Just heard that this year’s SlingInk Eurofiction competition has already borne fruit, as my Task 1 entry, now entitled “Mirror, Mirror”, has been accepted by Every Day Fiction, which will be my third appearance there. And I think that makes a total of eleven hits for January. It’s all downhill now.
Sad synchronicity. I was spending my lunch hour tweaking a story that name-checks John Martyn, when I look up to see on the news ticker that he’s just died. I guess he wasn’t the sort of guy to overstay his welcome, but 60 is still way too young. He was a genuine one-off who ploughed his own furrow, and the world will be a sadder place for his parting. And if anyone doubts his genius, consider the fact that he managed (briefly) to make Phil Collins look cool. I saw him live once, in the old Marquee club, back in the late 70s, and it was the perfect venue for him: intimate, rowdy and dirty. A great gig.
Here’s a performance of “Bless the Weather” from around the same time:
The poetry juggernaut rumbles on. Aphelion, the “Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy”, have accepted my poem “Dog Star” for their March issue. I think the time may have come to move the poetry links onto a separate page from the fiction. This is deeply scary.
I’ve just heard that my poem entitled (deep breath) “Pants Outside Trousers, Big Letter H On T Shirt, Here To Save The World” has been commended in the 2008 Leaf Poetry Competition. I am massively chuffed about this, because (a) I’ve always wanted to get into one of Leaf’s anthologies (having previously failed on more than one attempt) and (b) getting onto a poetry shortlist was one of my writing goals for 2009.
“Pants Outside Trousers etc.” (which is what Leaf call it in their e-mail to me) was previously a completely unexpected winner of the SlingInk monthly poetry challenge back in October of last year. The title was added at the last minute, and was originally “Pants Outside Trousers, Big Letter H On T Shirt”, and it was only when I had submitted it that I realised that it was an unconscious partial haiku. So I added a further five syllables when I did the edits. Oh, and there’s a reason why the title needs to be a haiku. But you’ll have to buy the anthology to find out
So 2009 is going to be all about poetry, then? Well, maybe. I still find it all a bit baffling. But anyway, I have signed up for The Write Idea‘s STIRRED POeT six-week rolling poetry competition, starting in February, and I will be fascinated to see what comes out of that.
This is an interesting one. Jane Smith, who writes the excellent How Publishing Really Works blog (which I’ve had as a link here for some time now, and is essential reading), has set up a collaborative work of fiction entitled Greyling Bay. The idea is that contributors write short, self-contained fragments, all based around the fictional town of Greyling Bay, that knit together into a patchwork whole (if that isn’t mixing too many metaphors). There are some quite big hitters amongst the contributors already.
Oh, and I’m in there too, with this piece, which grew out of something I’d done as part of a flash fiction exercise last year. I liked it, but I couldn’t work out what the hell to do with it, until I realised that it might work well as part of Greyling Bay. So there it is.
Ooh. Slipped up there. I’ve only just noticed that my first poem on Every Day Poets, School Uniform, was nominated in the Preditors and Editors poll for the best poem published in 2008 (weirdly, the only one from EDP as far as I can tell). The poll closed nearly a week ago! If only I’d known – I could have organised a bit of vote-rigging …
Almost forgot to mention this. Back in October I took part in a charity writeathon with other members of The Grail. Actually, I’m only really a semi-detached member of The Grail, as being active in the VWC, SlingInk, Café Doom and The Write Idea is probably more than enough to keep me occupied, but this seemed like fun. Anyway, it looks there are going to be not one but two anthologies being produced, under the working title of “Right to Read”, one for short stories and one for poetry. So I’ve got three pieces in the short story one (“The Librarian”, “The Colour of Criticism” and “Value for Money”) and – in keeping with my new-found career as a poet – one piece in the poetry one (“Love and Loss, Swedish Style”). I think that makes six poems either published or scheduled to be published now. Can the T.S.Eliot prize be far away?
Well, the nice people at FlashScribe have now accepted another piece, “Welcome to the Hive”, after making some very helpful suggestions that made it work a whole load better. It’s funny – I knew there was something not quite right about it, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the problem was. And they also rejected the third piece I sent, which was good for two reasons. Firstly, it means that they don’t accept any old rubbish that gets sent to them, and secondly, thanks to their feedback, I’ve now got a pretty good idea why it’s been rejected by a couple of other places as well.
“Anniversary Feast” is now up at Fifty-Two Stitches, the first of three flashes of mine that’ll be appearing there this year. It’s possibly the most tasteless thing I’ve ever written. As with so many of these things, it originated in the Café Doom Weekly Flash Challenge, although you might be surprised to know what word inspired it: Fifteen. Strange the way prompts work.
My name's Jonathan Pinnock. I lead a dual life. In one half of this, I run a software development company called Jonathan Pinnock and Associates. If you've come here looking for that, here's where you need to go.
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The bio-historico-musicological-memoir thing Take It Cool was published by Two Ravens Press in July 2014.
The Scott Prize-winning short story collection Dot Dash was published by Salt in November 2012.