This week is all about feasting and fasting. Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday when traditionally all the butter, milk and eggs in the house had to be used up before the Lenten period began on Ash Wednesday and then it was 40 days of fasting till Easter. In the UK, we might toss out a stack of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday while in New Orleans and other cities Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the riotous culmination of a festival period starting on January 6th. Germany’s Karneval lasts even longer, beginning in November with the main parades on Rosenmontag, the day before Shrove Tuesday. The carnival floats are spectacular with massive, grotesque figures often lampooning politicians. Even British ones! A hugely controversial float a few years ago depicted Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister at the time, pointing a loaded gun marked Brexit in her mouth.
A time of excess: it’s not just the rich, buttery foods but the wild partying and conflicting passions which make ideal ingredients for a short story. As when preparing pancakes, your first attempt might need to be chucked but pare down the prose of subsequent drafts and you should have a story, any genre but no more than 2200 words, that is clean, lean and perfect for submission by Monday, April 24th.
Need further inspiration? Read ‘Shrove Tuesday’ by Anton Chekhov