Tag: Culture

Big, Big World by Michelle Li

It begins with you. 


Our story starts in the year 2002. You had just turned 25 years old. You were young and so beautiful (you still are) that you were often mistaken as the actress Joey Wong by passersby. It’s late September, and the leaves are starting to fall. They crunch beneath your black boots and luggage bags as you walk toward the airport terminal. The wind tangles itself through your hair and blows past your jacket. The air is cold, filled with pollution and thick smoke. You cannot see the sun. 

Outcast by Elliot J Harper

He lingered on the borderlands between the bar and the raucous scrum that resembled the pub proper. His was the liminal space that lay in that strange realm, watching and feigning participation. As always, he was SOBER – that dirty word. He had abstained for five years now and planned to remain that way for many years to come. He was happy with his status. The decision had been made, all that time ago, to live without a drink. His life before, one he often thought of as a strange, fever dream, was like a completely different world to him. There, he had spent the time striving toward drunkenness. His weekend had been awash with booze, often commencing on Thursday evening, forsaking the hope of Friday, and then devouring the weekend like a famished animal. Treating it like an odd hobby, rather than the destructive force that it really represented for him.            

But that was years ago.

Moving Home and Not Coming Out by Anonymous


The first time I was 15. He had blonde curls, deep blue eyes and an American drawl from his mother that cut deep through suburban London. I told a friend how beautiful I thought he was but did nothing else. It surfaced again from time to time but never with the same simplicity, the shy urge to be close to someone, to touch skin and graze lips.

Decades later it has finally begun to materialise but not as I expected. Last year I realised how at home I feel in female clothing – slithers of lace and silk, straps I can pull taught between my fingers and a metallic necklace that jolts me with confidence each time I touch it. What started as a memory of how beautiful I thought a boy at school was has morphed into a preoccupation with ceding control: degradation by older women, an occasionally urgent desire to give head and presenting feminine all seem to be ways of escaping the pressure of a conventionally male role, of taking the lead.

EXCLUSIVE STORY FEATURE: Cocoon Lucky by Kavita A. Jindal

“Cocoon Lucky” is one of the short stories featured in Where We Find Ourselves, an anthology of stories and poems by UK-based writers of the global majority (Arachne Press).

It is December and I dwell on what fortune-tellers have told me in the past. There is not much else to do when ‘festive season’ occurs while we’re in lockdown. I’m semi-shielding, actually. Everything I do is half-baked and prefixed by semi or demi. Nothing is full-on, not even make-up for work Zoom calls or Zoom parties. Lipstick and a pearl pin in my unruly hair is enough, isn’t it?