Hand on heart, I didn’t say those nice things about the bookmark that thinks it’s a magazine that thinks it’s a bookmark that thinks it’s a…. only because I knew this was going to happen…
I said them because I meant it, and sent the tale in after my post, honestly. So kiddies, just goes to show, no harm comes from saying nice things about nice people making nice stuff.
Thank you Dog Ear.
A week of treats. Monday, the announcement of new Miranda July film . Tuesday, a new short story from Ewan Morrison published on Metazen.
Read it, he’s one of our best.
Actually, I’m really wanting a t-shirt…
My tiny fiction “Emigration” miraculously reappeared on the front page of Six Sentences this Monday.
If you haven’t read it before this could be an omen, it’s very short, it wont take long.
Head over to…
I have further stories (not available online) in Vol 2 and Vol 3 of the 6S print anthologies
Six sentences publishes their third volume of short stories, not breaking with tradition it’s entitled 6Sv3.
It features not only my tale “Wooden heart” but my wife’s fictional debut too. A double serving.
Copies can be brought from www.createspace.com/3450649 and as a ‘friend’ of the authors you can use the discount code TLGEFA8L to get 20% off. Unfortunately knowing two of the authors doesn’t mean you can use the coupon twice.
My previous post on The Erotic Book Club choosing ‘Girls’ as their read of the month included a link to an except, actually a whole story from the book, and concluded mentioning Ewan Morrison’s ‘The last book you read’ also being a potential EBC monthly pick.
If you enjoyed the Nic Kelman tale then I would strongly recommend Morrison, they share an honesty and a compassion in describing flawed characters whose know their behaviour is damaging but can not stop themselves. Redemption not being a likely option.
Luckily The Beat have ‘Clean sheets and a view of the Hudson’ taken from ‘The last book you read’ online. Recommended.
By the frequency of my posts eulogising the 8tracks site you will know my appreciation for the art of the mixtape. Would you let a computer algorithm pick what you are going to wear? So why let it choose what you listen to. Before going any further, lest we forget, let us pay respect to Muxtape who gave us the first mixtape site before legal botherers shut them down (a happy ending: they are back, but as an official artist showcase).
London has many delights, one of the more obscure being FilmFriendsForver, a movie club which shows up and coming shorts at the Queen of Hoxton for just a few quid per screening. That’s films with good music and drinking inbetween, hell, you can even drink at the bar during the films. A great evening evening out and they are lovely people to boot.
At their Best of 2009 screening I caught ‘Mixtape’ which is simple, sweet and fabulous. Like the closing line of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity it will put a great big gooey smile on your face. Made by Luke Snellin, I was delighted to find it online, and so am now able to share the joy, watch it and bring out your inner soppiness.
And if we are discussing stories with emotional heart This zine will change your life have a high calibre entry this month with Sally Weigel’s ‘Sometimes It’s Hard’, a story with a zing in it’s tale. Recommended reading.
To wrap it all up I could hardly bow out this post without ending with, well, a mixtape…
My offering left of field acoustic, mainly covers, post-coital good for the bedroom, which could be reason enough for a lint pun. You’re going to sing, you’re going to cry, you’re going out crazy as fuck. Featuring punk arse balladeers (particularly if you make it to the end).
Head on over to matchbookstory.blogspot.com to read it. There is a touch of absurdity in this post probably being longer than the actual story…
I asked him what film he used to get such tones in his photographs. How they looked as if they belonged to another era.
“Well,” he said, “you know about homeopathy? You know, those pills that retain some microscopic measure of the poison, maybe not even that. They say that you can build immunity by swallowing very low doses of a poison and slowly building up the dose. With these pills the toxin is so diluted that it doesn’t really exist. You can’t touch these pills before swallowing them otherwise you’ll taint their power. They call it the memory of water…”
“People scoff, but there’s quite a lot science doesn’t explain yet. Light for instance, they can tell you that it’s both a particle and a wave but they can’t tell why or how. They say light lives forever, traveling from one end of the universe to the other, dead stars still blinking at us in the sky.”
“Light is like those little sugar pills, the memory of light, those particles pick up a little of what’s around as they pass through, and as they travel on, the friction of history brushes it off with fresh stuff getting stuck to them all the while. If you stood on Pluto you could watch television from a week a go, all those programs incessantly chatting away to themselves across the luminiferous aether.”
“Now, what I do, and I shouldn’t be really be telling you this, is rummage through antique and junk shops looking for old cameras. Searching for something in particular mind you, not any old camera, and not some specific make or model. What I need to find is one with a good patina of dirt on it, dust and fluff all jammed in the crevices and dials. Shows me it hasn’t been opened up in along time. I clean them up well, never tempted to open up the back and take a peek inside. Cameras being light tight means all the dirt and grime is on the outside of the lens and they polish up sweet.”
“Until it’s time to load the film that is. I use any photographic stock, doesn’t matter. What is important, what really counts is the loading. I use my own blackout bag, squash all the air I can out of it, just to make sure. Then load the film in quick as I can. You see between the lens and the film is a little pocket of light, trapped there in the darkness of the bag. A little bubble of light from decades a go, sticky with all the moods and fashions and attitudes of way back then, and just enough of that old light gets pushed against the negative when the new rays come rushing through the aperture as I take the picture.”
“That,” he said “is my secret now don’t you go telling everyone…”
Book clubs — not the reading sort, rather the publishing sort…
As the industrialised world turns digital one of the few media realms so far unaffected from the assault of file sharing programs is book publishing. But it is not immune to the vagaries of the recession.
In May Salt Publishing launched it’s JustOneBook campaign with the news that with the curtailment of the Arts Council funding it would close it’s doors unless it could sell enough books in the coming month to pay its debts back. Banks when they fail to make good business decisions get bailed with out tax money, publishers do not. And why should they you may ask? They shouldn’t, however they should be supported with all our heart when they put out consistently great titles, beautifully packaged and most importantly: harbour an adventurous oeuvre.
Book sales may be slowly climbing unlike it’s counterparts in the film and music trades, but with major book shop chains using their weight to batter down profit margins it is leading publishers to a homogeneous critique; best sellers only please. Salt take a gamble, putting out books they think are great, you know this is true when you see the volume of poetry titles they publish (www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/may/27/poetry-salt-publishing) – hardly a genre to bring you riches. Did I buy just one book? No.
And the answer’s not I brought two or similar punch line. (I once ran a record label which in the space of a few releases lost all our profit in producing gorgeous sleeves, distributing CDs for the cost of postage only and giving away tracks by our most famous artist as free mp3s, so I know something of producing things you love against commercial constraints). The reason I didn’t respond to the campaign is that I was already signed up to their book club.
For a flat fee of £40 you can join The Story Bank and receive over the course of the year four short story titles, 30% discount of any other books and a free copy of David Gaffney’s “Sawn-off Tales”. Do it now: www.saltpublishing.com/books/smf/subscribe.php.
I have mentioned before I owe a debt to Gaffney in giving me the faith to send my one paragraph tiny fictions to literary magazines. It isn’t just this reason that I bring up the Just One Book campaign now: Salt have announced that all there titles are now available through The Book Depository.
Most people seem to have forgiven Amazon over their quiet censuring of gay and adult tiles (www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/14/amazon-gay-sex-rankings-apology), I personally still find it a source of some concern, especially in light of the recent spate of other stories relating to Amazon’s heavy handed business negotiations:
The Disappearing Buy It Now Button
Amazon shrinking publisher profits with The Kindle
Amazon deleting content from your Kindle
The last story is perhaps testament to why a physical book may remain impervious to the digital realm a little longer, apart from being a thing of beauty to hold forever. I still buy from Amazon of course, at the end of the day the recession gets to us all and a cheap price is not to be sneered at, but allowing a single corporation to monopolise distribution is not a good idea. So now for the good news…
The Book Depository is as cheap as Amazon if not cheaper and postage is free worldwide. To celebrate I’m buying myself a copy of Nuala Ni Chonchúir’s “Nude”. May I also recommend Richard Bardsley’s “Body Parts”. I want Salt to be around to publish me or the poet Anne Baker so go on, buy one book.
To finish off with some symmetry… waiting for the plane on last year’s holiday I picked up a copy of Route Publishing’s “Ideas above our station” as it featured a short story by Sophie Hannah, who writes poetry alongside chilling tales of psychopaths, and found in the back details of Route’s book club. I joined, and today on the beach a year later I read the copy of “Born in the 1980s” I received via the club, thoroughly enjoyable (vote for it at the People’s Book Prize once you’ve brought your copy), and as a bit of icing featured a story by Chris Kellen whose blog of sardonic ennui I read. No sign of the book club on Route’s site which is a shame, so best join Salt’s before it too disappears. (Did I mention I got a handwritten note with my first arrival, is that not worth joining for alone?)
Reading on the beach means I should be entitled to make some awful pun about salt, sea and sand, but I wont.
Holidays are traditionally a time for reading, and since I have broadband whilst away, the less popular pursuit of sorting out my plethora of unreviewed browser bookmarks. Now I am able to combine both these past times in a single post…
Ewan Morrison’s new novel Ménage was published a month a go, I mention this for two reasons. First, he was perhaps the final contributing factor in starting me writing, but secondly and more importantly for the world at large, he has contributed a short story to the online lit-zine Dogmatika.
Read ‘Dogs’ by Ewan Morrison here:
Lee Rourke’s online lit-zine ‘Scarecrow’ has returned. And with a bang.
The first six entries feature three authors whose writing I already enjoy. There’s a short story by Will Ashon, author of ‘Clearwater’ – a black consumer-age farce. Chris Killen also contributes a story, his ‘The Bird Room’ is on my reading list and whose blog I regularly read. Tom McCarthy has a more fringe piece included, but what would you expect from the creator of the incisive and elegant ‘Remainder’. Apologies to the authors I haven’t mentioned by name, no criticism intended…
Lee Rourke aside from publishing such a splendid platter is also author of ‘Everyday’.
I have two tiny fictions “Marriage” and “Minicab driver” in the second anthology of very short stories from Six Sentences.
I’d go for Createspace but those of us in the UK may find Amazon’s postage cheaper.
In fact, until the failamazon issue is satisfactorily explained I’d rather you did buy it from Createspace regardless of postage costs, I am.
Curiosity got the better of me, and bowing down to the pressure of my internal voices (you are just jealous because they don’t talk to you…) I asked Robert McEvily, editor of Six Sentences, which of the two stories I submitted were chosen for the second anthology.
I’ve received his reply and can now decode the cryptic headline to this post – both stories are to be included in the new volume of six sentence long tales. Particularly pleasing as one of them, “Wedding” was especially written for the collection, the other one is “Minicab driver”.
There’s more, the industrious Mr McEvily who deserves thanks and praise from writers everywhere for his hard work in providing such a splendid platform, has set a publication date – March 31st.
Today Six Sentences announced the initial list of authors chosen to be included in the second anthology of stories, all six sentences long.
And yes, they chose one of mine… rather happy.
I would like to tell you which story is being publishing, but at the moment all I know is that I’m in (and that’s good enough for me). I sent two, I’m hoping it’s “Marriage” as it was written especially for the collection, wonder if I’ll get to find out before seeing it in print? All the stories featured in it are previously unpublished and not available on the splendid site, so you will have to buy a copy if you want to read them.
Robert McEvily who runs Six Sentences announced the author list in rather unusual fashion: in a Youtube video featuring the names of those chosen matted against theatre curtains. You can watch here. I am a little red-faced to say I air punched when my name went by.