While I’m busy working on my next collection of short stories, I’ve two ‘Author Spotlight’ posts for you this week.
First, let me introduce you to Geoff Le Pard. No stranger to my blog, Geoff has appeared on my blog several times. I’m always delighted when he pays Hugh’s Views And News a visit. He’s recently launched a brand new book, Apprenticed To My Mother, and has written the following piece for us. You won’t find this in the book, so this is an exclusive! Over to you Geoff.
My mother never cried. I mean that, truly. I cannot recall a time when she cried. She laughed so hard, she cried, yes, but tears of sadness, of grief of any of the usual reasons for those sorts of tears? No, not one.
It wasn’t because she was unfeeling or cold, far from it. She was empathetic and while a product of her background and cultural memes she did her best to empathise with other’s sufferings.
I asked her once – at her mother’s funeral, or maybe shortly after. Her answer was definitive, and I accepted it at the time. She had so loved her father than when he died in 1940 at barely 50 years old she was so cried out that she had none left – or maybe, more to the point, nothing else would be able to take her so low as that event that nothing else deserved her tears.
But I doubt that was it. When we stood by my father’s grave, and they lowered the wicker casket that was to be his final physical resting place into that dank, dark hole, neither she nor I managed a tear. I did, many times, after that but Mum says she never did and I believe her.
She was covered in grief, for sure, but I’ve come to believe tears for her, felt selfish. She hated self-pity above most emotions and would have none of it in herself. So tears, for her own loss when other’s were also grieving did not fit her self-image, her understanding of who she was, who she intended herself to be. Crying didn’t help others, she believed. They needed her calm, supportive, present, understanding and rock-solid. Her role was to help them, not indulge herself.
And she was happiest that way. Goodness knows we tried to get her to rest, to give herself time and allow herself the space to be the one suffering but we might as well have told her to take time out to change species, the good it did us.
In a way, her stubbornness didn’t always work as she intended. There were points when you wanted her to show her emotion but all we would do is call a smile to her lips, and she would stand and be off making yet more tea and finding a cake or biscuits to sweep away any sad, sour thoughts. And if we pressed too hard, she’d even get a little angry, as if we’d insulted her.
I give in to tears. It’s not like I can not. I’m more like my father in many ways, and I understand that, often, I’m being selfish, self-indulgent. But there are times when my tears allow others the freedom not to be brave.
I suppose she was a product of her generation when stoicism was a watchword and much admired. But there were times when such a role model was a tough act to follow. So, yes, I will cry a little, occasionally and ask Mum to understand when I do. And she would, of course. After all, I’m a man and necessarily the weaker sex.
Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels, he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration, and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.
My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.
Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.
Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015.
Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present-day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.
Buster & Moo is about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?
Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages.
Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.
Thank you to Geoff for writing this post and for filling another page on Hugh’s Views and News while I get on with putting my next book together ready for publication in the autumn.
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