FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE 2
CELEBRATE From Keats to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle our writer submissions occasion the voices that are now lost and different ways to celebrate.
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS A closer look at Nottinghamâ€™s first Literary Festival in decades.
Jemma Utley Editor in Chief Olivia Auckland Co-Editor Jennifer Mclean Columnist Leanne Cartwright Columnist Symon Rose Columnist Hamid Jalloh Marketing Samuel Pyle Creative Director
SPECIAL THANKS Abbie Louise Birtles Cover Art kirederf7 Illustration The-Chairman Illustrations
INSIDE FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the second edition! Firstly, I would like to say thank you for reading, and if you read our last one welcome back and enjoy the improvements! Our February edition’s theme is ‘Celebration’ so join us as we celebrate the written word and the little moments that make life worth living. This month we are pleased to introduce Nottingham’s first Festival of Words since 1970, some more budding writers, an exclusive interview with Down Radio who are an awesome new band from Leeds set to make ears bleed nationwide, interviews with established writers including Zachary Kluckman a notorious and award winning performance poet from New Mexico, some lovely amateur photography and artwork, and hell of a lot more.
What I am most pleased to present to you is our magazine’s new look put together by our Creative Director Samuel Pyle. This month we take advantage of modern technology with videos, slideshows, and music! Every month we look to improve so feedback is always welcome, but I think you’ll agree things are already looking pretty special. We want new writers, new photographers, and new artists to keep this love train going so please submit your work. Also, if you know anyone who would benefit from submitting then tell them about us! Enjoy x The Editor.
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS
We’re at Nottingham’s first festival of words since the 1970’s to celebrate the written word with old and new writers at Nottingham Trent University. We also reveal A.L Kennedy’s secret to writing success.
The Tongue is out for knowledge as we have an old fashioned chin wag with the up and coming band Down Radio, the award winning slam poet Zachary Kluckman, and get some valuable writing advice from Robert Swereda.
We keep letting you into what makes us tick with our hopes, hates, and embarrassing drunken behaviour.
We showcase wonderful writing that celebrates the happiest moments in your life, your favourite writers, and just being alive. We look forward to seeing more from you guys in the future.
We shamelessly plug our own work! Enjoy!
This month we have reviewed Rebel Moms by Davina Rhine, The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller, and due to the pending film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz we revisit this classic written by L. Frank Baum.
THE FESTIVAL WORDS OF
CELEBRATING THE RICH LITERARY HERITAGE OF NOTTINGHAM DURING A FORTNIGHT LONG FESTIVAL OF WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE CITY
Welcome to this month’s special feature!
with lofty ceilings to cram the mass of
weekend there was a sense of unity and
It’s the inside scoop on Nottingham
imaginations into one building! This
inspiration that was very much focused
Trent University’s (NTU’s) contribution
festival reminded the team and me of the
on helping new writers, encouraging old
to Nottingham’s first Festival of Words,
importance of being around other writers
ones, and showcasing talent!
which ran throughout the city from
after graduating from University as it’s
In this section Olivia Auckland and
9th-24th February. NTU hosted from the
very easy to feel alone and uninspired
Jennifer McLean will be reviewing some
Newton Building on Saturday 16th and
without regular contact with the local
of the events, such as writing and life
Sunday 17th, and it was a fitting setting,
advice from the uncompromising author
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS SECTION ONE
Introduction Jemma Utley
A.L. Kennedy Keynotes Olivia Auckland
Why LGBT Writing? Jemma Utley Here is LeftLion Jemma Utley Tongue Magazine’s very own Olivia Auckland inside the Festival like some crazy trojan.
Between the 9th and 24th of February this year Nottingham hosted its first Festival of Words in nearly four decades. Help it become a regular appearance on Nottingham’s cultural and literary scene. Show your support by following these for future updates: http://nottwords.org.uk/ and Facebook
A.L Kennedy, a vivid discussion about
feature in the magazine. In order to do
whether LGBT writing needs a separate
this successfully and consistently we
section in the book shop, enactments
are on the lookout for voluntary field
of NTU Creative writing MA students’
journalists who are local to the city so
screenplays, readings from the writers
please, get in touch with us; we’re really
nice. Email us with your CV and samples of
Magazine and finally, a review of the
your writing to recruitment@tonguemag.
Species anthology that was compiled by
co.uk, if you’re awesome and we like your
some more of this year’s MA students. We
style we will put you forward to the next
will also be introducing some new faces
step! In the meantime, sit back with your
influencing the literary event scene in
hot/alcoholic drink and enjoy the reviews!
Nottingham. Many thanks to the organisers; Robin Vaughan
Antonia Bell, and a special thank you to the Media Officer Ian Douglas who gave us our press passes! If you would like more information or footage from the rest of the festival you can find it here: www.nottswords.org.uk. I look forward to attending next year, with a better camera this time... Over the next few editions we hope to make these event reviews a regular 5
Jemma Utley Editor
LoveLace Olivia Auckland
Species Review Jemma Utley
Olivia Auckland Co-Editor
GIVES THE KEYNOTE SPEECH AT NOTTINGHAM’S FESTIVAL OF WORDS INTERVIEW FEATURE
Where it began
riety of conditions that meant they would
and stand-up comedian A.L. Kennedy
Kennedy graduated Warwick University
writing group. Together they wrote poet-
sits before a lecture theatre of eager fans,
in 1986, in the middle of a recession, and
ry; a collaboration which allowed those
writers and press. While Kennedy is in-
struggled to find a job. In a sense, Kenne-
without a voice, to find one. Challenging
troduced she appears at ease, hearing her
dy explained, this gave her a gift – the gift
the notion of group writing, forever rid-
work complimented dotingly, by a slightly
of desperation. As most writers and cre-
iculed for being fake and inexpressive,
quivering NTU lecturer.
ative can vouch, when you are so close
Kennedy brings forth writing as a ther-
to the edge of your mind, your patience,
apeutic process. Working with people in
or even your life, desperation can be an
prisons, psychiatric hospitals and psy-
infinitely powerful tool. For Kennedy, this
cho geriatric wards, Kennedy addressed
situation gave her no choice:
the archaic classifications of “the writer”,
Renowned short-story writer, novelist, Guardian blogger, multi-award winner
“For some reason I make people nervous” Kennedy says, before commenting on the distribution of the guests, who have avoided the front row.
never be literate, became Kennedy’s first
demonstrating through her work that the
“All I could do was what my heart wanted to do.”
essence of writing is simply in establishing what you want to say and how best to say it.
Kennedy earned a living for ten years working with people with “special needs”, She’s hilarious, as we knew she would be,
noting that the term would now be ‘so-
with a dry sense of humour and a reserved
cially excluded’ and the socially excluded
delivery. She gesticulates madly, accentu-
would come to include, well, everyone.
ating every syllable, and I want to grab
She explains that her employment be-
onto her hands and ask her how? How did
came, surprisingly, a wonderful way to
you do this? Will I be able to do this too?
get into writing. The group, all with a va-
“My experience was that it made people happier. And medically speaking, it made people better.” Kennedy recalls a poetry recital from a group of people who would receive ‘funny looks on buses’, and the ‘curdling’ smiles of the social workers and community education workers, as they witnessed the groups’ raw and fearless approach to poetry. By offering this tool to those who are considered weak, and low-status, Kennedy was controversially giving people authority. It seems a horrifyingly present belief today that literature and writing is off limits to anyone who is considered lacking in mental capacity or social privilege. Writing is still a process considered high-status and reserved for the intellectually gifted. As Kennedy declares, “If you find your voice, then you find your voice,
there is no messing around with that, you
himself to be. He had been beaten, her
find your voice,” banging her fist on the
grandfather explained, not by his oppo-
desk, as if to end the debate.
nent, but by himself.
“I owe, if you like, the disabled community, my entire career because they helped me to understand the power of language. And that it could change the world. And that it would change people’s lives.”
Although it took decades, Kennedy came to realise:
“I can defeat myself with fear at a moment’s notice.” Her grandfather’s story became a sustaining one, and after years of constructing lists regarding the ‘rules’ of writing, it came down to one golden key; be without fear. Kennedy talks of fearful young writers, and claims they often claim that their plot intentionally has no meaning, or their protagonist intentionally has no feelings. Kennedy asserts that this is a writer being ‘shit scared’; this is the result of fearing that your essence will leak through the cracks and you will be exposed. She laughs to herself, and points out that this is one of the joys of being a writer- you don’t have to be there when you are vulnerable and exposed. But by cultivating this fear, by tackling the tasks that you think are beyond you, by writing some-
The Golden Key: Fearlessness
thing you believe to be beyond your capabilities; that is when writing becomes really wonderful fun. She urges the writer
Kennedy’s latest works, On Writing (out
to face the blank page or the white screen
7th March), is a three part examination of
and ask “Who are these people? What is
writing. The dividing section of the book,
a story about her grandfather, is the section Kennedy claims to be “the most im-
Kennedy ends this chapter, with a moving
portant…the key to everything that you
statement. It is one which leaves the room
need to know in order to write”. She reads
hushed, and me feeling very…unexpected-
it to us, and we are a sea of silence, ab-
sorbing every word. The section focuses on one story in particular: the one and only boxing match her grandfather ever lost. Her grandfather had claimed that he had climbed into the ring viewing his opponent as someone better, and stronger, than he believed
“Procrastination, half-heartedness, cowardice; they are all fruits of my fear. And they have all robbed me daily, sometimes hourly; of joy…Our nightmares are fearful enough. Our dreams, I think, must be better and louder and unafraid.”
