TOM BALL, Cofounder & Senior Editor (email@example.com)
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 (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...
JOEY CRUSE, Fiction Editor (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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?
JOHN SULLIVAN, 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 12 SEPTEMBER 2022
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 (HongKong), Loujain Alhathloul, Raif bin Muhammad Badawi and Jamal Kashoggi (Saudi Arabia), Alexei Navalny (Russia) and Roman Protasevich (Belarus), Vlad Buryak, 17 Ukrainian POW, Ivan Safronov dissident journalist jailed 22 yrs (Russia) and Mahsa Amini who died in police custody for not wearing a hijab. (Iran)
Vox tacet refrenata. Ueritas libera voce.
THERE ARE MONSTERS AMONG US
We get told up to our eyeballs about how to write—crap like narrative arc, voice, POV, even grammar for gosh sakes! And while craft is always important and necessary it’s only half the story. The other 50% belongs to 2 words: conscience and courage. All the greatest writers, the superstars of literature—who reach down and touch the very source of our being, who awaken us—are ‘persons of conscience’. That means looking around you, looking at what’s happening to our species on the planet (and the planet itself!) and flinching from none of it—the horror, the bloodshed, the atrocities, the love of slaughter, the indifference to truth, the pillage of compassion, the plunder of common sense and the impatience with tolerance. It’s not the best place in which to find yourself. But it is here, and only here, that the great writer comes to self-realization. What that means—and it’s the same in every age—is pushing back against predacious tyrannies, giving oppressive governments the finger (which in some places can get you killed) and bawling your eyes out because you just watched some swamp spat Russian anencephalic bag of smegma castrate a Ukrainian POW with a box cutter (!!!) on a news video! All of this seething anger, all of this out of control lust for liberty you set down—with craft in one hand and conscience in the other, you let something deeper than both write the story. You untie the gag around Truth’s mouth and you let the Noblest Virtue speak. You publish writing that gets under the skin. And in so doing you lay, not just your art, but your life on the line. This is something they don’t teach you in Creative Writing 101—but ask Salman Rushdie if it can get you stabbed in the neck. Ask Elizabeth Smart if it means losing your entire family, inheritance and social standing because you wrote a novel called By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. Ask Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 1000 lashes and a decade in prison because his pen refused to write poison. But while it is conscience that urges us to write the story, it is courage that teaches us to rise, steadfastly stand and thrust it upon the world. And as writers of conscience, stand we must. The ‘word’ is our crucible. In the beginning was the ‘word’. ‘Word’ without end. Everlasting ‘word’. Holy ‘word’ (Ginsburg).The pen is mightier than the missile. Remember to weaponize.
I still believe that the unexamined life is not worth living: and I know that self-delusion, in the service of no matter what small or lofty cause, is a price no writer can afford. His subject is himself and the world and it requires every ounce of stamina he can summon to attempt to look on himself and the world as they are. James Baldwin-from the introduction to Nobody Knows My Name
“…the falsehood which exults us is dearer to us than a thousand truths.” Alexander Pushkin
Ring the bells that still can ring./ Forget your perfect offering./ There is a crack in everything./ That’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen ‘Anthem’
A picture’s worth a thousand words but the right word is worth a thousand pictures. Anonymous
There is to be no mention of that which was to have conquered the world, and after the world, death. Not one of all those martyrs nailed to every tree in the western hemisphere will find favor in the editor’s measuring eye. On the amusement page, to fill up space, one inch and a half, perhaps, of those who were forced to die. Butter is up ten cents. The human being is down. Elizabeth Smart. ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
David Foster Wallace- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life (2009)
“You've all seen pictures of the Earth taken from space. Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, Earth shimmers green and blue in the sunlight and looks a very pleasant place to live. These pictures should remind us that the future of all life on Earth depends on how we behave towards one another, and how we treat the plants and the animals that share our world with us.” Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Christmas broadcast on Dec. 25, 1989
The Prophet was asked: Who should you honour and befriend most? Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) (salaa allah ealayh wasalam) (Peace be upon him) answered:“Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father.
