TOM BALL, Cofounder & Senior Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Globetrotting Tom Ball has been chased out of more countries than he can remember visiting. A fugitive on the lam with an archaeology degree, he spends his days hiding under rocks writing fiction and other junk for his devoted readers here on Earth and also Mars. His real name is Tom Ball. He stills resides in the body he was born in. Tom has the final say on who gets published so you know what name to give the hit man if you don’t. For a complete listing of his books go to https://tomballbooks.com
CHARLES PINCH, Cofounder & Senior Editor (email@example.com)
You just know any dude whose name is a noun and a verb will end up being an editor at some literary hell hole. Writing before he was walking, editing before he was talking, Charles sees himself as an infant prodigy. Other people just see him as an infant. He holds in one of his three hands a double major in fine arts and philosophy and has published all kinds of fiction and other crap you better f***ing read if you want to get published here.
JOEY CRUSE, Fiction Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joey Cruse writes, edits, and paints…poorly. Having recently gotten his masters in composition and rhetoric, he now wanders aimlessly through New Orleans looking for jobs that require words and/or provide words that need less words in them. He doesn’t like to exercise and is not fond of most people – apart from you, he may like you. Stay golden, pony girls and boys - it’s a hot one inside…(!)
HEZEKIAH SCRETCH, Poetry Editor (email@example.com)
Poetry editor Hezekiah comes with a wealth of experience gained from panhandling. When he isn’t hexing ammeters, he’s writing blank verse, which, despite his efforts turns out to be pretty much blank. A devout misogynist who failed spectacularly at charm school, he despises formal education, the likes of which granted him a PhD in comparative lit. Is he Man or Myth? Mandrake or Mephistophles?
JANET EHRLICH COLSON, Drama Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Janet Ehrlich Colson, aka “that flea-bitten harpy,” is thrilled to have the opportunity to infest this lit rag alongside her totem insects and fellow verbomaniacs. She’s into plays, screenplays, performance art, pole-dancing, and improving her game of euchre. She received her MFA in creative writing at Goddard College where she started the competitive gum-cracking society, “Crack.” Janet is riding out the apocalypse in Detroit, Michigan until further notice.
RICHARD WANG, Junior Editor (email@example.com)
Richard is a polymath who makes the rest of us feel inferior which explains why we're all in therapy. He has authored graphic novels, directs films (his own and others) while trying to remember he's also an engineer and speaks a couple languages none of us understand. At this moment he's drafting his Nobel Prize acceptance speech on a napkin. Oh yeah, he's also a napkin designer.
ROBERT QUEHL, Junior Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rob is the voice of sanity which is why the rest of us have trouble comprehending him. Rob is the rock on the shore who steadfastly watches us drown after warning us we can’t swim. (Hey Rob! Help!) Rob is the light in the room after the bulb kicks out. Rob is the author of a couple of books and has a perverse love for working full time as an editor.
WELCOME ISSUE 10 NOVEMBER 2021
BRUCE RICHARD WILSON
Born: Again and again Died: Over and over
POET, MENTOR, SAGE FOR AN AGE
The unexpected and devastating passing of a great friend, a great mind and a greater visionary, has left all of us at Fleas stunned and saddened. Bruce was a champion talent! A poet with brilliant vision whose special genius was recognized by his great teachers Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton and Milton Acorn, all three cornerstones of Canadian poetry. Bruce was always an inspiration to fledglings like us: we were his flock, he our shepherd-sage. He is neither lost nor gone but a journeyman on his journey. Onward bright spirit. Burn bright star. We will see you again in every flower. We will hear you again every time the phoenix sings. This issue is dedicated, with our abiding love, to you, Bruce. Magnitudo numquam moritur. Horace.
Read Gerald Wilson's elegaic and moving remembrance (#1 Poetry)
A thunderous roar was heard from the crowd in Times Square in New York, Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, the Place Vendome in Paris and the Piazza San Marco in Venice when news of the 10th issue of FOTD was released. Whole populations had been camping out for three days awaiting this news! The earth was said to tilt slightly off it's axis of rotation and when the issue went live humanity breathed a sigh of relief. (With apologies to Joey Scarfone. Thanks, dude!)