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS SECTION ONE
“WRITE. NO AMOUNT OF SELF-INFLICTED MISERY, ALTERED STATES, BLACK PULLOVERS OR BEING PUBLICLY OBNOXIOUS WILL EVER ADD UP TO YOU BEING A WRITER. WRITERS WRITE. ON YOU GO”
Questions from the Audience What is your opinion on Ghost Writers? I’ve only ever met one ghost writer and she was truly the most soulless, deadeyed person I’ve ever met. The only way it could possibly work is if you work alongside someone in a therapeutic way and as a creative act. It could be a better experience and you could really catch their voice. But unfortunately that is not what people seem to do. Do you feel a responsibility to use your craft in bleak times to inspire people? I don’t think I’m Che Guevara or something. If you are a loud person, and especially if you are being paid to be loud, then you should use your loudness to some kind of end. With journalism, yes, because you are mostly dealing with specifically contemporary issues. It’s difficult with fiction, but there is still a level of responsibility. I think the nature of fiction is to show you and to allow you to be in the mind of someone else. You might
be in the mind of a fictional character, but
“Who are you writing for?” so not the
it has power in allowing us to recognise
market audience, and not the teacher
that other people are as important as
that gave you a low grade, or the relative
ourselves. That has to be political.
who doesn’t agree with your views… you shouldn’t write for someone who
Have you faced difficulties being a
made your soul get smaller. People need
woman and a writer?
to adjust in their minds who they are writing for, to someone of a similar level
Being a woman I have been expected to
of intelligence, a similar personality,
say certain things at a certain time. And
someone you respect, someone who you
when I haven’t I have been told I was
love, very much. Not a scary monster.
wrong. I have tried to stay away from this issue, but yes, I think the characteristics
Is there ever a reason to stop writing? To,
of a writer and the lifestyle are something
say, stop yourself from being destroyed?
people accept in men more; like the notion of spending time with other people, even
I believe that, your mind will not allow
if they are fictional people. But I make
you to go somewhere that it doesn’t
women characters that I believe in. And I
want you to go, unless, maybe, you have
write about stories that I feel in some way
a mental illness. But yes, writing does eat
are true. Lots of people think that by using
your time. You get compulsive-obsessive
my initials I was trying to hide my gender,
about it, and it can be very hard to have
but I wasn’t, I was just hiding.
real relationships. If you are emotionally, intellectually, spiritually tired then take a
What were some of the writing tips you
break. Take a long break and re-charge
used to believe in? “Write what you know” is a limiting and boring rule. You should find something you don’t currently know, and learn about it and write about it. 8
THE KEYNOTES At NTU’s Newton Building
IF YOU THINK SHE’S AS GREAT AS WE DO, DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE:
WHY LGBT WRITING? DISCUSSION REVIEW
and reassurance, especially now that ho-
uals can be faithful, and just because your
mosexual sex has become increasingly
five year old son likes pink clothes doesn’t
The discussion panel was chaired by Rus-
mainstreamed; it is time to move forward.
mean he’s transgender/transsexual! And
sell Christie with Greg Woods the first pro-
fessor of queer studies in Britain, Victoria
ginalisation incurred through the use of
Oldham of Bold Stroke Books, Nicki Hastie
stereotypical characters such as stylish,
group came to regarding the future of
a member of the Sapphist Writers group,
fit, white men to describe gay sensibili-
Queer Literature, was to ensure that mar-
and Jonathan Kemp an awarding winning
ties. They addressed the fact that ‘as long
ginalised groups within the community
writer and lecturer. They discussed the is-
as you have enough money to buy things
are represented; race, age, and class dif-
sues behind categorising Queer Literature
then they don’t care what you do with your
ferences should not be ignored in a genre
in bookshops also with describing your-
genitals’ (Kemp) in American consumerist
of writing focused on representation. Of
self as a Queer writer. As a bisexual I could
culture and the negative repercussions
course this brings up a series of issues,
identify with the importance of having a
this has on the intellectual perception of
such as making sure that those that are
section of books on queer literature rath-
Queer society. A certain large bookstore
marginalised are encouraged to repre-
er than allowing those books to become
did not initially stock Bold Stroke Books
sent themselves to maintain relevance
muddled in with the rest as, when there
under the misguided assumption that gay
with their audience. However, it also begs
are those moments where you are looking
people don’t read. Needless to say, having
the question: can a straight writer write
to relate with that part of yourself, they
completed a literature degree, I can tell
queer characters and visa-versa? But on
have to be accessible. In the same way it
you with conviction that this is NOT the
the whole it reiterates the problem: can
is important to be identified as a Queer
case. Plus, you try telling that to the rest of
a writer write about what they have not
writer as it means that you are voice for
the Tongue Magazine team; only half are
lived convincingly, and if so, how?
that community. It’s not just about hav-
straight. I apologise for the outburst but
ing literature that is focused on sex, and
it reflects the passions that were stirred
that this expectation in Queer Literature
up by that revelation during the discus-
is actually damaging to the development
sion! Just to make it clear to a certain
of the genre. It is important to continue
large bookstore: gay men can eat carbo-
catering to those that look to it for advice
hydrates, not all lesbians are butch, bisex-
They also considered the mar-
The conclusion the discussion
Jemma Utley Editor
Jemma Utley Editor
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS SECTION ONE
NOTTINGHAM POETS WERE PRESENTED BY THE NOTTINGHAM BASED MAGAZINE, LEFTLION IN A REFRESHING LOOK AT ALL ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE.
On the backdrops of some unique and
pentameter about John Smith and James
honest and expressive and I would suggest
beautiful illustrations by Steve Larder,
Pratt who were the last two men to be
adding any poetry by Greg Woods to your
Aly Stoneman who is the poetry editor of
executed for sodomy, as witnessed by
reading list. He is part of the LGBT Writing
LeftLion magazine introduced a group of
Charles Dickens at Newgate prison in
discussion that I attended earlier in this
poets that had submitted in the last twelve
1895. He faces the injustice of the act and
feature. He is definitely not ‘just a gay poet.’
months. Here are a few of our favourites.
the dehumanisation of those men, human
Starting proceedings was Alex ‘Motormouf’
beings left nameless as wild beasts. His
had set up a stand at the festival called
Young with a poem called dedicated to
imagery and voice is vivid and intense and
‘Balls to Poetry’ a group activity where
Rosa Parks, a beat-boxing local poet; he
contradicts Dickens’ silence regarding his
people threw a ball to each other and
spoke with truth, viciousness, and quick
opinion of the execution. His second poem
wrote a line of poetry each that followed
rhythm about how the experiences of
is called ‘Dream Midnight’ about forbidden
on from the last. Her poem called ‘Black
Rosa Parks are still as relevant today (don’t
sexual yearning and stifled love. His work is
Box’ was about a plane crash; detailed and
Next up was Rosie Garner who
forget to check out the video at the end of
from the perspective of a passenger, as he
thinks back to a box of keepsakes back at
Patience with a poem that got her the
Nottingham Poetry Society Prize called ‘I
Hubbard of the poem called ‘Jack and the
Didn’t Want To be a Victim.’ It discussed
Beanstalk’ about when her son found a
gang culture and knife crime and how it
cannabis plant in the alleyway by her home.
spreads through fear, and that an innocent
In a distinctive tongue-in-cheek style she
child can end up wielding a knife and
discusses how when money is running out
getting killed. It was hauntingly blunt
any opportunity to make money has to be
and clear and definitely deserved the
made; even when it comes to breaking the
recognition from the society.
law. She has once again provided us with
another example of her excellent work
Greg Woods, a lecturer from
Nottingham Trent University who reads two poems one a sonnet in iambic
After was a reading from Michelle
with a poem called ‘Perfect Timing.’
of LeftLion’s excellent poetry you can pick up their magazine from many Nottingham bookstores or have a look at their wonderful website! They are an inspiration for our little ezine
ABOUT LEFTLION launched on 1 September 2003 Leftlion are a Nottingham based magazine that is both printed and available online. They focus on all aspects of Nottingham culture,
specifically the local music and arts scene. Their mission is to give local ‘creative sorts’ a chance that they might not get from anywhere else.
LOVELACE READINGS FROM THE WORK OF NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY’S MA CREATIVE WRITING STUDENTS FEATURE
With one of the UK’s longest established
postgraduate creative writing courses,
examples of the excellent standard of
Nottingham Trent University brings to the
literature being produced in Nottingham,
Festival of Words a series of readings from
we couldn’t possibly cover them all. But
the work of this year’s MA Creative Writing
a special mention has to be made to
students. Rehearsed and performed by
Georgina Lock. Her reading of Birthday
local actors, the work is introduced by
Present reminded many of us BA Creative
Georgina Lock, a senior Creative Writing
Writing postgraduates that we had
lecturer at NTU, and a writer, director and
been truly lucky to be taught by such
producer of short films and plays.
a wonderful writer during our time at
Nottingham Trent University.
Working with the theme of
With so many readings, all
‘Love’, the readings open with a powerful
and fierce monologue; the desperate
an example of the fluidity of writing.
and childish voice of a “mad woman”
For those who believe poetry, or the
reflecting on and questioning love, sex,
monologue, to be static and outdated,
beauty, and family. And, of course – the
we urge you to attend further events
ineffective search for “Mr Right”. Written
from poetry performers and monologue
by Trevor Huddlestone and performed by
performers alike. Events like this reassure
Becky Matter, this piece, entitled When I
the writer, and the non-writer, that
Look Back at my Life, was both touching
writing, literature, and creativity are
and amusing, and graced the Festival with
more alive now than they ever were
an example of natural, unadulterated writing.
