Today’s Proust answers come from Irdaign, midwife, gipsy, princess, seer, and grandmother to the heroine of Allaigna’s Song by JM Landels, which appears in each issue of Pulp Literature.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? I look forward to the day when all the puzzle pieces I’ve seen fall into place.
- What is your greatest fear? That meddling with Fate for the sake of peace will cost the lives of those I hold dear.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My inability to live in the present.
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cowardice.
- On what occasion do you lie? My life is wrapped in lies. Easier to ask, when do I tell the truth?
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? My appearance suits my needs, depending on my current role in life. Other than that, it is irrelevant.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “It is beyond my control.” That too, is often a lie.
- When and where were you happiest? When my daughter was young and my husband’s soul unbroken by the deaths of his father, brother and sister.
- Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to close my inner eye.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family.
- What is your most treasured possession? Peace.
- What is your most marked characteristic? My voice.
- What is your greatest regret? Leaving my daughter at court when I was set aside. I should have taken her with me and Fate be damned.
- How would you like to die? If not with the knowledge, then at least with the illusion that my grandchildren will live happily ever after.
- What is your motto? Fate be damned.
- What is something we’d never glean about you from Allaigna’s Song? When I was young I could pick a lock with a breath of air, and pick your pocket with a smile.
JM Landels wears nearly as many hats as Bartholomew Cubbins: writer, editor, artist, equestrian, and swordswoman are just a few. After acquiring her degree in Mediaeval English Lit she went to London to get a PhD in English, but instead dyed her hair pink and joined a rock band. She currently splits her time between working on Pulp Literature, managing Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, and teaching Mounted Combat for Academie Duello.
Allaigna’s Song: Overture is currently being serialized in Pulp Literature. To read the installments in order, begin at Issue 1, Winter 2014, currently available on our Kickstarter page.
This interview is a teaser for the flash fiction piece ‘Waiting for Twilight’, the 2014 Hummingbird Prize runner-up by Daniela Elza. Savour this glimpse into the protagonist’s mind while you wait for the story to come out in issue 5.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? Getting lost in the moment. Or under a tree. Or by the sea. Where I am less aware of myself.
- What is your greatest fear? Existentially? That I have misread my life.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? To attempt to solve other’s problems when they do not want solutions.
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Gossip. Judging other people. Small mindedness. Jealousy. Is that too many? Perhaps group them under “stop being boring and pathetic.” There are much better things to waste your breath on. Like, sing, for a change.
- On what occasion do you lie? I do not lie since I cannot remember what I said. But if it saves a life … maybe then.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I was wondering …
- When and where were you happiest? You mean am happiest? When I create music. Or write. When I flirt with life.
- What is your most treasured possession? My piano, of course.
- What is your most marked characteristic? It is hard to not pay attention. It is hard for me to ignore people.
- What is your motto? Do onto others as twilight will do onto you. By which I mean ‘dusk’, not the book.
- What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘Waiting for Twilight’? I love swimming.
Daniela Elza has won prizes in both the Hummingbird and Magpie Awards. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally in close to 100 publications. Daniela’s poetry collections are: the weight of dew, the book of It, and, most recently, milk tooth bane bone, of which David Abram says: “Out of the ache of the present moment, Daniela Elza has crafted something spare and irresistible, an open armature for wonder.” Daniela was the 2014 Writer-In-Residence at the University of the Fraser Valley and the 2014 guest editor of emerge anthology.
You can find ‘Waiting for Twilight’ in the upcoming Winter 2015 issue of Pulp Literature, available for another week only on our Kickstarter page
Teenagerhood is an awkward time of strange sensations and metamorphoses. For some it’s worse than others. Meet Markella, the protagonist of Rebecca Gomez Farrell’s ‘Thlush-a-lum’, coming up in Pulp Literature issue 5.
- What is your greatest fear? The unknown, especially when I’m trying to sleep and there are sounds coming from outside that I cannot place. It happens all the time. Some mornings I wake up and feel more worn out than when I went to bed.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? That I don’t satisfy my parents. That must be why they don’t hug and kiss me like other families do.
