The incredible, amazing, wonderful folks at Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet have included my short story “Recursion” in issue No. 34.
The print version is $5. (This is a steal; the magazine is wonderfully put together and has over fifty pages of fiction, poetry and a non-fiction piece.) Ebook is $2.99.
“Recursion” was inspired by an existential, Lovecraftian thought and my desire to write a story-within-a-story. It does not use the word “eldritch.”
Along with that, you get some damn great writing.
Amanda Marbais‘s “Colossal,” opens with a classic case of I-wish-I-wrote-that:
Gerald is a reformed stutterer and droid-porn addict. That doesn’t broach the issue that he is also a colossal squid.
No. I won’t tell you any more. You have to read it yourself.
Hazel Crowley‘s strong poetry is a perfect blend of sight and sound, including this bit I quite like:
and, one day,
fists full of stars,
we will riot on
Marco Kaye‘s “The New Ancient of Sophocles High” combines a modern high school with characters of ancient Greece. The deceptively breezy style is paired with precise imagery and deep emotion:
When no one else was in the bathroom, I made a gun with my fingers and, quietly as I could, forced myself to vomit.
Over the weekend, Pitkins had gained seven pounds, placing him squarely in the one-fify two slot. After he stepped down I was all, “What’d you eat?” and Pitkins was like, “Two birthday parties in a row, bro.”
That was the Gods for you, constantly scheming up new forms of degradation. You had to love them. You literally had to.
I read Nicole Kimberling‘s Pumpkin and Mushroom Moussake recipe (in “Savory Cinderella”) not with any plans to make the dish, but because it was written in such a delightful manner (“Step One: Butcher the Pumpkin” is a winning line).
Stephen Burt‘s “My 1982” uses really satisfying combinations of words and sounds. My knowledge of poetry is limited but I know I like this:
the histories of rocketry and electricity
from amber to Goddard by way of Leyden jars.
Just say that bit aloud. Let it knock around your head a little. Nice, isn’t it?
John Richard Saylor‘s “All Things Returned” introduces New State, a land mass which “appeared between Pennsylvania and New Jersey five years ago.” (“You’d think they’d have come up with a better name than that,” our narrator’s father quips.)
Saylor deftly establishes the reality of this surreal addition to the world. Everything is blue: the land, the trees (the leaves of which are one- to five-feet each). New State is also dangerous and has strange effects… but of course America has stuck a highway through it and made it like every other place in the country (Ruby Tuesdays, McDonalds, Friendlys). In this setting, Saylor weaves a story of a father and son that is incredibly moving – it reminded me of one of my favorite Richard Matheson stories, “The Test” (please find this and read it).
Writing in first person is a challenge. I have a hard time finding a natural, likable “voice” for narrators. Saylor does a really good job of it. Without giving much background at all, we get a really good feel for these characters.
My father liked to banter with waitresses. This was something he’d started later in life and had never gotten very good at.
The last line is a killer. In a good way. In a great way. I won’t spoil it here.
Molly Gloss‘ “Superman, Sleepless”:
Lying here hearing every rustle of leaf,
every bird’s peep in a hundred miles
Holly Day‘s “People in Boxes”:
these are the people
that will outlast history
David W. Pritchard‘s poems hit me in a way poetry usually does not. I love them. I feel more personal connection to this kind of work than traditional poetry (or at least I bring more personal connections to it). It doesn’t seem beautiful and untouchable and in a box somewhere else. Stream of consciousness, block of texts, specific but dreamlike; this is what I look for in lyrics, why I like long Nick Cave songs.
From “Memoirs I Would Read”:
Everyone is very tall. This part is not a dream,
and I am not presently interested in sentences. It
embarrasses me. Everybody wears a suit.
This is the sentence I had to write.
this could all
be arranged to begin a novel if only the narrator
would enter and establish a pattern for it to confirm.
“Accept No Substitutes” A short long Poem composed solely of Facts concerning the History of Art
Holy shit, this is genius. This is an amazing piece of work. I will be looking Pritchard up as soon as I’m done with this post. His work alone is worth the price of the magazine. I don’t want to quote any of “Accept No Substitutes” out of context because you need to get the whole piece the way it was intended. The changing rhythm and structure and thought comes together fantastically.
In Pritchard’s four poems, he shows an incredible range in execution and design and they’re all… so good. There is a poem about Link from The Legend of Zelda, for God’s sake, straight-faced and oddly profound.
Neile Graham‘s “You Put a Spell on Me”:
You took so long
to follow me, my darkling darling,
that now I know how it’s done:
twitching tune, witching words,
stitching song and all.
Anne Sheldon‘s “Twice in My Late Morning Dream”:
This is where
they all slipped through,
even the one I named,
the one I meant to keep.
“The Shop of Dying Illusions” by Barbara A. Barnett shows a scene between a man working retail and a woman looking for relief. A quick one that would be too easily spoiled by saying anything more, but very good.
These transactions seldom went well, especially when they began with the customer so fully swathed in illusion – an image of the life desired, but not the one led.
A. B. Robinson‘s “Preliminary Sketch for Still Life”:
“That would appear to be a late Cezanne,” you
casually remarked, leaning your elbows into the
So, gentle readers. Here’s the magazine. I’m pleased as punch (and amazed) that my story has a home alongside such great work.