Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Year in Stories -- 2011 Reloaded

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First, if you kept up with my stories in 2011, bless you. Really. I appreciate the encouragement. With 2011 behind us, it's time to start looking back. Instead of running through my year's stories chronologically, I'm going to start with my favorites. The links to the stories are at the very end of the post (please click on them and give these litzines some love). 2011 was almost wonderful in so many almost wonderful ways. I totally turned my back on the novels I've been working on for the last who-knows-how-long and turned my attention to flash fiction or at least very short fiction--with one gleaming ornithological exception.

Sprayed on a wall along the Thames Path, London
My story "The Birds of North Carolina" was a finalist at Glimmer Train in April, which means the story remains unpublished and therefore under consideration at a couple of dream markets. The story is about a woman who has taught her family to ignore her cries for help. Of course I'll keep you up to date (read you'll hear me screaming) if it's accepted.

In September, "The Shoes, the Girl and the Waves that Washed Them Away" led a brilliant pack of writers (only because my last name starts with A) at Blue Five Notebook. Thank you, Michelle Elvy and Sam Rasnake! The story is an exploration of choices and an essay in surrealism. I'm very grateful to the editors for nominating this story for the Pushcart Prize. It goes without saying that I'm over the moon about the nomination!

In April, I posted "The Pain Taster" at Kaffe in Katmandu. The story is about a voyeur obsessed with a woman's pain--like a wine-taster dissects the nuances of a mature Shiraz. Later in the year, I posted the story on Fictionaut, where it was fortunate to get good feedback. Then one night in early October, I sent it to Robert Vaughan's Flash Fiction Friday radio show, and it was accepted. Robert Vaughan's reading of my story is certainly a high point of my year in stories. To read or listen to this story click on the links at the end of this post. 

©Jennifer Noel Bower
"Husk of Hare" found its way home to Jessie Carty's Referential Magazine in July. I began writing this story in Berlin, and I remember that most of it came to me as I was on a treadmill at the gym. As it took its fairy tale shape, I couldn't stop thinking that Jennifer Noel Bower should draw the art to accompany it. And then Marcus Speh said he wanted to read it. In the end, thanks to the collaboration of these two incredibly talented people, my odd--and quite dark--little story became something bigger than itself. To read this story click on the link at the end of the post.

Thank you, Matt Potter, for accepting "The Number 4"--one of those stories that happens in a few minutes. I've always wanted to be the number 4. It's always been my number. This story is a simple, surreal exploration of Randall's choices. If Randall could be anything, he'd be the number 4. The story was born in May and lives at Pure Slush, later at Fictionaut and then finally at Kaffe in Katmandu. To read this story click on . . .  don't tell me to shut up!

Also at Pure Slush, "A Garden of Knives and Sugar" appears coupled with Katrina Gray's "Bantu". I'm especially proud of this duet. Would you like to know why? Yes? Apart from working with Katrina Gray? Well, when I read the last paragraph of my story to my mother, she said, "Oh, wow. That's really really good." My mother is a writer herself, and she has no problem giving me honest criticism. When she says something is good, she means it. To read this really really good--Thank you, Mom!--story, click on the link at the end of the post.

In April--April was a full month--"Nothing Between Us" was included among a great list of writers at Wilderness House Literary Review. I have to give credit to an editor at Necessary Fiction for rejecting the story and telling me why. Her feedback helped me improve the story. And of course thank you, Susan Tepper, for accepting it and publishing it at WHLR!

In May, I squeaked in to the last round of 52|250 – A Year of Flash with "Three-handed Bridge". Thank you, Michelle Elvy for kicking my butt and urging me to contribute. It made sense for me to contribute this micro. In October this year, Susan Tepper used the story for her Monday Chat with me.

"The Language" was published at The Recusant, a politically radical ezine. At 2600 words, it's longer than several of my other stories put together--so it doesn't get read as much. When someone reads it and comments on it at Fictionaut, I'm always chuffed--so if you want to get me all chuffed, click on that link at the bottom of this post.

