Submission Saturday: The Under-the-Weather Edition

Fairy Tale Manuscript

The fairy tale that wasn’t. At least it looks like a bird!

Well, well, I’ve been busy editing, trying to write a (interesting) fairy tale (here is a helpful, little primer on fairy tales, folklore, etc.), and just living, including a good deal of Nightingale-ing. Now that the kids aren’t sick and the husband is healing, of course it strikes me. Today, I’m digging out of the aftermath.

In any case, doing these market/submission articles really gets me jazzed, and I haven’t done one in at least a couple weeks. So, in other words, you’re due. Hope you find something fruitful here!

  1. Due April 1. You’ve got dreams. I’ve got dreams. We’ve all got dreams. Why not put them down on paper and submit them to Bop Dead City? For their current issue (Issue #15) contest, they choose one poem and one fiction piece (otherwise, one genre takes it all). The Issue 15 contest is themed “dreams”; regular submissions guidelines here.
  2. Due April 1: No joke! The annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry competition is open to writers of poetry in English, with a maximum of 250 lines (1 poem only) sought. But with this contest, the object is to write badly. Very, very badly. The art is in writing so badly, it crosses over into good-writing terrain. Can you do it? Like to try? Check out Winning Writers for all the specifics on this free-to-enter contest that promises big prizes for the best “worst poem” you can craft.
  3. Due officially April 15 (but actually June 30): Staying in the humor-writing vein, let’s move over to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) for superior shoddy sentence–writing, not to be confused with the Lyttle Lytton annual contest. Here, your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to pen the very worst opening line to a novel ever conceived—and there are genre categories, too, including romance, science fiction, crime/detective, and historical fiction. Bad for poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton; but good for us. More details here.
  4. April 15, Austin, Texas, 5:30-9:30 p.m. If you’re fond of small presses, visionary writing, poetry, or some combination of the aforementioned (and will be in Austin, Tx., in April), get yourself over to Malvern Books for the Tupelo 30/30 project Poetry Night. It will feature WP staple poet Robert Okaji, as well as several other T30/30 poets: Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Pamela Paek, and Ronnie K. Stephens.
  5. Opening May 15, 2016 (closing August 15): Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine, has its eyes peeled for your best stories about Krampus, the dark alternative to Santa Claus, for its Krampusnacht Two anthology, to be published in conjunction with World Weaver Press. Kate Wolford is the editor. They are looking for fiction submissions from 1,000 to 9,999 words. You will greatly benefit from reading their first anthology on this topic, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, and following the newest anthology guidelines to the letter. Good luck!
  6. A sixth-grader wrote this flash-fiction story and it was published online by SmokeLong Quarterly. Wow! SLQ, a leader in the flash fiction genre, publishes only flash (no poetry or nonfiction) of under 1000 words—one submission at a time, please!—and you must include a print-ready third-person biography. Give them a whirl if you enjoy flash(ing) your fiction!

And, in the meantime . . . enjoy your Easter/spring (or autumn) weekend! Happy writing and art-making!

 

Limerick Challenge, Week 12—Dream

Long time, no see, dear readers. I hope spring (or autumn, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere) is treating you well.

I’ve just come out of editing land for a brief fly-over of this blog, and a limerick has settled in my mind. So that’s what you get for this posting. You have the Doc to thank (or not!) for inspiring this limerick. It’s part of the Limerick Challenge, week 12, orchestrated by the wonderful Rashmi at Mind & Life Matters. Do follow her for limericks, novel updates, and much more, and be sure to read the limericks she has on offer.

I don’t deviate too far from the ‘original’ limerick idea—insulting, bawdy, etc. But that’s my impression.  What do you think?

bottle2

A genie or?

Limerick for the Loveless

I once met the man of my dreams

But what he was, was not what he seems

Said he’d grant wishes

(Including doing the dishes)

In retrospect, I shoulda reached for Jim Beam.

 

FF: Don’t Feed the Black Dog

Don’t Feed the Black Dog*

 Genre: Realistic fiction, (dark) humour

Word count: 151 (sorry, Rochelle, I tried!)

 

She sends a photograph skittering across the caramel-colored desk.

emmylgant-friday fictioneers. 3.11.16

This beautiful photograph is by Emmy L. Gant; sorry I took it in a different direction, Emmy.

