A final plane and polish, by Sue Tyley

 

Editing: “Nuts and Bolts and Oiling”

January 10, 2018. Here’s a thoughtful article from a skilled editor. Sue Tyley did the editing on the upcoming print anthology, “The Best of Fiction on the Web”, in which my short story, “Nothing to Lose”, appears. The book is in for typesetting now and Senior Editor Charlie Fish is working on a cover and other design and content decisions. A foreword by author Julia Bell and a felicitous contribution from actor-writer Richard E. Grant – of Game of Thrones fame, and more – are two items to be included.

A final plane and polish, by Sue Tyley

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For more information on the “The Best of Fiction on the Web” anthology, follow the following fish:

icon_FOTW fish

And here’s the LATEST from Fiction on the Web, a cool place to hang out, NAWMEAN!? P.S. – My affected London accent has a flat, nasal, Plautdietsch ring to it. Keanu Reeves ain’t got a ‘fing on me.


allfornow friends,

Mitch
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Dad

2000th follower twitter

There are times when I can totally relate to Donald Trump’s compulsion to post on twitter, even if it’s a stupid-ass thing to do.

Humour needs expanded boundaries, is what I keep telling myself.

My dad would have got it. He would have had a sparkle in his eye and appreciated that I pressed send. Dad preferred – would have preferred – that I follow my natural inclinations and become an artist or a writer. Something in the creative layer of dirt. Instead, like so much of his discarded advice, I followed not what he said, but what he did. (Someone should make that into a memorable expression.) I became a guy with a family who showed up every morning for work and tried to eat my crap sandwich without too much moaning. Well, he and I both moaned a little.

Like Dad, what it got me was a happy life and a family I treasure. Not a bad deal. Pass the sandwiches, I’ll take another. Make it a double.

Anyway, cheers to my dad, a hale fellow well met of whom an observer both wise and kindred from Grunthal, Manitoba (home of the Red Wings) once said, “He could separate braggarts from their bullshit with a hip check.”

Here’s a story about him, posted a while back by Fiction on the Web editor @fishcharlie

Nothing to Lose

 allfornow – Mitch

The Beefeater and the Donnybrook

 

Update: 4.11.17 – Hi, from a sunny day in April, beside the lake,

Janice and I have been travelling and have both been down with a cold lately. My blog activity has been limited, though I have been able to keep up with daily writing. Today I heard from editor and literary paragon, Charlie Fish, that another of my stories has been accepted for his award-winning site, Fiction on the Web.

Feedspot has named FotW a TOP 20 short story site on the internet!

Short-story_20_transparent_216pxHere’s what Charlie says about FICTION on the WEB: “It is a labour of love. Every single story on here is hand-picked and carefully edited by me. I don’t have a staff, and I don’t make any money. I do this because I want to give authors a chance to get their work out there, and I love sharing great stories with the world.

FICTION on the WEB has been online since 1996, which makes it the oldest short stories website on the Internet.”

Here are a few snippets from my latest story:

The Beefeater and the Donnybrook

By Mitchell Toews

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2017

MICAH JAMES WAS shorter than average and had an interesting kind of face. His eyes were recessed and penetrating and his complexion had the weathered texture and ruddy colour of a mountain climber or a big game hunter. He was neither. Micah James was a quiet, middle-aged family man – an engineer working for the City of Halifax in Canada.

The Jameses were leaving together soon on a long-awaited trip to London. His wife, Marion, had planned the trip from the packing process through tipping and all conceivable forms of disaster planning.

[SNIP]

“Ok, I’m on it! Walk will do me good.” Micah said, giving Marion an assuring glance and summoning up some energy for the trip. It was fine – the kind of little blip he had been secretly hoping for.

[SNIP]

Twisting in his crouch, Micah was eyeball to kneecap with a pair of creased black pants, gold piping on the sides. His eyes followed the stripes up to a white satin tunic and topping that, a dapper red fez. Then the voice again, but softer, “Are you alright, mate?”

[SNIP]

He waited in line at the reception desk, listening to an instrumental version of a Bob Dylan song. It was piping out of a speaker in the tile ceiling above him and he laid his head back to peer at it. Thinking of his own rapid descent into hell, he picked detritus from his oily beard; bits of styrofoam and other rancid urban spod. His thinning hair hung in limp disarray and the belt of the raincoat had come loose and was dragging on the ground behind him like an obedient, filthy snake.

