Before I ran Arachne Press, I did many things, including, for quite a while, a job I hated. While in that job, I had as my screensaver/lock/background the words
Tymes Goe By Turnes, and Chaunces Chang by Course
I felt better every time I saw them.
Looking back, it’s pretty obvious I should have left the job, rather than comfort myself with the fact that something else would cause a change. It’s also pretty obvious I had depression, which is why I couldn’t make the change for myself, and partly why I hated the job, to be entirely fair to my then employer.
The lines are from Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595), who had plenty to be worried and unhappy about. Look him up if you want to feel better about your current situation by comparison, if that’s not the sort of comfort that moves you, (me neither) read the poem, which is at the end of this post; it’ll work better, promise. (There is a bit of God in it, I don’t subscribe but RS did, and it doesn’t spoil the poem for me).
WHY am I sharing this poem with you?
Because I really should be planning this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, but I don’t know if it will go ahead.
Because Covid-19 might still be preventing us (hope not, it is the end of December!). Because Arts Council is in emergency funding mode and may not want to know about funding it.
Because if either of these, where and how can we be true to the basic live-ness of Solstice Shorts?
Anyway, I am a planner by nature, so I will plan the bits I can, and wait to see what chances change by which courses.
We always have a time theme, so here it is.
WRITERS/MUSICIANS I keep seeing on Facer and Twitbook that in the absence of paid work, you are knuckling down to projects and upping your rejection rates, so here’s another one for you.
Write a story or poem or song that responds or reacts or is inspired by the poem Tymes goe by Turns, or some concept in it. (also open to musical settings of the actual poem – I think there is at least one already.
We want enormous change, finding balance, release… just leave God out of it, ok? Solstice Shorts has a pagan undertow because of the day we hold it, and personally I’m a heathen, so any overtly godly piece will be automatically excluded. (21st December, shortest day of the year, winter solstice.)
If the worst happens and we can’t hold the festival this year (though we are incredibly ingenious) we will just put it off to 2021, and have the book ready to launch at the festival. It’ll be fine. We’ll work it out, but please be prepared for the possibility of a twelve month delay.
Here’s the poem, and audio of the lovely Math Jones reading it for us as a special favour
The lopped tree in tyme may grow agayne;
Most naked plants renew both frute and floure;
The soriest wight may find release of payne,
The dryest soyle suck in some moystning shoure;
Tymes go by turnes and chaunces chang by course,
From foule to fayre, from better happ to worse.
The sea of Fortune doth not ever floe,
She drawes her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tyde hath equall tymes to come and goe,
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest webb;
No joy so great but runneth to an ende,
No happ so harde but may in fine amende.
Not allwayes fall of leafe nor ever spring,
No endless night yet not eternall daye;
The saddest birdes a season find to singe,
The roughest storme a calm may soone alaye;
Thus with succeding turnes God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise yet feare to fall.
A chaunce may wynne that by mischance was lost;
The nett that houldes no greate, takes little fish;
In some thinges all, in all thinges none are croste,
Fewe all they neede, but none have all they wishe;
Unmedled joyes here no man befall,
Who least hath some, who most hath never all.
August 2020 (eighth month) is Arachne Press’s eighth anniversary. We are preparing an eight-legged arachnid inspired anthology.
Stories and Poems featuring spiders.
I’m going to make it difficult for you – NO spiders to be killed (except possibly whilst heroically defending…) This is not a venue for spiderhaters to vent their angst.
Meet Mildred, currently resident in the garden of Arachne Towers
Think Charlotte’s Web or Leese Webster for adults, Spider as hero, not spider as villan.
Stories: shorter the better, but for something exceptional we’d push the boat out. ABSOLUTE max @3-4000 words.
Poems: whatever works for you. Eight lines? Sixty four lines? Concrete poems? Invent a new arachnid form!
Yes, if you want to play around with the eight idea, we’re open to playing along, especially in poems.
Genres: Spider fantasy, spider whodunnit, spider romance, spiders in space (why not?) Open to most things with the exception of the following: Avoid twee, please. NO EROTICA. NO HORROR. NO GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE NO SEXISM, RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA… you know the drill. We mean it, so just don’t do it. We’ll put you on a list if you do, and send the spiders to get you.