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? I have four birthmarks on my back: patches of dimpled flesh on my shoulders and on my lower back. I press my fingers into them sometimes, looking in the mirror, and expect it to hurt, but I guess I don’t press hard enough. Can you press too hard? I don’t want to know.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Sizzle, snap, flutter, pulse.
- When and where were you happiest? When Mother gave me wine and a smile for my seventeenth birthday.
- How would you like to die? I’ve never thought about that before, though I overheard Mother and Father discussing it once. They always think I can’t hear them when they speak in hushed tones, but I can. All they said was that they hoped it happened “anywhere but here.” I’ve never lived anywhere but home, but I think I’d want that too.
- What is your motto? Don’t listen to what you don’t know.
- What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘Thlush-a-Lum’? I wish I had a sibling. I think — I think I wouldn’t feel so alone if I did. We could learn about everything together, maybe even investigate the sounds outside the window together. I think, with someone else around, I’d feel brave.
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe, maybe, sea captain was the right choice after all. Becca’s speculative fiction and food and drink blogging can be found at rebeccagomezfarrell.com.
Find out what those sounds outside Markella’s window are in the Winter 2015 issue of Pulp Literature, which can be purchased through our Kickstarter page.
Some slippery characters are harder to catch than others, but poet Mary Rykov slung her net around the fish-tailed catch of ‘A Siren’s Song’ from Pulp Literature Issue 2.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? A ship of Argonauts with no wax in their ears.
- What is your greatest fear? A ship of Argonauts with no wax in their ears.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I sing the ones I love to death. <sigh>
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Ear wax.
- On what occasion do you lie? I always lie.
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? Those bird feathers. I much prefer mermaid garb.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Stop kissing my mouth.”
- When and where were you happiest? Circa 8 BCE at the height of my charms, singing on my lovely Mediterranean island beach.
- Which talent would you most like to have? To sing louder than Orpheus.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? I am celebrated to this day by poets for my beauty and for my clear voice.
- What is your most treasured possession? My beauty and my clear voice.
- What is your most marked characteristic? My mythical status as metaphor for the binding power of death.
- Who is your favourite writer? Homer, of course!
- What is your greatest regret? Circe’s warning to Odysseus.
- How would you like to die? Too late, I’m dead. The ship sailed past, and I died.
- What is your motto? “My song of pleasure leads only to death.”
- What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘A Siren’s Tale’? I love the thrill of the catch, but not cleaning the fish …
Mary H Auerbach Rykov is a music therapist-researcher, writer-poet, educator and editor whose current focus is music-evoked imagery for writers and artists. She is also our dedicated Pulp Lit final proofreader. Read more at maryrykov.com.
You can find ‘A Siren’s Tale’ in the Spring 2014 issue of Pulp Literature, available through our Kickstarter page.
From the Beer Faerie to her great grandaddy, today’s interview is with the Green Man from Margaret Kingsbury’s haunting spec fic story ‘The Longing is Green when the Branches are Trees’, due out in Pulp Literature issue 5.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? Roaming through forests that rise and fall over hills and mountains, sap and bark scenting the air.
- What is your motto? Grow.
- What is your greatest fear? Fire and man.
- When and where were you happiest? The centuries I lived as a yew in my grove, our branches entwining, our leaves whispering to one another in the wind.
- What is your most marked characteristic? To humans my skin of bark, to trees my rootless wandering.
- Who are your favourite writers? The ones that publish online and write e-books.
Margaret Kingsbury’s short stories and poems have appeared in Expanded Horizons, NonBinary Review, and in the anthology Battle Runes: Writings on War. Her fairy tale, post apocalypse novel, currently undergoing revision, was recently awarded honourable mention in the Diverse Writers/Worlds grant. You can follow her on twitter @MargaretKWrites.
‘The Longing is Green when the Branches are Trees’ will appear in the Winter 2015 edition of Pulp Literature, due out in December. You can preorder your copy here.
It must have been quite a feat, but somehow artist Melissa Mary Duncan managed to track down and extract some answers from that cheeky, ephemeral creature, first face of Pulp Literature, the Beer Faerie.