Loneliness of the Travel Writer, was written by Nick Jowett and performed by Julia Damassa and Peter Rumney. Damassa’s
captured beautifully the voice of a travel writer during her stay at “The Boutique Hotel in Bakewell”. Making the mouths of the listeners’ water almost immediately, the piece opens with the sensuous descriptions of the chef’s famous gourmet food. Alternating between the strong, independent, and slightly bitter voice of the woman as a travel writer and the true, lonely voice of the woman as an individual, this poignant piece of writing reminds us of the vulnerability of humanity. 13
Finally, this event was again
Olivia Auckland Co-Editor
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS SECTION ONE
THE FESTIVAL OF WORDS SECTION ONE
A CUTTING EDGE LITERARY ANTHOLOGY FROM NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY’S MA CREATIVE WRITING STUDENTS
This year’s NTU MA Creative Writing
students have put together an excellent
Creatures Die Every One’ is a cold and
anthology of work called Species and I
haunting study of childhood trauma that
had the pleasure of hearing some of their
led to homicidal psychosis written as a
work being read out at the Festival of
poem. The innocent voice is demonised
Words. The talented writers that came up
into one that is not aware of its progres-
on stage presented their work confident-
sion into madness. The repetition of the
ly and did justice to their hard work. The
title line shows how the protagonist is
careful writing embodied David Almond’s
stuck in the first moment of trauma. As
(the author of Skellig) interpretation of it,
Dixon couples this with little indication of
‘This fine book brings together a range of
the passage of time the reader is left un-
writers with impressive application to the
sure of the age of the protagonist in the
craft of writing, and to the conjuring of its
final grisly stanza. Out of all the pieces I
art’. The variety of work brings together
have read, this one has remained with me,
so many different styles that are at the
still unsettling my thoughts.
forefront of contemporary writing.
In contrast, Joanne Dixon’s ‘My
This is only a small example of
For example the prose piece,
the quality of the work within this excel-
Skipping School and Other Things That
lent anthology, and I would recommend
Albert Einstein Taught Me, by Clare Cole
purchasing a copy. I look forward to see-
questions the continued importance of in-
ing more work created by the MA writers
stitutionalised education as the internet is
and will certainly be reading next year’s
a universally accessible educational tool.
This is written under the guise of a young girl who has taken Einstein’s words, ‘the only thing that interferes with my learning is my education’, very seriously. Cole writes the narrator’s voice convincingly without a patronising representation of the voice of a child. The effect that this has Jemma Utley Editor
is to create a playful and honest piece that throws issues with the education system into relief.
e h -T
MOUTHPIECE IN THIS MONTHS ISSUE TONGUE WILL BE GETTING TO KNOW ZACHARY KLUCKMAN AND ROBERT SWEREDA. ALSO UP AND COMING LEEDS BAND DOWN RADIO WILL BE GIVING US THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE INDUSTRY.
Z a c h a r y Kluckman is an award
Tongue: What projects have you taken
Margaret Randall, among others. I won the
Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize loaded
and have been nominated for the Pushcart
winning poet from New Mexico who
question, I have been very active in the
Prize and Best of the Net. I also have a book
has paved the way for young writers by,
poetry and literary scene for several
called Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry
despite hitting rock bottom, becoming
years, and a writer for long before that. To
Collection that we published ourselves
a rallying call amongst slam poets.
answer your question, here are a few of
anthologizing New Mexico’s poets, and
He developed the Slam Poet Laureate
a chapbook called ‘Per-City Poems’. I
program in New Mexico and has compiled
I recently had my book Animal in our Flesh
also have been published nationwide
a number of poetry anthologies.
published, which received some very nice
and have had audio tracks of my spoken
comments from Jimmy Santiago Baca and
word available on over 500 radio stations 16
THE MOUTHPIECE SECTION TWO
worldwide. I’m also New Mexico’s highest
legacy I can leave my children but I knew
spoken or written language, so it is a
ranked spoken word artist for the last
I wanted to at least leave them with the
person’s first tongue, you know? When the
4 years consecutively and have toured
faith and the determination to take the
words began to be added, they allowed
and performed all over the nation. Also
risks and pursue their dreams.
music to develop further and express
worth mentioning is the fact that I have
more succinct thoughts, to narrow the
been part of making world history with
Was there a particular author that
abstract into more focused imagery and
the Slam Poet Laureate program which I
sparked your desire to become a writer?
almost narrative thought. I tend to view
developed and as an organizer of the 100
Good question. Actually, and perhaps not
poetry and music as the same soul in
Thousand Poets for Change event.
too oddly, it was a musician who really
different suits. I definitely draw more
inspired me to write. Roger Waters work
from people like Komunyakaa, Hicok and
That’s very impressive!
with Pink Floyd was so profound and
Hoagland these days because I think they
Thank you! I have been blessed in many
so utterly and implicitly HUMAN that it
are quite simply, geniuses of the eye, able
made me want to be able to capture the
to capture and reflect human beings in
essential aspects of life and humanity
powerful and potent ways. For instance,
Now that I have been sufficiently
the way he did. Like I said, I was an
Hoagland’s poem, The Story of the Father,
impressed, let’s take a few steps back.
observer of human nature because of
made me weep openly in a Tattered Cover
How long have you been writing for?
my introverted nature, and to realize
bookstore in Denver. Are you familiar with the Sublime period?
I’ve been writing since I was 13 years old,
someone could build art and connect to
so that makes it 25 years now. Oddly I only
others through writing was a challenge
started really doing anything with the
that stirred my imagination. I grew up
No, I haven’t looked into it, short
writing about 7 years ago, even though it
around musicians and always appreciated
was always part of my identity.
the affective nature of music, the almost
Basically it was sort of a sub-period
Why did you delay making writing your
transcendental quality of well written
of the Romantic era, and the artwork,
career? Did life get in the way or weren’t
songs...so when I started out I wanted
philosophy, poetry, music, etc... All tended
you confident enough in your work?
to achieve that same level of connecting
to reflect on two major foci, essentially it
Honestly, I think as a born introvert, I was
to the basic, inherent things that define
was the period when artists were focusing
always more of an observer of human
us as people. I still write very much with
on nightmares and the ideas of man
nature and I think I felt like no one was
the goal of being one human connecting
versus nature. So it was, for me at least,
interested in my confessional style of
with another through the simple, and
a magnificent time because there was
writing. I knew from the time of my first
not so simple, experiences of being alive.
an effort to understand and find beauty
memories I wanted to be an artist and
Since then, I have developed a passionate
within the very things that scare us on the
when I realized words were my medium,
love for several poets who inspire me on
most basic levels...
it became very clear what I wanted to
a daily basis...Tony Hoagland, Bob Hicok,
do. But I never really had anyone in my
Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Adrian
So it’s almost a blending of the Romantic
ear telling me how to approach it. Also,
Blevins, Dylan Thomas and some of the
and the Gothic?
life did get in the way for a long time. I
contemporary spoken word artists like
Indeed! A fascinating, but very short lived,
spent many years struggling with extreme
Buddy Wakefield, Jeanann Verlee; they are
time that went almost unnoticed in the
poverty, drug abuse, and homelessness
all a major inspiration for me these days.
history books; but that idea of finding
for a time. So it wasn’t until I reached a
beauty in the ugliness is still something
certain level of maturity in my life that
People do forget the link between lyrics
I realized I was facing the prospect of
and poetry and the ability that lyrics
getting old one day and facing the what
have to unify the listeners under causes.
if questions. I don’t know what kind of
I agree. Music is probably older than
that drives me to write as well. Jemma Utley Editor
Jemma Utley Editor
SOME SOLID ADVICE INTERVIEW Robert Swereda is a member of the Filling
Tongue: What made you want to start
Station collective in Calgary, Canada.
He studied creative writing at Capilano
Robert: I`ve tried my hand in a few different
Your visual poetry is beautiful, yet
University in Vancouver. Recent work has
somewhat incomprehensible; can you
been published in: In Air/Air Out, Steel
painting. For me, writing has a lot of
explain the creative process behind it?
Bananas, CV2, The Enpipe Line Anthology
flexibility, genres and styles to poke at and
Some pieces are more like alphabet
and Poetry Is Dead. He`s a 30-something
work with. When I was more involved
that spends half the time traveling. His
with photography, I liked taking photos
manipulate the text of words and phrases
first printed work was featured in The
of graffiti, and my painting was a hybrid
the way I imagine a sculptor would
Capilano Review in 2009.
of calligraphy and expressionism. For
approach a block of clay. Other work look
me, writing and images always meshed
like collage pieces, and they are. There is
together in some form or another.
also a collection of pieces that match old photographs with newspaper text, and another piece where I take characters from Asian languages and make a “translation” of how they appear to me. I’m interested in how we communicate through sight and sound. I enjoy the interaction with the viewer and how I can affect them with images; bizarre, puzzled, and uncomfortable, interested, and intrigued.
I want to leave them
questioning. The first form of written communication was in cave paintings, then fast forward to Mayan and Egyptian, still images.
BEYOND WORDS We will be showing off some of Robert’s visual poetry at the end of this interview. Don’t miss it.
What inspired you to work visually?
walking around the city, my back yard, on
As mentioned before I worked with imag-
my laptop with music blaring, day time,
es and words all the time. Some writers
late at night, off my face or with a coffee
and artists I could name drop would be
The Third Mind a collaboration of Brion
Gysin and William Burroughs, Paintings
do need a distraction. A couple years ago I
of Jean Michel Basquiat, The work of Gus-
went on a 6 month vacation and I thought
tave Morin. I wanted to expand from us-
“I have so much free time, I`ll be able to
ing just text, I felt like I was reading (and
write until my hands fall off.” …I wrote
probably writing myself) the same poem
3 pages in those 6 months. After, I came
again and again.
back home and started working a day job
One thing I have noticed is that I
again. That`s when I started writing more What suggestions would you give to a
frequently. I needed to look forward to
new writer when it comes to getting an
having time to write. Working a mundane
job while ideas stew in my brain.