Reprints: We much prefer original work, but will consider magazine reprints. If it’s in a book, then no, unless it’s out of print and you retain the copyright. So check first, and make it clear it is a reprint and where it was before, and when.
Here’s Marika Josef reading her poem, Still No Name from last year’s Solstice Shorts Anthology, Noon. As you can see, there is a book, and there are events, nearly six months after the festival. It’s not just about the shortest day of the year.
If you haven’t already sent us something there are only days left to submit… 21st June 23:59 BST.
MAX 2000 words, and make sure it’s to theme. (Time and Tide – historical, set by the sea, strong female characters)
Shuffle over to Submittable to get all the gen. You too might be reading in a brewery come this time next year.
We are looking for an historical slant on life on, or by, the sea. and don’t forget that Time and Tide was the name of the Suffragette magazine, so we want to be overwhelmed by how cleverly you weave that in to your work. submit here
2000 words max no minimum. stories and poems.
Songs (original to the performer or traditional only) and poem films (film poems?) max five mins.
We want unusual voices, and we about diversity, so tell all your friends to get writing too, we need a lot of material, so don’t keep it to yourselves. submit here
We have sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Portugal. I know. Overseas. If you are a musician you need to be near one of the sites, everyone else, anywhere in the world.
Now in its 6th Year, Solstice Shorts Festival is once again being held on 21st December – and this year it’s a weekend, so we’ll be looking to fill an entire day (or at least noon to dusk) with short stories, poems and song.
It’s always about time – in the past we’ve done, Longest Night, Shortest Day, Dusk, Noon and just ‘Time’; but this year we are looking back, and picking up on a suggestion from the feedback from the very first festival.
This year our theme is
TIME and TIDE
We are looking for organisers and venues in port cities and towns – either on coasts or on tidal rivers. We already have organisers in London, Holyhead, Glasgow, Maryport, Hastings and Aberdeen and in a dart into the international market, Lisbon, Portugal – let’s see how far we can take the festival this year. [Don’t be shy – it doesn’t need to be a huge complicated thing – if the idea excites you, get in touch and we’ll talk you through it. Nor do you have to keep going all day!]
We are looking for stories poems (including poem films/ film poems) and songs of making a living on or beside the water, and making new lives over the water so a particular interest in immigration, emigration, diaspora. We would like everything to have an historical slant (though that can be fairly recent history). There is a risk that this could develop a decidedly male voice so we would also like to pick up on the use of Time and Tide [wait for no man] as the title of the Suffragette magazine in the UK, and want to see lots of strong female characters and voices. We also want to see lots of strong BAME characters and voices, so spread the word to your female and BAME writing friends.
Your story/poem/song will be performed live by an actor (or you) at the festival – possibly on multiple sites. We try to live stream to Facebook (technology permitting). Subsequent publication in the anthology with royalties paid (this may include the lyrics of songs if appropriate.)
Maximum 2000 words regardless of fiction/poetry. Songs / films maximum 5 mins
Closing date 21st June 2019
Songs can be traditional or original, and in any language, provided you send us an English translation so we can tell if it’s appropriate, and need to be performed by their proposer/writer (unless you have someone who can do it for you), so songwriters/musicians need to be able to attend one of the venues.
Story/Poem writers can be from anywhere but your story must be in English or BSL.
We will only accept non-English works if they are linked to a confirmed venue, so hold fire on those until we’ve tied up that side of things, and they must beaccompanied by an English translation. Deaf writers can submit a video, blind writers can submit audio files.
No horror/erotica/gratuitous or sexual violence. We mean it, don’t send it.
This year’s Solstice Shorts Festival (21st December 2018) will again be a multi-site affair, and again will last only 45 minutes. But this time will happen at exactly the same time – Noon.
At the moment we are looking at events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Ynys Mon (Anglesey), and London.
We are looking for SHORT stories no more than 1000 words, shorter is better, (think flash not vignette – something needs to happen!) and poems, also short – up to 40 lines, in English, Welsh or Scots/Gaelic (with a translation please!) On the Theme of Noon – deadlines, midday meals, heat and light – whatever it means to you (We are strict though- afternoon is not noon!) These works are for performance. Other sites may be added.
We are starting this process with no funding, but hope we may have some in time to allow us to pay actors to perform, but if not, we’ll need you to be able to get to one of these sites to read.
Celebrate the shortest day of the year by sending us a story or poem on the theme of NOON.
