Schöner Náci, September 2002. I’ll never forget the magical year I spent living and teaching in Slovakia’s gritty capital. Although a relatively small city, upon arrival it felt like I’d been dropped in some gargantuan Soviet bloc jungle where a dense concoction of dark, gray and unsmiling was the order of the day. Thankfully, the city’s tight compact old town saved the day with its historical buildings, artsy cafes and grungy bar scene. A collection of cutesy historic statues added much to the district’s enchantment too. This one stands in honour of Ignac Lamar, a renowned Bratislava vagrant whom the locals supported with free food and occasional cleaning work. Famously friendly and charming, if not a little mad, he was a regular city sight; strolling around in his tails and top hat, greeting people and kissing the hands of ladies. For a more detailed insight into my first impressions of Bratislava, check out my short story Up on the Hill.
It’s Leighton Literature’s 1st birthday!
Does it feel more than a little egomaniacal to wish my own website a happy birthday? Sure, but **** it you only live once.
I can’t quite believe it was a year ago today that I published my first post. Since then I’ve released thirty-two short stories, twenty album reviews and eight installments of my photo series. When I launched the site I was living in Beijing, where a cushy teaching schedule left me with bags of free hours. It was an incredibly productive and fruitful time, some mornings I would set up camp in a local café and slip into a literary coma that would consume me for hours.
It’s four months to the day that I launched Leighton Literature and a timely moment indeed to celebrate the end of my second short story series, The Slovak Files. Putting together its twelve instalments was a real challenge, but also one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken.
Along the way I got back in touch with a host of old friends, people who played a hugely important role in my life that year, unwittingly helping to shape me into the person I am today. In addition to catching up and getting all nostalgic, they also provided invaluable memories, priceless insight and old photographs that I gleefully incorporated into my tales. So I really can’t say enough of a thank you to Jon Crisp, Bill Phillips, Myles Dolphin, Jordan Stein and Martina Stolarikova, your support has made a massive difference.
Leighton Literature has received its ten thousandth hit (!) on what is a gorgeous Beijing afternoon, with blue skies, a fresh breeze and sans pollution.
So this is just the briefest of brief posts to thank everyone for their continued support of the site. Whether you’re a regular reader or just popped in for a specific review, I appreciate everyone who has contributed to LL’s growth. Have a great weekend and see you tomorrow for the closing instalment of The Slovak Files.
The short stories published on this website are all based on real life experiences from a life spent living and working abroad. Click on the ‘travel’ link below for an overview of where the wind has taken me. It also serves as a sneak peek at the short stories to come!
Thanks for reading,
It’s Leighton Literature’s two month birthday (!) and I’ve just come to the end of my first short story series, The Qatar Collection. So it feels like the perfect time for a breather and a chance to reflect on the past eight weeks.
Firstly I have to concede that I totally underestimated how much work it would take to keep LL ticking along! The Qatar installments had all been written prior to launch, so I figured it wouldn’t be too taxing to maintain the site and knock out an album review once a week. Right?