... has been an oboist and music teacher for many years and then branched into songwriting. Through composing Michelle discovered her love of words generally, and looked for extra ways to build on her creativity and share with others. She joined Harlow Writers Workshop in the autumn of 2014 and is inspired and encouraged by the group..
Michelle decided that maybe she should try writing a story for a competition. The Festival of Literature in Bishop’s Stortford has an adult section, and in 2012 she decided to give it a go.
Her story story was one of five shortlisted. She didn't win but was chuffed to bits to have been considered a possible winner – especially at her first ever story attempt.
The competition entries had to include the line ‘Anyone could make that mistake once, but then he did it again.’
Being shortlisted boosted Michelle's creative confidence and the entries were posted on a board in Waterstones, Bishop’s Stortford, which made her very proud.
Double Trouble, her competition entry, is reprinted below.
I had mixed feelings about any social occasions or activities after my recent break up. I wasn’t even sure I was ready to join the local poetry club but, following Heather’s suggestion, I went along anyway. She was right, I was becoming a recluse.
With her support though, my confidence had been blooming. I had also benefitted from the newest member of the group taking me out a few times. Our dates were already the highlight of my week.
We hadn’t met up much, but when we did I struggled to stop myself from falling off my chair with the hilarity of it all. Bill possessed every woman’s desire, a great sense of humour. There lay the problem with my ex. He didn’t make me laugh at all. I cried a lot though.
Bill suggested we do some work together to share at the poetry club. I promptly put my poem thinking cap on.
Yesterday over coffee he became strangely shy, a different person even. He steered me as far as he could away from the idea. Lack of self-confidence tempted me to smell a rat, although I suppose drama teachers are allowed to be shy, but why ask me in the first place? I just hope he’s not toying with me.
I intended to write a poem together, so I suggested a possible beginning by text. After all, I have both his work and private numbers. He’s probably on his lunch break so I’ll text the work number. Being a romantic type, I’ll write about love. So, here goes. It’s something to work from anyway.
‘You’re the energy, the sun shining down on me – how does that sound Bill?’
I didn’t anticipate what followed.
‘You’re the right when things go wrong’.
‘You’re the summer rain, washing my tears away’, I reply.
‘You’re my strength to carry on.’
Oh what beautiful words!
Saturday brings some free time so I text his private number.
‘You’re the rainbow chasing my storm’
‘Your the birdsong breaking at dawn.’
I stare at the line. There’s something wrong. It’s different from last time, but it’s the spelling of the word “You’re”. It’s probably a typing error. Anyone could make that mistake once, but then he did it again.
‘Your the sparkle on a Christmas morn’.
That surely was written by someone else. I arrange for us to meet the next day. I text both numbers to meet me at the same time.
In walks Bill, and hot on his heels, another Bill! My jaw drops. Identical twins.
They knew it was wrong but because Bill had been heartbroken before, he wanted his brother to meet me too. I had been dating two men! It explained why Bill seemed shy sometimes.
Unfortunately, I’m unsure who Bill is anymore.