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 7TH OCTOBER!
A pamphlet (or a very slender book!) of the stories and poems chosen for performance will be produced. Royalties will be paid, together with at least one copy of the book to each successful writer.
Writers who are successful in being included in a performance/ anthology are subsequently invited to submit a collection/novel for consideration.
submission via Submittable only (this is so we don’t lose your submission, and so multiple people can review your work as simply as possible.)
A note from our friends at University of Greenwich
Story Cities – a call for flash fictions
‘The city is redundant: it repeats itself so that something will stick in the mind . . .
Memory is redundant: it repeats signs so that the city can begin to exist’
– Marco Polo to Kublai Khan in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities
In Calvino’s masterful work, Marco Polo explores images of distant cities where time, space, objects and individuals are presented in visions. Each description is filled with varying degrees of enchantment, absurdity, impossibility and allure.
The weaving of these accounts questions what is real and unreal; recollections of disparate lands invoke the realisation that perhaps all reveal a single place so that:
‘the more one was lost in unfamiliar quarters of distant cities, the more one understood the other cities he had crossed to arrive there’ (Calvino).
The city is a place where populations meet and strangers pass one another. Where stories are created, told, remembered and discarded. One city connects us to the memory or spirit of another; repeating rituals and behaviours which provide spectacle for the tourist
and uniformity for the global citizen. As we move within the city we operate within the systems that transport us, the signs that guide us, the encounters that confront us and the thoughts which carry us.
Brief – call for submissions
This brief invites submissions for new short works of fiction in any genre that address the theme of the city. It asks you to explore the journeys we take; the situations we encounter and interact with; the dialogues and connections we make – in order to highlight universally shared experiences and understandings of the city and / or imagine them
Working under one (per story) of the following themes:
the Market, Square, Café, Hotel, Park, Station and Port, Main Street, Side Street, Crossroads, On the train, On the bus / tram – writers are asked to create narratives that speak of / to / through the city.
Story Cities is a collaborative research project initiated by lecturers at the University of Greenwich, London Rosamund Davies, Senior Lecturer in Media and Creative Writing and Kam Rehal, Senior Lecturer in Graphic and Digital Design. It explores ways in which
stories might respond to, reference, reflect and reimagine the city. Selected works will be published in a physical book that readers can carry into cities – to experience the city through stories. Acting as guides, companions and tools for reflection, we hope that the stories can encourage the reader to experience the city differently.
You are invited to participate in this project by submitting new short works of fiction in any genre that address the theme of the city.
There are a set of guidelines that we ask contributors to work with:
1. All contributors must be aged 18 and over
2. Each story can be between 1–500 words in length (no longer), excluding title
3. Up to 3 stories may be submitted by each contributor
4. Names of specific places must not be used – nor should characters be given names. Your story should be written so that it works in any city
5. All submissions must be works of fiction and the author’s own work, unpublished and in English. If this work is under consideration elsewhere you must inform us immediately if it is accepted
6. All work must be submitted with author’s name and a contact email – please do not supply any additional contact details at this stage
7. All work must be submitted by the named author and he/she must hold rights to the material
8. All contributors must sign and complete the consent form and submit this with
9. There will be no monetary reward for inclusion in the publication but a copy of the book will be presented to each contributor. Copyright will be retained by the author, with licence for exclusive publication for a to-be-agreed period not exceeding one year.
Once we have received and considered all submissions we will edit an initial selection of stories for publication.
If you have any questions please contact:
Kam Rehal and Rosamund Davies at the University of Greenwich on: StoryCities@gre.ac.uk +44(0)20 8331 9013
SUBMIT TO StoryCities@gre.ac.uk Deadline for submissions: 16/09/2018
Call out for stories and poems for an anthology celebrating the centenary of the end of WWI. Publication planned for Nov 2018.
Provisional Title An Outbreak of Peace.
Two free copies of the anthology, and royalties @ 8% divided between all the contributors. e-book royalties @25% of net divided between all contributors.
Open to everyone – unpublished and in English please.
Stories: around 2000 words but anything between 1000 and 2500 accepted.
Poems up to 1000 words.
How you respond to this theme is up to you, and it doesn’t need to be specific to WWI, but we find nothing to celebrate in war, and want a good balance for the book between appropriate commemoration of the dead, relief that it’s over and hope for the future.