The apparel oft proclaims the man: buy it now from Past and Prologue

It’s excellent to see something that you’ve watched building from behind the scenes finally make its way out into the world. Most definitely too exciting, because I accidentally leaked the site details before it was fully polished… I was just too thoroughly happy to buy the first shirt.

Past and Prologue is a British-based clothing store specialising in intelligently designed Shakespeare merchandise. Imagine the sort of things you could buy for any number of pop culture icons, and now realise the dearth of those celebrating Mr Bill Shakes.

Every year, I get the opportunity to teach at least one of his plays. Invariably those are some of my favourite units to teach. Now I get to visibly show off my literary nerdiness. Though I must say, I’m unsure as to whether I should wear this in a theatre…

Dunsinane varsity tee from Past and Prologue

Not all of the designs have such inevitable puns as the Dunsinane Varsity tee; there are some beautiful & elegant works with typography & frontispieces, and also some excellent watercolour character pieces from the talented Nathan Tubb (or Baboonicorn as he is more animally known). But it will always be the puns that draw me in.

Fully disclosure: I am rather close with P&P’s owner. Not only should you buy the things because they are great, but also it means we can go on more pretty dates.

The apparel oft proclaims the man: buy it now from Past and Prologue

Rejection, onwards!

Today, I received a letter from Black Static, the address written in my fair hand. Of course, the first response was a flutter in my chest and a quiet, upbeat, “Ooh!” The second response was to lever the edge of my keys under the flap and tear the aperture apart. I’m not sure if I directly expected the form rejection slip within, but I think part of me always did. (Another, more optimistic part, thought that the bulkiness of the envelope was caused by a lot of cheques rather than the advertising leaflet within.)

I’m not surprised, and I’m not saddened. I have read far too often that rejection is the most common bedfellow of the early writer. Conveniently, I seem to have internalised that straightforwardly enough – but I think I’ve always been oddly good at this: somehow mildy impervious to rejections from Oxford and UCL, much to the annoyance of my then lady.

There’s nothing more that can be done, so onwards.

Two paths beckon.

The first is the most simple. Keep on writing, keep on sending. Rejection slips are proof that work is getting finished and read. A readership of one is better than an unfinished manuscript, and I’d be more arrogant that I’d humbly admit if I expected 100% of my readers to enjoy my work. To that end, I need to finalise “Phage” and I need to actually write that steampunk Macbeth.

The second is a forked path, and where my dilemma lies: I could send “The Trees” and “Not a Bedtime Story” to another market and hope for publication and success. (I’ve been told by people whose readerly opinion I trust that they are of publishable quality, even if they’ve yet to be sold.) Or, I could save time submitting to markets that I’d need to find and spend that on new creation. Really that makes the most sense.

So what to do with these finished stories? I’m loath to let them rot in a digital fortress until they gain sentience and lose sanity. I don’t want to self-publish them, because I’d have to spend creativity time on making a good looking e-product. I had thought of combining a few of my similarly mythosed stories together. I still may.

The most likely option is to give them away, but the precise howness I have yet to decide. Really I ought to use the opportunity to gain a proper mailing list like Writing Magazine keeps telling me I should. That would require the software and the investment in actually writing a newsletter of sorts beyond the intermittance here. Is it worth it? Or shall I polish them into simple PDFs, put the download links here and elsewhere, with the links back to the site and the suggestion that people pass the e-papers onwards?

Either way, onwards.

Rejection, onwards!

Steampunk Can(n)on, Fire!

Most importantly, you should read this entry whilst listening to this.

It could be as a form of procrastination, but I often buy Writing Magazine. Recently, they’ve started putting Writer’s News in the middle of it, and until very recently I had always ignored it.

That’s changed.

In this month’s edition, I came across this call for submissions, and became worryingly excited and excitable.

I’ve been toying for a long while with the concept of the discovered text – specifically discovering a manuscript of Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy that tells a tale of steampunk (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, I’d really recommend reading at least a bit of the definition). The concept of retooling Shakespeare into the genre massively interests me.

Unfortunately, I’m not as versed in the genre as perhaps I should be. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in, although I’ve always read more of cyberpunk. Most of my conscious understanding of the genre comes from games and films (and these are a bit off, as those who understand this title’s reference will comprehend).

That being said, I am highly familiar with Victorian fiction, and the work of H.G. Wells is of particular interest to me. Really ought to read more Verne, mind.

In order to more fully understand the canon, I am reading through Extraordinary Engines, which is giving me some more tropes of the genre. Otherwise, I imagine I’ll head back to my formal training in English – and draw on Victorian literature and my study and tutelage of The Scottish Play.

The archaicism I might handle with ease.

I’m doing Macbeth.

Steampunk Can(n)on, Fire!