Know where you are sending it. Read a few issues of the magazine before you
Any advice on keeping the faith to keep
decide to submit work. As I assist editing
writing even when the debt collectors
a literary magazine, I can tell you that
are knocking on your door?
sometimes it seems like we get submis-
Write or don`t. Some people I went to
sions from writers who are very unfamil-
university with ended out dropping out of
iar with what we are into publishing. And
creative writing classes to enrol in jour-
the writer has probably spammed their
nalism so they can get paid to write. Af-
piece to any mag they can find, with their
ter that they never did anything creative
fingers crossed. Honestly, this is a waste of
again. In the past 4 years I made a whop-
both parties time.
ping $350 from pieces I published. Most journals pay with contributor copies; if I
This month’s theme for the magazine
wanted to write for money, I’d spew out
is ‘Celebration’, what do you do to cel-
the next Tween saga or self-help book
ebrate? Gluttony and Sloth. Do you need a particular environment to write successfully? The cliché thing of writing in a café just works for me. I used to care that people will see me and think whatever. But really, if they notice anyone doing that it probably just looks like they`re studying for some university exam. Unless you`re wearing a black turtleneck and a beret. What is your technique for escaping the dreaded writer’s block? I`ve had a fiction project on the back burner for a few years. I look at it now and then, and I just can`t get it going. For poetry, I try writing in different places - in a book while in some café, at a Laundromat,
THE MOUTHPIECE SECTION TWO
THE MOUTHPIECE SECTION TWO
AND HERE IS
ED (VOCALS), SAM (GUITAR), JOE(KEYBOARD & SAMPLES) AND ANDY (DRUMS) TALK ABOUT HOW THEY GOT TOGETHER AND FOUND THEIR SOUND ON THE LEEDS INDY SCENE, BREAKING AWAY FROM CONVENTION. Down Radio are a fierce group of four
play the guitar and eventually it fell apart.
who are marching away from current
Andy: We were jamming afterwards the
musical trends and towards cult fame.
same night as the other band ended and
With lyrics that question and probe
we realised that we could do better any
the social norms and an unmistakeably
way! Then we just had to find a singer, we
explosive sound they have the potential
tried out a girl first she was very talented
to be this generation’s, much needed,
but she just didn’t fit. I was round at Joes
mouthpiece. The band consists of Ed
and Ed was doing a bit of freestyle at a
Cottle on vocals, Sam Lawson on guitar,
Joe Thom on keyboard and samples, and
Sam: I think we always wanted a rapper
Andy Siron on drums.
rather than a singer.
The night of the interview was the 9th of
Ed: I’ve never rapped in a serious way but
February before they played a gig with
I’ve always loved hip hop so I feel like I
The Spector Effect and Hell Fire Jack
can bring a lot to the table regarding that
presented by Glasswerk at The Cockpit
influence as it’s always been my favourite
in Leeds. A crowd are packed into the
style of music.
smaller room with two monstrously large
What kind of style of music are you aiming
PA speakers blasting all other sounds and
for or enjoy playing?
Ed: Well we like not sounding like anyone
After the gig, I wish I could say it was a
night I will always remember, but it was a
Andy: I always wanted to play a hip hop
blur of gin and Jaegermeister that ended
groove and pretty bass heavy, and let Sam
by passing out on Joe and Ed’s couch. I
make some crazy noises!
Joe: Well I think if we were to pin it down it would be hip hop/dub/ rock.
Tongue: How did the band form?
Ed: We’re all bringing different styles to
Joe: I met Andy on a pretty wild night out
the table and we’re not trying to go one
and we started talking music, he was the
way more than another.
bassist in his previous band so I kind of filled in there and Sam joined as well to 22
What made you pick the name Down
such a small city, there is a lot of diverse
stuff going on but still….
Sam: I think independence is an important
Ed: Well that was Sam’s genius.
Andy: A big part of the Leeds scene is Indy
thing, a lot of bands once they get a label
Sam: Yeah well, we struggled with it for a
bands but there is so much more going on
they eventually morph into what the label
couple of weeks.
unnoticed. There’s a massive funk scene
want from them.
Andy: I think it’s one of the worst parts of
as well and a lot of others.
Ed: If you’ve got a proven track record it
forming a band.
Joe: Unfortunately most people only see
makes you more attractive to get a deal
Sam: I just jotted down 10-15 different
the standard 5-piece Indy band and just
anyway and a lot of labels won’t actually
names and reeled them out and it stood
assume that this is all Leeds has to offer.
sign you until you’ve proven yourself, and
out from the rest.
Sam: You have to dig a little deeper.
that’s what we’re looking to do.
Joe: I think it was the one that seemed the
Would you ever get signed to a commercial
one that was most relevant and one we
How do you feel about the digitisation of
could find most meaning in. As it reflected
Andy: Depends on what terms, I’d rather
music that caused HMV to close down?
how music is quite samey at the moment
just get a distribution deal from a major
Andy: I think that the digitisation of music
which you can hear by what is played on
label because now, with the internet you
is a good thing, but it was HMV’s own fault
don’t really NEED a label and that’s why
that they didn’t adapt.
the industry is on its arse.
Sam: They missed the bus.
How do you actually feel about the state
Joe: We’re not saying we wouldn’t want
Ed: They should have gone into digital
of the music industry and the Leeds
a deal if we were offered one but at the
music but they didn’t.
end of the day we want to take the band as
Joe: Well obviously it’s sad that a lot of
Ed: Leeds has a very good scene to say it’s
far as we can by sticking with its original
high street shops are closing and people
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTISY OF theGNOMEREALM thegnomerealm.wordpress.com
intentions and having fun.
THE MOUTHPIECE SECTION TWO
Press the buttons above to listen to Down Radio’s awesome track Its Too Late (You Skank)
are losing their jobs but at the same time it
Sam: The silver lining for the HMV situation
would be general hatred for things going
is a very exciting time for music because it
is that it gives independent shops more
on around me. I see a lot of things going
means a lot more people can get involved
of a chance to thrive and once you start
on in the world that I think that are wrong
and get heard.
going into the independent shops you can
and need pointing out. A lot of what I write
Ed: It’s happening across the board, a lot
get more of an idea of the local scene.
resonates with other people, or at least
of industries are changing, and like in self-
So who writes the lyrics and what are
I hope that it does, but even then I care
publishing it’s a very exciting time to be
Ed: That would be me, my influences 24
Jemma Utley Editor
“IT IS A VERY EXCITING TIME FOR MUSIC BECAUSE IT MEANS A LOT MORE PEOPLE CAN GET INVOLVED AND GET HEARD”
about what I write so much it shouldn’t
us. It would be awesome to play Unity Day
really matter what other people think!
at Hyde Park in Leeds because there is such a big dub scene there and it would
Are you feeling positive about the future?
fit with our style.
Sam: Well we’ve all been in so many
Andy: We just want to get out there and
different bands before and I personally
get as many people to hear us as possible.
Ed: We’re all just feeling really psyched!
progression of a band as I do now because of the positive reaction we’ve had from the
What is your favourite boozy beverage?
first few gigs; the balls definitely rolling.
Ed: Me and Andy are Gin and Tonic men
Joe: We’re going to start recording in
Joe: Well I can’t say Gin and Tonic now can
March and we are hoping to be lining up
some festivals for this year so things are
Sam: Well I’m partial to a Blue WKD.
looking pretty rosy! We’re looking to play
Joe: Liar! Well as a band, let’s say Gin and
Lime Tree and for anyone who will take
THE MOUTHPIECE SECTION TWO
e h -T
TEAM OUR RESIDENT COLUMNISTS SYMON ROSE AND LEANNE CARTWRIGHT WILL BE UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT THIS MONTH. SHARING MORE THAN WE’D PROBABLY LIKE. S y m o n R o s e ’ s B i o g e d d o n
For most of my childhood I was the quiet,
mind. Then, after winning a simple high
unassuming geeky child trying to fit into
school writing contest, I realised I had
a family in which I was abnormal; this
a way with words, and that I could tell
manifested itself in a passion for books
these stories and perhaps offer others the
as a way to escape from reality for a
nourishment and escape I enjoyed. Over
little while, nourishing my imagination.
the years this became distilled into and
Throughout years of creating monsters for
insatiable desire to write so I can share
playground games, producing all variants
stories, provokes thoughts and inspire a
of art I could and generally investing time
into any creative pursuit I could access
I found seeds of stories growing in my
village, small enough that the entirety 26
Growing up I lived in a rural
THE TEAM SECTION THREE
of my year group in primary school was
hour, where I describe the ins and outs of
fourteen students. My primary school was
my ideas related to the story I’m working
run by the church and up until national
curriculum came in was rather light
One thing I often find annoying as a writer
on teaching science and other faiths,
is the typical ‘what inspires you’ question
a factor which some what alienated
because, perhaps unusually, I don’t have
me as a predominantly non-religious
any finite ‘this inspires me’ answer. My
person, which I think appears in much
ideas rarely, if ever, have anything to do
of my writing as a trope of ‘us v them’
with current things. I do not particularly
and the power, or lack of, knowledge
look up to any writers or musicians to
brings. Walking around my village you
inspire me. My only true inspiration is the
knew pretty much everyone by name or
knowledge that my words could influence
by their house so secrets were hard to
others and my dream to get published
keep and even adults partook in a very
and have a proper printed book with my
stereotypical curtain-twitching gossip.
name on the cover. It would have to be
I think the closed of society helped to
dedicated to my mum because she has
fuel my interest in social interactions,
always been supportive of my dream. It
witnessing social conventions that are
would be nice to give her something back.
lost in a city, something I feel also shows in my work. My writing has always been centred on a very human experience. I like to get inside my characters heads and explore the way they deal with other people rather than focusing on the external events around them. I like to weave little details into my narratives that pay off later, creating mystery elements that unfold for the reader. I also have a passion for fantasy, especially the longer works. The flexibility that is created by a world defined entirely on your terms is an amazing tool for a writer if they can control it. It also offers the ultimate escapism.
I procrastinate too much and I
think this is my biggest writing weakness. The actual writing of a piece can stagnate for weeks or months if I don’t enforce a regime on myself. I can sometimes get ahead of myself, coming up with ideas that are too in depth to include in the piece. Anyone who knows me has experienced a conversation that lasts for at least an
LeanneCartwright’s Questions and answers
the first time I read them.
