It might be the holiday season but, over at FableCroft Publishing, Tehani Wessley has been busy wrangling a new anthology that aims to showcase a whole bunch of Australian writers at their provocative best. And believe me, us Australians can certainly be a confronting bunch, even when we’re not specifically asked to be so!
In Your Face will be made up of original and reprinted speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative themes but with a firm purpose – they are pieces that will perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in.
FableCroft is running a modest Pozible campaign during the month of January to increase the payment made to the writers from 3 cents per word up to a pro-rate of 6 cents. There are some lovely rewards available, including discounted pre-order pricing for In Your Face, so if you have some funds to spare please head on over and support what promises to be a great anthology.
My piece, “Accidents Happen” was rattling around as an idea in my pocket for years, sparked off by a funny but embarrassing anecdote related to me by a friend. (Not that she, or anyone else, will likely recognise it in the story as it now stands … which is perhaps a very good thing.) In all that time, I never came up with an ending that was in any way satisfactory, which is why it remained unwritten for so long.
When Tehani asked me to consider contributing a story, I had several bright-and-shiny first thoughts, none of which I really had time to research and write at short notice. Besides, I began to feel as though I was trying to think up something just to be confronting for the sake of it … which wasn’t what I wanted to do and clearly wasn’t what Tehani was after either. So I pretty much wrote this off as yet another cool antho to which I wouldn’t end up submitting. Such is life and all that jazz.
Then I went to a laid-back gig in Fitzroy one night and, while I was sitting back, listening to live music and happily drinking cider, this old idea of mine came slinking up out of my pocket. After sitting on my shoulder for a while, chatting amiably, it developed a story and a narrator and an ending. And it was a nasty little piece, in a subtle, passive-aggressive and downright petty kind of way. I wrote it over the next three or four days, which is damn fast for me but still too long to have had that particular narrator living inside my head. Mental hot showers, I needed several.
Oddly, the headlining band that night, the one I had gone to see, had among their members the same friend who had told me the original anecdote all those years ago. Or perhaps it’s not so odd. Connections spark, synapses fire, cycles come full circle. And, happily or otherwise, accidents happen.