‘Beer Fairy’ by Melissa Mary Duncan
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? Hmmm, I am the Beer Faerie, so my idea of perfect happiness is? … Beers! All of them! The pale ones, the stout ones. Amber or Dark. The fruit ones. The Belgian. German. Lager. Root. Birch. Wheat and hops the perfect blend. Rowan and Winter and Cream. They each have their charm and place. When brewing I am happiest.
- What is your greatest fear? The Temperance Movement.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My inability to always think things through with clarity.
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Unrepentant, joyless sobriety.
- On what occasion do you lie? How dare you! A Faerie never lies. WE of the glorious Fey prevaricate.
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? The crown of greens can be a little itchy. Outside of that I am perfect in every way!
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Profanity.
- When and where were you happiest? Seems that I am mostly always happy. Prohibition was a bit of a downer but I managed enough mischief to keep things hopping. Hopping! Get it? Seriously, I miss the days of yore when beer was the staple beverage of everyone, back when no one blinked an eye at a beer ration of several liters a day! Those were good times. I was needed then … Now? Not so much.
- Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to sing like an angel. Have you ever heard an Angel sing? Well, if you had you would know what I mean. Intoxicating!
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? My charm. My wit. My cunning. Sooo many to choose from!
- What is your most treasured possession? My magic cauldron.
- What is your most marked characteristic? Mischief.
- Who are your favourite writers? Hmm. I like Charles deLint, Bram, Charles Dickens, and those brothers … Grimm.
- What is your greatest regret? I do not regret. I live in the moment and in hope.
- How would you like to die? I am a Faerie, I will not die. Although I am not quite immortal either … I think Master Tolkien said it best. He is an okay writer too. I shall go into the West and remain, Beer Faerie!
- What is your motto? Bottom’s up!
- What is something we’d never glean about you from the cover of Pulp Lit #1? I do community work for displaced Gnomes and Hedgerow Pixies. I also feed homeless moles.
‘Fondly Remembered Magic’ by Melissa Mary Duncan
Melissa Mary Duncan lives in the historic city of New Westminster, British Columbia with her husband, author dvsduncan. Having a playful inner landscape, she confesses to having a hat addiction, wearing Edwardian clothing, reading in the bath, and watching British dramas whilst drinking lemonade. A proud mother of two and grandmother of three, Melissa remains a student of Celtic, English and Northern European history and mythology. Her painting “Fondly Remembered Magic” will be the cover of Pulp Literature Issue 5.
You can meet Melissa in person at the Surrey Museum on Saturday, November 15th from 1 – 4pm, where she will be talking about all things Viking.
Print copies of Pulp Literature Issue 1, featuring the Beer Faerie, are in limited supply and currently only available through our Kickstarter campaign.
‘Doughboy Lovers and the Appetites of Desire’ in the current issue of Pulp Literature is a story steeped in myth and magical realism with cautions embedded for modern lovers. Here’s another glimpse into the thoughts of author Karlo Yeager’s protagonist.
- What is your greatest fear? Loneliness has its own weight and momentum which grows and accelerates with time.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? What, and have people think I’m weak?
- When and where were you happiest? Adrift in childhood memories of my grandma’s kitchen, immersed in the sweet smell of baking bread.
- What is your most treasured possession? The old family recipe for doughboys.
- What is your greatest regret? Love, like day-old bread, grows stale.
When not swinging a pick in the Word Mines, Karlo Yeager writes short fiction, reads, and offers a portion of his soul to animate the Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s tame Dalek.
You can find ‘Doughboy Lovers and the Appetites of Desire’ in Pulp Literature Issue 4 through our Kickstarter page.
Wouldn’t you love to pin your Muse down and ask her a few pointed questions? Susan Pieters managed it with Capture of the Muse in Issue 2 … and then got a few more out of her for this questionnaire.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? A day in the Louvre.
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Diligence and devotion to the mundane. Dutiful people who never take time to smile or dream or appreciate beauty, and call their dullness a virtue.
- On what occasion do you lie? Isn’t all art a lie? Otherwise we’d call it reality. And wouldn’t that be a pity, if we had to stick with reality?
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? The fact it keeps changing upon my mood. This morning I woke up in a diaphanous gown, with waltz music playing in my head. Now that I’ve had to do this interview, my dress has turned a dismal navy blue.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Beautiful! Lovely! Gorgeous!”
