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Well, he asked me what I was passionate about and I said writing, I'm a writer, and he asked me what I like to write about and I said oh, you know, everything, people mainly, the strangers I meet, the stories they tell, ~the tangled webs we weave~, and he said tell me, where do you meet these strange people with all their interesting stories? and I said honestly? in pubs, usually, and I laughed and then he laughed and he had such a fucking great laugh, and then he said well I'm a stranger that you've met in the pub, aren't I? and I said yes but you haven't done anything interesting yet and he said oh don't worry about that, beautiful, I'll give you something to write about, and we laughed some more and smoked and finished our drinks too quickly and then I got in his car and afterwards…

Afterwards… what happened wasn’t… well, it was interesting, would be interesting to you, the reader, but I’m so sorry, I daren’t immortalise that slice of reality, it haunts me already, like, what would this tiny scrunched-up memory grow up to be if it were to exist on paper and computer/phone screens, too? no, forgive me, I’m sorry, I’ll come up with something new and interesting soon, really, but this… this story I can’t/won't write.


HLR (she/her) is a working-class poet, writer and editor from north London. Her work has been widely published, most recently by Hobart. She is the author of History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press).

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