The Clock Museum and other stories

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Most of the stories in this collection are in some way about words and meanings, about poems and books and the significance they can have for us, the way a character in a story can become a part of our own lives. Some are about writers and writing and the special problems and dilemmas that writers might face, the difficult choices they might have to make as a consequence.

This is the start of the title story:

An old city: its narrow streets twist like the lines of a snail’s shell outwards from the centre, away to the furthest edges. There are fine old buildings, steep slanting roofscapes and tall spires; ancient stairways, where ancient figures might climb forever, always failing to find their destination.

The city still holds its memories of East and West, North and South – it was once the centre of a great empire. But it is not as it once was; at its outer limits the splendour has faded, and mixes with the dust of the everyday. There are deserted, derelict places now along the streets, and though tourists and travellers still come to study and enjoy, strange people wander through the stately parks sometimes, lingering in corners to surprise the passer-by.

A small square, shaded with trees, enfolded within the oldest part of the city: in it stood the clock museum, almost hidden, obscure in its corner, drawing no attention to itself. I lingered at the entrance for a while, for I had time, all the time in the world. Then I paid the entrance fee – I thought it high for this small place, which appeared so insignificant – and entered. I walked along the dim corridor towards the galleries, and I was aware that there were no other visitors in the museum – though I had thought that someone entered the doorway behind me…

From The Clock Museum and other stories

Published in June 2021 by Chaffinch Press.