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    Thanks to 277 generous backers for our Interfictions Indiegogo Campaign, we raised $10,318 by the time our campaign ended at midnight, July 14th, 2014.  When we launched on June 3rd, we were staggered to find donations doubling almost daily, until after about 3 weeks we had reached our original target goal of $8,500, and were able to move on to our Stretch Goal of $10,000.

    Which means we not only get to publish Interfictions Online for another year, but we can pay our contributors at higher rates now, rates more in line with the effort and talent that innovation requires. Thank you, each and every one of the 277 generous donors who stepped forward to say that interstitial art is valued and valuable. The number of people is as important as the number of dollars raised. We are awed by your generosity.
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    INTERFICTIONS issue #3 is up online!

    The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal’s latest issue, on May 22, 2014!

    The Spring 2014 issue’s non-fiction offerings include Mark Craddock’s poignant collage in Aerial Acrobatics and Gender Reassignment Surgery – A How-To Guide, while Inda Lauryn’s Parallels and Transitions splices analysis of contemporary female vocalists into a graduate school memoir. Isabel Yap’s Life Is Not a Shoujo Manga speaks for itself. And in an interview with Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, the two creators discuss their illustrated guide to writing, Wonderbook.

    The fiction offerings remix tropes from ghosts to automata, with new work by Richard Butner, Su-Yee Lin, Kat Howard, Tade Thompson and S. Craig Renfroe Jr.

    Several of the poems in this issue reimagine older narratives: Sridala Swami’s AI Winter draws on the Mahabharata, Sonya Taaffe’s Double Business on Hamlet, and Mary Alexandra Agner’s Hypothesis Between Your Ribs on the brief life of Charles Darwin’s daughter.


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  • One, Two, Three, Shoot
    by Brian | March 24th, 2010 |
    Brian Francis Slattery and Drew Bunting

    I’ve told a few people that if I could write good music, even a good three-minute pop song, I wouldn’t write a word. It’s true: I’m a halfway decent musician, but I write books and stories because I’m a failure as a composer and songwriter. One of the people who helped me understand this was Drew Bunting, who I met when he and I were both 18. Even then, he was writing songs that I knew were better than any music I would ever write, and the feeling was liberating. I concentrated instead on being a good sideman, with the result that I’ve had the pleasure of staying in touch with Drew and playing music with him many times in the years since we graduated. And, of course, we’ve talked a bit about writing songs versus writing books, and the many things they – and our approach to them – have in common.

    We stumbled across a way to combine stories and songs, however, thanks to a mutual friend of ours. On Facebook, I was bloviating about the copyediting choices made in a New York Times headline, which read: “Bernanke Forecasts Long Period of Low Interest Rates.” “‘Bernanke Forecasts Long Period of Low Interest Rates’,” I wrote, “is kind of like saying ‘God Forecasts Tornadoes.’” Then our mutual friend, Amy Smith Muise, said a wonderful thing: “God Forecasts Tornadoes’ would be a good title in just about any genre.” She was absolutely right. So I emailed Drew to ask if he would write a song with that title. I would write a story. Then, we’d see what happened when we put them together. He was up for it, and when we put song and story side by side, we liked all the happy accidents we’d created – the story and song commented on each other, worked together, bounced off each other. It was fun. So we’ve decided we should do it on an ongoing basis, except with lots more audience participation: We’ve put what we’ve done on a blog – the first story-song, “God Forecasts Tornadoes,” and a second pairing, “Strategic Oblivion,” a title given to us by a friend of Drew’s – and invite people to grade our work, comment on it, and also suggest new titles we might work with.

    The blog is tentatively called “One, Two, Three, Shoot” (if you don’t like the name, we’re totally up for you suggesting another one). As we believe criticism should be a contact sport, we hope people will give us their honest opinions about what we’re doing – but more important, we hope more people will do similar things. Words and music belong together; we’re still just figuring out how.

    God Forecasts Tornadoes
    Drew Bunting and Brian Francis Slattery
    left side

    God Forecasts Tornadoes

    right side

    The three of them were on a bus flying across western Pennsylvania, two men and a woman. They were the only ones awake. The rest were sleeping or pretending to sleep, though it was midday. Outside, the farms, the curling roads, not yet freed from winter. Fields of dead stalks blanched by snow. The hills rising sharp and fast on the far side of the valley. A long gray sky.

