Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about flowers by Elaine Miles.
Elaine Miles began writing short stories in 2006, when a back injury forced her to lie down and do nothing for six weeks. Unable to do much more than lift a pen, she thought she’d give writing a go, and sent a short story off to a writing competition, never dreaming for a minute that she’d win anything. But amazingly, she did, and she realised she might be on to something. She’s never looked back.
In 2012, Elaine won a prize for Best New Writing awarded by the Rondo Theatre in Bath. In the same year, she decided that being onstage herself might be a blast (for which read, completely terrifying) and so she began performing her stories before a live audience. Fear was rapidly replaced with the sheer joy of showing off – she found she really enjoyed the buzz of live performance. She has read her stories at the Bath Festival of Literature and is a regular performer at Story Friday, a storytelling event in Bath run by A Word in your Ear and Kilter Theatre. A number of her stories and monologues have also been broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol and Bath Radio, and Tempest Productions have just released audio recordings of two of her stories.
Elaine is also a playwright, and a number of her short plays have been staged at the Southwark Playhouse in London, as well as in theatres in Bath and the South West.
‘Green Fingers’ follows a family’s relationships through time in the setting of their garden.
Mum! David’s kicked the ball into the tulips!’
Spring 1965. I am seven. And a bit of a snitch.
Upstairs, a curtain is scraped back and Mum appears, wagging finger completely at odds with the twinkle in her eyes. David gets away with murder now. Which is very annoying to my seven-year-old self. But just a few months earlier he had been in hospital, and doubtless my mother wouldn’t have minded if he’d flattened the daffodils, narcissus and everything else besides. The previous autumn, David had watched from his wheelchair as she’d snuggled a cluster of bulbs into the soil, chatting to him all the while.
Now, two operations later, David is back to his normal nine-year-old self, and my parents’ relief floats through the house like a warm summer breeze.