Tuesday, January 17, 2012

52. There was an old lady who lived in a shoe } New Genre 7.

Two days ago I emailed Matthew Pendleton to accept his story “Work Planet Welt Space” for New Genre 7. His story “I Am Antenna / Antennae” appeared in issue 6. Both stories depict a barely conscious humanity, surrounded by a massive system, possibly of their own making, but now utterly beyond their understanding. Yet, the worlds portrayed are not wholly dystopian, but are worlds populated with nice people who like each other, and filled with moments of childish delights. As far as I know, the only other story Pendleton has published appeared in Birkensnake #2, and can be read here. His blog is also a fine introduction to his entrancing obfuscation.

Also in New Genre 7, a little ghost story by John Cotter, who mainly operates in realism, but has delved brilliantly into weird fiction before, see “Christobel” in The Lifted Brow no. 4; science fiction from poet Greg Purcell; a post-apocalyptic sequence from Geordie Williams Flantz, whose story “The Ghost Days of Melody Brown” appeared in Shadows & Tall Trees no. 2; and a trip to an underworld by Jennifer Claus, whose story "The Room Is Fire" will be her first published work.

The image above was one of a brilliant batch of possible covers for New Genre 4, designed by the visual artist, composer, and bass guitarist Jeremy Withers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

51. Fantasia and the } here & now.

After non-fiction night at Inescapable Rhythms, I stood out in the parking lot with Meghan Dahn and Kristin Kostick, talking. We heard an animal move through the tall grasses that grow alongside the nearby railroad tracks. We stood silent for a moment, then a breeze swung down through the tress, and we decided to call it a night. As I drove down Park Road toward West Hartford, I slowed for a group of police cruisers, lights flashing, that made a circle around some crisis. I swear, lit by the red and blue lights, I saw a big animal, either asleep or felled.

The temperature dropped from forty degrees to twenty. I took my eldest daughter to see Fantasia at the Wadsworth. I loved the film as a boy but I really didn’t remember most of it. I thought, as I watched with my daughter on my lap, This is a mature movie, in the sense that it’s grown-up. Whimsical, even silly at times, it never panders. The formation of life on Earth, all the way to the end of the dinosaurs, set to the Rite of Spring? (Is this the Disney movie creationists forbid their ignorant children to watch?) The pagan, at times mildly erotic bacchanal set to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68?

Watching the selections from The Nutcracker Suite, I wondered if maybe Fantasia is the reason I enjoy those pieces—"The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies," "The Chinese Dance," "The Arabian Dance," etc.—so much.

And there, nostalgia combined with a deep pleasure in the present. My memories and the light weight of my little girl, and her delight, and knowing that after the film my wife would be there with my youngest and the four of us would enjoy the rest of the day together.