My 5 Metre Writing Certificate
Professional validation is worthy of both celebration and experimentation.
Earlier this week I attended one of Hampshire Writers’ Society’s monthly meetings. Writing must be one of the loneliest occupations and the Society is one of four local writing groups I participate in to help deter my anchorite tendencies. One part of the meeting is devoted to announcing the winners of that month’s flash fiction competition, set and adjudicated by the meeting’s invited guest author. This month’s author was Joanna Barnard, who offered some refreshingly transparent insights into the hardships of traditional publishing.
I’d entered the competition a few weeks earlier, forgotten even the title I’d used, and so politely clapped the announced winners and runners-up, until I realised I was clapping for myself.
I drove home like a first year pupil running up to a parent clutching a five metre swimming badge and certificate. It's my first ever formal writing accolade and sometimes you need a psychological boost to get you through the week. This was certainly a welcome fillip.
But, me being me, I thought I’d use what I’d written to experiment more with ChatGPT - y’know, that super-intelligent ‘bot thing which will soon take over everyone’s job and then the world. By next year. Unlike the printing press and typewriters and word-processors; trains and planes and automobiles; radio and TV and home computers; record players and cassette tapes and video recorders; the web and smartphones and social media; and… well, anything that causes wholesale disruption to the established (and profitable) order of things.
Here’s my original flash-fiction text which was highly commended:
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