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Barbara Chapman

Barbara 1.jpg

When cultivating words pruning is essential. Often it’s the passages or phrases that you prize the most that need to be cut. As a word gardener of many years, this is a key lesson that Barbara has learned.

Barbara's arrival in Shropshire in the early 90s coincided with the founding of Bridgnorth Writers and she was delighted to become a member.

At that time, she aspired to follow in the footsteps of a famous Barbara in the realm of romantic fiction. Alas, despite the coincidence of their initials, this was not to be.

With the encouragement of the Group, Barbara has ventured into other genres and now writes flash fiction, short stories, poetry and has even tried her hand at haiku.

She has been involved in a number of projects with Bridgnorth Writers, the latest of which culminated in an anthology entitled Stirring the Dust. The project was based on an exploration of origins and offered a wide scope for inspiration. Writing the Ancestors Back to Life, a workshop she devised and presented, was just one of the creative fruits of this endeavour.

Barbara has been longlisted in The Doris Gooderson short story competition. 

There is a novel completed and waiting in the wings, so watch this space!

Barbara is chair of Bridgnorth Writers.


I follow the white coat.  Stop, present card, door unlocks, pass through, door locks. There have been three doors since I left Dr Conrad’s office.

“She’s doing well,” he assured me. “We have techniques for managing the condition. It takes time to find the most suitable. You’ll see.”

I wonder what the techniques are, feel doubt tinged with hope, or perhaps it’s the other way round.

We are before the final door. The orderly opens, steps to the side leaving me framed in the entrance.

It’s her - pale face, thin hands. But where her hands were always in motion now they are still; she is clasping something, clinging to it as if it were an anchor.

“Hello,” I say. “What have you got there?”

She stares past me then refocuses. Her hand opens, offers a smooth, oval stone.

“What are those? Words?” 

“Pins.” The word falls strangely from her lips.

The marks on the stone are words: Life, Curve, Smooth, Tumbled, Lost…

“I see.” 

I don’t.

She smiles, the Sarah of old. Blink, she’s gone.

“They force the words to wait their turn. Then I can make them into stories. Always so many words…” 


“The stone fixes them for you.”


My heart wrenches. “Tell me a story!” 

The orderly slams the door. The stone thuds against it.

“My fault?” I ask.

“Good days, bad days.”

We leave: present card, door unlocks, pass through, door locks…

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