Issue 17: Sophie Collins


I was beginning to worry our paperweights were not the best on the open market. Sales for us were steady, but for others sales were up. Our solid metal weights were elegant, but it was clear to me that the trend was towards glass in many shapes and colours, and with rare contours.

A faction of the community saw the devil inside this kind of glass, and some inside glass in general. As bread is the body of Christ, so is glass the very flesh of the devil, and so they stuck to our copper, our brass. Besides which many of the older members simply found it difficult to get their heads around the material’s technological aspects. ‘I don’t mind glass,’ said Etel, for example, ‘I just wish it would stop moving.’

Our company was called Knowing Roses, and we had existed for seven years. We had existed for seven years, an eternity, and now my life had some storm to it.

It began at the idea of congruence.

Congruence (symbol: ≅) is the state achieved by coming together, the state of agreement. We are congruent when how we act and what we say is consistent with how we are feeling and what we are thinking.

Even on a very simple level I have found that this statement seems to hold. For instance: it does not help for me to act as though I were well when in reality I am feeling quite ill.

The house was dim and very cold and I felt my nipples gone white, distended. They were incredibly painful, and I worried about a more permanent loss of sensation.

Outside, on a patch of green grass they called ‘English grass’, I read the words of the book I had with me. They were the most important words to date. I knew this because after reading them, and quite suddenly, I felt my movements, my very countenance corresponded to those I had previously coveted in other women, those that belonged to a kind of woman I knew (or thought I knew) I would never possibly become.

I am not even pursing my lips now as I write this. And when I took my notebook from my rucksack just now my movements were studied. I know someone watches me (I watch myself). Perhaps this is the difference the words made.

Later I climbed into bed, and shortly, of course, surely, it all went away, like the promise of a life, an embryo and its bedding.

Sophie Collins is writing about self-expression, self-help and shame at Glasgow Women’s Library via Book Works. Her first poetry collection is forthcoming from Penguin.


Copyright © 2016 by Sophie Collins, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.