The Composer


Our short story of the week is a story about the creative process by Jasmin Kirkbride.

Jasmin Kirkbride is a writer and editor. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA, exploring climate change in science fiction and hope in ecocritical dystopias. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including Fictive DreamAsh TalesHaverthorn, and on the cover of Open Pen, and has been shortlisted for awards including the 2019 EVENT Magazine Speculative Fiction Contest. Jasmin has also written a series of self-help books aimed at young adults, including Stress LessBelieve in YourselfBoost and Don’t Panic. Her writing is represented be Sandra Sawicka at Marjacq literary agency, and she is currently working on her first full-length novel. For more information, visit:

‘The Composer’ explores the complex and messy process of creative composition.


The composer prefers to address the choir with the manuscript laid out before her, as if she were a priest. She bends over the sheaf of papers, examining the first page. She must have done this a thousand times, but she still worries that one day she’ll turn up and be unable to read what’s in front of her. Yet, as always, with the surety of a sunrise, the lines and dots on the page assemble into coherence.

The composer straightens her back, tapping her fingers on the podium while she waits for silence to fall. It doesn’t always come naturally; sometimes she has to force it. She starts with a prodding sigh, her breath sliding up and down a minor seventh chord.

The crowd comes to attention, turning to her with a hundred expectant faces, most of which she knows, though some have been forgotten with the passage of years. In the front row of the soprano section, a woman who looks a lot like the composer’s older sister stares at her with glossy eyes.

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