'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Author: Sara Wasson (Page 6 of 11)

‘A MEDLEY OF PAIN POPS’, by ford dagenham


acceptable inevitable storm-head alarm
that holds back its rain
and mumbles thunder instead

a hard-sell of cotton ignorance
on the sofa that’s the world


the days hurt
the nights – well 

they’re a VHS video-nasty
trembling on pause

I only hope 
why I yell at him


drugs argue 
in my blood
bedside drawer

like married pensioners and their TV shows

they could get along

far far away
without me


I told the Dr
that it all hurts SO much
and I’m SO tired SO much
and its SO very hard to THINK now
that it makes me want to CRY
but I CAN’T cry
I told the Dr
cos of all the antidepressants

and she barked involuntary laughter
and suggested I swim


  • by ford dagenham

hatchbacks on fire: author website


ANNOUNCING SYMPOSIUM: Representing Pain: Fragments and Narrative

Representing Pain:  Fragments and Narrative
A symposium at Lancaster University

Friday 17 August 2018, 9:00 am -5.30 pm

I am delighted to announce a Symposium to be held at Lancaster University on Friday 17 August, exploring the challenges pain poses to traditional narrative representation, and the way it may require rethinking narrativity or embracing unconventional or fragmentary narrative forms. 

The Symposium is part of the AHRC-funded research network Translating Chronic Pain, which is especially exercised by the way that conventional illness narrations (long form autobiography/memoir) don’t always lend themselves well to chronic pain experience.  The symposium will explore the broad debates around narrativity in medical humanities, the potential of short-form narration or unconventional forms of illness narration,  the positivity imperative in illness narration, challenges of chronic pain representation, and the way ‘entanglements’ with fields such as disability studies and trauma theory may enrich critical medical humanities approaches to these questions.  

The network brings together academics, pain charities and people living with chronic pain, to explore how short-form creative writing may support people living with chronic pain, raise awareness, and enhance healthcare training.  Among other things, the network is exploring ‘flash’ illness writing, and we have produced a web-based public anthology of creative work in this vein at the project website. The call for creative work remains open.  (5-150 words) of prose, poetry, optionally alongside artwork  or comic/sequential art.  For details please see http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/translatingpain/creative-manifesto/ .   

Confirmed symposium speakers include: Dr Angela Woods (Durham), Dr Stella Bolaki (Kent),  Professor James Berger (Yale), Dr. Megan Crowley-Matoka (Northwestern), Professor Ann Jurecic (Rutgers), Professor Brendan Stone (Sheffield), Professor Alan Bleakley, and Professor Javier Moscoso (Research Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Spain).

Accommodation and partial travel bursaries are also available for six postgraduate students or early career researchers.

For more information please visit the project website at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/translating-pain or email S.Wasson@lancaster.ac.uk.


‘Nothing’, by Una Sombra

I am in the centre of nothing.
Nothing cushions me.
Nothing protects me
I am comfortable surrounded by nothing
Nothing is nice and kind and gentle.
I am nobody in nothing
I am special in nothing
Nothing matters in nothing
Nothing is everything
I am nothing

Nothing touches me
I touch nothing
Nothing moves me
I move nothing
Nothing loves me
I love nothing

Nothing is good
Nothing is great
Nothing is better than me


  • by Una Sombra


‘The Diagnosis’, by Roseanne Watt

A rookery, long abandoned now, 
had been built inside my body.

I don’t know where the birds went
or why, one day, they uninhabited,

leaving only their barbed-wire 
residues, strung across the boughs

of my hips; all sticks and spit, 
all hollows meant for holding 

something small, still desperately
alive. I’m sorry – I’m afraid 

I know only my own dark canopy, 
its filtering bones of light.


  • by Roseanne Watt


‘Seczema’ by Isabel White

I flirt with my itch.
By turns it niggles, seduces, pesters;
as it gapes, festers,
I reach down,
don’t dare to look,
rip legs to shreds with nails, shorn short 
(but not short enough);
viscous red
smeared across my calf,
warm to touch.
I suppurate for art;
as if sawed in half,
shriek a pain.
I climax;
vow to abstain 
in future;


  • by Isabel White

United Kingdom

‘The Ache’, by Kitty Frilling

It wouldn’t be fair to say the ache starts
every morning as I wake.
Or truthfully that I wake at all,
more I become conscious… of the pain. 

The fire started small and young.
Fickle flickering up my spine.
Across my shoulders like a seasoned log,
spreading further, faster as I age.

It took hold.
It ravaged me, left me weak and wincing.
Scared to stretch my body,
as if it would elongate my pain. 

The ache doesn’t care how I adjust. 
Turn this hip, rest this hand, lift this leg. 
To chase it out of one limb just moves it, 
across the map of my body. 

It doesn’t listen to the pills.
Signals sent to block it in my brain. 
It weaves its way round them,
conniving and wheedling itself into my synapses.


  • by Kitty Frilling

Author website: www.kittyfrilling.co.uk

United Kingdom

‘The Night Shift’, by Libby R.

When he was dying, I swallowed a CoCodamol before bedtime as if it were hot chocolate. I craftily attributed my zen-like calm in the face of helping Dad as he pissed blood into a plastic pot at 3am – I don’t know what’s happening to me, he said, again and again – to my sensible study of The Tibetan Book of The Dead. It was a lie, but a lie that helped.

  • by Libby R.

Author website: The Diary I Didn’t Write


‘The Cost of Falling Ill’, by Linda Cosgriff

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

Then you’re ill
can’t work
can’t walk
can’t bear talk
or remember how no pain felt
can count on the hand you can’t lift
your friends
and family

can’t work
or provide
can’t afford pride
or holidays
you manage Christmas, on plastic
can’t walk your children to school
it’s uphill

you’re ill
can’t work
can’t live
can’t provide –
the part that was you
the man that was you
the pride in you

Try not to care 
that the love of your life 
is no longer your wife 
but your carer

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom

« Older posts Newer posts »