Did you know this day existed? I didn’t, until we started planning our 8th Anniversary Anthology, No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book. It doesn’t seem to be very well celebrated, so let’s get on with making it spectacular!
To celebrate, here is the (draft) introduction to that book, which will be out on the 8th August 2020.
Eight years ago, when I started Arachne Press, I was searching for a suitable name, and came up with a short-list of five – I wanted something that felt like it had some history, and a strong female statement of intent. I sent that list of five to everyone I knew who had anything to do with publishing – authors, creative writing tutors, librarians, publishers, printers… opinion was fairly evenly divided, but then someone came back saying anything but Arachne because I hate spiders and other people who hate spiders won’t buy the books; and I thought Really? Really?? and being of a contrary nature, that made my mind up for me. Arachne was on the list in the first place because we wanted out website to be integral, and because as I writer myself I often use spinning and weaving as a metaphor in my writing and as a metaphor for writing; and because one of my very first published stories, was Arachne’s Daughters, a lecture given by a spider (probably in semaphore) at an archive meeting of the Arachno-Lesbian league, thirteen years after the revolution…
Fast forward seven years and watching the historic judgement of the Supreme Court in rejecting the legality of the prorogation of Parliament, I was entranced by Lady Hale’s spider brooch, and texted my partner, who as outside the court, It’s going to be alright, she’s wearing a spider. A completely illogical response, but as I turned off the TV and went back to my desk I thought, Time for a spider anthology, and Oh! It’s our eighth anniversary next August! (I’ve been wearing a spider brooch most days since, and have several!)
I really was not expecting many stories or poems, (I think subconsciously I’ve always believed that nay-sayer) and was resigned to publishing a slim volume of eight poems and eight stories, and possibly republishing Arachne’s Daughters, but no! This was the biggest response we’ve ever had to a call out, despite my strictures to avoid horror, and that no spider should die; except, perhaps, heroically.
So thank you to all those writers who upheld my faith in human nature, and thank you to Lady Hale for inadvertantly giving me the nudge to celebrate spiders properly.