- When and where were you happiest? When I was a child, before my parents separated. I dream of helping them re-unite, but that seems unlikely.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’m very fond of Michelangelo’s David, but I really can’t take credit myself. All my work must come through human hands.
- What is your most marked characteristic? Cat-like unpredictability.
- Who are your favourite writers? I’ve known so many, but I had the most fun back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I’d go anywhere with Jules Verne, and he knew it. Stories started slowing down around the time of James Joyce, but now things are picking up again.
- What is your greatest regret? That I must use others to create something beautiful. I’ve been invoked, thanked, and blamed. But never do I get to sign my own name to anything.
- What is your motto? Art for art’s sake.
Susan is the author of many short stories, several of which have won prizes. Aside from ‘Capture of the Muse‘, you can find ‘Glass Curtain‘, ‘Invisible‘ and ‘Below the Knee‘ in past issues of Pulp Literature. Look for ‘A Discussion of Keats’s Negative Capability‘ in issue 5.
All of the above issues are available on our Kickstarter page. Subscribe so you don’t miss any. And if all this talk of Muses has yours nagging you, why not treat her to our Year of the Muse Retreat in January, where you can meet Sue … and her Muse … in person!
Today’s interview is with the wise and witty Mouse from Sylvia Stopforth’s cautionary tale ‘Dragon Rock’, adapted to graphic novel format by Mel Anastasiou and first seen in issue 3.
Artwork for ‘Dragon Rock’ by Mel Anastasiou
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? A hot, freshly steeped pot of tea; a companion who can accurately define the word “humble.”
- What is your greatest fear? Being stepped on.
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? An inability to see past the obvious. A lack of imagination. A tendency to mock … which can, on occasion, prove dangerous.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? The tea is getting cold.
- What is your most marked characteristic? Not suffering fools gladly; also the delightful hint of sulphur on my breath.
- Who are your favourite writers? Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux); Leo Lionni (Frederick); EB White (Stuart Little); Brian Jacques (Redwall). I am also fond of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy; he had a good grasp of species hierarchy.
- How would you like to die? I should like to die of a surfeit of satisfaction.
- What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘Dragon Rock’? I am fond of clocks, and loathe farmers’ wives.
Sylvia Stopforth is a university archivist and research librarian whose fiction has appeared in Room, The New Quarterly, and Pulp Literature. She has had a smattering of book reviews published, as well as an essay in an anthology, Shy (University of Alberta Press, 2013). For ten years she has served as a regular column editor for BC History Journal. Sylvia lives near the ocean with her husband.
You can find the delightful Mouse amid the pages of ‘Dragon Rock’, in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulp Literature.
The subject of today’s Proust Questionnaire is Mel Anastasiou’s wily octogenarian detective, Stella Ryman, who is trapped in a down-at-the-heels care home. Here’s what the sleuth of Fairmount Manor has to say:
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? Making myself a cup of tea, unsupervised.
- On what occasion do you lie? For my dignity, or Thelma Hu’s.
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? These darned fleece tracksuits.
- When and where were you happiest? Thirty years back, when I was in a love affair with my no-good lodger.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? My daughter Junie. I wish we were still speaking.
- What is your most marked characteristic? Two: I am intrepid, and I’ve read everything.
- What is your greatest regret? Selling up and assigning every penny to come to Fairmount Manor care home.
- How would you like to die? With my hands folded on my breast, like the Lady of Shalott.
- What is your motto? Soldier on, Stella.
Not only is Mel our talent in-house illustrator and co-editor, she has also written many fabulous novels and novellas. The Extra (aka Frankie Goes to Hollywood) is due out soon, and you can follow Mel on her blog. You can find the first two Stella Novellas, ‘The Case of the Third Option’ and ‘The Poison Pen Affair’ in the Winter and Summer 2014 issues of Pulp Literature. The third and fourth novellas, ‘The Four-Digit Puzzle’ and ‘The Case of the Vanishing Resident’ will appear in issues 5 and 7 respectively. You can order back issues and one- or two-year subscriptions on our Kickstarter page: