Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A Writer’s Jealousy

The whole room sat, suspended like cheese marionettes, in anticipation of his opening sentence. It had to be marvellous, for he was marvellous – a sexual conquistador in an amphitheatre of sallow pussy. With a triple-twitch of his marvellous eyebrows, he tantalised the room, sending the professors into giddy bubbles of delight, and at last – oh, at long last! – he began.

“The moon is big ball of rock,” he said.

The room erupted. It was as though Christ had delivered a freeform scat solo to his disciples in an extemporised fireball. Several spotty wannabe Bukowskis slit their wrists on the table while the busty wannabe Plaths drank up their blood in ravenous slurps. A tribal dance began towards the filing cabinet – a primeval nude stomp to the impenetrably suave and perfectly magnificent rhythms of their marvellous deity.

The professor, drunk to the death-tits on absinthe, slurred his last few words to the genius.

“Wh-ee-ere d-d-d-do you g-g-get your ideas from?”

“Oh, wherever. I’m so unbelievably charismatic and charming that genius orbits around me 24/7.”

Beneath the table, four women were scrabbling for oral ownership of his bronze cock, while the toadies dusted the dust from his jacket, licked the coffee reams from his mouth and drank in the frighteningly potent aroma of his genius. His sentence was picked up and subsequently awarded the Thing Prize For Words In A Good Order Thing and everything else in the world pertaining to literature and marvellous, beautiful writing men.

Oh, what a man!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Value of an E-Zine

Each online lit magazine should be viewed, in my opinion, with the thinly veiled contempt we reserve for the sex offender in our neighbourhood, the friends we have who make twice as money as ourselves, or the entire media.

An illuminating article in PANK, who are no strangers to the casual brush-off treatment, but who make more of an effort to liaise with their writers than most, highlighted for me the problem between editor vs. writer.

First of all – editors are merely frustrated writers with one quarter of the talent of the writers they publish. To assume that these people have the right to sit in judgement of a piece of your spectacular writing is not only a hideous mistake, but an affront to the good name of your writing.

This is not to say they can’t have a constructive opinion on your work – far from it. The question is – how much trust are we supposed to put in the opinion of someone whose role it is in life to pour over 1,000,000 short stories per annum and keep some semblance of what qualifies as publishable and what as unpublishable? Surely, an editor's talent radar cannot continually remain sharp, unbiased and completely focused?

No. So, because the world of lit mags is impersonal, runs on pot luck, and is woefully understaffed, these people are the enemy. Submit to them, but on no accounts read them. Don’t give them the satisfaction. For unless it was their job, there's no way they'd ever read you.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Camels & Captains

The 360° Camel, my hilariously inventive waste of words, has been relocated from the deliciously fertile e-zine Flash Fire 500 to the deliciously infertile British humour camp The Short Humour Site.

If you write short and hilarious pieces under five-hundred words, the editors respond in a flash. My piece was submitted and was up on the site the next day. Gracious gents.

My piece can be found
here, and the submission guidelines can be found here.

On an unrelated note, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band played a storming set at an intimate venue in Roslyn, Long Island in 1978, and its brilliance is captured on this crackle-free live set. The album is out of print, but MP3 linkage can be found

Love it.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

When I Was An Urbis Baby

I shudder to think

that I shuddered to think

that I think I shuddered

as I read the drivel

pooh-poohed from the trumpet lips

of hummingbird squares

and mumbling human pickles

and had them drool upon

the graceful boogie-woogie

I referred to as Haroldian prose

But now as I dance around

the gingham loveliness

of fictional liberation

in this fictional world

made from fictional fictions

I ask myself:

“Do we really ever…?

Can we really ever….?

Will we really never….?”

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Understanding Rejection Jargon

Let me make one thing clear – I am an impatient man. When I take the effort to toil over a short story for weeks, be it a daft postmodern romp or a dark soul-bearing epic, I expect the publishers who reject me to be courteous, informative and helpful. Generally, generic no-nos smacks to me of laziness. This is a rough guide as to what I’ve learned so far from the land of rejections:

  1. Your story does not meet our needs at this time.


a) We have enough short stories, bozo – back away from the e-zine. Back away!

b) Our needs are a certain niche of fiction we have grown cosy reading and you do not fit that niche, you non-niche-fitting bastard.

c) We hated it. You’re terrible. We’re great. You’re not. The story’s a stinker and it stinks so much. Oh, how it stinks!

d) We have no time to read it. We’ve opened ourselves up to so much stuff that we can barely get through the day’s slushpile without losing five editors to cyanide poisoning. Help us!

  1. Not quite right for us.

a) We publish short, self-consciously literary pieces that say profound things about the desolation of the soul, that hold a mirror up to the barrenness of our times through stark, poetic language. Whereas you, my intellectually bug-brained friend, write fart jokes.

b) It’s not enough of a carbon copy of the writers we like, and we just don’t feel comfortable stepping out of our niche and trying something… no, I can’t say it… different!

c) Did you read every single word of our five-page, threatening and unfriendly guidelines? Well, did you, you gutless whore?

M.J.’s reassuring homily of the day: don’t take shit from poxy self-righteous e-zines. If you’re a great writer, there’s always a home for you at places you respect with people you respect. Generally, editors who take the time to give you a little line or two back about your piece are nice, and you want to make friends with them. But automaton rejectors – please. Don’t sell yourself as a caring and loving e-zine if you can’t be arsed with the workload.

My tip for me: calm down. Don’t take it personally if you get denied. Not everyone is evil. Just some people. Lots of them. OK, everyone. Some editors do go that extra mile and love you, but have lives. Some just love the power trip.

More to come, maybe.