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Short stuff

14 February 2006

It's odd how sometimes the little stuff lives on. Books have - one hopes - endurance built in, but short fiction and articles feel inherently transient, on the newsstands for a month and then gone.

And yet, not so. Not always so. Last year I wrote an article on public funding for literature, which was published in The Author, the in-house magazine of the Society of Authors here in the UK. I've probably had more direct feedback from that than from any story I've ever published; and yesterday another magazine for writers asked if they could reprint it.

And today, this morning the first e-mail in my inbox is from the great Ellen Datlow, wanting my story Going the Jerusalem Mile for the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology that she edits. This is high kudos, and I am absurdly pleased.

That story has its own tale of endurance anyway, because I wrote it several years ago for a specific anthology, a specific editor. Who rejected it. I don't think I was too hurt - at least, I don't remember if I was - but a little aggrieved, a little tweaked perhaps; at any rate, I went utterly against my own best advice, which is always to send rejected work straight out again, keep it moving. Instead I stashed it, almost forgot about it until last year, some stray inspiration made me dig it out and send it to Andy Cox. He snapped it up for The Third Alternative, and again it's accumulated a lot of positive responses. And now it's reached the pinnacle of short achievement. I'd be singing, if only I could sing.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.