Dreadful Daughters, Nervous Breakdowns and storySouth Million Writers nom for ‘The Box.’

Couple of pieces of news. Those crazy kids from over at Juked have nominated my story, ‘The Box’ for a Million Writers award. Without editors like J.W. Wang, Zack Wentz, Cameron Pierce, John Joseph Adams, Seb Doubinsky, Deb Hoag… the list goes on and most of these people are award winning writers, poets, anthologists themselves, but they do that extra thing, they read. They lead by example. Without which this revolution, this whole movement, would not be happening. So more on that in a minute.

So The Nervous Breakdown put up ‘Speak of the Puppet.’ I mainly wrote the piece in response to that question we get asked and ask ourselves, where does it come from? My uncle asked me. An innocent question if you believe in innocent questions, which by definition, I don’t. So, that. I read what other people said about this. And I liked this answer by Neil Gaiman.

Where do I get my ideas from?

I make them up.

Out of my head.

But I ended up not putting it in the Nervous Breakdown piece because a reader I showed it to didn’t think it fit. So here is the rest of my piece.

Also just signed a contract with the fearless folk at Dog Horn publishing for my story, “Going Down”, to appear in their upcoming anthology, Dreadful Daughters. Deb Hoag, the editor, is a solid writer herself. Her piece, ‘Phat is a Four Letter Word,’ in the previous anthology, Women Writing the Weird, you have to read it.

She would hoist a cake in sad homage to their impoverished hips and scraggly buttocks and lumpy tricepts. Their twiggy penises and hollow, chilly, dried up vaginas. How much better her own fleshy folds, hot, wet, secret scents, acres of milk=white, rounded rolling flesh!

My story, “Going Down,” is a really early story, much revised. It was called ‘Sex and Death’ and then it was called ‘Downturn.’ And now it’s called ‘Going Down.’ It comes from a crazy dark time, which I wrote about here. One of those so-much-shit-there-must-be-a-pony times. I came out of that experience with another friend, another editor.

So John Wang, from Juked magazine emailed me on the weekend. He has nominated another story, The Box, for a Million Writers award. I swear. Getting published on this magazine, Juked, for the first time, was a milestone for me. When I first started doing this, I clung to the stories in that magazine as some kind of life raft. They were the stories I wanted to read, the stories that made me think I wasn’t alone. And it was where I first read the work of Stephen Graham Jones, especially this story, How Billy Hanson Destroys Planet Earth and Everyone On It, which I must have linked to a hundred times, but for me is literature and genre working together to be the finest both can be.

He wouldn’t say this later, because he’d be dead along with everyone else, blasted into a cloud of comparatively warm ash swirling around in what had been Earth’s orbital plane, but it wasn’t his fault. Really. Or, if there was any fault, it was that he was human in the first place, a species built specifically, it would seem, to push buttons clearly marked DON’T PUSH, a species that had only evolved in the first place because it kept reaching up to that next level of the beach instead of being satisfied with where it already was.

Along the way Juked rejected a few pieces of mine, and accepted another piece, but that had already been picked up, so when they picked up ‘The Box,’ for me it was like where were you when Obama won. And then it turned out Mr Jones was in the same issue, so I took a screen shot. These crumbs we sprinkle as we wander alone into the dark woods, just in case the witch spits us out and we need to one day find our way back in. Because that’s the fear, right? That it will all go away. That the birds’ll come and pick up all the crumbs and peck our eyes down to the sockets and we’ll be as blind and alone as we always thought we were.
Juked and me

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