TOM BALL, Cofounder & Senior Editor (email@example.com)
Globetrotting Pushcart Nominee 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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...
SALVATORE DIFALCO, Honourary Editor email@example.com
Sal is the mirror we hold up to ourselves to inspire us to write better. A widely published Canadian writer with a global-sized talent Signor Difalco despises the recent venal MFA indoctrination of raw talent into—” a species of victim-narrative, humourless, self-absorbed, pseudo...” Is it any wonder we had to bring such an eminence d’or on board just to keep us in kick ass trim? A master technician whose powerfully wrought writing is graceful, sly, complex, fluent and sexy, Sal lives mostly in The Big Bad (Toronto) and frequently corresponds with Charles in Italian.
JOEY CRUSE, Fiction Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joey Cruse writes, edits, and paints…poorly. Holding a Master's Degree in English in composition and rhetoric from Lafayette University in Louisiana, 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?
EZRA NEIGHBORS Drama Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ezra Neighbors is a reptilian Zoomer with a Millennial sensibility that was purportedly found under the same rock in the Sonoran Desert as Stevie Nicks (half a century late for gestation complications). A lover of the tough pills to swallow, challenging thoughts, and a healthy rejection of authority; he is honored to be championing the playwrights’ word here at Fleas On The Dog.
JOHN SULLIVAN, Features Drama Editor (email@example.com)
John ran out of fingers (and toes) counting the number of theatrical projects he's either founded, curated or written. A five star playwright who lives in the lone star state, he brings with him a talent as big as Texas. So what's a long on experience literary longhorn like this doing as Drama Editor on a Canuck zine? Improving it, that's what! Who wouldn't yippie caye having this radical straight shooter in the saddle!
JOEY SCARFONE, Contributing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A self-proclaimed jaded dinosaur, Joey’s greatest fear is that a comet is going to crash down on Vancouver Island creating a massive cloud that wipes out all the other computer challenged dinosaurs ....it's happened before. Writing is the cheapest form of therapy he can find. Not knowing how to punctuate properly he simply avoids it claiming....”you don't need a newspaper when the writing's on the wall”. He has a passion for art and music and is currently learning Christmas carols on the penny whistle. His triple X-Rated bio is due to be released as soon as two Supreme Court justices kick the bucket.
WADE SPRINGER, Titles Editor
Wade is an antisocial underground unwashed detoxed sucrose junkie who likes lurking in dark corners of deserted subway tunnels the same way normal people like tanning on the beach. When he comes up for air we snag him to design the titles on the junk we publish. He’s a grad of the Ontario College of Art and has an MA from U of T but you’d never know it from toking with him. He lives in The Big Bad aka Toronto where Charles and Nick North do their best to avoid him!
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 also provides professional editing/proofreading services for writers of fiction, nonfiction and academic works.
WELCOME ISSUE 14
Слава Україні! Героям слава!
(Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!)
Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam slava! Slava Volodymyr Zelensky!
This issue is dedicated to the Ukrainian saviours and the radical activist freedom loving spirits who have been so unjustly silenced by the monstrous machinery of petty, malevolent governments. We honour and support Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, Charles Lim, Ivan Lam (Hong Kong), Loujain Alhathloul, Raif bin Muhammad Badawi and Jamal Kashoggi (Saudi Arabia), Alexei Navalny (Russia), Vlad Buryak, 17 Ukrainian POW, Ivan Safronov dissident journalist jailed 22 yrs (Russia), Taraneh Alidoosti and Mahsa Amini who died in police custody for not wearing a hijab. (Iran). Russian journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza 25 years for treason. Ailed Russian Putin critic Ilya Yashin speaks louder behind bars.
British-Malaysian born ‘Uncle Roger’ (Nigel Ng) in a hilarious interaction with his audience in which China, the CCP and its repulsive predatory leader were wittily lampooned. He sure touched a nerve because all his sites and videos were shut in China. The comedian, whose real name is Nigel Ng, said over the weekend that his accounts on Bilibili and Weibo, where he has 400,000 followers, had been suspended due to a “violation of relevant laws and regulations”. Fortunately, some of his stations in other countries remain open.
Some good news. Political prisoner activist Roman Protasevich has been PARDONED. But some are skeptical…has he turned tables to go forth as a covert agent in the name of tyranny?
Vox tacet refrenata. Ueritas libera voce!
WE ARE THE UKRAINE…
Clutch the sorrow in your heart and weep the downfall the unjustly dead deserve. There lie poets, there lie makers of music, there lie the artists that make us happen, there lies Everyman; there lies our salvation, once lost, forever forsaken—our light extinguished, our lume spento. Wipe your hand across your brow and weep. We in the world, and the world taken by flood. There is no peace without love. Bomb us and see.
Quiero dormir un rato/ un rato, un minuto, un siglo/ pero que todos sepan que no he muerto.
I WANT TO SLEEP THE SLEEP OF APPLES…
I WANT TO SLEEP THE SLEEP OF THAT CHILD
WHO LONGED TO CUT HIS HEART OPEN FAR OUT AT SEA
From ‘Gacela de la Muerte Oscura’ by Frederico Garcia Lorca’
MY ‘WORD’, WHAT’S AMISS?
EXTRA! EXTRA! This just in! Silk worms all across Asia have gone on a hunger strike and will no longer spin the threads of glistening luxury that are a symbol of wealth and opulence. ‘Silk’ is a ‘human’ word and too easily associated with the atrocities that were routine along the ‘Silk Road’—a name the worms have also condemned. In a statement spun by an arachnid ally on a huge web transmitted via global satellite to the screens of the world, they now prefer to be called: Spinners Extraordinaire (aka Mulberry Munchers)! And their thread as Sacred Spittle!
ICYDK there’s a move afoot here in Canada to expunge the word ‘savage’ from the language because it is hurtful to certain marginalized groups. But hey, there is a vast distinction between using the word pejoratively and using the word.
Language is dynamic, always in motion, its only shape that of its containment. It is instrument, tool, facility and object. It is our right by bequest as communicators to culturally harvest the richness provided. Yes, there will be problems. Yes, not all will agree with one’s usage or interpretation and YES, the language is bright with cruelties just as it is confected with beauties both tender and brash. In the end, it stays the same only by changing.
‘Savage’ is not only a noun, it’s also an adjective. Does the adjective get struck down as well? And does the word have only a single politically charged meaning? Can the weather be savage? Is love any the worse for being savage while at the same time tender? To exorcise it on political grounds is to disable its living function. The word owns both its chemistry and physics. It is material structure and limpid spirit grounded in a history that predates writing. Respect it.
The diversity, pliancy and malleability of any word are not externalizations—they are integral structure: inseparable from the stem which is also the branches and the leaves. As unsexy as it sounds, old-fashioned common sense is the great arbitrator here. By using the word X am I knowingly/unknowingly giving offence? This much we can do.
Language is a liquid and a thunderstorm. Language has the shape we give it yet presents in thousands of shapes, thousands of tongues. Language is not just a mouthpiece but a mouth. Explore its speleology.
Francis Ford Coppola’s epic The Godfather unapologetically stereotypes Italian- Americans. Apart from Al Pacino being insanely sexy, it’s 100% cannelloni baloney mama mia, passa la pizza and Viva Italia perche’ la cosa nostra e’ la cosa nostra! Clean it up and it’s like fucking in diapers. You are inside the heart beat of a staggeringly triumphant cinematic masterpiece, created to be what it remains to be. It’s called getting a life. So calm down. Appeal to the neocortex. And relax. After all, once the lights go down, it only hurts going in.
Se non e’ zuppa e’ pan’ bagnata. Cosi’ e’ la vita!!
All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with and then I can turn the world upside down. Friedrich Nietzsche
All my life I’ve looked at words as if I’m seeing them for the first time. Ernest Hemingway
Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. Herman Hesse
So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with. John Locke
We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. George Orwell
In a sense, words are encyclopedias of ignorance because they freeze perceptions at one moment in history and then insist we continue to use these frozen perceptions when we should be doing better. Edward de Bono
Be careful of the words you say./ Keep them short and sweet./You never know, from day to day, /Which ones you'll have to eat. Anonymous
If language is as inextricably tied up with consciousness as it seems to be, then the continuing diminishment of our inclination to use it to express in letters the times in which we live could mean that an element of human consciousness itself is on the verge of disappearing. Noam Chomsky
Art can never be discredited as futile—it can be the trigger as well as the bullet. Darren Tanti interviewed in The Malta artpaper December 2022/February 2023
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make. Truman Capote
Give the people a new word and they think they have a new fact. Willa Cather, On Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art, 1953
I fell in love—that is the only expression I can think of—at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behaviour very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy. I tumbled for words at once. . . . There they were, seemingly lifeless, made only of black and white, but out of them, out of their own being, came love and terror and pity and pain and wonder and all the other vague abstractions that make our ephemeral lives dangerous, great, and bearable. Dylan Thomas, "Notes on the Art of Poetry," 1951
As a rhetorician, I loved only words: I would raise up cathedrals of words beneath the blue gaze of the word sky. I would build for thousands of years. Jean-Paul Sartre The Words. 1964
The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter—it's the difference between the lightning-bug & the lightning. Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton, October 15, 1888
The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. Philip K. Dick, How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later. 1986
What words say does not last. The words last. Because words are always the same, and what they say is never the same. Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Polonious: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet.1600
Don’t you ever/Up in the sky/Don’t you ever get tired/Of having the clouds between you and us? Nootka Prayer
‘Our heart is our undoing. We think we are master of our kindness; we are the slaves of a serene laxity. It is something quite other than intelligence that is involved…’ Jean Genet, The Balcony. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. Grove Press, New York 1966.
The dying light was in his hair, and his face was sweet with evening. Patroclus observing Achilles. The Song of Achilles. Madeline Miller. 2012
NN:…after reading the news. “Satan’s in his Hell and all’s right with the world.”
CP: “Oh, that’s why things are going so well! (Apologies to R. Browning)
Welcome to FLEAS ON THE DOG (aka FOTD)! 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 (well, maybe some but don’t tweet it). 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.)
We are pleased to report that Texan John Sullivan is back in the saddle after a medical absence. John returns as Features Drama Editor and the first edition of his regular column At Rise appears in this issue. You will delight in his elegantly written, highly referential and provocative and then some take on all matters theatrical and how theatre relates to the world around it. Welcome back, John!
Ezra Neighbors, the rad-est, bad-est Acting Editor who ever acted as editor, is doffing those togs and donning the toga (purple stripe included) of Drama Editor. And if you think that’s bad or rad, wait till you read his WILI’s and see this tokin’ smokin’ peace-piper at his exuberant best!
Our irreplaceable Fiction Editor Joey Cruse has included an essay (Fiction # 1) on the ‘The Word’ which is too bizarre because the topic of the Welcome is ‘The Word’ and it just so happens through some extreme prestidigitation of a wormhole out there in hyper-space that Gerry Wilson who writes The Philosopher’s Corner byline in Joey Scarfone’s Midnight Fiction column also chose ‘The Word’ as his topic!! Like this is so out of control crazy because NONE of us had any precognition of what the other was writing!!! Sure, great minds think alike, but do they replicate???
FOTD alumnus author David Earl Williams (Issue 11: Poetry # 5) will publish his poetry chapbook Everybody Lives Here One Night at a Time with Wet Cement this October. Congratulations, David! Hezekiah was so fired up for him when he heard the news that he actually took time off from his testosterone injections (!) to write…
"... The man is flawlessly, faultlessly, pure Zen-Zane... as buggy as a shopping cart in every Bestway... "
Poetry Editor, Hezekiah, Fleas On the Dog …
…which will appear as a blurb on the cover! Rock on, dudes!
A word about ‘Five Stars’ (a designation you’ll find under the WHY I LIKE IT intro note) since we’ve been asked on more than one occasion by more than one head scratcher. It’s just a little discretionary perk we give to the author for what we believe to be standout work and to impress upon the reader the high quality of the writing he/she/it/they is about to read. But it’s not a ranking system. There is no 4, 3, 2, or 1 stars. All of which means if you didn’t get a fiver don’t come crying to us, Argentina. We receive an average of 250 + submissions per issue so if you even made it into FOTD, you’re an author of consequence, at least in our eyes. Capite?
We’re just 11 crazy bruhs who love the language and fall on our knees at the sound of beautiful words in all their glorious reach and transforming 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 we give you Issue 14, lean and luscious, raunchy, mean and precious! And until we meet again in Issue 15 always spread the love and remember: READ is the best four-letter word in the world.
La vita e’ breve; bisogna godersela!
Thanks for reading.
Tom, Charles, Sal, Joey C., Hezekiah, John, Ezra, Joey S., Wade, 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 FIVE poems any style. Poems beyond that number will not be read.
Plays: Any style up to five acts. Screenplays: any subject, any length.
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
Submissions are now open for Issue #15, fiction and poetry. Runs Nov. 1-30. Note that drama submissions are now temporarily closed! There is no submission fee. There is no remuneration for work we publish, either, but what the heck, you're going to be famous! Owing to the volume of submissions we receive we will only contact those authors we have selected for publication. If you do not hear from us at the time the new issue is featured consider your submission declined. We'll get back to you in about 30 days, usually sooner. (Why should it take months?)
Fiction: 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, 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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