“What do you see?”

“What’s this, some new version of the Rorschach?” I crack a joke about Welcome Back, Kotter, conflating Horshack and Rorschach. Ah, before her time. Shouldn’t have said that.

“Jennifer, basically I just want to gauge how you’re feeling before we start the assessment.”

“Okay, but I think musically sometimes. Heavy cloud, but . . . no rain?” I offer my best Sting impression.

Silence.

Another flopper. Why can’t I get this right? Fecking feck. She probably thinks I have multiple personalities now.

“Unh-huh.” She scribbles down something I can’t see. “In your own words, what’s your mood today?”

I find myself counting the indentations on the ceiling. 23-24-25.

“Uhhh? I’m a resilient mess. Most of the time. I guess.” You indecisive moron!

“I see. Can we proceed to the PHQ-9 now?”

“Sure. I got nothin’ better to do.”


*Note: I much prefer the metaphor and idea of “miasma” for describing depression to that of the “black dog,” because I love dogs, but many people do connect with it. Hence the titling.

This short story/flash fiction was crafted for March 11th’s Friday Fictioneers, which is lovingly curated by Rochelle as always. I hope you’ll stop by her post(s)—this lady’s got novels and short stories galore—and take some time to read other FF posts. With the variety of stories, it’s easy for me to make this promise: you’ll be amused, surprised, entertained, moved, and, very possibly, shocked. .

A Ballad about Boys: For My Daughter

The Muse of Immediacy convinced me to just let this one go, regardless that it seems to be of two minds.

So It Begins

And so it begins.

A Ballad about Boys: For My Daughter

Movement One: Genesis

Dear Michael and Henry

Dear Lee and Brandon and Scott

Hey, Andy and Barron, Tommy and Richard

And the fifth-grade boy whose name I’ve forgot.

Dear Chris and Joel, Donnie and Arnold

and Nathan, Josh, Ngugi, and Scott

Oh, Jud and Sean and Paul and Carl

and Jason, with the shipload of those who loved me not:

I am sorry

and, strangely,

relieved.

We inflicted our needs and fears upon each other

and survived.

To dislodge the tears again,

Elsewhere, elsewhen.

 

Second Movement: Tragedy*

But you, Larry, you were a jerk, it’s true.

I’ll bet you were handsy on the court, too.

And Buddy. Long-legged, proud-jean’d interloper,

hips thrusting desks at girl-shaped spaces. I’ll not forget you.

Then Kevin. Where to begin. Boy, do you have problems! (Of this, I’m sure.)

You must know by now—or someone’s law has taught you (if my kicks did not):

Women and girls don’t deserve to be thrown on the floor.

 

Third Movement: Triumph

Dear Daughter, now you—

Wonderful you!

An agnostic’s angel:

Please know: there are a few

good men, good people, left

on this heaving blue dot yet.

Someday I’ll remind you (when you need it)

how your father and I met.

It might take awhile,

far more sobs and fissures, perhaps,

than kisses and adamantine bonds,

but when you find someone

(not the only one, but your only one),

I will hope that, for you,

the path has been worth

the stumblestones.

The falls forging you.

Firm as diamond,

steadfast as stars.

As if you’d just been standing, shining

forward:

whole,

all along.

 

*Names deliberately not changed to protect arseholes. If you don’t want to be written about, don’t assault people! Simple enough, right?

 

Literary Q & A with a Presidential Candidate: Donald J. Trump

Caution: Some readers may find this satire and its interviewee crass, condescending, racist, sexist, and/or otherwise offensive. Look up his ‘real’ interviews, Twitter feed, or Webpage if you’re so inclined.


 

Literary Q & A with a 2016 Presidential Candidate

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2016

Interviewer: Good morning, Mr. Trump. Thank you for speaking with me, here in my own kitch—

Trump, interrupting: It’s shabby, but it’ll do.

Interviewer: Okay then. You’re a very busy man, so let’s get right to it.

Trump: You’ve no idea. B-yutiful Bombardier Global 6000.

Interviewer: Uhhh, what?

Trumpkin

U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump(kin)

Trump: My business jet. They had to clear several gates for me at your penny-ante Lambert Airport. Lightweights, just like Rubio!

