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  • Endless Joke
    Endless Joke
    by David Antrobus

    Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    by David Antrobus

    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

  • Music Speaks
    Music Speaks
    by LB Clark

    My story "Solo" appears in this excellent music charity anthology, Music Speaks. It is an odd hybrid of the darkly comic and the eerily apocalyptic... with a musical theme. Aw, rather than me explain it, just read it. Okay, uh, please?

  • First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    by Sybil Wilen, P. J. Ruce, Jeffrey McDonald, John Page, Susan Burdorf, Christina Gavi, David Alexander, Joanna Parypinski, Jack Flynn, Graeme Edwardson, David Antrobus, Jason Bailey, Xavier Axelson

    My story "Unquiet Slumbers" appears in the zombie anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. It spills blood, gore and genuine tears of sorrow. Anyway, buy this stellar anthology and judge for yourself.

  • Seasons
    Seasons
    by David Antrobus, Edward Lorn, JD Mader, Jo-Anne Teal

    Four stories, four writers, four seasons. Characters broken by life, although not necessarily beaten. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse of our slow decay?

  • Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited

    I have two stories in this delightful compendium of every 2012 winner of their Flash Fiction Challenge—one a nasty little horror short, the other an amusing misadventure of Og the caveman, his first appearance.

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Entries in Sinéad O'Connor (2)

Friday
Mar172017

Los Irish

This short tale is only a small part of something larger, I'm hoping. Oh, and happy St. Patrick's Day. 

__________________________________

It was a scene right out of Chandler, except I'm no gumshoe. A rain-soaked back alley at night, distant neon smeared abstract by the tireless storm. She wore Docs and a faded cotton dress, some reptile print. Gators or iguanas or some shit. Close-cropped hair and makeup-less. Celtic eyes dark as oxbow tannin. Her dress in the downpour so thin she might as well have been naked.

Without a shred of lechery, I said, "Nice Brazilian."

Despite her instant "Fuck you," a corner of her mouth twitched in a phantom smile.

I passed her the thin package wrapped in plastic film and she slid it under her dress, smoothing it carefully against her lower belly like a newly expectant mom.

"If I'd known, I'd have brought a raincoat."

"Not a chance, mister."

"I meant an actual raincoat."

Again she smiled. Cursed at me without malice before leaning forward and whispering three words in my ear and then dissolving into the night.

"Yeah, bye, Sinéad," I called after her. Did I tell you I have a puerile sense of humor sometimes?

It earned me one last well-deserved "Fuck you," and I could almost see it trailing off like cigarette smoke and rejoining the shadows—tragic, arch, and funny, like its source.

Nothing compares, indeed. 

Friday
Mar162012

Found Words, Waiting

I was thinking about how writing dovetails with our wider lives, the lives we may lead outside the tiny cramped space in which we sit for hours hunched over a screen that slowly eats the cones and rods from within our dark-shadowed eyes, perhaps even the sanity from behind our knitted brows, lost amid a precarious landscape built from stacked pizza boxes and empty wine bottles and other far less wholesome things. You know… that place outside we call “the world”? I ventured into my corner of it recently (Vancouver, British Columbia) and even there I began to notice the marks and stamps left by other writers. Either that or I’m now so delusionally obsessed with writing I’ve reached the point of developing a serious pathology.

Vancouver’s most acclaimed literary figure was probably Malcolm Lowry, who wrote Under the Volcano here. William Gibson and Douglas Coupland also spring to mind. But I don’t really mean that. I’m not so much interested in the indisputably famous and lauded, but more the quieter language moments we sometimes stumble on by accident.

A case in point is the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in downtown Vancouver. If you are ever in town, it’s an otherwise fairly nondescript piece of modern architecture (think steel, concrete and green-tinted glass) at the intersection of Burrard and Cordova, but what makes it remarkable is that a one-line poem wraps around 17 stories of its facade. Written by British artist Liam Gillick, it reads:

“lying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street”

Understated and minimalist, its impact undoubtedly dependent upon its being experienced in context, it nevertheless offers a patina of beauty to an otherwise ordinary late winter day in the city; a reminder that language, as abstract as we sometimes suppose, can also be such a visual and visceral thing of the world.

And that isn’t all. I found myself at the main central library and once again, even before entering what is frankly a stunning building in its own right, more understated words introduced themselves to me like slightly reticent predators.

THE WORDS DON’T FIT THE PICTURE

Which is artist Ron Terada’s poetic expression of Vancouver’s historic relationship with bright, neon signs. Or as he puts it himself: “The sign takes its cues from an era of signage when signs were seen as celebratory, grand and iconic – in effect, as landmarks in their own right, a kind of symbolic architecture… Taken within the context of a public library, the work touches upon – in a very poetic way – the use of words and language as boundless and imaginative, as a catalyst for a multiplicity of meanings.”

And still we weren’t done, because inside the breathtaking atrium, there were yet more words, way up on the precipitous walls. Mysterious and, again, quietly poetic words. This time, it required some detective work to discover their source, detective work that hasn’t paid off at the time of writing (if my inquiries pay off, I’ll add any new information later). Here are those words, in the form of six banners hung beside each other (no idea how to format that here), all upper case text, each six-line block in different but uniform colours:

WITH
MEMORY
OF ALL IT
WOULD
LEAVE
UNDONE

FIRST
THROUGH
FOLLY
AND THEN
NOW BY
ERROR

LIKE A
HOPE
AGAINST
HOPE AND
WHATEVER
ELSE

IT WAS
NOW
THERE
AGAIN TO
BE MADE
REAL

HAVING
BEEN
WRITTEN
AT SOME
PRIOR
POINT

IN THE
FACE OF
ALL IT
COULD
HAVE
BECOME

Enigmatic and elusive words, somehow sorrowful, regretful. Certainly beautiful. Which could lead to a whole other blog post on how important language is as something beyond mere communication and more like art, but I’ll resist as this is getting long.

Funnier still, this strange journey through some kind of secret poetic life of my adopted city didn’t end there. Retiring to one of my old favourite haunts, a little bar in Gastown, the oldest part of Vancouver, named the Irish Heather, all four bathroom doors were festooned with…. you guessed it…. words. Words written by Samuel Beckett, Shane MacGowan, Sinéad O’Connor and Brendan Behan, the latter of which seemed to encapsulate the day.

 

 "I have a total irreverence
for anything connected
with society,
except that which makes
the roads safer,
the beer stronger,
the food cheaper and
the old men and old women
warmer in the winter and
happier in the summer."

 

Anyone else know of similar examples in their own cities, where solitary words must compete quietly against the rush of traffic, the roar of floatplanes in the harbour, the blustery cacophony of pigeon wings … and sometimes even triumph?

*     *     *     *     *

A version of this post appeared on Indies Unlimited on March 2, 2012. also writes for Indies Unlimited and BlergPop. Be sure to check out his work there if you like what you read here.