Here I am. Honestly. I haven’t been as slack as the date of my last post suggests. I’ve been doing lots of writery things. I have missed you though, so I thought I might drop in and say hello.
I had another piece, Candy Comes Back, published with Wufniks which makes me happy that one of my favourite stories and places to read got together. They also have this cool little section that asks Where Are You?
Both pieces are about dysfunctional relationships between women. One of them happens to be dead.
My ongoing love affair with Housefire is blossoming into something more wonderful and strange every day.
After another amazing prompt I wrote the piece THE PROCESS OF PRECIPITATING SNOW for them, then Riley Michael Parker interviewed me, which includes a lot of forcing me to write tiny stories as answers. If you’re into that sort of thing you can have a look here, TWO INTERVIEWS WITH YT SUMNER. Note the awesome Jessica Tremp striking again with my author’s pic.
If you read all the way to the end you see a little bomb dropped casually which explains why the You & Me project has been on a little hiatus. I’m writing a book. Especially for Housefire. It’s a little one, but so are most of my short stories. I don’t want to say too much because I’ve got to get back to finishing it now. And I’m completely elated and terrified about it.
Okay, that’s enough for now. I promise to be a better friend and stay in contact more. You can stalk me more efficiently on my Facebook Page. I’m there far too often for my own good.
By the way, if you clicked all the links in this post, you win a pony.
Seriously, it’s on its way to your house right now.
You probably know how much I love the literary journal Bananafish and I’m tickled twice as pink to have my short story ‘The Last Bird’ published with them. This piece was previously published with the awesome Melbourne literary journal fourW and I feel pretty lucky to have the story in a book with a spine and online for your eyes. Also, how good is their awesome new logo designed by my buddy, Michael Alesich.
As you’ve probably realised by now, I do like writing very short stories.
‘Frostbite‘ is one that the Literary Journal amphibi.us posted on their site last week. Have a look around once you’re there, there’s some pretty amazing prose and poetry there.
When I found Sleep. Snort. Fuck. my eyes thanked me and my legs crossed and I punched the air for that little bit of extra filth in the world.
My piece ‘he’d be nine now‘ is up today and it makes me want to vomit a little with nerves because it’s a non-fiction. None of that usual hiding behind characters or plots.
One of my favourite stories (I think it might be completely dick to admit that) ‘Big Girl‘ has found a new home in Issue Six at a place called Jersey Devil Press. Like Bananafish mag, I found and fell in love with the amazing short fiction they publish. The story “The Golden Streams of Babylon’ by Andrew Frankel has to be one of the best things I’ve read in forever so make sure you go and visit the piece in Issue Five – after you’ve read Big Girl of course. Then you can spread the word and tell everyone ‘I told you so’ when their eyes are all popped out from happiness.
The internet is making me zombie dance with all the good words it’s offering my brain lately.
I love words.
You might have noticed me having a fine time giving all my attention to them lately and this summer of love has just been made ever sweeter with the publication of my short story ‘Pretty Lady’ in the exceptional literary journal Bananafish.
A few weeks ago I rode big red down to the PO Box, hoping another one of my treasures had arrived (more on that later, I’ve been buying more art than is usual for a broke arse, unemployed, ‘creative type’) and yes there was a box to collect and yes it was a treasure.
But it was from Amazon.com and I hadn’t ordered anything. There was no way this mystery was going to wait until I got home. I ripped the box open in the car park with my helmet still on and held two books by an author who I didn’t know, but was about to fall hard for.
Such an unassuming name for such raw, tragic, absurd, gritty beauty. I like the line best by Madison Smartt Bell saying ‘he makes us feel much more than we are told’.
He is a new hero of mine, giving me the same tingles I had when I first read Raymond Carver. When I first thought, Shit, you’re allowed to write like this?
Inside the order form was a little note from a friend I do not see as often as I like, saying he’d read Brown’s short stories and thought of me and that Dylan had ‘read every word the man had written’.
I didn’t know what I’d done to receive such a thoughtful surprise gift but my grin has not faded one bit (Thank you Balke – love you to pieces for the gift of this introduction) and all I want to do at the moment it write something half as good as that.
I then received an email accepting my work for an online journal I also had a giant crush on. It’s a fairly new publication but it’s damn fine stuff. I was even moved to contact one of the American writers Anne Wagener about her sublime story ‘This Piece of Me’ to tell her how much I loved it. Now we nerd word back and forth occasionally.
If you like talent with lashings of imagination then you should check her story out.
I was lucky enough to have it accepted by one of the finest editors I’ve come across. Daniel McDermott not only accepted it, but he offered suggestions and changes that were done so respectfully and skilfully I was bowled away. It’s no wonder the journal is so good when it’s helmed by an editor like this.
This journal incidentally led me to finally read the exquisite short story by J.D. Salinger ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ and that felt like another gift.
‘Pretty Lady’ is being featured on their home page this week (before it settles into new home with the hot neighbours in the archives) and I think I’m going to grin the whole way through it.
Yesterday I had two tasks to knock down, but I had a feeling it was going to be easy because the rain was cocooning the house in an unseasonal way, urging me to curl up and write. Pitter patter against every window. If I had a fireplace I would have been in writers heaven.
First I had to choose a piece to submit to a magazine. I’ve never had anyone headhunt me in this fashion before and casually say that I had three pages to play with, send what ever I feel.
Whatever I feel?
I felt like I had to choose between my kids which one to send to adventure camp.
But this was far from the worst writing task I’d had. I’m doing the yayness dance already. It’s an amazing magazine and once it’s all confirmed I’ll be posting proud pictures of my kids at camp all over the place.
But I promise no slide shows.
The other I haven’t gotten around to yet and I suspect it’s because I’ve been challenged to write about something happy. Mmmn. What the hell does that mean? Is it something like a happy meal? With a little toy inside? It’s not like I usually write about kittens with cancer or anything, but happy is not a feeling I usually associate with my writing. Dammit. I like exploring the dark places. The lost places. The intersections where we disconnect and stand there not knowing how to feel.
These places can be the close up electricity of reality like Raymond Carver’s, or like Etgar Keret’s have more than a touch of the absurdity creeping in to this ordinary thing.
The things we look at everyday but don’t always see. The magic we have simply learned to tune out.
I believe artists spend much of their time trying to unlearn that.
Now I’m going to learn how to write happy. I never could pass up a challenge.
And if you’ve never read Carver or Keret, start here. These authors changed the way I breathe.
pssst, but don’t get them there, go visit your friendly local bookseller I say.