Interviewer: Well, uh . . .

Trump: Can you get me a coffee?

Interviewer: Excuse me?

Trump: I said, go get me a coffee. Tall latte.

Interviewer, wondering if she looks like a barista: Um, okay. (gestures to husband to get the Keurig going)

Interviewer: Let me start with this, Mr. Trump. I’m a Southerner and a woman—

Trump, interrupting: Yeah, I noticed. You know, if you’d just smile more, add some make-up, fix up your hair. My b-yutiful daughter Ivanka could give you some great tips. You’ve probably never even heard of her line of Trump cosmetics, called Bella. I’m told it’s Italian for b-yutiful.

Interviewer, continuing: Yes, well, I’d like to focus on Virginia Woolf’s idea of “a room of one’s own,” that each woman needs—and must demand—a space of her own, whether it’s creative and imagined or in the business world, like your daughter Ivanka has done [hurriedly, so as not to be cut off], so what do you say at this moment to women voters? Is there a war on women?

Trump, fixing hair: Was there a question?

Interviewer: Yes, I was talking about a room of one’s own and—

Trump: Oh, yeah, Ivanka has a helluva lot of those. They’re great. I’ve given her five houses, you know. That’s just this year.

Interviewer: Yes, well, what I asked is, how do you talk to regular people, the voters? In particular women?

Trump: Like I would anybody else. [Looks at his watch]

Interviewer: Can you please be more specific?

Trump: It’s a Richard Mille, you know.

Interviewer: Who is?

Trump: The watch. But you wouldn’t know that. Kick-ass timepiece. Wonderful. Very expensive. About $600,000. Chump change.

Interviewer: Okay. Moving along. I’m a former English major, so I have some literary questions for you.

Trump: I love speaking English. Fire away.

Interviewer: There are many sociopolitical books of merit. Just in the 20th century in the English language, to mention but a few, we had All the King’s Men, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Catch-22, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, even Babbit or The Great Gatsby

Trump: Oh, yeah, that was terrible.

Interviewer: I agree, the totalitarian world of Animal Farm, with some animals more equal than others, was frightening. As was The Handmaid’s

Trump: No. What he did there. With the women. With the drugs in the drinks.

Interviewer: Pardon?

Trump: What are you, retarded? The black guy, hey-hey-hey [attempts “Fat Albert” impression, sounds more like Gilbert Gottfried], with the drugs. . .

Interviewer: Oh, you must be referring to Bill Cosby.

Trump: Bingo!

Interviewer: I don’t think I mentioned Bill Cosby.

Trump: Yeah you did. The Great Cosby you said. I heard you. The books. [Color rising to bright orange] THE BOOKS!

Interviewer: Oh, yes. (sighing) The Great Gats-by.

Trump: Whatever. You knew what I meant. Hey, is that coffee ready yet?

Interviewer to husband: Is it ready, hon?

Husband, speechless or incensed, brings over a mug of French vanilla light-roast and sits it at the four-person table.

Interviewer: This’s the best we got. No latte. Um, sorry [to self: I guess].

Trump: It’ll do, but I bet it’s terrible. [Hands it to an aide, presumably for poison-testing.]

Interviewer: Well, then, let’s move forward with a few more questions, if we can.

Trump: Good. Make sure you get me from the right-hand side.

Interviewer: Okay, will do. Are there any modern characters, television shows, anything, with whom you identify?

Trump: Oh, sure. What’s-his-face. The guy.

Interviewer: What guy?

The DudeTrump: The dude.

Interviewer: Oh, you mean Jeff Lebowski, in The Big Lebowski movie.

Trump: No, no, no. Jesus, don’t you people ever get out?

Interviewer, getting annoyed: What do you mean by that “you people”?

Trump: You female-type people, with brains coming out of your—

Interviewer: Now, wait a minute, there’s no reason for ad hominem here.

Trump: Whatever. I don’t even know what that means.

Interviewer, to self: Clearly.

Interviewer: Um. But back to the question.

Trump: Oh, yes. My . . . what-do-you-call-it . . . servant . . .

Interviewer, offering: Aide? Assistant?

Trump: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They watched for me. About Bannister, the dragon show. That’s it.

Interviewer: Oh, Lannister? From A Game of Thrones. You identify with Tyrion Lannister?

