We only keep the last three stories live on the site, for copyright reasons

A M Howcroft

This story was first published by Writer's Magazine USA in July 2016.

I wrote Fragile three years ago, and it was inspired by several trips to Venice – one with my wife and daughter during Easter, which included a detour to the island of Murano. There’s something ancient and magical about this part of Italy, and it’s very easy to get lost wandering through the narrow streets that wind and thread themselves over the Venetian canals. I wanted to write something that captured the atmosphere of this place, and coincidentally I was thinking about that nervous feeling you (or maybe just I) get when someone offers to take a photo with your precious camera. As a writer, I set the scene, but after the incident where the camera is snatched, I didn’t really have any plan. Just like the narrator, I chased the thief and wondered what would happen next. I probably wrote two-thirds of the story, and then paused – something I often do – and came back to the writing a week or so later. Reading through the material, I could see this tale was obsessed with memories. Good, bad, stolen, confused, reconstructed, everything was pointing towards the same theme, from the bits and bytes on the digital camera, to the descriptions of the city and the thoughts of our narrator. 

P.S. The main character is named after my brother, who lives in London. On my real trip to Venice I stumbled across my brother, slightly lost, wandering the streets of Venice… like I said, it’s a magical city, which can throw up surprising coincidences and chance encounters.