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.
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.
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 8 MARCH 2021
EXTRA! EXTRA! This just in! Feb 23/21.We are saddened to announce that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, publisher of Ginsberg’s Howl and eminence grace of the iconic City Lights Book Store, died in his home in San Fran today at age 101. To him, we owe our love of Kerouac, Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Gregory Corso and other fiery minds of the Beat generation—one of the strongest and most impactful movements in American literature. Quote: Poetry must be capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic’ …And so in America, when the sun goes down…we think of old Lawrence, we think of Ferlinghetti, we think of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the father we always had. R.I.P.
‘Write a sentence as clean as a bone.’ James Baldwin
“Once you go meta, you can never go back.” Hezekiah Scretch to Nick North in conversation.
‘The only great Jungian novels were written by people who were hardly aware of Jung or even like James Joyce, despised him. The consciousness of being Jungian produces irritating books (The Magus, Robertson Davies etc.) Larry Smith in ‘Fond du Lac’ from Floodlands.
‘The Earth is round. I intend to prove it flat!’ Tom Ball to no one in particular since everyone bolted the orgy after he started speaking.
This issue is dedicated to 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 , Loujain Alhathloul, Raif bin Muhammad Badawi and Alexei Navalny. Veritas Triumpharet.
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.)
November is money month when it comes to literary awards in Canada. And we’re not talking small change. $15k if you win the Governor General’s Award (and the chance to rub elbows with the Queen’s go for) and a whopping $100K if you take the Scotiabank Giller Prize—Canada’s richest—with 10K for each of the four runners up. But after the champagne flutes are drained, the rented tux’s returned and the losers have been booked into therapy, just what kind of literature have we honoured?
Taking the Giller as our clay pigeon, Tom and Charles, believe it or not, bought the nominated books by the five contending authors.—3 novels and 2 short story collections (names redacted to protect the innocent from lawsuits or having our reputations besmirched on washroom walls)—and goaded by press release drivel and neat sounding citations like ‘achingly beautiful prose’ and ‘language as unsparing as winter’ (huh?)—we couldn’t wait to dive in. But wait! There’s no water in that there pool! Instead of writing that cuts to the bone we were ‘treated’ to ‘designer’ fiction. Five fucken times. The books these authors write (and we think most of them know it) are targeted to an elitist pseudo- intellectual mini-mob of chardonnay gulpers and brie munchers (read minority). They are the ‘must reads’ of the season, the book club choices, the five star reviews and you just ain’t keepin’ up with the circle jerk, Jack, if you don’t read them or at least pretend to have read them. They are fanatical in their political correctness (no cultural appropriation here!) and predictably take on ‘heavy’ themes, detail ‘dark’ truths and fling yet again that wearisome (at least here in Canada) done like dinner cliché of ‘the immigrant experience’ or ‘the trans experience’ upon a gloating audience of neuron numb autofellators. There is nothing wrong with these topics per se. In fact, under the right pen, each of them offers boundless possibilities. The problem comes down to the writing itself. Instead of ‘achingly beautiful prose’, we found much of it to be over-crafted, over edited, anal retentive and under fed. What’s missing is what needs to be there. Blood, dirt, fire and energy—the ‘barbaric yawp’ that trumpets authentic voice, the authorial signature that can only be wrested from the depths where mingle intuition and hard won experience. With one exception, all the nominees demonstrated a curious similarity of mannered prose style, such that in a couple of cases you could even switch the names on the covers and not notice much difference. Make no mistake: this isn’t where exciting fiction is happening. Scratch any of these books and all you get is acqua morta. But who cares? It’s 100K stuff and these authors are the season’s celebutants. Then again, why should we care? Seriously. If a bank likes your fiction you’re dead in the water as a writer. And you can take that to the bank.
We’d like to say a special thanks to Anne Scott for her generous donation. Her late husband Bob’s poetry appears in this issue. His poetry was unpublished during his lifetime but he was a stellar talent who should not be missed. We welcome the opportunity to honour him. So thank you again, Anne!
The kool kemikal headers in this issue were specially designed by Neo-Beat Teek Tawk artist Wade Springer. Bruh, you avante-d the garde!!! We salute you from the depths with our darkest thanks.
Editors' Note: Sarah Colon's poem 'We Used to Walk a Mile to School in the Snow' was originally published by poetryandcovid.com Nov. 11, 2020. It is republished in this issue.
A word about ‘5 stars’ (or cinque stelle as Charles keeps hounding us), 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 300+ submissions per issue so if you made it into FOTD, you’re an author of consequence, at least in our eyes. Capite?
We’re just five rad dudes and one cool 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 we give you Issue 8. As mature as fine wine, as incendiary as Spanish fly. And until we meet again in Issue 9, always remember to spread the LOVE and STAY SAFE, or, as we say here in kool Canada, the true north strong and Flea, “Stay safe, eh!”
Tom, Charles, 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. If you have been published by us please do not resubmit for six months unless solicited. 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.
Unit 101, 500 Westmount Rd. W., Kitchener, ON N2M 5M9, CANADA