On December 1 "Pru in the Dimple of the Broad-smiling Boy" became part of Gone Lawn's Issue 6. The story is about a soul's relationship to its boy. When the story is published, I'll let you know in a separate post. Thank you, Alana I. Capria, for accepting the story and Pru in her need to be heard. 

In February Jessie Carty published "Dale's Last Dance" at Referential Magazine. Thank you to all the people who commented on the story. It's humor involving elderly people in a nursing home. Who really knows if this kind of humor will work? I hope it did this time. Thank you to all the people who left such encouraging comments. Only after I named the story did I discover that there's a song with the same title. Oops. Um, link. Bottom. Of post.

Another humorous story--this time about a guy who prefers showers to baths, was published at The Legendary: "The Dirty Parts." I'm so glad the editors liked this story. It's so hard to sell humor.

"Inferno"by Meg Tuite's Exquisite Quartet, a collaboration with Meg Tuite, Sam Rasnake and Amber Sparks. You can read it at Used Furniture Review (link below, as if I needed to remind you). 

My story "The Orangery" first appeared at Every Day Fiction in 2010 and has now been included in The Best of Every Day Fiction Three--but more fantastically, the story is read regularly in the course Creating Great Characters at NYU's school of Continuing and Professional Studies! When the teacher of the course sends me a mail telling me how positively the students react, it always makes my day. A footnote since I started writing this post: the teacher has now started reading my other stories. The Pain Taster, The Number Four and Husk of Hare. Thank you!

I write creative non-fiction as well. My story, "When the Body Knows Best," which Chicken Soup for the Soul renamed "Listening to My Body," was supposed to come out in the book Shaping the New You in December 2010. The book, with foreword by Richard Simmons, didn't actually hit the street until 2011. Chicken Soup for the Soul pays hundreds of dollars for a story, so THANK YOU, Chicken Soup! And thank you also for the wonderful feeling of walking into a bookstore in Vancouver or Singapore or Nashville and finding my byline. OK OK, I moved this one in Whistler, British Columbia to No. 1.

Also published in 2011...

"An Innocent E-Visa Fiasco" at Airplane Reading
"The Rising" at Kaffe in Katmandu
"Three Conversations with Steven the Optimist(ic Therapist)." Originally at HOUSEFIRE, but you can read it at Fictionaut as well.
"Freedom Can Wait." Originally at HOUSEFIRE, but you can also read this one at Fictionaut. The story has been chosen to be part of the Best of HOUSEFIRE Year One.
"...and Counting" at EDF
"1975, What I Wanted" at Fictionaut
"Sentimental Me" also at Fictionaut
"The Readers in Car 103" republished by TrainWrite, previously published at Flash Fire 500. 

Last but certainly not least is my story "A Simple Recipe" in the 2011 Writers Abroad Anthology Foreign Flavours. All proceeds from the anthology are going to The Book Bus, a registered charity whose mission it is to increase child literacy in Latin America and Africa. The anthology is a mix of fiction and non-fiction all related to exotic food. I think it's something unique. The book even includes 33 recipes. If you enjoy reading about food, and you want to support The Book Bus, Foreign Flavours would be a great Christmas gift to yourself--or to twelve of your friends!

Well, I hope you've made it to the end with me. Again, if you followed my stories all year, I want to kiss you all over--figuratively (don't get any ideas).

I must be off,

Links to the stories: 

Husk of Hare with art by Jennifer Noel Bower and audio by Marcus Speh at Referential Magazine
The Pain Taster at Kaffe in Katmandu, read by Robert Vaughan on Flash Fiction Friday
The Number Four at Pure Slush, Fictionaut and Kaffe in Katmandu.
A Garden of Knives and Sugar with counterpoint "Bantu" by Katrina Gray at Pure Slush
The Shoes, the Girl and the Waves that Washed Them Away at  Blue Five Notebook Series and nominated for the Pushcart Prize
Nothing Between Us at Wildnerness House Literary Review
Three-handed Bridge at 52l520 a Year in Flash and Monday Chat at Fictionaut with Susan Tepper

