Guest editor Matt Tompkins has chosen four pieces for publication as part of the “Dis/appearances” theme. Congratulations to the selected authors: Joe Buamann, Emily McKay, Jefferson Navicky, and Phillip Sterling. Competition was stiff, but these four stood out above the crowd. We’ll be posting the accepted stories from these four authors throughout the weekend of July 15th. This date also coincides with the release of the ebook version of the guest editor’s latest book, Souvenirs and Other Stories (the print version of Souvenirs was released in mid-June).
Thanks to all those who submitted to this theme! We hope that you’ll consider our next themed call for submissions, “Fragmented,” considering pieces now through July 15th, guest edited by Melissa Reddish.
Matt Tompkins’s Souvenirs and Other Stories hits shelves on June 15th.
To celebrate the book’s release, Matt Tompkins will be guest editing a special call for submissions. From June 1st to June 15th, submit flash fiction (1,000 words or fewer) centered around the theme “Dis/appearances.”
In Matt’s forthcoming book, the title story involves a number of souvenirs spontaneously appearing and gradually filling the narrator’s apartment. This call for submissions plays off that idea, but you can interpret the theme broadly. Your submission doesn’t necessarily need to be about the appearance (or disappearance) of objects, but the piece should include some form of unexpected arrival or departure.
Full guidelines will be posted within the next week or so. Start brainstorming now, and see if you can come up with a story that’ll knock Matt’s socks off. Hey, maybe you can write about disappearing socks?
Three Ways of the Saw
Written by Matt Mullins
Atticus Books, 2012
You know things are going to take a bad turn when a co-worker arrives at the company picnic with a pair of ATVs in tow. Three Ways of the Saw
is, after all, a collection of short fiction in which nothing ever goes right for any of its protagonists. In the story in question, tellingly titled “The Braid,” all is going a little too
well for a pair of would-be young lovers when the ATVs arrive like the second coming of Chekhov’s gun.
The carnage that ensues is gruesome and gut wrenching, but it also serves a larger purpose. Where a lesser writer might simply offer gore for the sake of gore, author Matt Mullins uses the opportunity to comment subtly and even sensitively upon the nature of adult relationships. Such relationships can be wonderful, he insists on every page of this collection, so full of potential, but also terrifyingly fragile.
For the most part, the stories in Three Ways of the Saw
offer up characters who run the gamut from being adrift to circling the drain. There’s the boy who struggles with questions about his own sexuality in one story and watches his parents’ relationship crumble before his eyes on a road trip through the Great American West in another. There’s the creepy voyeur who trades places with his dog in order to get to know his shapely new neighbor. There’s the girl dreading the arrival of her first period as she reluctantly embarks upon a canoe trip led by an officious priest.
There are drunks, stoners, thieves, and ne’er-do-wells lurking in every corner of this collection, yet for all of the dead-ends they encounter, Mullins always offers his characters as well as his readers a ray of hope. We are, according to Three Ways of the Saw, a curious species—one wracked with all manner of pain, but also one capable of enduring it.