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What to do when things get busy?  Well, ramp things up and get crazy-busy of course.

Not satisfied with all the things I currently have going in my life, over the last few months I’ve been collaborating with Melbourne writer Alec Patric on something we both hope will be pretty bloody special – an on-line creative arts/literary journal.  Whilst format-wise there are still a few things to iron out we’re throwing caution to the wind and as of today getting it out there.  We’re planting a seed, and seeing what takes hold.

The name of this something pretty bloody special?  Drum-roll please.

Verity La.

It’s named after a hidden back-alley in the small Australian city where the journal was born.  We’re looking for the truth, and reality, and actuality, whatever these things mean.

We’re publishing short fiction and poetry, cultural comment, photomedia, and review.  What’s the point of difference?  Bravery.  Yes, bravery.  Courage, daring, pluck and nerve are all essential in the Verity La neck of the woods.  We’ve produced a place for creative risk-taking, freedom, and – above all else – being no one but yourself.

We’re interested in new voices, different voices, progressive voices; we like writing that gets you in the head as well as the gut, that has a point, that isn’t afraid.  Whether it’s fiction, poetry, comment or review, we want high-quality text, and by ‘high-quality’ we mean thoughtfully composed, a focus on words, words with impact.

Verity La publishes in the following streams:

  • ‘Lies To Live By’: Short fiction to 1,000 words.
  • ‘Heightened Talk”: Poetry with gumption.  Alec has kicked things off with a blistering poem called ‘What We’ve Done’.  Do have a read – it’s here.
  • ‘VL’: Cultural comment to 1,500 words.
  • ‘More Than Opinion’: Reviews of literature and contemporary music to 500 words.   Principles for submissions of reviews: accuracy, respect, truth.  We’re looking for high-quality text, hence the whole ‘more than opinion’ thing.
  • ‘Catching Light’: stills only.  Hint: Polaroid pics are particularly hot property on Verity La.
  • ‘The Melbourne Review Interviews’: interviews with writers and other artists.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

So…charge your glasses and join us in sending Verity La into the world!

‘When Death Comes’

by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

***

Many thanks to regular Flutter commentor Nana Jo for pointing me in the direction of Mary Oliver and ‘When Death Comes’.

Born Sept. 10, 1935, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., Mary Oliver is an American poet whose work reflects a deep communion with the natural world.  Oliver attended Ohio State University and Vassar College but did not earn a degree.  Her volume American Primitive (1983), which won a Pulitzer Prize, glorifies the natural world, reflecting the American fascination with the ideal of the pastoral life as it was first expressed by Henry David Thoreau.

In other words, a bit of a legend.

(Source: britannica.com)

‘One day I will die.  One day I will not wake up to the smell of my partner bringing my morning mug of strong coffee up the stairs.  One day I will be dust.  But I have learnt the truly hard way that the passion I must cling to and ardently believe in is plain gusto.  To respectfully paraphrase [Agatha] Christie – whose books were wonderful comfort and company when I was on chemo – how lovely to be fifty-four years old and greedy!’  From On Passion, by the much-loved poet Dorothy Porter (1954-2008).

I’m a fair way off 54, but I’m greedy too.  For great stories (like those contained in this book), for great music (Frightened Rabbit is doing it for me at the moment), for great food, for great places, for great company, which I’m lucky to have.

I’m greedy for as much life as my trusty little ticker can handle.

I’m greedy for fucking gusto.

But best to give the last word to the poetry wizard, another quote from the delicious read that is On Passion.  ‘One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is an azure kingfisher fishing in a mangrove swamp near my family home in Pittwater, Sydney.  I was paddling a canoe down a creek in a rare meditative silence (one of the joys of canoeing), when there was a flash of orange/blue, like a jewelled dart suddenly spearing into the water.  And as Gerard Manley Hopkins so exquisitely says, I watched a kingfisher ‘catch fire’.  In the same sonnet, Hopkins proclaims the unique wonder of ‘each mortal thing’: ‘What I do is me: for that I came.’

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