I have just learned that I’ve won second prize in a flash-fiction competition run by the Society of Civil and Public Service Writers (SCPSW). I don’t usually write flash-fiction. I don’t think of myself as a long-winded writer, but it sometimes takes me a couple of hundred words just to clear my throat.

I decided to give this a go, because there’s no point being a member of an organisation if you aren’t going to participate. In the absence of a suitable idea, I used a writing prompt that suggested looking at a piece of art. I picked Lucian Freud’s Girl With a BeretI’ve been intrigued by the painting for a while. Looking at the portrait, I see a young woman with a stern expression. Cover half the portrait, however, and there seem to be two women: the left side of the picture angry to the point of explosion; the right side amiable, happy and lighthearted.

I was keen to write a character that works in a similar way. I don’t know if I succeeded in this, and unless you are a member of the SCPSW, you won’t be able to read the story yet. I’m happy that I’ve done something right.

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