I am beyond delighted that “Charlemagne and Florent,” first published at Myths Inscribed, made it into Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. The anthology was born this month but contains what the editors feel are the best speculative Canadian tales of 2014. It’s nice to be a part of the Chizine Publications family, however small that part is, and it’s extra nice to be included in a book for which Margaret Atwood wrote the introduction. (Pinches self.) This antho is a brick at 500 pages and features piles of talented Canada-associated writers. Super worth picking up at evil Amazon or elsewhere because it’s a great read and supports a Toronto indie press that does valuable work.
I was invited by the organizers of Writefest in Houston, TX to talk about the writer/editor relationship with new(ish) writers (and editors, it turns out). Because I wasn’t able to make it down in person, I got to have my shining hour via Skype. And it was very shiny, being on the same speaker roster as Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld, Mike Allen of Mythic Delirium, the McSweeney’s gang and others. The session was moderated by writer and editor Julia Rios, and it was great to “meet” her at last, as we’ve been linked on Facebook and Twitter for some time. I only wish I’d had a chance to Skype-meet co-organizer Layla Al-Bedawi, as well, who seems to be a righteous person indeed. The talk was fun, the questions were great, and I had to think hard about what makes an editor “good” versus “bad” in a world where subjectivity has much weight and where the publishing game is in roiling flux. The Huffington Post has a lovely writeup, and I’m just one of many who wish Writefest a long, perennial life.
Much has happened since last post—and I blame a four-month escape to Europe for not updating this record for some time, especially since there’s news. First, Lackington’s Issues 7 (“Skins”) and 8 (“Dreamings”) came into the world, and Issue 9 (“Architectures”) will appear February 10. I’ve also been invited to give a long-distance workshop about writer/editor relationships to a roomful of emerging writers in Houston, Texas, at Writefest in late February. There has been the reading of a short story for the Glittership podcast (in which I mangle the author’s name but over which we fortunately had a good laugh–once more, apologies to Bonnie Jo!), and it also looks like I’ll be a short fiction judge at this year’s Ottawa Geek Market in April (I promise not to mangle anything there). Much novel was written while riding the rails of Europe and seeing ever so many bucket-list things—at the expense of short fiction. WIP and Lackington’s are keeping me busy enough, no fear. More soon.
Back in the 90s, when there was no Amazon, no streaming, no IMDb, and when most video rental shops carried little in the way of foreign, cult, or controversial films, I became a regular at what was then called Elgin Street Video Station. This was the place to find the surreal and the repulsive as well as the classic. This was the place to find the BBC policiers like Prime Suspect and Cracker. This was the place to gaze upon rows of VHS tapes (often sorted by director) and learn first-hand about movies in all their permutations. Back then, Elgin Video had a “7 for 7” deal, which let customers rent 7 movies for a week–I did that most weeks for many years and expanded. I was the girl toting an awkward load of 7 VHS tapes through the streets of Centretown in a haze of happiness. No matter how banned, how obscure, how old, how terribly B a movie was, chances are they had it in stock, and chances were just as good the staff could talk about it. Film became my world, and I became a film buff and film writer, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Elgin Video partly shaped who I am. Bloody hell.
So happy that Issue 6 is finally out, the more so because it contains a breathtaking story by L.S. Johnson that was originally slated for Issue 4 (“Institutions”). Her tale, “Littoral Drift,” deserves to be out in the world. I’m also pleased that this issue contains not one but two formally experimental pieces, by U.K. author/academic Steven Earnshaw, and New York author/academic Michael Cisco. (Um, yes — a large portion of our contributors are PhDs. This surprises no one.) Lackington’s always wants stories that play with traditional prose structure as well as language, so I’m tickled. It’s an added privilege to be able to feature a fragment of Cisco’s amazing, yet-to-be-published novel, UNLANGUAGE, another section of which appeared in Postscripts to Darkness Volume 5.
Lackington’s Issue 5 is bursting with beldams, so I suppose it’s anagram-ably fitting that the cover features a god of bedlam, the magnificent Dionysus. Lackington’s covers aren’t commissioned to match issue themes,* but this one worked out, in a way. My friend, the equally magnificent Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada, had done interior artwork for the magazine before, and when I asked him for a cover, our mutual love for all things Dionysian resulted in an image I couldn’t be happier with. Thank you, talented one! I hope you never stop painting. (Readers: check out Derek’s portfolio. ‘Tis beauty.)
*I give each cover artist only two instructions: that the image feature books and that it give some sense, even if just fleeting or symbolic, of the late eighteenth century, in honour of the magazine’s namesake. I’m always delighted to see how each artist interprets that request.