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So I read Day Boy by Trent Jamieson. I’m sure there will be far more eloquent reviews than mine, so I’m going to keep it raw and personal.

Day Boy is a vampire novel but it’s actually not really. It’s been called a coming of age story, a story about fathers and sons. The vampire context is crucial, but this is most definitely a “character-driven story”. It’s Mark’s point-of-view and Mark’s story, and everything we learn is filtered through him. We don’t get a full explanation of what has happened, just hints and glimpses that make us want to know more.

Stylistically the writing is hypnotic, establishing the cadence of Mark’s speech and thoughts from the very first sentence, and holding true to the last. There is a subtle musicality, that my restless mind resisted at first but then was drawn into. It’s been a long time since I had the attention span to read a novel, and I think the style was what made this so easy for me to sit and read. This isn’t a simple story. It packs a sizable gut punch or two or three, and isn’t easy to define. I was left rather speechless by the end, just thinking “wow”.

I loved it, and am hoping for more.

Oh yeah, this is addictive. Practicing a different kind of art.

Draakuil in the rainforest © S. G. Larner

Draakuil in the rainforest
© S. G. Larner

Arty Draakuil © S. G. Larner

Arty Draakuil
© S. G. Larner

Captured in the act  © S. G. Larner

Captured in the act
© S. G. Larner

Meet Draakuil

Well that was a fun afternoon’s work! :D

Draakuil  © 2015 S. G. Larner

Draakuil
© 2015 S. G. Larner

Acrylic on paper. Planning to mash this into something soon, stay tuned!

Kodama mashup

One of the awesome resources I was introduced to last semester was this digital archive of historical photos from the State Library of QLD. Most of the photos are shared as part of creative commons. I developed a taste for creating mashups in one of my subjects. It’s pretty similar to the philosophy behind adding monsters to op-shop paintings, except that I paint my little addition, then digitally add it to the photograph. I see endless possibilities for fun here.

I found this photo and decided I would add some kodamas as part of the gawping crowd. This was the end result:

kodamaaccident

Note: the photograph is not my work, but the kodamas are. I’m sharing under creative commons (non-commercial), but if you use the kodamas please credit me and link back to this post.

D6cover5

Dimension6 Issue 5 is out today and features my sci-fi story “Going Home Sideways”, along with David McDonald’s “Red in Tooth and Claw” and Jessica May Lin’s “The Pass”.

Each issue of Dimension6 is free, and comes in both epub and mobi formats. You’ll also get to read a little about how “Going Home Sideways” came to be…

Someone different

On the train I see a vine grow from a woman’s eye, well not her eye, actually her tear-duct, it sprouts like a tear, bright green, unfurls down her cheek, I’m not sure she’s aware of it but the guy sitting next to her shifts away a little, she is opposite me and her eyes are grey as she looks out the window and her eyes sparkle in the sunlight wet with unshed tears but the vine grows and the man coughs and he exchanges a glance with me, the way you do when you’re normal and someone different walks by someone different does something different in public and you’re not sure if it’s an emergency and you should call the ambulance, is it an emergency when a plant starts growing from a person’s eye and they don’t seem to notice, I don’t think it is maybe it’s embarrassing and you should politely pretend not to notice like an undone fly or food stuck in someone’s teeth, but I’d always prefer people told me, so is it rude like manspreading or listening to music too loud, or PDAs I hate PDAs people should get a room but I don’t think a beautiful vine cascading down a woman’s face is offensive but I wonder does it hurt, why can’t she feel it, she’s just staring out the window watching the graffitied backs of buildings and it’s like stop-motion because it’s growing so fast and I think I should say something but the train is stopping and the man is getting up and he shakes his head and coughs again and I can’t seem to look away and she’s sitting in her own private garden, the vine unspools around her feet, she’s half-hidden by leaves but I can still see her grey sparkly eyes and this is my stop and I say nothing, get up, get off, and stand on the platform to watch her as the train starts to move, a woman growing a plant from her eye, and I wish I’d said something but what do you say to someone like that?

I just wasted spent my day off submitting a grand total of 3 (three) 2 (two) poems. I think a lot of non-writers and even just non-poets who are writers but not of poetry think that getting poetry published isn’t really hard work, because you know, poetry isn’t paid well and there are loads of poetry magazines and websites and basically who would bother if it was painful?

Well, it’s pretty painful. And in terms of effort in versus reward? Skewed highly to effort, not reward. This is how my morning panned out:

Me: I think I’ll submit a bunch of poetry today! Because, you know, it takes a bit of time and I finally have some free time! So plan is to submit all the good poems!

Me: [opening poetry folder] ok here are some promising ones. 5 poems. Shouldn’t be difficult!

Me: [goes to Market A]: Oh, they don’t take simultaneous submissions. Or multiples. Pick one. Ok, well these ones are currently under consideration elsewhere, so that rules them out. This one would be ok but they only pay $6 and I reckon this one is worth a crack at a pro market. So maybe this one? Yeah, good! [Reads the guidelines] [Reads them again] [Re-formats poem] [Constructs email] [Attaches poem] [Submits] [Enters submission in tracking software and freaks out that some guideline was missed or something]

Me: Ok 1 down! [Searches for suitable markets] [Opens a million tabs] [Slowly closes tab after tab because a) don’t accept simultaneous subs b) currently closed to poetry submissions but opening soon! c) current theme is on Space Widgets or Suicidal Cats d) asking for the rights to your firstborn child e) looks like someone’s personal blog rather than a publication]

Me: It’s so tempting to give up right now.

Me: ONWARD!

Me: [Finds Market B] [Reads guidelines] [Formats two poems] [Constructs two separate emails as per guidelines] [Hopes nothing is wrong with either submission] [Presses send]

Me: THREE down! Three! Yay me!

Me: Hmmm, I’d really like to submit poem four to Market C, but they are closed. I guess I will sit on that one a bit longer. But maybe Market D would be ok for the fifth poem? [Goes to Market D] [Reads guidelines] [Reads some of the current poems] [Realises that fifth poem is maybe too wanky for them] [Gives up and calls it a day… 3 hours after starting the process]

Me: [sees email in inbox from Market A] [“Dear Stacey, thanks for your submission but submissions are closed because the magazine is closing down soon”] [DIES]

THE END.

Ok not really the end. But it’s a lot of effort, because you have to read through a lot of submission guidelines to find suitable places, many places are closed temporarily when they fill up or have specific reading periods, some accept simultaneous submissions and some don’t, some are closing down though there is nothing on their website to tell you that, some have very specific formatting requirements, etc. I managed to successfully submit 2 poems in 3 hours (granted I don’t usually have poems returned because the magazine is closing down, but hey it just happened!) And if accepted, I’ll get a maximum of USD$10 for my efforts.

But we do it anyway… why? Because we’re masochists? We want the validation? The slow build of reputation? Maybe it’s the knowledge that someone somewhere likes the tiny piece of our soul that we just flung their way… enough to want to fling it toward anyone who might stumble across it on their pages.

Poetry is a harsh, harsh landscape, my friends…

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