Have you ever been attracted to a literary journal simply because of its name? Thought that because the editors were cool/funny/hip/erudite enough to come up with such a great name that you immediately wanted to be associated with it too somehow? I have a list of such journals, ones I haven’t cracked yet but hope to someday.
This weekend I had a story published over at The Steel Chisel, an online journal I was first drawn to by its name. (I came for the name, stayed for the stories and poetry.) It’s taken from one of my favourite John Newlove poems, called “Such Fun, Such Fun.” I’ve loved this poem since my first year at university, when I took a course in Canadian poetry. And here it is:
When the poets stopped writing poetry
I thought they were dead
and I went about and tried to describe my country
not leaf by leaf but soul by soul
and I found that though my soul was obscure
it was common. Liquor cured me or calmed me
and pain and long lying lines.
And the poets came back to life and said I was a poet too
and I was astonished!
I hadn’t thought they’d known so much
or that I had cared so much.
And the booze tastes good even if the body aches
and the end is shame – but the sheer pleasure
of the gift, of a few gloomy words –
This is prose, this is a ghost with a steel chisel
sneaking another letter onto the stone.
Such fun, such fun. I guess you would have to pay attention
to someone besides yourself. It’s better to celebrate
your funeral before you die.
Thank you, thank you.
Many thanks to David Emery, editor of The Steel Chisel, for selecting my short story.