Most hated grammar mistake: It’s not so much a mistake as just
Desert island book:
something I think is unnecessary. The
This is no joke it would be Tolstoy’s ‘War
over use of brackets. Sometimes it just
and Peace’. I’ve only managed to read the
doesn’t make any sense.
first page of it before realising how hard Book that you got a bit too obsessed
going it is. I’m guessing I’m going to be on
Favourite word to say:
this desert island for a while and it’s the
Indubitably, can’t stop saying it with a
This may be cliché but the answer is the
only way I’d ever manage to get through
Homer Simpson voice.
entire Harry Potter series, except for
‘The Philosopher’s stone’. I still haven’t
Most hated word to hear:
managed to read it all the way through.
Favourite set text at university:
Snog…it almost sounds like snot, making
I used to read the whole series from the
‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s
something that could be romantic sound
beginning each time the next book came
funny, well written and well realised. It
out so that I never forgot anything that
deals with the apocalyptic notion in a
had happened and even then I skipped
completely satirical and light hearted
Favourite nursery rhyme:
the first book.
way. It is genuinely a very good read.
‘Mary had a little lamb’, it used to be the
Book that was your first love:
Worst set text at university: ‘End Game’
My first love? Narnia, it has to be Narnia.
we studied it for a module on Nuclear
When I was a child my mum would read
anxiety. The book as a whole seems pretty
Favourite children’s program:
the books to me every night and my
pointless. I spent the whole time waiting
‘Scooby doo’ I’ve always loved that
favourite was always ‘The Magician’s
for a bomb to go off.
cartoon, I love a good mystery. Even now
only one I could remember all the words
Nephew’, one of the many that have never
I watch a bit of ‘Midsummer Murders’ and
been made into a film. Other than ‘Winnie
detective programmes, and it all started
the Pooh’ it was my first real experience of
‘Miles Away’ by Carol Ann Duffy. There’s
with ‘Scooby doo’.
the Fantasy genre and I have been in love
something so personal and beautiful
about the words. My favourite line: ‘The stars are filming us for no one.’
Book that is your guilty pleasure: Hold back the pitchforks. My guilty
pleasure is… ‘The Twilight saga’. I
‘V for Vendetta’. I really love the ending,
know that the books are badly written
it gives me chills every time. As soon as
and a poor representation of teenage
all the people, including those who died,
relationships, showing that abuse is okay
start to take off their masks it’s the most
as long as you’re a vampire. I know that
the protagonist is a whining wannabe heroine who tries to kill herself to get the
attention of the man she loves, however,
‘The Golden compass’. It is an abomination
when I was sixteen and I read the first
of a book adaptation I have ever seen.
book it was amazing. Hindsight always
Watching it makes me angry. If you want
gets you in the end though. I still own all
lessons on how to ruin a classic then
four books and haven’t pick them up since
watch it, if not let it die.
Most embarrassing piece of writing you
On the way out of a job interview. The
have ever written:
interview had been successful and just as
This is from my first year of studying
I was shaking hands and leaving I tripped
creative writing at University. At the
on a step. Really embarrassing. Thankfully
time we were studying poetry, not my
I got the job.
strongest medium: Biggest drunken fail and what drink caused it?: Goodbye horse with long black mane
Spilling an entire glass of milk down my,
You have been a friend to me.
now, boyfriends back. It was caused by
And never once have you needed to
being seventeen, naïve, and mixing: WKD,
white rum and dark rum in one glass and drinking it really quickly
From allowing me to ride upon your sturdy back. I will miss the feel of your hair And the gentle way you walked around the track
What I hate most about this piece is how desperately I tried to make it rhyme. Favourite song: Awolnation: Not your fault. It’s really catchy and yet has a really nice meaning behind it. Favourite drink: Alchoholic:- Amaretto, non-aclhoholic:Dr. Pepper, even though it makes my hyper. Favourite sweet: Nerds, they’re tangy and have so many flavours. I’ve only found two places that sell them in Nottingham and seeing them again made me so happy.
Nightmare food: Fish. Especially fish with its head still attached. Dream food: Roast beef with all the trimmings and lots of gravy. Worst place you’ve fallen over:
THE TEAM SECTION THREE
WHAT ABOUT A CREATIVE TITLE
CREATIVE SUBMISSIONS SECTION FOUR
ADRIAN J C LEACHMAN The Mystery of the Fourth Wall
I AM THE LITERRARY EQUIVALENT OF A BIG MAC AND FRIES — STEPHEN KING From Keats to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle our writer submissions occation the voices that are now lost and different ways to celebrate!
ERIC BOYD WeeklyRegime
JOSEPH PLASEN The Wayward Dragon
ANON By the Way
JOHN YOUNG Untitled
SHERYL MALIN Between Moons
HACENE RAHMANI A Letter to Queen Mother
IAN MESSENGER Loss
Gerald Yelle Tribute to Writers
MICHELLE MOTHER HUBBARD Perfect Timing For this edition we asked writers to
poets like Keats, Dickens, Shakespeare
and Emily Dickinson. Amongst the mix
and our favourite writers. We’re very
we also present to you a wonderful poem
happy and eager to celebrate this issues
called ‘loss’ by Ian Messenger, the poem
submissions that really breathe life into
expresses how most of us feel when we’re
some well-known authors and some that
grieving. ‘By the way’ we also have a poem
are not so well-known but still worth
that mimics ‘This is Just to Say’ by the
celebrating! We have for you: a brilliant
poet William Carlos Williams, a tribute to
short story that mimics the voice of Sir
a very interesting and experimental style
Arthur Conan Doyle with a new take on
that looks like it is just a note left on a
Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Mystery of the
kitchen table or stuck to a fridge, ‘By the
Fourth wall’. Tired of the weekly college
Way’ recreates this image. And we have ‘A
and university reads? Well so is Eric
letter to queen mother’, an angry poem
Boyd, the writer of ‘Weekly regime’. Want
that takes on the royal establishment
a look into celebrations of a different
right after the jubilee and ‘Untitled’ that
culture that could shock, amaze and
will take you on the writers journey to
excite you then check out ‘The Wayward
create a masterpiece. Last but not least
Dragon’ submitted by Joseph Plasan. We
we also have a poem that celebrates the
also received some poetry tributes that
balance of the universe and everything.
express the voice of other writers. From Gerard Yelle we have several tributes to
THE MYSTERY OF THE FOURTH WALL The oddest mystery I ever encountered was also the briefest, played out in minutes one evening on, of all days, my birthday. It was, however, an adventure that caused anguish for my closest friend and one he never fully recovered from, for he failed to draw the solution you see, and that failure always haunted him. Never before, nor since, have I been involved in, recounted, nor heard of any problem in which Mr Sherlock Holmes did not deduce a most singular solution. Holmes pejorative efforts amongst the criminal element in the world had resulted in a dearth of work with which to test his mettle and he had slipped ever more upon a dependency to his oldest enemy, cocaine, for diversion from the drudgery of daily existence. I had tried to dissuade him from this course of action, with acute knowledge of the unenviable deterioration of mind that use of the powder brought. The inevitable occurred and Mrs Hudson happened upon my friend in a state approaching catatonia. I was worried, but not surprised and I arrived at 221b as both his friend and his attendant physician to ascertain his condition. Holmes was ensconced in his favourite chair, upright and breathing, but totally immobile as if frozen in situ, the devilish accoutrements on the table beside him. When we were alone, his animation returned.
“You’ve come!” he declared.
“My dear Holmes,” I gasped. “Of course I came. What kind of physician would I be if I did not attend to one in need?” “You assume too much, Doctor,” said he in an uncharacteristic tone. “I have no need of physicians, but of my friend, John Watson. Has he come?” “What on earth can you mean, Holmes?” I asked, at a loss to the sudden change of form. Rarely, if ever, did he refer to me by my Christian name; he professed to finding first names a quaint affectation. “I needed you,” he said, “and the surest method to guarantee your attendance was to feign illness. I knew Mrs Hudson would impress upon you the need to come, and despite your present celebrations, I knew your need to prolong life would supersede a desire for enjoyment.”
“Holmes,” said I, flabbergasted, “It is my birthday!”
“Time waits for no man,” responded Holmes, “and neither do I. Listen to me, John, and listen well.”
“Whatever is it?” I asked. “What has you so rattled?” I gave a cursory nod towards the open leather case. “Is it the drugs again?”
Holmes shook his head vehemently. “The syringe offers but the path, and I have walked it to its end. The destination is truly terrifying, but must be told; all must know of it.”
“All?” I asked.
“Indeed,” said he curtly. “All must. Now heed my words; hear and understand.”
ADRIAN J C LEACHMAN
Suitably chastised, I listened as Holmes began:
“I have had an epiphany, John. It is true I have indulged myself in the powder, but the stimulation I received from the needle has led me to an insight, from this very world to another.” “Surely it is but a hallucination,” said I. “The effects of the drug on the mind...”
But Holmes was having none of it.
“No, Watson, no. I have seen my maker, and he is not the white-robed figure of tradition, but rather, is a well-dressed man, solid, tending to the portly, with a sharp head of hair and sporting a fine moustache. From his demeanour I see he is a physician himself and this deduction is supported by the nitrate silver that stains his fingers. Yet by the calluses on the same hand I see he is a writer, and the spots of ink that pattern his cuffs tell me that he writes much, and often. He said his name was Arthur, and told me all about myself and of what I would be doing during the whole of this year, and the year after, and the year after that.”
“Surely not,” I cried.
“Indeed it is true,” responded Holmes. “This ‘Arthur’ knows all about me. Instances of which I have told no one, not even you, and plans I’ve made which are not yet ready to fruit. ‘Arthur’ knows so much about me that I believe he may as well have written me, or drawn me upon a page.” “Hallucination,” I maintained, “dreams, nothing more; chemical stimulation.” He fell silent and I sat back, confident that I had convinced my mentor, but Holmes looked at me sadly, and said more.
