Why go out in the sun, frolic in fields or on beaches when you could be sitting at you kitchen table, blinds drawn, in your favourite kickers, emailing strangers strange stories you made up, right?
Me and my personal manuscript sender.
Here’s who to pester this Summer:
- The Stinging Fly : one of Ireland’s best magazines opens for online submission for the first time this August. Well worth buying an issue or subscribing if you don’t know them. They’re the folks behind short stories all-stars such as Kevin Barry, Danielle McLaughlin, Claire-Louise Bennett…
- Gamut : So new they don’t have a website yet. They’ll launch in August, and open to submissions then. Editor is Richard Thomas, who is also Editor-in-chief of Dark House Press, and what he wants is “neo-noir, speculative fiction”. So ready your weird-ass shit, folks. Will pay handsomely.
- Geometry : a brand-new online lit mag with a nice, clear look is looking for submissions for their inaugural issue. They’re based in New Zealand, but have an international outlook, and they pay! Deadline is September 1st.
- Slice : this ever beautiful American magazine is open until August 1st to submissions on the theme “Corporeal”. Pays $250 for stories and $75 for poems.
- DEAD INK BOOKS : also with a deadline on August 1st, this relatively new publisher is looking for stories between 5,000 and 30,000 words on the them of “Exile”, to be published as e-books as part of a series.
So, that should keep you busy, and away from beaches and sun-lit streets, these locales of loose morals and looser garments. As usual, do your homework, buy magazines, don’t be a dick, etc.
I have a story in the new issue of Body Parts Magazine that has plants, a little old cat lady, a relationship slowly going to sh*t, and a killer. Or two.
I’ve a new, wee whimsical (though deep, man!) story in the new issue of The Lonely Crowd. It has, as you can imagine, a plane in it, and people inside the plane, acting in different ways, and thinking different thoughts.
Oh dear, I just don’t know how to blurb that one. The best thing you could do is check it out.
I’m delighted to learn that my flash piece Gravity was longlisted for Wigleaf’s yearly round-up of the best very short fiction available online. It was published last year in NANO Fiction, a great little mag specialised in that kind of petite stories.
The top list is 50-story strong, so that’s quite a lot of reading for these long summer nights we have ahead, and when you’re done the longlist will keep you going.
I’ve recently discovered Albert Londres (1884-1932), a globe-trotting French journalist who seems a bit like a real-world, earlier, more principled Tintin:
Misery is like any other State. Only those who live in it know it. Others don’t even think about it. And when sometimes they do talk about it, they do so as of a country they’ve never seen, that is to say that they only talk a lot of nonsense.
This is from Les Chemins de Buenos Aires (the extract’s translation is mine), a book-length report on the apparently flourishing sex trafficking at the time (1927) between France and Argentina. In this often quite funny first-person account, Londres follows French pimps from Paris to Buenos Aires, tells of how they seduce or trick women into following them, how they cross the ocean and avoid the authorities, how they set them up in Argentina. It’s quite extraordinary to be transported to such a time and place (and milieu), to hear early 20th century pimps in their own words.
Other works of his that I plan on reading include Au bagne (on the French penal colony in Guyana), Chez les fous (an investigation of mistreatments in psychiatric institutions) as well as works on different subjects set in colonial Africa.
His books are translated in English, but I’m not sure how easily one could get his hands on one. But I’d recommend trying! Or if by any chance you read French, a good few of his works are available for free (Public Domain) on Wikisource.
There were several dead refugees, one dead horse, and the dying cavalry officer who was pinned under the horse. At intervals the cavalryman awoke and faintly screamed. Now he screamed for Mother, and again he screamed for a priest. At times he awoke to scream for his horse. His screaming disquieted the buzzards and farther disgruntled the Poet, who was feeling peevish anyhow. He was a very dispirited Poet. He had never expected the world to act in a courteous, seemly, or even sensible manner, and the world had seldom done so; often he had taken heart in the consistency of its rudeness and stupidity. But never before had the world shot the poet in the abdomen with a musket. This he found not heartening at all.
from A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
Before starting High-Rise, I was staying one summer in a beach high-rise at Rosas on the Costa Brava, not far from Dalí’s home at Port Lligat, and I noticed that one of the French ground-floor tenants, driven to a fury by cigarette butts thrown down from the upper floors, began to patrol the beach and photograph the offenders with a zoom lens. He then pinned the photos to a notice board in the foyer of the block. A very curious exhibition, which I took to be another green light to my imagination.
-J.G Ballard, interviewed in The Paris Review