Short Story Published: “…in acceptance” in Litro Magazine

FeaturedShort Story Published: “…in acceptance” in Litro Magazine

My short story “…in acceptance” has been published by Litro, one of UK’s leading literary and creative arts magazines. This is what the Editor had to say about it:

‘…there are (literary) communications from beyond the grave in Richard Lee-Graham’s strange but touching (and playful) “…in acceptance.”’

The piece appears in issue #171, which can be purchased in the Litro Shop, or you can read the story online here, along with the other excellent writing available on Litro.co.uk.

I hope you like the story!

Short Story Extract: The Meat I’m Tethered To

Short Story Extract: The Meat I’m Tethered To

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but my writing’s been picking up some pace since my wedding (those things take up a lot of time). Here’s an extract from one of several stories I’m currently juggling. I’m not sure it’s the most efficient way to work, but I always seem to have several pieces ongoing at various stages of completion. Other writers might draft and redraft the same story until it’s polished and ready to go. That just doesn’t seem to work for me. The drawback is that I have a lot of stories that aren’t polished and ready to submit. Here’s a bit from one of those:

Two noises dominate when it’s just me and The Meat in here: Beep and Shhhp. Beep. Shhhp. Beep – The Meat’s heart still beats. Shhhp — The Meat’s lungs still breathe. I’ve tried to tune them out: impossible. I’ve tried to extract a beat or some kind of musical pleasure from them: nope. There is a sort of rhythm, but it’s not exactly one you can tap your foot to.

I saw The Meat tap his foot once. Well, it was more of a twitch. The nurse saw it too while she was in here changing his shit bag (that’s right, he shits). His big toe started twitching away like Thumper and the nurse yipped with excitement and called in one of the leaden doctors – they’re all leaden when they come in here; gravely serious and pissed-off and put-out. I mean, I get it – they want to heal the living, not flog the dead horses down this end of the corridor.

So, this doctor lopes in and sees The Meat twitching and he says, “It’s nothing.” The nurse looks crestfallen, so he explains a bit more: “By week six, his brain will have liquefied.” The nurse’s eyes fill up with liquid. “I’m sorry,” says the doc. “This,” he points at The Meat. “Is a corpse. The family need to understand that. Please don’t tell them about the twitch. They’ll just use it to prove their case.”

When he says ‘The Family’, he’s talking about my wife, Jenny. She visits every day. A black cloud of guilt brings her here around 9am, after she’s dropped off poor little Alistair at primary school. On weekends she’s here from 7.30am and stays until the solicitous nurses timidly ask her to leave.

Jenny arrived one morning and became hysterical because she saw a dried out bogey hanging from the tip of The Meat’s little finger — she was convinced he’d been scooping out cadaver snot in the night. “Proof!” she screamed, holding The Meat’s lifeless arm aloft like he’d vanquished Death in a bloody fistfight. “Proof, he’s still in there! He was always picking his nose.”

True as that may be, it was in fact poor little Alastair who’d left that bogey on The Meat’s finger. The little scamp.

In Acceptance [WORK IN PROGRESS]

FeaturedIn Acceptance [WORK IN PROGRESS]

Below is an extract from a short story in progress. The working title is, “In Acceptance”…

 

There were three things I had in common with my father: whiskey, writing, and sleep-walking. According to him, I was an uncultured whiskey drinker and untalented fiction writer. ‘But, my God, you might just be the greatest sleep-walker there ever was,’ he said one morning after he’d seen me juggling semiconscious in my flannel pyjamas. To this day, I’ve never been able to juggle whilst awake.

He hadn’t left me much: a few unpublished manuscripts, a signed first-edition of his debut novel, and his Remington Portable typewriter, which he was found slumped over, with an empty bottle of whiskey in his lap and the final words he ever wrote stamped into the furled paper — I’m tired.

The Remington Portable was a beautiful thing. When you held it in your hands it was heavy and cold, like a chiselled lump of iron ore. But when you placed it on a desk, it became an intricate, miraculous object, like a miniaturised munitions factory, with hundreds of delicate cogs and levers working to your bidding. I’d always loved it. My father was repulsed at the idea of using a computer or word processor. ‘What’s good enough for Orwell is good enough for the rest of us,’ he said once, grinding his teeth down to the gum as he wound a fiddly ink ribbon into the Remington (Orwell used the same model, but my father had been duped into thinking he’d bought Orwell’s actual typewriter. As such, he treated the thing like a literary totem, with powers beyond mere mechanical virtue). When I heard that he’d stipulated in his will that I should have it, it was the only time after his death I came close to crying. I just didn’t expect it — he wasn’t a sentimental man.