“Do birthday celebrations spark an iota of interest for me?” he asked.
“Why no,” I replied. “Frivolities such as presents are not in your nature. But I would never condemn you for not buying me a gift!” “Indeed, I never have,” he said. “Nor would I, so pray tell how I know that today Mary presented you with a splendid pewter hipflask as a gift for your anniversary.” me?”
My mouth hung open and I stared aghast. “How could you possibly know that? How? Did you spy on
‘No,” said he. “It’s more elementary than that. Arthur said he wrote it and that it would come to pass.”
“This is incredible!” I announced. “I cannot believe it! Our very lives, planned and documented by another? One named ‘Arthur’ decides who we are, and what we do?” “It seems to be; but as to why, I do not know. But I shall work on it, John. As you are my witness, I shall work on it.” And work on it Holmes did, but for as long as I knew him after that day, he never mentioned it again, which led me to believe that he never found the solution, and finally, he took his wondering to his grave. I often thought back to that day, that fateful day, and thought it truly a day for celebration, because if what Holmes suspected could be true, that someone wrote our lives, then... well... we would live forever.
WEEKLY REGIME “a fighter tries to defeat his heroes.”
Looking in the mirror: “Sure kid, you’ve got heart. You got good defence and you can take a hit— but can give out a hit? Can you pound the fucker’s heads in? Can you put hurt in their bellies? Can you punish them like they’ve punished you? “Can you beat them?” I turn away, wrap my hands, and begin my routine. The week starts on Sunday with the nervous Catholic, Fante. I work on speed with him, throwing quick shots, leftleft-right-left. I dance a bit. I don’t take him too seriously, partly because he reminds me of myself: a dumb kid with a lot to prove. Finally I bash Fante in the pancreas a few times; he goes blind. His last book is written by dictation. Monday I go to work with Carver. A recovered drunk, there is a mystery in Carv that I try to slice through with an uppercut. Wake him up a bit, have him stop being so fucking ambiguous with me. I shift my weight a lot, stepping around; finally I plant in and toss a right into his gut. Carver’s last stories were far more sentimental. I’m just getting warmed up by Tuesday, with Kerouac before me. Ole Jack, you were smart enough to drink by yrself at home, but you should’ve at least considered correcting yr work. He’s sloppy, with a ton of passion, but little defence. I have no plan against him; I simply throw punches at will. At first it’s like he doesn’t even feel pain; he just watches me mangle his face, almost in wonderment. He’s amazed by everything in the world, it seems. Until I begin pounding on his liver. “I’m bleeding!” he yells between spittle trails of the red stuff. He dies, knocked out, a true testament to the Beat generation. I feel terrific on Wednesday. I decide to try something different. It’s a fine day for a fight, I think. Papa laces up and throws a quick jab at my nose. My confidence bends, but doesn’t break. Ernie stands perfectly still, fists held high and out in front of a barrel chest. I try my best to get him to move, but he refuses. I throw everything I can, but he only seems amused. I try too hard. I get tired. I wind up for a hay maker and Ernie destroys me with one short stroke of his arm. He dies in his own way, like a man, and I never get the chance to fight him again. I wake up on Thursday, pissed. “I won’t touch the floor again,” I tell myself. Where is that stinking Céline at? That miserable, nihilistic fool. He’s all mine. I look all around for the old crank, ready to redeem myself, but he never shows up. I look out the window and see him in the woods. He’s running away through the plains. I can hear him up there, bellowing about war and illness. Too bad. It’s the middle of the afternoon, but I was ready to send him on a journey to the night. With an evening off, I do some drinking. Friday morning, Bukowski stumbles in, hung over, looking like a dog from hell. “You ready to get whipped?” I say. “Balls,” he grunts back. We’re both wasted, but it’s a good fight. Hank’s got a huge, lumbering body, but light legs. He’s quick, far quicker than I imagined. He’s strong, too. I feel myself getting weak; every punch I throw at him just makes him angrier. I respect him. Truly. I can even hear him in my head. Find what you love and let it kill you. No, I think. Fuck that. I start moving all around Buk, confusing him. His vision isn’t so good. He starts throwing punches at nothing, screaming at no one but himself. I know I cannot beat him, but he can beat himself. He finally dies of exhaustion and bad blood, and I feel worse off because of it. The weekend is in full swing by Saturday, my last day in the routine, and Thompson swaggers up. My first true love—Hunter is a man I admired—I even had his ‘Gonzo’ symbol tattooed on my chest. He was a great man, once. He learned his craft by redoing others greatest works. But now, he seems tired to me. He’s too silly all the time— even when he’s trying to say something serious. He’s created this image of himself that doubles as a Halloween costume. I don’t try any funny business with Thompson— I keep it simple. Left jabs and right crosses mixed with fear and loathing... With one last ounce of energy in me, I’m able to knock Thompson what seems like 150 feet in the air. He EXPLODES like a firework. A fitting way for the bastard to go out. “Welp, you proved yourself this week,” I say to the mirror, unwrapping my fists. “You’ve got heart, and now you’ve got some strength. You’ve devastated them like they did you. No need to feel bad anymore; all of your idols are dead. Maybe take a few days off next week, eh? You’re gonna wear yourself out. Too much too soon, y’know? “So maybe stay away from the library for a while,” I tell myself.
ERIC BOYD 34
THE WAYWARD The wayward dragon festivities in Tongsucheon, South Korea, are unlike any other in any surrounding mountain town. On September 21st the sky turns black, and young men and women hold their breath in anticipation. A strange aura of fried squid and dried honey bee milk permeates the carnival air with the forthcoming promise of extreme sexual deviancy. This town is of high moral reputation 363 days out of the year. The law officials are blindingly stern. There are more Christian and Buddhist churches than any self-preserving Atheist would dare shake a stick at. Many people, me included, canâ€™t help but sit back and wonder if God is watching the actions of the Wayward Dragon festival. What good is God? A loud conga drum booms then a clarion of bells, as the clock strikes midnight in a dark cobblestone Tongducheon alley. Young women fall to the sidewalk, bodies pelting the ground in blasphemous carnal gyration as a group of men run in a circle around them like stampeding cattle. Soju (rice vodka) is sold and given to young children. Cocaine is distributed amongst a group of gun toting teenagers with ragged cut-off tee-shirts around a table on the sidewalk. Then comes the large wooden dragon with curiously phallic horns being paraded down the street by a group of elderly women with sticks; corn sugar blood spews from its mouth and a cage full of silver painted ravens is opened. The glittery demon fowl beat their tick eaten wings into Tongducheonâ€™s night air. This dragon, the Wayward Dragon, is the mascot of sin and depravity. Two hours into the festivities and a young boy is murdered. The street is shutdown, but only temporarily. In thirty minutes homemade fireworks go off, the music starts again. For the next twenty four hours children will be performing sexual acts upon each other in public view- these acts are not only accepted but encouraged by a group of forty-something year old men and women wielding cameras and sharp katanas. I wait out the remainder of the madness in a small bar. Where are the parents, where is god? I ask myself. The morning after the Wayward Dragon Festival business is back to normal. Women smile sweetly as they open their shops; men listen to talk radio in dire effort not to dirty their suits with their morning coffee. What just happened? I ask. Really, we may never know.
By the Way
ANON BY THE WAY
I hope you enjoyed my plums that were in the icebox
Not to write down what I’ve discovered, but to discover by writing down, drowning in rational thought, I venture down paths of my unconscious, to own what I uncover, trying to get lost, (take that road less travelled) not knowing where I am going, find unreasonable reason, soft, death of consciousness down, down, down, mine, moon’s mom’s to find that mother of hidden spectra, bidden by, sought by, the unthought.
of course you were probably thinking “free food.” Forgive me they were cultures sweet bacteria to grow needs cold
What keeps the healers company in sleep? Silence between moons Earth plays base in balance with the coiled universe. That it is and was and will be. We lie awake in dark so black we swear we’ve gone blind waiting until the first star’s gone. The moon turns a corner. When the shaken air releases its hold w we know that the true art is living. Becoming something new and over all that is lost.
JOHN YOUNG UNTITLED
The story I hear is not the same as the one I tell. And buries its head under the spilled milk. The longest bridges have opened their slender. And names it over, which is forgiveness.
SHERYL MALIN BETWEEN MOONS 36
Queen mother! Answer me Tell me how can I get in touch with you! I forgot to introduce myself I’m that young of great promise I’ve heard that your castle is the heaven of peace And your garden open to outsiders I‘m a bottle fed child I’m beginning to cut my teeth I’m that orphan, crying out in pain Enough to wake dead I’m that boy in the street I’ve no diploma hanging on the wall But I’ve an answer to everything You mother of gloomy weather Diamond of the first water Tell me where are your good readers? I’m that bar tender, I‘m that thinker And my words burnt to cinder Queen mother answer me! I’m in towering rage I’m that writer, and my papers yellowed with age I’m that bird of good omen Prisoner in my golden cage And my innocence sold into slavery I’m that busker, I’m always playing my own accompaniment And the story of my life is quiet romance Queen mother believe me ! You can’t see the wood from the trees If you come to me, to see how the land lies You queen mother! in that island difficult of access Your all sweetness, pureness, and light You woman whom I trust You who have a power to act I’m in a hell of a mess Allow me to sing in your beautiful streets To row round your green wood That will do me a world of good I’ll swear queen mother! To sink in my second childhood And to distinguish truth from falsehood Queen mother! Forgive me my trespasses and all my wishes for your happiness.
The Gods of minute daisies and specks of grass are dancing to the sound of car horns and policemen whistling. I drink scotch and play tennis with the moon’s half brother until Mamma comes out in her black cloak and demands the folding up of the car park. girls girls girls when will they sing upon the soft stage of my outstretched palm. like cabbage. and the foul old sherry left over by the previous owner.