Trump: No, no, not the nipple-high one. [Makes a horizontal hand gesture indicating height.] The head honcho. The big cheese. The dad, T-something.

Interviewer: Tywin. You mean Tywin Lannister.

Trump: Hey, don’t get me wrong. I don’t like China, but the blonde chick’s got nice tits.

Interviewer: What? Who? Nevermind. I’ll just take your word on that.

Trump: You should. ’Cause I’m going to be your president soon. You know, America’s gonna be great again. Better than China, better than India, Russia, all those other places.

Interviewer: Yeah, about that. Let’s get into closed-mindedness. There was a high-school basketball game last week, I think, in Iowa, and it got racially charged, with the predominately white audience chanting “Trump” to taunt African-Americans on the opposing team. Did you hear about this?

Trump, smiling: Yeah, I saw it. My aide showed me YouTube. It was great. Like Trump steaks. You ever tried those?

Interviewer: No, I don’t eat beef. As to the important question . . . is a high-school basketball game the best time for racial invect—

Trump: Anytime’s the time to say what I say. Don’t you broads get that yet?

Interviewer: Uh-huh. If so, let’s see what you say about racism and inequality in this country, about building walls.

Trump: That Pope! [rolls eyes] I don’t have time for him. I’ve said what I said, look up my exact words. I stand by it.

Interviewer, to self: For all he knows, I was talking about Stalin.

Trump, soothing hair from a kitchen breeze: Get this straight, missy, ’cause I’m talking to you. I don’t beat around the bush. [smiles] The establishment doesn’t like me. But one thing I’m not doing—what I’ve never, ever done, period—is stalling. None. When I decide, I succeed.

Interviewer: Unh-hunh.

Trump: Anyway, who likes basketball? Mostly freaks.

Interviewer: Excuse you?

Trump: I mean, look at those people. Hormonally challenged. Except that LaBaron James. I like him. One of my sons is named Barron. That big black guy, you know, he could help me make America great again. But, let’s get real. Putting a little ball into a basket. Lemme tell you, with me as president, it’s gonna be amazing. Big balls. All. The. Way.

Interviewer: Sounds like an AC/DC song.

Trump: I’ve no idea what you just said. (snaps fingers, assistant comes over)

Trump, to interviewer: We almost done here? I’ve got important places to be.

Interviewer: Well, I—

Trump: You ever see The Apprentice? You’ve got a TV in this dump, right?

Interviewer: I do, but no, I’ve never watched it except clips on the news or that kind of thing.

Trump: Figures. I’d have fired you a long time ago.

Interviewer: Well, my husband and kids seem to think I’m an at-least okay human being, even with brains coming out of my whatever.

Trump, grimacing: I have children, too. Love ’em. Somebody else raised them, of course.

Interviewer: I see. Does this mean that, as president, you would be for a stronger Family Medical Leave Act in America, where fathers, mothers, or caregivers can get paid time off for, say, the birth of a child or the care of a relative?

Trump: Look at the Trump Tower, Trump casinos, Trump University. I hire a shitload of people. Whadda ya think?

Interviewer: I asked you a question. You’re the candidate, not I.

Trump: Not me.

Interviewer: Not me what?

Trump: “Not me” sounds better.

Interviewer: It does?

Trump: To me, it does.

Interviewer: And that’s what matters?

Trump: Of course. Who’s in charge is all that matters. And that’s me.

Interviewer: Ever read Humpty-Dumpty’s dialogue in Through the Looking-Glass?

Trump: I don’t like kiddie lit.

Interviewer: Through the Looking-Glass is by mathematician and writer Lewis Carroll, and it’s not exactly a children’s book. About Alice, the Red Queen, and logic, perception, and reality.

Trump: Carroll who? The comedienne?

Interviewer: Nevermind. Let’s move along.

Trump: Hey, you, we done here? [looking at assistant, who gives an “I don’t know” shrug.]

Interviewer: One last quick question. What’s the “J” in your name stand for?

Trump: John.

Interviewer: Oh, like John the Baptist?

Trump: No, I’m Presbyterian. For fuck’s sake, don’t you people read anything to prep for interviews?

Interviewer: Alrighty, then. We’re done here.

####THE END####