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Love in a Lost Year

A novel of hope in the face of loneliness, set during the first UK lockdown.

An unemployed graduate living back with his parents navigates awkward Zoom dates and social media anxiety, escapes being chased by a dog and a duck (separately, not as a duo), tries to open up about his taking antidepressants, and becomes entangled in a love triangle.

(*Full blurb below.)

Josh Oldridge

Dropping out of university with depression was a life-defining moment for me. It took many years to climb out of that dark hole. But when I did, I came out stronger.

I write fiction based on real life. Mental health is a theme which has naturally worked its way into many of my stories. But it’s not a theme in all of them. Other things I like to write about include: travelling adventures, the pressures facing young people growing up, and the need for men to open up more – not only about mental health, but a whole range of things. I’ve worked in a variety of different places – various office jobs, bar tendering, as a cycle technician, and as a farmhand to name a few – but through all these experiences, during any available time, I've been writing.

Many of the stories are based upon incidents I have experienced or those around me have. As my writing (hopefully!) continues to develop, I want to try to write more frequently from the perspective of others, and in that way I hope to draw attention to people whose lives are affected by other important issues, but also people who have done amazing things in their lives and deserve to have their story told as a tool for inspiration.

Life is seen and lived from different perspectives – billions of them. It’s important to live vicariously at times in order to learn and improve, to become a more understanding and honest person, and reading is one of the best ways I know how to do this. It’s something I definitely want to relay in my writing. Because, though life can be hard, the world is a wonderful place full of incredible people. We just have to work to remove some of the bullshit that sometimes prevents us from seeing this.

 
 

Works

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Back of book blurb:

Lonely, anxious, and living with his parents after graduating, Connor’s woes are compounded when the UK’s first lockdown costs him his job.

But when an attractive girl passes his bedroom window, his desperate situation elicits action. He takes a chance, finds an excuse to talk, and – after evading a dog attack together and playing a game of hide-and-seek through Instagram stories – they start meeting regularly.

Then, just as this socially distanced summer romance is blossoming, Connor bumps into an old college crush who now takes an interest in him, forcing him to consider the true meaning of connection.

Short Stories

I'm delighted and hugely grateful to have my short fiction included in literary magazines Scrittura, Fiction PoolBandit Fiction, Litro, Storgy, Sarasvati (an Indigo Dreams imprint), and the 2019 edition of the University of Exeter's annual publication, Q Journal; as well as having nonfiction in Quarterlife.

'The November Wobble'

This is a story about reminiscing and meditating on the past, on youthful, random fun. Told from the perspective of a woman in her thirties, it recounts a night after college with her then boyfriend which left a sparkle in her eye.

'The Bamboo Lookout'

An 800-word piece set in a rainforest village in South India detailing a potentially fatal cultural misunderstanding involving a rice farmer, a group of tourists on homestay, and a wild elephant.

'The Great Sales Race'

A young girl starting a new job at a large sports store chain witnesses some of the nonsensical pressures placed on store management, and the weird and wonderful ways managers resist these pressures.

'Glitter in the Cider'

A student's first music festival experience is a mixed bag. The rudimentary camping exhausts him and gigs make him feel self-conscious. But he learns to lose his inhibitions and it soon turns into a wholly exciting experience.

'The Happiest Person in the World'

Two estranged friends, hungover after a night out, sip coffee and talk about expectations and failures on reaching thirty. But the morning ends on a hopeful note when Jonny is rewarded for taking a chance.

'Turn Off the Mixer'

There's friction between workers on a freezing cold morning on an all-male building site, but one of them manages to break through and opens up, leading to a surprising outcome.

'The Green Graduate'

In a stopgap job sorting recycling, recent graduate Brendan discovers some of the harsh realities of manual labour and some uncomfortable truths about our world.

Nonfiction

'... shy to confident'

Loneliness at university, with a sprinkling of humour and a happy ending.

For any enquires whatsoever, don't hesitate to contact me via any means. I'd love to hear from you.

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