Some exciting things I've been hoping will actually happen are actually happening! Issue Four of Moss Piglet Journal will be available to purchase in two or so weeks, and in it you will be be able to read Atomic Sunflower in its entirety! A launch for the new issue will be happening at Sticky Institute in Melbourne, with plenty of new and back issues to buy, and a reading of AS by me! It's been a while since I've read my work aloud to an audience of real live people, so my voice will probably be a little shaky, but it should be good for me, and you hopefully, and fun too! So, if you're in Melbourne, come down to Sticky (Degraves Arcade, under Flinders Street Station), say hi and buy some zines!
Also, you know how a little while ago I posted a little fragment of text entitled 'Selkie'? Well, that fragment belonged to the first draft of a now completed story, one that is going to appear in 'Rough Magick', an e-book collection edited by Jessa Marie Mendez-Velez and Francesca Lia Block! I learnt a lot working with these two amazing ladies, who are both very generous editors and helped me immensely through the struggle that was moulding and shaping this story into something cool and beautiful. Sadly that fragment did not make it in to the final draft; actually, if you were to hold up the first and final drafts of 'Selkie' next to each other, they're almost unrecognisable. And although there are moments in the first draft that I really love, they just had to be cast into the 'graveyard' file, for the greater good. Kill your darlings and all that...
Rough Magick won't be out until early next year, but I thought as a fun/helpful exercise, I might post the original beginning of 'Selkie' here. If you like, you can compare the two when the book comes out, and we can swap tips and tricks and horror editing stories.
I am sitting on the end of your single bed, braiding your long green hair into three parts. The foamy sea colour fades up to blonde and then to a deep, almost-black brown.
"This reminds me of home a bit" I say.
I take up the plastic pink shell comb, and start easing it through the strands. You stretch your back towards me, and I can see the curve of your smooth, stacked-shell vertebrae through your thin cotton tank top.
"The colours of your hair." I look up and see you wrinkle your nose in the mirror; your face blocks mine from view but I still have to look away.
"Uh, no. My hair is gross. I need to get my roots redone, but I can't afford it. Do you know how to use a bleach bottle?"
I shake my head. "No. Bleach is poison." I sit back on my heels to check my work.
"Okay, it's done."
You roll your bare shoulders, and then reach up to touch your newly braided hair.
"Tight. Nice work!" You one two punch the air, and giggle. "Okay, now it's your turn." You take up the pink comb and turn to face me, catching the reflection of your own face in the mirror.
"Ooh. I'm a hot Asian Hilary Swank."
I laugh, and point to the freeze-framed Million Dollar Baby on your TV. “Well, that’s good. She is why we’re doing this, after all.” You take hold of my shoulders and spin me around to face the mirror; the edges of it bloom with faded foil stickers of hearts and coloured birds.
"One braid or two?” You gather up my lank hair in your long fingers, and seeing it that colour, that flat piss yellow makes my throat grow dry and sore. I shut my eyes tight.
"I don't care," I say. You let my hair go, and it falls long against my back.
"You could always dye your hair, you know. I could do it for you."
I tense; you have your hands on my back and can read the shift in my shoulder blades.
"I didn't mean that I think you need too. Just, if you want to. I always feel like my favourite self with freshly dyed hair."
I pull myself away from your hands, collapsing inward. In my own apartment I have covered all the mirrors up, with old clothes and a set of desert coloured sheets I'd found at a thrift shop. Nothing is sea coloured.
I love this opening still, but it's not nearly as sexy as the one that made the final cut.