The Language at The Recusant
Dale's Last Dance at Referential Magazine
Pru in the Dimple of the Broad-smiling Boy at Gone Lawn (Winter Issue 6)
The Dirty Parts at The Legendary
Inferno at Used Furniture Review, collaboration with Meg Tuite, Amber Sparks and Sam Rasnake
The Orangery in The Best of Every Day Fiction Three
Listening to My Body in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Shaping the New You
An Innocent E-Visa Fiasco at Airplane Reading
The Rising, a micro at Kaffe in Katmandu
Three Conversations with Steven the Optimist(ic Therapist) at Fictionaut
Freedom Can Wait at Fictionaut
...and Counting at EDF
1975, What I Wanted at Fictionaut
Sentimental Me at Fictionaut
The Readers in Car 103 at TrainWrite previously published at Flash Fire 500
A Simple Recipe in Foreign Flavours, a charity anthology benefiting The Book Bus from Writers Abroad


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type

Friday, January 20, 2012

A New Year, A New Story

We've made it another year, and we're all prettier. My shoulder is feeling a bit better and I'm one wisdom tooth lighter (although the swelling is just now going down). I'd like to welcome each and every one of you to 2012. It's going to be a beautiful, juicy year.

For me 2012 has started with a "Best Ezine Editor" nomination. Yay! As I'm writing this, I'm in second place. Second place is OK, but I'm striving for number ONE. If you haven't voted, please do. Pleeeeeeaaassseeeee. All you have to do is....

1. Click on the link at the end of this instruction, scroll down to Christopher Allen, click on me (it's like tickling me but less creepy);
2. Enter your name and your email address, then enter the Captcha security phrase (may take a couple of tries);
3. Finalize your vote by clicking on the link Preditors and Editors sends you via email.

Here's the link:  Preditors and Editors Voting Page  Thank you!

The second amazing thing to happen for me and 46 other incredible authors, including Robert Vaughan, Sara Lippmann, Kathy Fish, Len Kuntz, Sheldon Lee Compton, Ethel Rohan, Meg Tuite, Amber Sparks and Gill Hoffs among so many others that I really love, so I'll just stop . . . is . . .

STRIPPED, a Collection of Anonymous Flash,which you can buy from Amazon or Lulu.

Thank you to editor Nicole Scarpato Monaghan. Our bios are included, but they're not specific to any story. I love this "stripped" concept. I hope you think I write like any of the writers above. That would make me so much prettier.

I found out today that my copies are waiting at the DSL station, and the DSL station is already closed--so I have to wait until Monday.

I also have a new darkly comedic story up at Near to the Knuckle.

Happy New Year to all of you!

I must be off,

English as a Foreign Language

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Something you may not have known about me: I teach EFL. Yes, I do. And I've taught English as a Foreign Language for the last 16 years. How time flies when you're drilling the irregular verbs, I know.

I came to Germany on June 1, 1995, and for the first ten years--with the exception of old Alf reruns--I had no access to American TV. I didn't have CNN or MTV or SNL. I lost touch with Friends; actually to be honest I had never been in touch with Friends before I left the US, so it would be more accurate to say that I met new friends in, I think, 2007--long after my new friends had stopped being Friends. Until 2010 I had never seen Friends in English. In fact, I'd never seen Sex and the City in English. I'd never SEEN 30 Rock or any of the other sit-coms that came out after 1995. The result: I was losing what I think Americans would today call my Sit-com Swagger Lingo Thang (or probably not). I'm useless when it comes to talking the talk.

The first indication that I was losing my grip on American humor came in 1999 when I was in LA visiting a couple of then-acquaintances I've never heard from since. The evening was stunning. Their home was stunning. The food was stunning. The word stunning was stunning and used stunningly often. And then suddenly out of nowhere someone looked at me and said, "Who's your daddy?" I replied, "Joe, sometimes we call him Slow Joe . . . why?" And everyone rolled about the marble terrace convulsing with laughter. Apparently, the phrase "Who's your daddy?" meant something in terms of American pop culture--and all at once I was no longer entirely American. I still don't know the answer to the question. Who is this daddy and how did he become mine?