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. 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.)
HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
This is the first issue in which John Sullivan dons the mantle of Drama Editor, so welcome again, John! By way of introducing himself, he has some thoughts and ideas he’d like to share. We’re all ears, bruh…
For the Playwrights:
All of the plays you’ll find in each issue of Fleas On The Dog are considered primarily as pieces of dramatic literature, living their lives, for the moment, strictly on the page. Some pieces are more or less finished, some will probably see additional revision but everyone involved the making theatre – especially playwrights and directors - know that a script is only the pretext for an embodied life on stage or film. And as theatre-making is a collective effort, scripts in production often go through a long revision process informed by directors, actors, technical theatre specialists, et al. Every bit of dialogue you’ve written, every cue, pause or note on stage logistics, and the minute details of your take on sets and lighting, as well as casting preferences, will be run through the sieve of multiple points of view and aesthetic perspectives – all in the service making your play as structurally solid and emotionally affecting as possible.
So why do I feel the need to reiterate things (truisms / platitudes) that are this obvious? Because being finished is an elusive goal and it’s vital that you never close your work off from the possibilities of yet another revision, or incorporating comments or suggestions from anyone whose intentions and acumen you trust. You never know when some of these observations might catalyze a seismic transformation and your play will just “burst into blossom.” And good luck to all of you in getting your opus up on its feet, on a live stage, before a live enthusiastic audience (stay away COVID, please), or safely in the can.
For playwrights whose work didn’t appear in FOTD: I’ve been declined a bunch myself (x 10n times, I reckon) and mostly without a word regarding why. I really do hate to continue this tradition but the time and perspective-shifting gymnastics involved in reading and synthesizing so many diverse submissions inveighs against that extra level of feedback courtesy. We receive vignettes, 5-10 minute plays, monologues, one acts, full-length plays and performance scripts for every issue and the differences in pacing, rhythm, structural characteristics, levels of complexity (usually a function of length), and artistic intentions really complicate the decision making process. And, of course, time – the ultimate parameter that “rounds our little lives” with the blaring of alarm clocks. All I can say is don’t be fazed, don’t give up: my (our) opinion, while informed and considered, is only my (our) opinion. Keep submitting – but do some research on where you may find your best shot. And you can always send us your revised version of the original or a completely new play.
GO WEST, YOUNG PRONOUN!
Also making his debut this issue is Joey Scarfone, our contributing editor who contributes from the wilds of Canada’s unaffordable housing capital, Victoria, British Columbia. For dudes who publish words we are lost for words when describing what you are in for when you read his ‘Midnight Fiction’ column. All we can say is you probably won’t be the same after emerging from it. Squatting under JS’s byline is our new resident Socrates, Gerald Wilson, who appears to have recovered from his hemlock hangover. You can find him ruminating in the ‘Philosopher’s Corner’.
Anyone familiar with this rag knows we publish a variety of genre in a variety of styles—from literary prize winners to emerging writers; from the arch-esoteric and experimental to mainstream humour. As long as the stuff rocks. We are similarly committed to introducing second language authors to a broader audience of English speaking readers. There are 6 in this issue: 3 in Fiction and 3 in Drama. In most cases translations will have been done by the author. That means there will inevitably be bumps and hitches along the way but unlike some grumpy Guss’s we don’t edit these out or correct them. We see it as part of the reading experience—a kind of literary wabi sabi, if you will. In the case of Chastity Belt (Fiction) we published both the English translation and the original Spanish. It’s HOTS! (Hands Off The Submissions!) in action. It is this clustering of talent—from here, from there, from everywhere, that results in a fitto misto diversity of voices and makes IOHO, FOTD an epic throb. Sei d’accordo?
We’re just eight crazy bros 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 12, a bittersweet treat in which to delve. And until we meet again in Issue 13 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, Joey C., Hezekiah, John, Joey S., 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 13 to be published February 2023. 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: 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.
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