Jam Fiend

I was asked by the wonderful folk over at First Draft to write something around the theme of collections.

A few months ago, we visited my grandmother, and spent the day looking through her old photos. She’s been suffering from dementia for several years now, retreating back further and further into her past.

One by one, we picked photos out of an old suitcase and passed them to her. She named everyone in them, got them right almost every time. Knew who they were. There she was as a child. There was her mother, her father, her uncles. There, in one photo was the brother who ran away to America and got drafted into the Vietnam war.

This story came from that day. I hope you enjoy it.

First Draft

Dan Carpenter is the next to explore the theme ‘Collections‘ in the lead up to our VAULTS event at The John Rylands Library, in this brand new short story…


I have been collecting pieces of my grandmother now for several months. The time she worked in the cellar of the town hall, processing invoices for the gas board; dancing to her favourite song; a moment on a beach somewhere in the south of France when she looked out at the water and imagined just swimming and swimming, and never looking back. I have been storing them in mason jars which I got from the local hardware shop. Every day it seems I have to head down there and buy some more.

Neil, who runs the shop now his father has died, asked me the other day, “You been cooking loads of jam?”

I looked at the jars…

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