You can now order my newly published short story, Indonesia Jazz, online through 34th Parallel Magazine, a literary mag out of California. It’s the story of a man and his love of jazz, narrated by a young woman who meets him on her way to New York.
34th Parallel Magazine did a beautiful job with the story and the digital treatment looks great. If I remember correctly from the proofs, it’s a six-page spread, which is pretty flattering in my opinion.
You can find the story here, complete with huge photos of me (a little embarrassing, and one photo got distorted somehow so I look like I have a skin disease, but oh well)! As I said, the mag did a really awesome treatment of the story.
I wrote Indonesia Jazz as an assignment for one of my classes in the Professional Writing program at MacEwan, which no longer exists. I think that was about 2009 or 2010. I got a great mark on the assignment, and then put the story away because I had schoolwork, jobs etc at the time.
Over the past few years, I’ve sent it to a few Canadian lit mags to see if they’d publish it but no one was interested. Literary mags are sometimes difficult. Publication is really a lot about luck, since it often depends on the other content they have and whether or not the story matches or complements somehow. It also depends on the quality of other submissions, which can change. If you are the best of the bunch, you are more likely to get published. But if it just so happens that you send in your work and some bigger name writers happen to feel like submitting a story, then you might be SOL. Anyway, I’m always excited when I get published in a mag, and this one was no exception. Even more exciting, I’ve now been published across Canada and the United States.
Below is an excerpt of the story, just to get you interested! Hope you enjoy.
Music sparkles off his clothes, drips like sweat from his black brow. It pours out of the gap in his front teeth. The crowd, mesmerized, hears the melody in the way he smiles, the way the light flashes from his teeth. They hear it in the way he lifts the saxophone to his lips, caressing it like a lover. His liquid black gaze pierces my own, and a grin twitches at one corner of his mouth.
A burnt-out jazz joint. The air is thick and hazy; twitching, convulsing, ablaze with Coltrane-Davis-Monk notes. He’s sitting up on stage on the edge of a stark stool (the well-loved and well-polished saxophone on his knee) scatting and joking with the crowd. The breathy, bosomy back-up girl adds a voluptuous ambiance. He raises his sax to his lips again and his jazzy sorrow jumps out at me and fills me up.
His was a poor upbringing, raining pain and sadness on the small boy who had nothing in his life but music. At first it was the choir music in his church; that beautiful full-lipped, full-hipped, full-bosomed gospel burst forth with enough force to shake Jesus down from the heavens, enough force to shake the seeds of music off the tree of life right into the dirt of his little soul, where they flourished and blossomed despite rocky ground.
I encourage you to purchase a copy of the magazine, either digital or print, or even both! Doing so will help supportive a literary magazine, which in turn supports little writers like myself. Without getting published in these lit mags, my chances of getting a book published are much less.
Anyways, hope you find a way to read the story. And please feel free to send me letters of appreciation, ha ha.