HACENE RAHMANI A LETTER TO QUEEN MOTHER
there is ice in the Antarctic. there is ice in my drink. and I am constantly rejected by girls half my age. they only see loss. IAN MESSENGER LOSS
GERALD YELLE TRIBUTE TO WRITERS
Teacher wanted poems, something off the top of our heads, vivid images, heightened diction, rhythm, duende and spunk. She played Bel Biv Devo and Grandmaster Flash to show what pop culture icons poets can be. But Asher wasn’t into hip hop –he wasn’t old school; neither was he new school. No school made sense. Although he liked the poem about alien corn. That he could relate to. He rode his bike through a crop of it in seventh grade. The ears had eyes that sniffed at you. It came from seed shot from a planet orbiting Rigel in the galaxy Ursula Minor Cassiopeia –seed that fell through interstellar space on solar wind and black hole backwash, landing in the field back of his house where earth’s atmosphere had no ill effect and no bird would eat anything alien. Those who sent it depleted their soil. They knew their chances were slim, but they checked their monitors: The first spring rains made it blossom. When it was ready they came. Asher didn’t write about it. He didn’t feel like it –but he told the teacher that he had and that he put it on her desk. She frowned and shook her head in disbelief.
NIGHTINGALE TRIBUTE TO KEATS
When late afternoon sun strikes the water you see train tracks ten feet beneath the surface. Then darkness falls and a man plunges head first from the bridge. You wait and watch, fear he’s cracked his skull. You call a policeman whose flashlight plays a disk on the water and you see it –just the leg at first and then the upper torso drifts from under the tracks and turns face up, bloated. The cop fishes the drowned man out and calls in his report. Dark water oozes from the man’s slack mouth and you lose it. A leg jerks and you realize what you took for dead is what your training and inheritance and all your culture call ugly.
ROGUE RIDERHOOD TRIBUTE TO DICKENS 38
Hay is for horses, Ly, and you’d be a hell of a Pyramus with your curious cold heat. You do see how this could be us. Was it yesterday our trip through the forest put a crimp in Dad’s plan? I don’t know what would be worse: a father’s kiss of death or the convent Theseus picked out for me. Then running in the night: if only we hadn’t got lost –and you hadn’t hit on my BFF. I ran into Demetrius when you ran after her. I didn’t know where you were and I thought –well I thought –I thought Demetrius killed you. Say nothing of our marriage in Theseus’ palace with no memory whatsoever of a ceremony. And Dad: like he’s still in charge, with his wall-eyed conviction, fear creasing his brow. “Something there is that doesn’t love it,” that makes me want to take an alias, lets fairies dew orbs, eggs Pyram and Thiz on to risky behavior. Meanwhile I drink myself sober. Get Philo over there to pour another triple sec. There’s an inner violence I can’t disguise –an anger that jumps and grabs –that hides behind everyday objects and erupts when the comfort level drops below the waterline. Sometimes you’re busy and I have something to say and I know you don’t want that kind of influence and I don’t want you to have it –but there you are, you mean the world. And neither of us can do what we don’t already. It’s just that life is full of noise and additional requirements. I don’t want to bring it up because neither of us needs reminding, but we have to keep the phones charged and throw away the clocks. And here comes my sister with her Charles DeGaulle avidity that never fails to get her in trouble. I don’t say it’s something I have to help with but I have to tell myself she doesn’t so much take me for granted as fail to see that we might have problems of our own. I should be glad our problems are not the same as hers –they’re minute by comparison. Frankly I’m ashamed at how small they are. But forget that. It’s not what I wanted to say.
THIS IS MY LETTER TO THE WORLD TRIBUTE TO DICKENSON 39
HEY HERM, LOOK AT SNOUT: DESSED LIKE A WALL TRIBUTE TO SHAKESPEARE
PERFECT TIMING MIICHELLE MOTHER HUBBARD
When you walked into my morning, Delivering day like a fat slice of cake I had to readjust my watch. When your words were seconds, I prayed for the hour You baptised me with your psalms. When our bodies pressing Was a timely blessing Like worlds colliding At the beginning of time We created our own solar system. When the colour of your eyes stole midnight I no longer prayed for the return of day. When counting on you for support Was a mathematical equation That required no persuasion And loving was as easy As One, Two, Three... ... There the world stopped revolving. Moments were permanently frozen, And that glass falling from the table Never did hit the floor. Then our particles mingled And never again Could time or space Come between us.
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SHAMELESS PLUGS FROM THE TEAM
TONGUE SUBMISSIONS SECTION FIVE
OLIVIA AUCKLAND The Honerable Guest SYMON ROSE The Writer JEMMA UTLEY I Look & Monday
Slapstick may be a very bad book. I am perfectly willing to believe that. Everybody else writes lousy books, so why shouldn’t I? What was unusual about the reviews was that they wanted people to admit now that I had never been any good. The reviewer for the Sunday Times actually asked critics who had praised me in the past to now admit in public how wrong they’d been. My publisher, Sam Lawrence, tried to comfort me by saying that authors were invariably attacked when they became fabulously well-to-do… I had suffered, all right — but as a badly educated person in vulgar company and in a vulgar trade. It was dishonorable enough that I perverted art for money. I then topped that felony by becoming, as I say, fabulously well-to-do. Well, that’s just too damn bad for me and for everybody. I’m completely in print, so we’re all stuck with me and stuck with my books.” — Kurt Vonnegut Gitibust rumquo earuptatis a dolorum
oriosantotae nit aliatqu aturit eum faccus
qui dolendandae asperi tem. Obitia simus
mint et quam veliquis et aciet as sunto
num fuga. Pudae. Officiis earum que
eicitatur ad que poreiusciis a destObis
nulpa doluptae. Bis dolupta assimusdam
Natur, totam core perum inum quidero
id ea ellictaquid qui conseni maiosti
inveles sequistrunt harum expererrum
pg44-46 pg47 pg48-49
On F. Scott Fitzgerald The immortal writer of The Great Gatsby
The true essence of celebration, and what Fitzgerald has so beautifully captured of the party world, is the fragility of humanity. Beneath the flamboyant celebrations drifts the broken hearts and the lost souls. Beneath the friendships and the relationships lies the tension; the anxiety of the unbalanced perspectives and the tangled minds. Snarling out, between the gaps in the merriment and the festivities, is the bitter tongue of cruelty and the sharp tooth of mortality. And somehow, kindness, compassion, and human aptitude for acceptance, is woven in-between.
The Honourable Guest: A tribute to F. Scott Fitzergerald My mother always advised that the honourable guest comes
Venice, and I greet the maid too loudly. I move quietly
bearing a gift.
by her towards the lights of the garden. Elegantly dressed people swan between rooms; women in
“If someone brings you a gift darling, they have a strong heart,
eccentric, embellished dresses and feather head pieces.
a red heart full of blood.”
A thin queer floats by, topless, dressed in a fur coat. He’s wearing sunglasses, and dips them to look at me. Why he
She said that only one with a greying heart arrives without
feels the need to flaunt so garishly, I shall never grasp. It
a gift. But you’ve got to get it right, see? Something second-
sure doesn’t matter what I’m wearing here.
rate leaves you looking common; something too lavish and you are an exhibitionist. Mother’s anxiety manifested when
I needn’t have worried about the bottle either. There are
we inherited a large fortune from my father, who, as far as I
hundreds of people, hundreds, easy. I’ve made it through
am aware, had been misplaced before I was born. I snubbed
the drawing room, fingering the velvet of the couch as
this advice when my mother was alive, along with the rest. I
I pass, and just out of the French door. Celia appears at
considered her efforts of adapting to our new lives to be rather
my elbow, hair a flame-coloured nest, and presses her
tedious and, well, phony. But she’s gone now and recently I’ve
breasts against me. She holds me tightly, and takes my
found myself converted. I was in Benson’s for an hour this time,
face in her sharp hands, staring into my eyes.
talking to the salesman, touching dusty bottles. “Sweetheart, I heard you’d moved down this way! Don’t I wrap the bottle of champagne, and am unsure how to carry it
you love it? How are you?”
without holding it to my chest like a queer. I end up swinging it in my hand, all carefree, and try to ignore that I’m tearing up
“Well, thank you, Celia, and yourself?” I watch the haze
of guests; lit by the chandeliers of the back rooms and the lawn lanterns, spilling onto the first and second floor
I swiftly feel like a fool. The bottle makes me nervous, like I
balconies, from the ground floor French doors, and way
will give away the very essence of myself in my choice of
across the lawn, disappearing into the darkness. People
name, or the precise angle of the italic print. The host could
travel hundreds of miles for these evenings, so I hear.
take one look at the bottle and say I am neurotic, psychotic, or
They are famous or infamous- I suppose depending on
narcissistic. I press my finger to my temple and focus on the
the circles in which you move.
breeze whispering past my ankles. “…doing so well…must introduce you….” Celia chirps, her My skin is hot, grilled right through to my bones, after a long
bouquet of hair bouncing. I smile at her, and scan the
day spent writing at the lake. The sun has dipped below the
lawn, trying to chase the host. I sure need a drink.
lavender hill, but a dull heat still hangs in the air. A layer of
“Yes, absolutely Celia,” I say. And I must have agreed to
dew is settling on the grass- a sprinkling of fallen stars, and the
something, because she beams, takes the bottle from me,
moon hangs pink and premature on the twilight sky. There is
and slips past into the house. I undo my shirt a button,
the pulsation of life, off beyond the stripe of poplar trees. It is
feeling the roughness of the linen on my throat, and
going to be a fine evening, alright.
smooth my hair. The band is loud, and the garden is filled with the thrill of conversation. I am aware of my empty
A maid opens the door. I blink in the spotlight, the marble floors
hands, and ask a suited man next to me for a smoke. He
shining. A vast hallway stretches before me. Majestic paintings
gives me one, lights it, and turns back to his friends.
and sweeping curtains make me think of the courtesans of
I think of my mother and how grand of a party she’d consider
I hear my mother screaming my name, I hear my mother
this to be. It is grand of course, but it is a sordid event full
of false extravagance. Despite her efforts to conform to the society my father’s money bought her, she was always I’m sure,
I feel liberation here, and constraint. The strips of poplar
underneath, still a liberal. Nonetheless Mother would have
trees caging us in are both protection and imprisonment.
been horrified at the disappearance of my gift…heavens. I put
Much of what happens within the walls of this garden
my hands in my pockets, let the cigarette hang from my lip, and
are kept here, cast aside by their perpetrator before the
skip down the steps, like I haven’t got a care in the world.
gates are locked as the sun begins to rise again. Only then may they sleep, shower, pull on their uniform, and
The barman whisks me up a little something lightening quick,
return to their duties of pretence.
and I’m relaxing now I have a warm chest. He’s a handsome young man, with the tautness of youth and a glint of wisdom that took thirty years to show on me. What a sorry profession for him, with a face like that. I ask him where I can find the host, but he doesn’t know who it is. I watch the crowds; clusters of flamboyant people murmuring and tittering, or barking and bellowing. And dancing; there are all kinds of dancing. I see a few gents I know from the city, and share some handshakes. They pass on by, quickly.
