave me such a thrill! As I wrote and sealed my reply, I decided it would be the focus of today’s Routine Reboot. Too often I talk myself out of hand-writing letters because it is inconvenient to buy the proper postage on a per-letter basis. The truth is that the joy of receiving a handwritten letter far exceeds any inconvenience in sending one.

Tell me about the last handwritten letter you received.

It will be OK.

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It will be OK.

It will be OK. The Squid of Reassurance told me so.

It will be OK because of other things, too, like meeting a new friend for coffee and fascinating chat, then coming home to cats who cuddled me while I dug into this book on databases in historical research.

The aforementioned new friend introduced me to HabitRPG, which is a website that gamifies (still not sure how I feel about that word) good habits and task completion. It is just cute enough to be fun and just clever enough to be addictive. I wanted to reconsider my “good habit” list for the Routine Reboot, and HabitRPG encouraged me to do that. There are a few things I want to do every day — like writing Morning Pages — but end up making excuses for it instead of actually doing it. With HabitRPG, I get a bit of game XP (experience points) for doing so. I could even choose to set it up so that the game deducts XP if I don’t write Morning Pages, but I felt that was a bit harsh just starting out.

I’m not sure how much I will use the to-do list aspect of it, because goodness knows I don’t need another fiddly-bit. But just a little time with the game encouraged me to think more positively about my daily life, and that is something I really need right now.

Red wings and darker beak.

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I’ll save you the tally of scratches and cuts. It’s more than a few, and two are especially bothering me. I can’t seem to move my right hand without brushing or bashing its most irritating injury against something scratchy or pointy, and my left middle finger has become a dowsing rod for paper cuts.

This happens in cycles: my hands will be mincemeat for a month, and then normal again for longer. There are echoes of a worse time that I have to ignore. Don’t read the news, either. If you squint, you can see doom lurking in all corners.

In case of increased neurosis, throw self into a routine reboot. Three days to catch up on.

Sunday was another busy day at work, and I only had time to catch a quick bite between work and the Illicit Ink Underground show, but I was glad I didn’t skip the meal. I arrived at the Bongo Club just as my second wind kicked in, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. There were performances from familiar faces like Bloc comrades Andrew C. Ferguson and Gavin Inglis as well as people I hadn’t seen before, which is always a pleasure. Being an active part of the literary community here is far more important to me than I realised, and so I need to ensure I have the time and focus to participate.

On Monday, I was extremely lonely and found myself obsessively clicking on nothing in particular in order to find some connection. I didn’t find it. In fact, it made me feel worse, because everything I read was either depressing news about the state of humanity or cool things that my faraway friends have done or are about to do. Around lunchtime, I finally gave up and resigned myself to feeling lonely that day. I curled up with a book while I ate and immediately felt a little better, so I decided to try a new rule this month: no email, feeds, social media, or anything at all on my computer or other devices during mealtimes or other breaks.

Tuesday was a quiet day of database research and housecleaning, and then I spent the evening with friends in their lovely flat, enjoying a delicious dinner and their company as well as their small menagerie. I took the video above a few weeks ago. (I realised too late that I was filming in portrait instead of landscape mode. Please forgive me.) Something I regret about my time in San Francisco is that I didn’t make more of an effort to be social with my friends there. Social time has been something I’ve sacrificed often in the name of responsibilities. I won’t make that mistake again, and tonight was a good reminder.

Title credit: from “Leda” by H.D.