I had a nice, bonus boost to my confidence this week, when I noticed that a certain Helen Anderson’s story ‘Emily’s Elephant’ was listed in the top slot of the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Competition 2015. I thought I remembered entering a while ago – ever-optimistic but without any real expectation of being placed. However, I wasn’t quite able to give a whoop of joy until I received the official e-mail notification, especially as, a couple of weeks ago, I’d momentarily fancied I’d won a poetry competition I couldn’t even recall hearing about. One of the perils of relatively common fore- and sur-names is that there are other Helen Andersons – even Helen Anderson – Writers out there. (I know, what a cheek) In that particular case, the triumphing Helen Anderson hailed from the US. But this time, with the Ink Tears comp, it really was me – THE (at least in my own, small mind) Helen Anderson, aka Helen VICTORIA Anderson. Whoop.
I am thrilled that my story was chosen from almost one thousand entries and will appear in Ink Tears in December. This achievement is spurring me on – helping me power through the self-doubt that’s plaguing me as I prepare to publish my memoir about losing Georgina. Piece by Piece is about to go to press, with an official launch planned for the new year. In spite of excellent feedback from respected readers, it is always nerve-wracking to finally take the plunge and get work ‘out there’, especially when you can’t hide behind the ‘this narrator isn’t actually me – she’s purely a fictional construct who may share some of my traits’ excuse. It’s scary, sometimes, showing the real Helen Anderson. It’s scary, most of the time, being her but the writing helps.