One Small Step

Probably the most well known quote regarding walking in the last fifty years and the key reason why we chose the 20 July 2019, that marked the 50th anniversary of the first Moon Walk, as the perfect day to run a creative writing walkshop with writing tutor and Museum Co-creator Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, to complement our flash story competition in which we asked people to write a story in 50 words or under.  That’s no mean feat!  We had more than 50 entries and finally settled on 17 marvellous stories which we brought together in our second anthology of the year, aptly title ‘One Small Step’ and brilliantly illustrated by Alban Low.

We have created an on-line bookshop and are not only planning to publish and sell flash anthologies but boldly look to create books and chapbooks of many of our popular and successful walks and walkshops.  We are also inviting other publishers of walking titles to sell their books through the Museum of Walking bookshop. However, we are realistic in our plans as we recognise it is word of mouth and experiences that sell not only our events but also books, so next week we are holding our inaugural Flash Story Showcase that we hope to run at least twice a year, to which you can come and listen to authors reading their work and purchases their books.

However, back to ‘One Small Step and how those three words and the first Moon Walk inspired our winning authors:

Sylvia Petter – an Australian living in Austria is the author of ‘The Man in the Moon

“The Moon Walk inspired my flash because 1969 was the year I left Australia to study translation at the University of Vienna where my American-English professor did the simultaneous interpretation of the event for Austrian TV. I use the event in my forthcoming novel, All the Beautiful Liars.”

Phoebe Demeger – a bookseller in south London wrote not one but two winning stories: ‘Earth rise‘ and ‘We choose to do these things

“A single step may be small, yet in that step is encapsulated a whole history and imagined future of human achievement. Much like the flash fiction form itself, which has the power to bring to mind thoughts, sensations and events far beyond the boundaries of the page. I was inspired by this snapshot approach to history, drawing in other such instances and ‘firsts’ from the space race, including the infamous ‘Earthrise’ photograph taken in 1968 and John F. Kennedy’s stirring 1962 speech, and remarking on how these small moments reverberate across the earth.”

Andrew Anderson – a Scottish civil servant is the author of ‘SPACEmail

“I have been playing around with the idea of giving celestial bodies such as planets and stars a voice, and imagined how the moon would have felt about the moon landing.”

Carrie Dunne – a retired teacher from Hertfordshire, author of ‘Gravity

“I’m old enough to remember watching the Apollo 11 mission on a black and white TV way back in 1969. It started my passion for science. For the competition, rather than write directly about the Moon Walk, I wanted to write something that was a little different, but importantly included science. As I write family stories on vss365, I chose to combine an everyday scenario with key scientific ideas. Another influence on my story was the confusion I have encountered so often in understanding the difference between ‘mass’ and ‘weight’; important when comparing walking on the Earth and on the Moon. I, therefore, decided to write the story using the confused language and ideas associated with dieting and losing weight, and hopefully inject a bit of comedy.”

Roz Mascall – holds a Masters in Creative writing for Therapeutic Purposes, and is the author of ‘Don’t tell NASA

“I’ve often thought that things look a little bleak on the moon. It was fun to conjure up a souvenir for the astronauts to smuggle home to Earth.”

Nora Nadjarian – an award-winning Cypriot poet and writer, author of ‘Man, Woman, Moon

“I wanted to give the moon landing story a feminist twist. By refocusing the story with the few words at my disposal, I think I touched on the slightly disturbing aspects of the Apollo 11 narrative: the imperialism, the hubris, the chauvinism.”

Gordon Duncan – a crime fiction reviewer, author of ‘In isolation

Photo credit: Wiki Commons

“I was five years old and in my first year of Primary School when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. It was obviously a time of great excitement and I still remember it. When I was watching a documentary about Apollo 11 I was struck by the image of President Nixon waving to the returned astronauts in their isolation chamber. Here they were, having performed this incredible feat but locked away whilst the rest of the world celebrated. I then tried to imagine what it would’ve been like for a child to watch the landing and moon walk and then be isolated at home, unable to talk about what they’d seen with the rest of their classmates. They would’ve been distraught.”