I get a flush of guilt up my chest, and a strange pride, like mother knows what I’m up to. In her final days, she seemed to no longer care for the lacklustre of high society. “You really do need to take a lover darling. I know you aren’t emotionally or spiritually prepared for a romantic commitment but, oh, for goodness sake, commit to something will you?” She had said, nodding at my crotch. I had stared on, and she had continued to eat her oatmeal. I consider this, remembering the sallow hollowness of her cheeks, and her body, fragile as a wishbone. I watch a rose-coloured girl, with a pink kiss of a mouth, dancing among her friends. Her two piece outfit leaves the underside of brassiere exposed as she swings her arms in the air, and her midriff is a perfect strip of curvature. I glimpse the radiance of Celia’s hair as she passes through a crowd of people. I remember now, the submissive calm of her body beneath mine, many years ago. I see the smooth skin of the barman, in all his youthful beauty.
A writer? They scorn We all can write It’s a basic education So cast off then I say Join this sea of words Let’s see your creation Gliding from the shore A name, a place, a thing; That it is where we all begin Find the sunken treasure, Take me to your world, Go ahead - Make me care! I feel a storm is brewing. I see your brow is sweating, You strain against the tide. Better hold on tight. You’re in for a fright. This beast is breaking free. Your net was weak; you’ve sprung a leak. Your ship is sinking fast, This premise could never last. Allow me the helm, dear friend. This storm can rage, But my sail will capture the mind And sail us smooth to shore. A writer you say? Now there’s a snarling beast That only the brave dare face.
SYMON ROSE THE WRITER
When I look into a tree I see leaves waiting to fall Suspended by a twig ready to self-destruct Like a ballerina on its toes it dances, Fluttering in the wind determined not to rip; As others tumble down to settle on the ground.
When I look onto the ground I see leaves waiting to be flattened By thousands of senseless feet, Who enjoy the golden brown crunch And kick them, briefly, back into the air; Like pollen on the breeze.
JEMMA UTLEY I LOOK
Iâ€™m marching down the vomit painted path, As the sun creeps over the horizon. Pink bleeds into the long, thin, clouds Which conform to a line in the glimpse of sky. Takeaway boxes and mushy chips lie abandoned Ready to be savaged by the waking birds, That whisper over traffic noise. My head aches and my stomach churns As the full weight of Monday morning hits; That mistake weâ€™ve all made, the night before work.
JEMMA UTLEY MONDAY
ANOTHER THREE BOOKS FOR YOU HERE AT TONGUE WE LOVE BOOKS, MAYBE NEARLY AS MUCH AS YOU DO. SO IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS PLEASE DROP THEM BY OUR WEBSITE ANYTIME. ALSO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE UPCOMING GUEST REVIEWS.
SPACE HERE FOR OTHER DETAILS
terrifying leap into motherhood. They
are a reminder of how single mothers
Rebel Moms to everyone, men and
are able to look after their children and
women, Rhine has created a topical and
not drag up future convicts, and how
engaging book that will relate to anyone
having lots of tattoos doesn’t make you a
who has struggled or had to fight to get
bad mother who encourages dissention
ahead. I think it is reasonable to say that
in your children. Instead these ‘Moms’
these days that’s most people. It’s not a
promote individuality, strength of will,
self-help book, but a series of testimonials
and nurturing the next generation. Rebel
that aren’t forcing an ideal, but are simply
Moms is not just parenting book it’s a
cries of hope.
commentary on the multiple pressures on parents today that are detrimental to the upbringing of a child. It also considers how children are born into these conditions and therefore are forced to grow up too soon by becoming sexualised in order to function in a consumerist society. It is a testament to the importance of having self-esteem throughout your life, including within relationships, by being strong enough to end a relationship that is damaging to you and your child’s wellbeing.
The effect that the series of
biographies had was to present the testimony of women which created a sense
of unity that would have been impossible
By Davina Rhine
without it. I think it’s very important for young mothers that are marginalised by the Martha Stewart expectations of the
Rebel Moms is a reactionary
Post-Cold War housewife to know they’re
not alone and are to be celebrated.
subculture mothers; it stands up against
Women that have their stories written on
the misogynistic views held about the
their skin, hair that changes with their
role of mothers in society and introduces
moods, fighting for their country in army
those women that you will never see in the
gear, and fighting for the future on the
fairy liquid adverts. The American writer,
picket line with babies on their backs.
Davina Rhine, celebrates those women
They might not know how to put together
that have not fallen to the social pressures
the perfect dinner party but Rhine’s
that force many mothers to lose their
rebels are inspirational in a way that truly
identities, and who have instead fought to
matters. She writes difficult topics without
create a more promising future for their
children. This book presents women who,
them as a victim, but at the same time
despite some terrible and unspeakable
with sensitivity and appropriately applied
beginnings, are warriors against gender
humour. As a result Rhine’s work has
inequality, the sex trade, racism, and war.
an experienced tone that reminds the
As I’m not a mother these women have
reader of the importance of growing from
become, inspirational and reassuring,
negative experiences rather than letting
mentors for when I’m ready to take that
them pull you down and enveloping you.
For this reason I recommend
The title gives everything away
because, as you guessed it, the novel is SPACE HERE FOR OTHER DETAILS
about an ‘innocent Mage’. It isn’t even a secret at the beginning of the book who the innocent mage is, you pretty much find this out in the prologue. In this sense the book plays to the readers delight in dramatic irony. The reader knows who the innocent mage is as do some of the other characters but the innocent mage himself doesn’t know who he is.
The novel’s focus is more on
the relationships between the characters than plot progression. Yes, there is a story but Miller spends more time easing the reader into who each character is and making you care about all of them in different ways, saving the huge plot twists till the end of this book and the entirety of the second book.
As a reader you can’t help but
find a favourite character: From the surly Asher to the kind and caring Matt. Even Gar, the often moaning prince has some likeable qualities. For me the ditsy book shop seller, Dathne, whose day to day life revolves around a prophecy. The novel
THE INNOCENT MAGE By Karen Miller
doesn’t really have a villain until right near the end, there is no danger to Asher that goes beyond politics. In some ways this is a negative thing as it takes away
The Innocent Mage, by Karen
Miller, is one of those rare fantasy gems that doesn’t force you to troll through pages and pages of world description before getting into the story. Miller is very upfront from the first page with what the story is going to be about and the blurb hardly holds anything back. The narrative is clear and informal, as is the majority of the dialogue. The book is part of a mini-series, or duology as some are now choosing to call these two part books. Miller did decide later to tag a third book
some of the excitement leaving sometimes dull passages involving characters talking about the current state of the country with no real quest. Even at the beginning when Asher decides to go to the city of Doranna from his small fishing village there is no huge journey. He’s at home on one page and in Doranna the next. If you’re a lover of epic fantasy adventures then perhaps this novel isn’t for you. However, if you’re more interested in well-developed characters that you actually care about in a well written world then give it a read
to the front but as this is a prequel, and has very little to do with the still living characters in the duology, I’m not really going to go into it.
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Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Oz commentary from our columist, Symon Rose Dating from 1900 L. Frank Baum’s The
instalment pending) as recently as 2006;
it was not for the lovingly crafted world
Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of those
many of which have even been recognised
Baum created in his fourteen novels (even
by the Baum estate as official cannon.
if some do contradict each other!).
musical and film adaptations, with the
The fact this legacy is some how lost to
With this great momentum of Oz fandom
empowering moral message that what
popular culture is a great shame in my
upon us bringing two great origin story
you need has been within you all along,
eyes, after all it is not like Oz itself is lost to
movies to life I cannot imagine a better
(which even as an adult can be difficult
us – 1995-2011 has brought us The Wicked
time, as many book lovers will, to return
to remember). Yet mention Billina, Tik-
Years series whose re-creation of the
to the original texts and conjure up that
Tok or Ozma and people will probably be
origin of the Oz witches received critic’s
world of childhood memories with the
confused as to who you mean because
praise and even spawned the better
new insights of an adult mind – but let us
somehow the thirteen further Oz novels
known Broadway show Wicked (which in
not just read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,
– each as charming as the first and with
turn faired so well a movie adaptation is
let us indulge in the books oft forgotten
equally well crafted moral messages -
due out next year). Equally Disney’s highly
and allow Ozma, Billina, Tik-Tok and a
written by Baum have been relegated
anticipated Oz The Great and Powerful is
whole myriad of other wonderful Baum
to dusty shelves. The Baum legacy was
set to hit screens in March this year, telling
creations a chance to expand this world
so great, at the time, that there are even
a tale which fleshes out the origin story of
we know and love and get us beyond just
Oz himself. None of these projects could
the yellow brick road.
since his death, including a trilogy (final
have ever hoped to get off the ground if
know and love, not least because of the