I hesitated. I could feel the adrenaline running through my body, each breath getting faster and faster as I contemplated my next move. I had never broken a rule, disobeyed an instruction or cheated at anything. Yet here I was considering the unthinkable. My heart was beating faster and faster as I looked around. Nobody was watching me, not a soul looking in my direction. This was it - it was now or never. I took a deep breath, composed myself and ran as fast as I possibly could.

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Turning into trouble

I must have been six years old when I realised the world did not revolve around me. I was wandering past the Massey Ferguson depot in rural Suffolk. Why was I out on my own and unsupervised next to an 'A' road? Times were different, Mum was steaming about Dad going up to Town again. I was good at slipping out of the house unnoticed and much more adventurous than she appreciated. We moved out of the big house shortly after that, the villa on Mallorca was fine but that sojourn only lasted eighteen months.

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Do I look like a rebel?

I am looking through family photos and here I am at 4 years old. I think it was taken by a street photographer.  Do you remember them? They used to pop up on piers and beaches. I’m looking mighty suspicious.  I’m on a little donkey. The kind that moves backwards and forwards when the coin goes in. My grandpa and grandma are in the photo too. I’m wide eyed and looking out cautiously from under my fringe.  My jaw is set in a manner which matches my eyes, watchful, quizzical, timid. I do not look bold. 

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A Rebel Is I, A Rebel Is Me

A rebel is I, a rebel is me.
An outcast is what others may see
But I am no outcast maybe a loner, I suppose.
In actual fact a rebel with very good cause.
Rebel against the social norms, that say, I can’t wear the things I likes as they’re too comfy, too bland, too me.
Rebel against the social norms, that say, I should be married and settled by thirty.
Rebel because you have a point to make, a voice to be heard that will not shake.
Rebel even if it kicks up a fuss, rebel even more when you see treatment that is unjust.

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What you rebelling against?

What you got?

It’s May Day 2018 and I’ve just tweeted the Scottish Book Trust to say that today’s the perfect day to start writing my Rebel story. I get a tweet of encouragement back and we’re off. 

This invitation has come at the perfect time as I seek ways back into writing after years rebelling against it. I really wanted to be a writer when I was young and got as far as an interview for a trainee journalist post at The Scotsman newspaper but not got the job.

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The Confrontation

Five foot four of righteous anger stood dead centre, facing the withering authoritarian.

Eyes locked, chin raised, she knew she had the upper hand. She was certain she was right, and he couldn't make her, or any of the other pupils make that choice.

An almost imperceptible pallor beginning to appear on his face, he roared at her to "GET OUT". She stood her ground. Didn't even flinch. She glanced back at her traitorous, weak-willed, lying friends. Her backup had failed, but still she stood, alone, proud of her resolve.

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The Woman in the Hat (for Emily)

The bit is between her teeth
But she’s not bridled
Not saddled
And yet, this burden, for her
Is intolerable.
The race she runs in
Can have only one ending
Another may be declared winner,
But she will win.
We all shall.
But, at what cost?
To her the price is final;
No more can she pay, in pursuit
Of this prize.
To those that have come since
A debt will always remain
To the woman in the hat
With the bit between her teeth.

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Straight Lines

I was in primary 6. Ten years old. Old enough to know right from wrong. Young enough to be plastic and suggestible. The day had started in the usual way. I had stood at the bus stop with others in various hues of uniform, a man in a dark suit with a briefcase, the old lady who only ever travelled three stops with her shopping trolley. It was dry, so she didn’t have her flowery umbrella with her. Our bus stop had no shelter. If you walked back to the terminus, two stops away, there was one there.

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the economist and I

Warning: this piece contains strong language


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My Little Rebel

My little rebel, stand tall, brave and proud,
You’re unique and individual, don’t get lost in the crowd.
In a party full of Princesses, you’re a unicorn,
They have glitter and tiaras, you’ve a multi-coloured horn.
Make friends with the quiet, the lonely and the shy,
Speak up and have your voice heard, don’t let them pass you by
Destined to be rebellious, Aoife Malin don’t conform
The shipping forecast warned us, you were born in a storm
Climb mountains, read books, sing loudly, dance and twirl,

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