I’ve just got the copies back of a new story-zine called Cows Don’t Believe in Slaughterhouses. The zine contains 12 stories, from 50 words to 1,800 words, most written in the last year, but a couple of them dating back much further.
If you want a copy of this, give me a shout (if you don’t have my email, then leave a message in the comments – I won’t publish your address!). There are 35 copies of this print run, and I have a pile of stamps and envelopes ready to send them off.
A new decade is a good time for new starts. After trying lots of things with my writing that didn’t really work out, I’ve become increasingly excited about writing short fiction again. I’m bursting with new ideas, inspired by rage at the world around me, and hoping to get another new zine out soon.
I’m not sure how big the reach of this is going to be, given I have no social media now, and very few people are on the blog or the newsletter. But, one thing I’ve learned from the slash community is that the enthusiasm of an audience is far more important than how large it is. And it’s more fun sending out a few zines than none at all.
I’m also planning another mailout soon from the newsletter, which is also a good place for updates about the future zines.
Back in August 2015 I wrote a small, unreliable tourist guide to Brighton and Hove.
And then I forgot all about it. Recently, at the Brighton Lean agile conference, I was reminded about it. My friend said that they treasure their copy. I had a look online and realised there was no trace of this booklet – I’d not talked about it on the blog anywhere, and the mentions on twitter are long lost in the stream.
The book has had a fun life – one of my friends leaves it out for her airbnb guests:
The guide includes the boat hidden in a basement of one of the seafront hotels, and the seagull barbecue. My favourite thing about it is that not all of the things listed are entirely made up. The best lies are the ones that contain grains of truth.
I’ve now put copies up for sale on the postal press website.
I’m not a Facebook-hater. I know its interests aren’t perfectly aligned with mine; but as long as I don’t give it too much time, it’s fine. And I love that it’s kept some friendships going, long after distance or time might have had them dying away.
But Facebook will never be as great as the real world. It’s the same as how downloading an e-book isn’t the same as an Amazon order dropping through your letterbox. A postcard is always more fun than a tweet, whatever new updates Twitter roll out.
I love the postal system. I still like to write letters (and am massively overdue for my next one to Louise Halvardsson). One of the main texts for my (abandoned) PhD was Jacques Derrida’s Post Card. My pretend publishing company is called Postal Press. I await silent Tristero’s Empire. There’s something magic about the mail.
While I love the way Facebook keeps people in touch, it’s a rather passive communication – like a stream of round-robin letters. You can follow someone without really engaging with them. There are even a few people on my friends list that I can’t remember where I know them from. So I thought I would try sending postcards to as many people on my friends list as I can.
(I currently have 573 people on that friends list. This may take some time. And a lot of stamps.)
It will be good to get in touch with old friends. I suspect this will also be an interesting experiment. There’s something transgressive about blurring the online/offline boundaries. I imagine there are people who are happy to be friends on Facebook and don’t want to share their postal address. And, like all experiments, there is the possibility of something unexpected. (But, don’t worry, I’m not planning anything too real, like the woman who tried to visit all her Factbook friends).
Well, I’d best get started. Who wants a postcard?
Along with the book of short stories, I’ve also been working on something longer: Lovecraft in Brighton. This is a ‘novella in fragments’, telling the story of a man haunted by the ghost of HP Lovecraft. It’s also something of an experiment, with the work-in-progress being sent out – each time someone buys a copy, a new story is added and the work so far sent by post – with a final version being sent to everyone at the end.
I love horror stories and sending them by post allows me to play with the intimacy of the genre: the loneliness and terror evoked by Lovecraft. The stories sent out will shift somewhat, because there are some stories I can only tell to people I know well; and others I can’t commit to open publication. So far, three people have read it and been very excited about it. There are more details and a link to buy copies on the Postal Press Lovecraft in Brighton page.
I (self!) published my first collection of short-stories today. It’s an A7-sized volume with 6 stories, totalling less than 600 words; all were written in sessions at the Not-For the Faint-Hearted workshop. Rosy Carrick said that it was “The best collection of stories I’ve ever read“, and you can trust her as she’s almost a doctor. If you’d like a copy, let me know and I will post it to you next week.
(The next Not for the Faint-Hearted Session is on April 13th)
Thanks to Natalie Downe whose pocketbook template was used for the layout. So much better than having to lay everything out by hand using my terrible writing. I’m thinking of doing a tiny travel-guide to India next).