Written as part of Book Slam's second anthology Too Much Too Young, for which twelve writers picked a song and used it to inspire a short story, David Nicholls' coming-of-age tale 'A Little Soul' is a clear, clean little jewel that is well worth half an hour of anyone's time. As I sit down to write, these two sentences have proved more invigorating than a triple espresso:
This poetry lark was harder than he’d first expected, even with candles. It was like a game of chess, where the first move opened up a galaxy of possibilities, except in chess there were only sixteen pieces to choose from, rather than the whole of the English language.
You can read it on the Times's Scribd account or, better yet, buy the whole limited edition, cloth-bound hardback tome (which also features Diana Evans, Jeremy Dyson, Marina Lewycka, Emylia Hall, Nikesh Shukla, Jesse Armstrong, Jackie Kay, Craig Taylor, Patrick Neate, Salena Godden and Chris Cleave) from the Book Slam site. Make a cup of tea and let it create a window of perspective and pleasure in your busy day.