    None of the three people knew each other, but they noticed one another as soon as they got on the bus. Recognizing in the others what they saw in themselves, that they were lightning rods for calamity, bearers of bad juju, born under bad stars. The kind of people who attracted murderers and hurricanes. If there had been a sign, a secret word, they would have used it, though they did not need to. They settled into their seats, felt everyone else on the bus drift away. Each one knew that the other would not close an eye until the trip was over. It was not good, each thought, that they were all here together, but what could they do? The question of their lives.

    The first man was born on the floor of an abandoned house in Detroit; it burned down on his first birthday, took his mother with it. From there, he had bounced from foster home to foster home until he bounced out. Lived on odd jobs, charity, the forage from restaurants at the end of the night. Got to the coast and onto a fishing boat. Mistook his good fortune for the end of his hardship until the vessel sank in a big storm, lost everyone but him. From then on he got it. Fell in love, had a kid, but was too smart to stay with them for long. I need to give you two a chance, he said, but don’t worry. I will always provide, I will never forget. I may go but I will never stray. He was on his way to Akron to see them now. He had been away for seven months, working by himself in an auto body shop while a howling wave of darkness roared up and passed over him. It would have taken his family, he thought, if they had been near, if he had understood less the deal he had. But he had time now, it was his turn. A brief lull to hold his wife, kiss his daughter. Tell them everything he meant to say, enough to last when he had to go again, to keep his image in their minds, as he kept theirs in his.

    The woman had fled Rwanda with her family and a small city’s worth of people, followed an old set of unused train tracks a thousand miles into Congo. Had hidden with her two brothers in the trees of the rainforest when the rebels laid waste to their parents, their friends, everyone they knew. When it was over, they walked out into a field of corpses. They staggered, hitched, begged, stole, all the way to Kinshasa, where her older brother, almost twenty by then, said that he would never live like that again. She saw that he could do it, that he was not touched as she was, so she left the younger brother with him, told them both never to look for her, and vanished. Got to New York, to Brooklyn, to Harlem. Sold incense, burned CDs, cheap paperbacks about Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. Befriended people fast, left them soon. Tried to give them a year’s worth of good in a few months. She did not want to hurt them, could not explain to them how much they were in danger. But I know, I know, she said to the air. Was on her way to Chicago to stay ahead of what was following her. She would not let it catch anyone else again because of her.

    The second man had grown up in Gorham, Illinois, in the stripe of the cyclone that took almost everything with it as it passed a century ago, lifted up all the houses and took them apart. As a young man, he had seen the killer jump off the train, wander through town. Heard about the murders as soon as they were discovered. Realized only later what he had witnessed. Left the town after that, did farm work, some construction. Saw two towns flood, one in New Hampshire, one in Tennessee. Comprehended then, in the rising water, his place in this world, how he should protect it, it and everyone around him, from what he was. Was on his way out to South Dakota, figured there had to be a stretch of earth for him, a place of hard land and ragged sky that could not shift, that would take his worst and be unmoved. He was headed out there now, would sign the deed, make the best friends he could with his distant neighbors, and then leave them be. It was not a bad thing, he thought, to be as he was. Just a matter of figuring out how to live with it.

    Then, all at once, everyone on the planet saw everything. All that the three people on the bus had seen and everyone else like them. All the death by fire and drowning, the car bombs and factory explosions that sent shudders through the ground, the workmen in the way when the water mains collapsed. The massacres by bullets and machetes. The people who fell from the sky, who were crushed under falling ceilings. The people who starved to death, who were buried alive. And then things really opened up and they saw all that was coming, all that would happen, to them and everyone they knew, and all the strangers they would never meet. It swept over the continents in the blink of an eye and was gone, and on the bus, everyone was awake at once, sobbing into their phones, holding each other, running fingers through hair. The bus had stopped, was at an angle across the road, the driver leaning against the side window, his hand on his brow. They could see cars frozen on the highway in front and back of them, people getting out to stare into the sky. And the three of them, who had gotten on together and recognized each other, who had never tried to rest, all looked at each other and nodded. They all knew what to do.

    © 2010 Brian Francis Slattery and Drew Bunting

    finish line

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