Whatever this is, it is

Dog & frog

Dog and frog. A friend’s Yorkie, not mine (sadly, as he’s a sweetie).

Here’s something not-so completely different. A proem (ranting + poem).  AU NOTE: Have fun, ghost of Dr. Freud!

Vestigial Child
(3-13-17)

What raw ravaged
seed defines me,
I cannot catalog,

but I can define
each wound
by its unwounding.

This sediment here,
youth; that, betrayal
of not telling.

This layer bounded
by leeched limestone laid
where each burial was swift

centuries chipped in
to what passes for
my soul these days.

Eggshell white
pieces, piecemeal.
Peaceful never.

Hurt rage ranging
as far as the tether
allows, sears, marks,

won’t give, won’t forgive.
Scars come unconditionally
coddling the cold warmth

of phenotypic oddity,
biological prop
vestigial child

mad witness to
your own match
immolating from within

an egg hurled
in that moment
coming full cervix

and splattering on
brutal bedrock:
stone of masculinity, madness

metamorphic as cell,
seed, shell. Birth, death
swaddled in light

bundle of bagged
flesh, fresh bulb
in welcome ground

stunted womb
rooming, roaming
from wing to web to ring.

Every decade
laying down silt
in slighted skin

peeled-back
curetted and curated
to show off. Look:

See that charred
oath dashed to hell?
Shelled-out hulls

fall easiest, prey
to gravity, strung
causing welts,

coiling Weltschmerz
around figments
of neck, rendered delicate

by one’s own
sublime grief, a
doppelgänger, which

won’t get out of
the way. Ghost
obscures the body

until all that remains
is the conversation
with the shadow.

Monday Markets: The Spiders Spinning the Moon Edition

Long time, no blog. Well, a couple weeks. An eon in interwebs years perhaps.

the-spiders-and-the-moon

Can you spot the second spider? The first certainly seems bigger than the moon.

Despite the annus miserabilis (yep, I meant that) on many fronts, there are good things about, too. Thank goodness.

I’ll do “markets” a little different this time. Once I get more sophisticated (maybe someday ponying up for the cost of a ‘real’ WordPress or other writing site), perhaps this might grow and improve and transmogrify. First:

Things to Read

Apart from your posts, which I’m still trying to catch up on after the Great Computer-Cord Fry-Up of August 2016, in which the little adapter box thing went bzzt (and my battery had no juice), here’s some notable writing (news and otherwise) you might enjoy or find helpful:

  • Surviving the Death Railway: A POW’s Memoir and Letters from Home, editor Hilary Custance Green’s very personal book about Far East POWs—with an endearing and enduring love story wrapped therein—is out now. Has been out for awhile. Do consider it for your reading list. Even better? It’s in hardback!
  • Another fellow WordPresser, Sarah Potter, just last week released her second book in a year. Wow! This one, Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, while written for the youthful crowd, approximately age 10 (up to and beyond age 100), features a boy with all the resources of Harry Potter, minus the wand. So, by his wits alone, he must survive and navigate a bracing crab of a stepmother and another dimension, called Zyx, ruled by Canis sapiens, or upright-walking, clothes-wearing, English-speaking dog-people. And with all the foibles of humans, spun into a new view, from a (nearly?) megalomaniacal poodle to a fretful golden retriever with a hidden beauty secret. Can Noah save his real dog, Bluebell, from Monsieur Percival Poodle and get out alive? Although I was a beta reader on this, I can confirm it was a quite enjoyable book. As an adult or, I would think, a dog-loving or imaginative child. Here’s where you can get it on the Kindle.
  • Take a look at a post by Diabolical Plots titled “Negotiating Short Story Contracts.” I won’t give away the keys to this kingdom, but when you sell a story, ask for a contract and actually read it. That’s one of the most basic tips for any writer. But get more insights from the diabolical personage himself, David Steffen, here.
  • If you like epic stories and the storytellers who execute them, then you’ll probably enjoy this Powell’s (bookstore) interview with Annie Proulx as much as I did.
  • And, finally, a survey of the psychologically “deep” short stories of British horror writer Robert Aickman.

 

Things to Write: Markets & Submissions

  • National Lampoon is looking for humor writers. This is a well-known, and paying market, but, I’ll presume, pretty competitive. If you submit, you absolutely must bring your funniest stuff. Otherwise, you’re schtick out of luck.
  • If you aim for the top, you’ll find Tin House, among others, sitting astride it. And, by the by, they are accepting submissions the entire month of September 2016, for several issues slated for 2017. One story or essay and up to five poems per submission. So, in September at TH: there’s an open-publication (no theme); there’s a rehab-themed issue; and then there’s a true crime issue. Many submit, but few, alas, are chosen. See more here.
  • Rejectomancer and author Aeryn Rudel has announced he will be a judge in an upcoming flash fiction contest run by Red Sun Magazine. There’s a small entry fee for submitting your fiction under 1K, and the deadline is Sept. 23. Prizing and other salient criteria are at RSM’s site here. And, if you’re a speculative fiction writer, aspiring or otherwise, you owe it to yourself to follow Rudel, whose name rightly appears persistently among the rolls of winning stories.
  • As this is a long post already and it’s almost bus-time, I’ll share one last one. Tacitus Publishing is seeking short fiction, 1500 to 5K, on the theme of shattered space. I’ll let them tell you: “[the story] takes place in space and has a strong horror element.  This can include aliens, ghosts, or disturbing circumstance[s].  The key to success, as with all strong writing, is the human struggle and relatable characters. . . . . ” Your story is due Oct. 31, and, as always, it would behoove you to know your market before submitting.

As ever, let’s go out there and  . . . get rejected! And, a la Samuel Beckett, get rejected better the next time.

 

 

 

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge

20151223_203202

Hello, all. I saw Hugh’s photo challenge, and considering that he would kindly make a £1 donation (up to £250) to The Dogs Trust*, I knew I just had to tag along.

And now, the right jolly old elf who perches atop our tree (apologies for the not-so-clear photo).

Thanks, Hugh, and again, happy holidays to you all, wherever you are!


*The UK’s largest dog-welfare charity. They do great things for canine critters (and the peoplekind who love them); check them out!

Trifextra Week 103: Of Heroes Hirsute

Trifecta Tricycle ImageI’m not sure what you’re working on currently, but I’m treading in the realms of realism again these days.

This week’s Trifextra 33-word flash-fiction challenge freights you to the end of the line with this one: “That wasn’t what I meant.”

Being the linguistics-backgrounded word-nerd that I am, I had scads of fabness deciding where to put the accent in the terminal sentence: that, wasn’t, I, or meant. And working backward to form the oyster around the hoped-for pearl. (Hey, can a story be a back formation)?

In any case, I hope I give you an unusual prism to ponder.

*****

Of Heroes Hirsute

Shelter-Misc. 012

Many wonderful companions (like this one, adopted several years ago) await your love at a shelter or rescue group. If you are in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, please visit Petfinder to learn more about adoption in your area. Photograph ©Leigh Ward-Smith

A sandpaper sensation woke me. Then I tried to whistle for Pep, but my left side wouldn’t move.

Gravel pop-rocked all around. Was I being herded?

My last confused command had been sit-climb-jump.

That wasn’t what I meant.”