About Backhand Stories

Yasunari Kawabata collected some of his writing in a book called ‘Palm-of-the-Hand Stories.’ It was an apt choice; most of the pieces were no more than a hundred words or so, beautiful, fragile little scenes that took a few seconds to read but stayed with you far, far longer. The idea was that the stories could fit, literally, in your palm. Typically Japanese.

I, on the other hand, am not Japanese. And I’m far from fragile (but my mum thinks I’m beautiful. I hope.) When I first created this site, I was writing scenes and short stories filled with characters I remember from growing up in the suburbs of Manchester, in the north-west of England. You can read about some of them here and here. Manchester is generally an industrial city (although I think it has changed some now) and my family were, and still are, working people. The people I met in the street, in the pubs, in the markets and especially those I came across as I followed my Dad around on his deliveries were more likely to show you the back of their hand (as in, “Any more lip from you son, an’ you’ll see the back o’ me hand!) than consider the merits of flash fiction crafted by a Japanese Nobel-prize-winning author.

Most of the scenes I wrote never materialized into anything more substantial – in fact, most of them never materialized into anything at all, as they’re all still floating in the limbo of a corrupted hard drive at the bottom of a cardboard box on my garage floor. However, I did want to create a place for new writers where short fiction was the norm, where writers could grow and learn and where you could read work in a couple of minutes that would stay with you the rest of the day.

So there you are. Backhand Stories. I hope you enjoy them.

Martin Bell

ps Let me know what you think of the site by emailing me: martin at this domain.