David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘art’

Things I like: the end of the world

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 5:21 am

In my comfortable childhood, how I longed for nuclear war(1).  My friends and I, we were prepared.  We didn’t have a bomb shelter, but we would make one in “The Darkies” (2) at fairly short notice.  We didn’t have supplies, but we knew where to get them, at the very last minute.  I convinced my mother to buy me “The Nuclear Survival Handbook” for Christmas.  I was set.  Far from the main action, we would not do too badly in Australia (I hadn’t read “On The Beach” at that stage).

What was the attraction?  I do not think that we were drawn to a life of hardship – die Hitler Jugend would not have found many willing recruits where I lived. (In primary school there had been a boy who wore lederhosen.  His name was Peter the German kid.  We could tell by his pants.  Apparently he could not be beaten in a fight, and so I was distraught when I heard that my little brother was in the wash sheds having a fight with him.  Turned out his invincibility was overrated.  Turned out too that he was Czech, and his family were some kind of refugees from behind the Iron Curtain.  Don’t press me on the details.)  A bit of it was the same attraction of gnosticism and cults – we know what is going to happen, and only we will be able to deal with it, with our insider knowledge.  Most of it was movies.  Adventure!  No authority!  We would be in charge of the crumbling ruins.  We even knew what to do if Russia invaded.  You just had to kill one soldier, then you had his gun, and could use that to kill a bunch of other soldiers, until they were all beaten and you had all the guns.  Hey, they won’t shoot us first, we’re just kids.

This was all stuffed by nuclear winter.  Instead of fighting psychic mutants and talking apes and riding on a horse with bikini clad Nova, at best we’d be wearing rags and pushing  a shopping cart through the Rockies and avoiding sand-shoed cannibal armies.  Not fun at all.  I went to university and attended Hiroshima Day marches and stopped nuclear war.(3)

 

READ MORE

 

Advertisements

Things I like: Here

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 4:44 am

I feel a great sense of gratitude that the great conspiracy that is life and the universe unfolded in a way this week that I was able to see David Byrne perform in concert in Sydney. I saw Talking Heads perform at Narara ’84 as part of the Stop Making Sense tour, and it was one of the great performances of my life. Kids, work, money, fatigue, all those things often convince me or lead me not to make the effort to see something or to venture out, but something deep inside told me to book the tickets and go. I won’t pretend that I had been a big follower of Byrne post Talking Heads, so I did not know all of the songs that he would perform. There was a niggling, oh, what if you don’t like them. I joke with my kids that I don’t like / want new things, that there was enough music made before 1990 that they can just stop now. Yet part of my love for Talking Heads was that they kept making new stuff, kept challenging me with their moves and changes. When I buy my concert ticket, I want to know that I am going to enjoy the thing because I already know and enjoy the songs. Part of the endless circle of thoughts going round and round. Well, for once, those thoughts were quietened. The inner chatter was stilled. The concert opened with a song that I did not know, and it blew me away. Byrne alone with a brain in his hand. Through the first four songs – Here, Lazy, (neither of which were familiar to me) I, Zimbra, and Slippery People, tears of happiness ran down my face. I can’t do reviews, but I will share that feeling with you. It was that good. That was Tuesday evening, and now it is Sunday afternoon, and I am still on a high. The concert, the performance, the untethered band, the energy and dynamism, it blew this old man away. Absolutely loved it. What a great joy. Thank you.

 

Things I like: Death

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 4:28 am

“You will be free; you will die and be reborn. I will guide you to what you want, and to what is fit and proper for you. Tell me what it is.”

“You don’t want me to kill the others …”.

The Intercessor inclined his head in a nod. “It is for each of them to decide. You may decide only for yourself.”

“I’d like to be a desert plant,” Seth Morley said. “That could see the sun all day. I want to be growing. Perhaps a cactus on some warm world. Where no one will bother me.”

“Agree.”

“And sleep,” Seth Morley said. “I want to be asleep but still aware of the sun and of myself.”

“That is the way with plants,” the Intercessor said. “They sleep. And yet they know themselves to exist. Very well.”