Hey writers, lefters and readers! This is Larry Lit Bug, your host for this milestone issue of the ‘little zine that could…and did!’ Yes, we’re here to welcome in BIG Issue 10! Yay! Yahoo! Google! Ooops…And because this is a special event in FOTD’s literary life, we have graciously agreed to your requests about ‘what the heck are you dogs (and one fox) all about? So get ready, folks, because here are:
The TEN Questions You Never Wanted to Ask and the Answers You Really Don’t Want to Listen to.
Voice over (whispering into the mic) We’re seated inside the nerve centre of FOTD, somewhere in Canada-the true north strong and flea. Across from me is Cofounder Tom Ball. He’s dressed casually, in his at home clothes—a pair of fetish black rubber diapers, a Viking helmet (he does have a degree in archeology, you know)and because he’s Canuk, on his clodhoppers he’s wears a pair of snowshoes (even though Toronto is hotter in the summer than Florida at any time of the year). Beside—well, actually quite far apart from him—(Did you move your chair?) sits the other half of this lionized lit rag, who’s fanning the air with his hand and holding a scent flacon under his nose. (Did I hear him mutter ‘you and your diapers!’?) Why it’s none other than Cofounder Charles Pinch. He’s come to the interview smartly turned out in a ‘fatto in Italia’ (because he does speak Italian, you know) Armani suit as black as some medieval plague. In his lapel he sports a buttoner of fresh hemlock in memory of Socrates(because he does have a degree in philosophy degree, you know). Wait a minute. Charles, you tricky dicky you…c’mon, what’s written on your T-shirt. Don’t be shy. Show us! In true flasher fashion he stands up, legs apart, and rips open his jacket. Emblazoned on the T—wait, the glare is hurting my eyes—hold on—yes, I see it: Kublai Khan but Immanuel Kant. Oh hee-hee- Too funny. Stop it! I’ll crack a rib! All right. Time to get down to business here. Tom, have the drugs kicked in? Yepper! Charles, is your libido on a leash? Is there ever a time when it isn’t? Okay here we go.
1. This first question is from Iva Bigone in Saint Lupus, Crimea: “Where did the name ‘Fleas on the Dog’ come from?
Tom and Charles speaking together. “We think it was Charles but maybe it was Tom. It was either Tom or Charles. Actually, it probably was Tom unless it happened to be Charles. Other names for the rag-mag we tossed around were: The Sinkhole. Expansive Shrink Wrap. Expensive Shrink Wrap. Scabies is Your Friend. Puppies Galore, Pass the Sick Bag and our second runner up fave ‘Cut Yourself and See What Colour Your Blood Is.’
Charles: Wait a minute! I remember now. It was the day Tom was diagnosed with mange. Fleas on the Dog just seemed the right fit.
Larry: Oh, yeah? How’s your mange, Tom?
Tom: It’s cleared up now but for two weeks I couldn’t wear rubber.
Charles: Keep him away from fire hydrants!
Larry: Ha! Ha!. The second question is from a student at Sherwood College called Robin Hoodie. He wants to know why you publish so many genres.
Tom: Because the other zines don’t.
Charles: It’s tuff to get published no matter what you write but a lot of the journals and zines out there make it even harder. There are very few venues serving writers of mainstream fiction, genre fiction—sci/fi, noir, satire—or even some forms of experimental literature. Mandates are often discouragingly narrow—too narrow—and their interest seems to be to solicit a lot of socially marginalized writers. But what about the ones who aren’t marginalized? And playwrights who want to publish their plays? And good creative nonfiction? Where do they go?
Tom: To FOTD!
Larry: Right on, dudester! Okay, number 3 comes from an inmate in Prison of Sex---
Tom (to himself) Didn’t I write that?
Who asks…”How can you tell if you don’t have any talent as a writer?”
Charles: “When Grammarly writes better than you do.”
Larry: “Number 4”. From Leach Thugbutts in Cracker Jack, Nova Scotia. He asks: “What makes a writer unique?”
Tom: Voice. It’s the first thing we look for when we read a submission. It’s your literary DNA—unique to you and no other writer. It’s the one absolute that must be there. I say ‘must’ because you can’t pretend or fake it and it can’t be learned. It’s just part of who you are—your footprint as a writer. Give it time and nourishment and it will emerge. That’s the good news. The bad news is it can be suffocated or even extinguished in places like MFA Creative Writing classrooms.
Larry: Uh-oh! Wanna be careful there! Our fifth question was sent in by a guy on a Barca lounger who signs himself H.R.H. (Nevada). Whoops! I wasn’t supposed to give away Howard Hughes' secret location! Sorry, buddy. Anyway, he asks: ‘What’s a good way to learn to write dialogue?”
Charles: It’s one of the biggest challenges a writer has to face. Contrary to what a lot of emerging writers think good dialogue is not a direct transcription of speech which most often sounds dead when written down. It has to meld with the descriptive writing in the story/novel/play. The best way to learn it is by reading the best authors. And don’t just think Nobel Prize here. Read dialogue in a variety of genres. You won’t always find it at its best in uppity, tight ass fiction. Some of the sharpest dialogue from the 2nd half of the 20th C was written by Elmore Leonard. This isn’t just me talking—it’s general critical consensus. And this guy wrote crime novels. But read The Big Bounce, and watch a master at work. And read. Read. Read. It’s the most important four letter word in the English language.
Larry: Good advice, CP. For our sixth question reader Trudy Justin asks: FOTD is a Canadian site. But I don’t see a lot, if any, Can Lit being published. Why?
Tom: First, we don’t get a lot of submissions that would fall under that specific heading. Second, the ones we do don’t make the grade (ours, anyway). Can Lit, by definition, is necessarily regional. The writing we publish is global, not excepting American regionalism, and its relevance is universal. Now, how about some maple syrup with your Tim Horton’s coffee?
Charles: Is that two poutines to go?
Larry: Ha! Ha! Your guys break me up. Okay. A heavy coming your way here. A follower who signs himself F. Nietzsche asks: “Do you guys believe in God? And if so, is he dead?
Tom : Who…?
Charles: He’s dead all right. Philosophy 101. Thanks, Neitz!
Larry: That’s a relief. Guess I can toss those dang knee pads I used to wear to pray in church every Sunday morning... you think?
Charles: Depends on what you’re doing on Saturday night.
Larry: Ha! Ha! What a kidder! Rufus Redpup in Pueblo di Oro, Australia asks: “What makes FOTD different from other lit zines?”
Tom: The Author’s Note. Quality Quotables. Why We Like It. And our editors.
Charles: Especially our editors. We scored, dude.
Larry: Question number 9. Two dudes named Myles Long and Dusty Rhodes ask: “Does it bother you guys to reject a submission? And what’s your advice to writers you reject?
Charles: Actually, it does. Here at FOTD we don’t use REJECTION (!),but the kinder, gentler ‘declined’. Rejected raises memories of junior high when people snubbed us for stupid reasons like we didn’t shower regularly or use deodorant and had green stuff growing on our teeth. Oh, the pain! But back to your question. The fact that someone has the spleen to submit to us in the first place is an act of courage and we respect that because 99 out of 100 submissions get mowed down like Hannibal’s infantry. All of us our published writers and all of us have had work rejected by idiots who should know better. It’s not personal, it just comes with the territory. Our advice? Cap the pill bottle, put the razor back in the box, say fuck’em and go back to your writing.
Larry: And this final question from someone at ‘Loans 4 Losers’---hmm, they sound familiar. When are you guys going to monetize FOTD?”
Tom: We aren’t. Ever.
Charles: Because once you start worrying about a bottom line, you’re no longer worrying about the quality of the writing you publish.
Larry: Bulls eye! Okay, it’s a rap, Kanye. Off the record, I got a question of my own. For each of you. What’s the most insulting thing you’ve ever said to someone?
Charles: My dog had sex with your mother and he told me she was just so so.
Larry: OUCH! Good one! Mom, are you okay? Tom?
Tom: You remind me of Charles.
Larry: WOWZA!!! Off the charts, dude! Luv it! Just don’t accept any drink he gives you tonight!
And that’s it, writers, lefters and readers! This is Larry Lit Bug signing off until next time! B there or B square!
WELCOME to FOTD featuring……The Fabtastics!—selections of some of the best stories published in past issues. We were harder on fiction submissions this time around because we wanted to leave room for these stellar examples of the writing craft and the art of literature. We hope you enjoy reading them. Please note: they are published in original form with their original Why We Like It intro notes.
We’re a no frills brown bag online lit rag with only one focus: GOOD WRITING. Our style is ‘HOTS!’—hands off the submissions! We publish every submission exactly as received, so there might be arbitrary spacing, pagination and files containing more than one font. What you won’t find are pretty pictures and fancy layouts. We like this ‘broadsheet’ deconstructionist approach—the printed page as its own aesthetic—inspired by the ‘Beat’ presses and journals because it visually footprints the individual in a way a uniform format does not. We hope you like it too. (In some cases with poetry, Hezekiah’s intro will be found at the bottom, not the top of the page.)
Wade Springer, who designed the amazing titles in Issue 9 didn’t want to do them for # 10 (some lame excuse about a warrant out there for his arrest) but he owed Charles drug money, so there! Maybe it’s the pressure of being a hunted animal, but we think his designs for this number are even better! Thanks, bruh, and keep under the radar!
We’re just six rad dudes and one moxy fox who love the language and fall on our knees at the sound of beautiful words in all their glorious reach and transformative power. At FOTD we share that with each submission we publish, each different from the other, some miles and styles apart, but always burning. Nisi optimum et clarissimum.
And now with great pride and pleasure we give you our milestone Issue 10. As bright as the face of Beauty, as dark as the Nightingale’s song. And until we meet again in Issue 11, always remember to spread the LOVE and STAY SAFE, or, as we say here in rockin’ Canada, the true north strong and Flea, “Stay safe, eh!”
Tom, Charles, Joey, Hezekiah, Janet, Richard and Rob
We are a collective of writers/editors who publish a non profit online magazine for those who are on the avant garde and outside the box.
WHAT WE LIKE
Fiction: We take pretty much everything. Mainstream, traditional, literary, barbaric yawps, flash, metafiction, experimental, sci/fi, speculative, fantasy, mystery, micro, nano, grunge, bad (but it better be good!), modernist, post-modernist, spamlit, kitschlit, retro, metro, outsider, novel excerpts, graphic stories, even comics. Our only criterion is quality.
Poetry: Up to ten poems any style.
Plays: Any style up to five acts. Screenplays: any subject, any length.
Nonfiction: Kick ass op-eds, essays and articles on topical topics that are sure to p*** somebody off, memoirs, manifestos, reviews, games, nonsense and other cogent junk. Politically incorrect is welcome as long as it doesn’t devolve into invective!
WHO YOU ARE
Anybody whose engines burn when they write. You can have won literary awards or never published at all. Degrees don’t impress us—it’s your work that matters.
ONLINE PUBLISHING GUIDELINES
There is no submission fee. There is no remuneration for work we publish, either, but what the heck, you're going to be famous! We'll get back to you in about 30 days, hopefully sooner. (Why should it take months?)
Fiction/Nonfiction: Up to 5000 words. Length is less important than quality. For works longer than 5000 words query the editors about possible serialization.
Submissions should be on a Microsoft Word doc or docx file. Use a sensible font. Double space format. Stuff like grammar and sentence structure is important unless your work deliberately exploits bad grammar and lack of structure. (We can tell the difference.) Include a brief bio with your submission and publishing credits, if any. Send your submission as an e-mail attachment to email@example.com (or type in the link in the email address).
Include the genre (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or play) and title of your work in the subject bar. Simultaneous submissions are okay, just let us know when your work is accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are not okay unless solicited. Submit to only one category per issue. We retain the first rights of your work for a period of three months. After this time rights revert back to the author. If you should republish the story/article please acknowledge that it was first published by www.fleasonthedog.com
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.
We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.
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