[SNIP]

See it on FotW on May 19: an ever-worsening yarn that plays out on the streets of central London. 

Other stories that have appeared on Fiction on the Web:

Nothing to Lose

July 8, 2016. A baker and former hockey player reminisces on his colourful history as he delivers buns in the dusty Manitoba sun.

Heavy Artillery

Oct. 30, 2016. The story of young Matty and his characterful neighbour encountering a travelling salesman in the sleepy Manitoba town of Hartplatz.

The Preacher and His Wife

 Jan. 23, 2017. In Hartplatz, rural Canada, a neighbourhood scandal brews when young Sarah reports that her grandmother’s engagement ring has gone missing.

The Three-Fingered Man

I AM NOT EQUIPPED to fully understand the why of it, but I do have an active mind – for good or bad – and I know that I can personally attest to it.

It, is, in this case, the power of certain childhood memories. I hear a meadowlark and I am instantly transported to the roof of the plywood fort I built in my backyard in Steinbach, Manitoba. It was surely MY backyard, not my parents’, by the way. Somehow, a meadowlark’s syncopated song is permanently bonded to a memory of a particular summer morning. I can always smell the leftover red house paint I used.

Likewise, when I smell a leather baseball or hockey glove, I am suddenly on Creek Road, where I am walking home from hockey and it is a million below zero, and Orion is out and I forgot my toque in the dressing room and my ears are freezing. Literally freezing – turning hard, people.

An ear woody.

If someone starts talking about Sunday School, it won’t be long before I take a look at my arm. I’ll explain that one. I remember going to Sunday School to please my grandma. It was important to her and we agreed, aided by some fast Grandma-speak and abetted by fresh biscuits and jelly, that it was important to me too. I look at my arm because of what happened on one particular summer Sunday, when I had other places to be, like my fort, but I had gone to Sunday School to please Grandma.

In our Sunday School class that day, my Aunt – who also went to that church – had dropped me off with a new teacher. He was a butcher in real life and somewhere along the line, I supposed, he had not paid attention and his pinky finger had gone onto the pile of cold cuts. I can’t recall whether he actually was the victim of an overactive rotary slicer or my over-achieving imagination. He was missing his little finger and he worked in a grocery store; those are the incontrovertible facts and there had to be some reason why that pinky was not with him.

At some point that day – I was about nine – I misbehaved. Another incontrovertible fact. The teacher, let’s call him Pinky, to protect the innocent, was annoyed and escorted me roughly out into the hallway. God’s hallway. But Pinky was a little over exuberant in his accompaniment of me to the hall and he had a pretty good grab on my skinny arm, bare as it was in my Sunday short-sleeved summer shirt. So…when I looked down at my arm where he had grabbed me, I saw the imprints of his grasp — just like one of those CSI programs on TV now, except I was not a cadaver. The imprint on my arm showed three fingers and a thumb. No pinky.

I looked at the unusual evidence on my arm and I did the inevitable – I snickered. He stood stooped over me, giving me some kind of lecture and when I laughed, looking at the weird, three-fingered tattoo that was now slowly fading from my bicep, he too laughed. Just a bit.

Now, the short story writer in me – back then I was more of a comic book reader than a writer (one may have begat the other, come to think of it) – would probably have prefered him to have back-handed me, or to have carried some dark grudge that resurfaced later in life. Something portentous and profound. But nope. He just giggled. I laughed some more, he wagged his finger (one of the attached ones) and we went back into the Sunday School classroom to learn. We could have learned about saw safety. We could have learned to see the humour in things. But I think we chose instead to learn about how God drowned (almost) the entire human race or some other inspiring bible story about hungry whales or bearded, bathrobe-clad, unemployed dudes padding around the desert in sandals eating desert fish and drinking desert wine.

allfornow,
Mitch

P.S. – Please be on the lookout for my story, “Heavy Artillery” which will be published @ FICTION ON THE WEB tomorrow, October 30, 2016. No digits were lopped off in the making of this story. 

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@fishcharlie, #fictionontheweb, #pinky, #shortstories,#amwriting, #canlit, #writerslife #desertwine

 

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016