Monday, June 29, 2009
After wading through more than 75 submissions, the three of us have finally settled, after much deliberation, on a winner. Winnowing the list proved much harder than we expected: the quality of the submissions was excellent. Our shortlists attest to the difficulty we had selecting a winner: they are almost completely different. So, in the interest of full disclosure, we've decided to publish our individual shortlists. We want to thank everyone for submitting, and we hope that you had as much fun writing your Revenge-Lits as we had reading them.
For its style, humour, playfulness, voice, and the tightness of its presentation, we've agreed the the best of the RevengeLit submissions was:
The Eternal Remainder: by Charles Conley
The Case of Poe Ethic Justice: by Albert Howard Carter III
Blind Judge: by Nathaniel Moore
Murder, Deconstructed: by Barbara Eliasson
Special K to Kill by Karin Montin
A Rose by Any Other Name by Jackie Kingon
Writing Lessons by Lydia Ondrusek
Blind Judge: by Nathaniel Moore
Career Best: by Nathaniel Ward
How To: by Fred Fawnicoly
Charles Conley will be receiving a $100 cash prize, publication in issue 77 of CNQ, and a Biblioasis catalogue of 40 (or so) titles. Congratulations to Charles and all of the shortlisted entrants!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
by Sheial Sims
The daily Toronto Galaxy devoted the front page to the death of their star literary critic. “HACK MURDERED” amused the authors in the underground blog group, Silence the Hack.
One author a week, one book at a time, anyone of the 750+ writers, he had ‘hacked’ to bits with his critical reviews over his 14 ½ year career were to become suspect.
Word spread through texts, emails, faxes and the occasional archaic form of communication - the actual phone conversation.
“Hack’s dead, Denis is opening the Club to celebrate with a 10 am bonfire.” Jubilantly they coursed to Club Defamation.
Meetings with editors were cancelled en masse, deadlines delayed as writer’s joined the victory group. Symbolically they brought personal copies of Sebastian Hack’s way with their words and an eerily accurate effigy.
Will Ferguson, who had succeeded despite Hack’s lack of warmth, was unanimously elected emcee. His toast to the dead critic summed up everyone’s feelings.
“Hack, true to his name never wrote an honest word in his life. Although no one’s friend he was a name on our lips and death lists. My sympathies to those of you whose life works were ended by Hack’s pen.” Sniffles and outright sobs rippled as the truth of Ferguson’s words pierced people’s pain.
“Fellow writers raise your glass to whomever, bravely deleted an unnecessary character, in our common plot. The Galaxy & the Force may never know the real killer, but through reading the works he critiqued, we will know the truth.”
“Darling!” Myron held a dining room chair out for Frances. The table was set with her old damask cloth and the good dishes. He hummed.
“What’s the occasion?” Myron never fussed about or pulled out her chair. It was typically Frances’s job to throw together a meal every night, even though Myron was semi-retired.
Myron put his finger to his lips and grinned. “Back in a flash!” He disappeared into the kitchen.
He worked the champagne cork with a tea towel. Thok! Who knew Myron had such an expert wrist flick? He filled glasses and took a seat opposite Frances.
“Well, it’s done. I’ve killed him,” said Myron, leaning back in his chair looking like the cat who’d killed the canary.
Champagne spurted through Frances’s nostrils and sprayed her shirt. “What? Did you say killed, Myron?” Champagne slopped over the edges of Frances’s flute.
“Frances, Frances,” Myron cooed. “Don’t you remember saying you wished that old coot would f-off and die?” Myron-Weight-of-the-World Schepanski twirled the stem of the glass in his fingers. “That Journal review. What nerve! Slagging a home town gal.”
“Ohmygodohmygod,” Frances wailed, guzzling the remainder of her drink.
“Un momento!” Myron trilled and escaped again, strangely elated. Generally obsessed by his own concerns, Frances hadn’t realized Myron had registered the sting of that biting book review.
He appeared with a flourish and two plates of coq au vin. “Didn’t take much to discover where Percy Cavendish parked,” Myron mused and served her a leg. Frances refilled. “I hope you don’t mind I used your Jeep, Frannie. Crushed him against a brick wall in the alley.”
“You wouldn’t believe how many runs I had to take at the old fellow,” Myron said and clinked her glass. Frances regretted trying to save money by using public transit.
“Assuming female cat owners lack carnal knowledge is pitifully cliché,” I said.
“You’re either a natural coquette or you’re toying with me.”
When I didn’t answer – how could I? – he murmured, “Ah so,” and began to ply me with champagne. By evening’s end I was granting him limited favors in the back of my Corolla parked in the F Street ramp. We fully consummated our dalliance a week later in a remote county park. I brought champagne and teacakes to mark the occasion.
After six weeks, he ended it with a phrase lifted from my own memoir: “What we had was complex and fragile – like a snowflake.” Galling, but a literary critic’s memory must get muddled.
A month later, he was found dead, sprawled under our tree in the remote county park. At first they suspected foul play. His trousers were undone; a champagne bottle, two glasses, and soggy teacakes littered the stormy scene. No witnesses came forth, but the coroner declared Lionel the victim of a lightning strike. Although it was undeniably original, few mourned his passing.
by Steven Le
It was still dark when she woke, and her naked thigh had slipped outof the covers due to the warmth of the night. She moved it back,pulled the blanket to her chest and turned to gaze at the man on thefar wall. A finger of moonlight breached the curtains, illuminating anoaken desk with its glow, and finally highlighted the cheekbones ofthe man’s face. He was clanking away on a typewriter. She stared athim, longingly, trying to telegraph her euphoria to get his attention.
“Walt, come back to bed,” the woman said, as the blanket sloped downthe curve of her breast and exposed it. “Or turn on the light orsomething. Staring in the dark hurts your eyes. My sister justfinished her second year at Berkeley, she knows this kind of stuff.”
“I’m almost finished.”
“Really? Oh my, thats great! I thought you said you were only halfway? It doesn’t matter. Come when you’re done.” And the woman placedher arms underneath the blanket and slithered her legs around,shifting the silk sheets about her body. Her voice whimpered and herbody writhed.
“I can feel it,” Walt said. “A year of work, of heart, and then tofinally set it out there. It’s going to be great. I know it.‘Ingenious’ they’ll all say. Every one of them.”
“I’m sure they will,” the woman said and fell asleep.