Helen Ottaway – a sound artist from Frome, author of ‘Mankind Dreaming

“The idea of walking on the moon is outside my sphere of understanding. The thought of a man on the moon feels somewhere between nursery rhyme and dream.  Physically too the astronauts floated in the moons atmosphere and had to be weighed down with heavy boots so they didn’t drift away.  I was inspired by these ideas of floating and dreaming as well as by perceptions of distance and scale particularly in relation to how the earth looks from space.    The mission was a feat of precision engineering and planning and so I chose a visual pattern, almost a grid, for my words. As a homage to composer, writer, artist and thinker John Cage I chose to arrange the words as an acrostic poem – a form he used and developed in his writings.”

Ned Carter Miles – a radio producer and critic, author of ‘96 bags

“I’ve had in my head for a while—I can’t remember where from—this fact about the 96 bags, and it’s interesting in a lot of ways: the bacteria the astronauts left behind in those bags were, in a sense, the first extraterrestrial settlement (…from colon to colony…). It also speaks to how we treat our environment(s). But I think I was most interested in the idea that we’re able to build these shiny spacecraft and travel to other worlds, but we can’t escape or change some of the vulgar fundamentals. I think that says a lot.” Just what has been left behind on the Moon?

Diane Woodrow – a dog walker in North Wales, author of ‘A bungalow in Dorset Monday 21st July 1969

“I have been writing a lot of memoir pieces at the moment and the time of the Moon Walk was when I had reached an age to realise my parent’s marriage was not a happy one. They spent the next 10 years, from Neil Armstrong’s big moment until 1979 moving further and further apart until my Mum left just after my 18th birthday. This flash fiction piece comes from a much longer piece but contains the essence of that day for me.”

Andrew Lavender – works in the space industry in Plymouth, author of ‘Legend of the Moon Walk

“As I was born around the time of the first moon landing I grew up associating the event with new beginnings and I wanted to explore this context together with truths and myths surrounding when, or even if, things have happened.”

Laura Besley – writes when her young children are asleep, author of ‘One Wrong Step

“The inspiration behind One Wrong Step is the thought that, at the time of the moon landing, most people wouldn’t have had a television. Therefore, in order to watch the moon landing, living rooms would have been crammed full of people, which in turn would lead to the perfect opportunity to do something stealthy.”

Jason Jawando – writes fiction and drama, and is the author of ‘First

“There are lots of conspiracy theories about the 1969 moon landing, and while the truth is undoubtedly a feat of human endeavour, the theories often seem more dramatic. I wondered if there was another, far more mundane, story.

Kate Kirby – an editor of non fiction illustrated books, author of ‘Isn’t he walking yet?

“The Moon Walk is the greatest human achievement ever. I was inspired thinking about the tiny, insignificant, everyday domestic dramas being played out across the globe, while something so momentous is going on in the universe, thousands of miles away.”

Bart van Goethem – is a copywriter and drummer, author of ‘Moon Tours

“I was reading a bit to get inspired, to get past the first ideas I had, and I read Armstrong’s footprint is currently still there, because there is no wind on the moon. It can’t be blown away. Not something I would have spontaneoulsy thought about. Suddenly I had an angle: how would aliens/future species look at the footprint long after mankind has disappeared? This made it possible to make a link with our current situation and the whole eco-debate. Convenient!”

Mel Davies – author of ‘Lot 69‘ this is her first published work

“My piece was inspired by looking at all the different ways the man on the moon has been used to describe place. A pub is so British and I find it a funny and quirky to name a place of drinking The Man on the Moon. Haven’t we all had one too many and looked up at the sky and the big galaxy and stars and constellations and imagined seeing the man looking down!”

And finally, we would like to thank Museum Co-creator Nigel Bristow, who along with Rebekah Lattin Rawstrone are the competition judges and editors.

It is not too late to submittal entry to our current flash story competition – just 250 words or under with a story inspired by Autumn Colours.  Details here.

All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..

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