I am writing this because I want to preface and congratulate the writers whose work I present for you today under the auspices of Connotation Press. I am writing this with a little trepidation because a) it’s almost deadline day, and b) I don’t know how I can put into words the way these writers put into words words.
Stories. But also philosophies. Alchemies.
I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I’ll put it like this: I’m walking down a hall and I find a story. It’s lying on the ground—a few sheets. I pick it up, dust it off. I don’t know why I have to dust it off—but it’s dusty and it needs a clean.
I read the title and the first few lines. I keep on reading paragraph after paragraph until the ink ends and the page ends—and the story ends.
I move on.
A little further along the hallway, I find another story. This one’s not dusty. I read the title and the first few lines. I keep on reading paragraph after paragraph until the ink ends and the page ends—but the story does not.
It moves on.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I discovered all of these stories in my submissions queue—and by ‘move on’ I mean they are alive with magic, not restricted by the same mechanics of space and time.
They leapt off the page, did a dance with me.
I guess I do know what I’m talking about then.
Featured Writer: Elizabeth Morton
“ Dying is easy, if the confounding variables are in the right places. The KFC has to be Original Recipe. The bubblewrap has to be low-permeation. Stub out both worm ends. Melt the gummi snake on the asphalt. That sort of thing ” – Elizabeth Morton, ‘Bubblewrap’
I love this sort of thing from New Zealand writer, Elizabeth Morton. Dark and darkly humorous. Slippery.
Featured Writer: Agnes Marton
“ the sculptor said we would never find the answer if we don’t know the question are we searching just for the sake of searching? spotting a newt and keeping an eye on it is not easy-peasy in the middle of the ocean and what if we don’t even have a newt ” – Agnes Marton, ‘Man Overboard Situation’
Marton gets a pass on punctuation because she’s good she’s a-ok
“I do have my spells, but most of the time I’m fine. I get this feeling that things will never go particularly well for me. I’ll just be holed up somewhere with my books. That would be okay. Everyone is supposed to feel badass these days about who they are. But I don’t. I’ve kind of permanently lost my confidence or something ” – Ken O’Steen, ‘Dialogue in a Dead Zone’
Talk to me O’Steen: how do you craft two perfect characters?
“ On the drive home, the image of the waitress watching me eat and the strange crunch later came together like a little puzzle, and I became convinced that the waitress had fed me a bug for my rudeness. This got me thinking about the ethical implications. I have social anxiety and sometimes come off as aloof or maybe arrogant. If my behavior unintentionally upset the waitress, did I then, in fact, deserve to eat the bug? ” – Amy Bilodeau, ‘Karmic Crunch’
Bilodeau been doing her homework on densely packed microfiction.
“Let me tell you a story. Pretty female birds attract killers to their nests and make the survivors dull as sparrows, leaving the males to preen. The more handsome getting a mate, leaving a pretty gene that as I mentioned is fatal to the female. Therefore a plain handsomeness for both genders is perpetuated, since a stunning male wants a female that approximates his level of attractiveness. When they die and their souls become human, they gravitate toward anchoring the local news” – Paul Handley, ‘Feather Cap’
More stories from Uncle Lee, please Mr. Handley!