He held out his hand to Seth Morley. “Come along.”

Reaching, Seth Morley touched the Intercessor’s extended hand. Strong fingers closed around his own hand. He felt happy. He had never before been so glad.

“You will live and sleep for a thousand years,” the Intercessor said, and guided him away from where he stood, into the stars.

 

A Maze of Death, Philip K Dick

Me me me me me me me me me

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2018 at 9:43 am

I have strong views about many, many things. I do not express them here. But I do speak a little bit about vampire novels and perfectionism and being true to one’s self in writing even if that means you write weird little stories about a man recovering from living in a lizard, or the unknown true story of Lawrence of Arabia, or why Grandma has strange rituals about opening up her car, over here in an interview with the very kind folk at Breach magazine.  It is the most fascinating thing you will read about me all year (unless of course I get my rocket car to work very soon, then you should read about that instead).

Baby, cold outside

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2018 at 10:05 am

Dear Reader, the latest edition of BREACH magazine, featuring Australian and New Zealand writers, is available for your reading pleasure. The former group includes yours truly, with my contribution being a weird tale, “Baby, cold outside”. If you are cold outside, what do you want more than anything, baby?

I wrote the first draft of this story last year, during breaks on a work conference to Krakow. The next day, we travelled to Auschwitz. The story is not about the Holocaust or Nazis, but perhaps it was informed by the strange mood I was in.

Breach #8 is available for $2 USD here and here.

Breach #08

Flip a coin

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2018 at 3:09 am

It is quite possible you can learn something from feedback accompanying a rejection. I’m sure someone has. A recent rejection of a story of mine was accompanied by feedback from two of the slush readers for the magazine:

“… really strong narrative voice and prose control.  …  it’s all developed and described quite well”

and

“This piece is unfocused and almost stream of consciousness and difficult to get a sense of what it’s about”

Guess what I learned?  Flip a coin.

 

Its a miracle …

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2018 at 2:21 am

You can check out my latest published story, “Miracle cure”, at Liquid Imagination – just click on the link.

(Sitting at home just now with my new friend, Gastroenteritis, but I’ll put up with the illness in preference to a miracle cure like this one … stomach, I have cared for you so well all these years, and this is how you betray me?)

Breach

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

Very happy that my weird story “Baby, cold outside”, has found a home in Breach magazine, and will appear in Breach #08 in August. More details to follow …

… meanwhile, while you are waiting, you can read (or listen to) my latest published story, “The gods of the gaps”, here at Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine.

… we have to be careful of our own disposition to irony. There is tradition, even for scientists. Spilled blood pays strange bills, and we have our fingers in so very many pies…

I did not win an award

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

There, that’s a blunt factual title!

My story, The Big Reveal, did NOT win the 2017 Australian Shadows Award for short fiction. Congratulations to the winner, Matthew J Morrison for his story The Banksia Boys (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #66).

Nonetheless, feel free to click on the link to read my story which appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of Kaleidotrope, edited and published by Fred Coppersmith. I still like the opening (self-praise is no recommendation, as Mrs Carver used to say, the teacher who told me there was no Santa):

When he heard the cracking before the lights had even been doused — a noise he would later realize was the sound of small facial bones breaking — when he looked up and saw the man’s face turning into someone else’s, the boy stopped paying attention to the stuffed horse he had been pulling hair from all afternoon.

Or of course, you can read something else … like The gods of the gaps, in the latest 3LBE

(So many links. Somehow, I think there would have been less shameless self-promotion here if I had won… 🙂 )

It was excellent to have been nominated.

Sorry Fred …. Kaleidotrope … Mum … I let you all down … 😦

I think I am not getting the tone right, too many inconsistencies. Well, here is something that always cheers me up:

Serial Killer Blues

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2018 at 5:41 pm

The latest edition of The Literary Hatchet, is available now, just click here for details.

Which reminds me, you can read my own contribution to The Literary Hatchet, Serial Killer Blues, for free – just click here, fill out the form, and a PDF of volume 14 will be sent to you. You can also buy hard copies at Amazon if you are so inclined.