The second wake-up call was the phrase "It's all good." How can that be? I am a firm believer in tempering the good with the bad. Balance is so important. If something is utterly, wholly good, the universe is no longer right for me. When I made my first attempts at expressing this idea--around 2008 I think--I would say something like, "No worries, um, dude. It's like 98 percent good." This reaped only confused looks and patronizing smiles. Chris is sweet, but he's totally lost touch. Like 100 percent lost touch, dude.

Not long ago, I started hearing my American friends using the phrase "not so much" to indicate that one alternative was far inferior to another. I thought I was on top of this one. I really did. I even used it once or twice before the icky feeling set in. And then about a month ago, I heard Rachel say it in an episode that aired probably in 1998. (I have British TV now, and they play reruns of Friends on Channel 4.) So all my friends had been on top of this catchphrase for a long long time. And Chris? Not so much.

There are so many more examples, but I'll end with just two more. A few years ago, I was talking to a then-friend on the telephone. I forget what we were talking about, but at one point I wanted to thank him for something--probably reading something I had written--so I said, "____, you rock my universe." His response was "The phrase is 'You rock my world.'" "Yes, I know," I said. "I just wanted to take it up a notch. Ha ha. You know, bring a bit of creativity to the world of catchphrases. Ha ha." Silence. Apparently, one is not to screw around with the sanctity of the catchphrase.

Since I became aware of my American catchphrase deficiencies, I've thrust my shoulder to the grindstone--maybe that's why it's injured?--to remain pop-culturally literate. Yet even with all my efforts, phrases still elude me. A year ago, I was talking to a friend in the US about one of my harebrained life philosophies, and she said, "So how's that working for you?" I replied with a treatise on how it was indeed working for me, unaware that she was suggesting to me (so much for being pop-culturally literate) that she thought I--and my dumb philosophy--was stupid.

But now all is well. It's almost 100 percent good. I have British TV (still can't say "Simples!" and cluck like the commercial Meerkat, but I'm working on it), Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The list goes on and on.

So, what's your experience with the foreign language of English?

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Tzpe (a Satire). He writes fiction, creative non-fiction and of course this here blog. His work has appeared in numerous places both online and in print. Read more about him HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lost in Translation -- >Language >Place Blog Carnival Edition 13

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The >Language >Place Blog Carnival is all about language and how humorous or just plain hard it is to understand when it's foreign. For my post on the theme of "Lost in Translation" I've chosen the foreign language of English. Having lived in Germany for almost 17 years now, English has in many ways become foreign to me. Others have chosen to interpret the theme in various ways--some humorous, some not. Click on any of the pictures in the parade of posts and READ MORE if you want to win pretty points.

Linda Evan Hofke -- You Walk Me on the Cookie!

In one of my older posts (What Did You Say?) from March I wrote about the troubles of travelling to a country where one doesn't speak the language. At the end of the post I shared an embarrassing moment that happened to me shortly after moving to Germany.

To give you my own example, when I first starting teaching English, I knew very little German. One night in class I brought a snack and knowing that some of the participants are very health conscious I tried to explain that there were no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. I knew the word for sweeteners but not preservatives and it wasn't in my book, so I said in a German accent “No sugar and no--preservatives?” Everyone started laughing and said “I hope not.”   


Hart Johnson -- What's So Funny?

Y'all know I am dark, mysterious and edgy, right? Some of you are even scared of me, yeah? No? Come on. Not even a little scared? You KNOW that is my goal in life! That and sexy and sleek... *nods*

My aspirations to be quirky and strange are... well... sort of the leftover result when I can't control myself? The result of not quite hitting that dark mysterious thing, so here I am, naked and awkward? But being me, I am practical and so thought, FINE. I will work with that. See... I don't MEAN to be funny. But the word is I am... And I guess if I can't be edgy and beautiful, funny is a pretty good alternative.


Angela Williams -- Lost in Translation

‘I’m sorry Miss, I have to leave class early today. I’m going soliciting.’ Although we were in Amsterdam and the Dutch are a broadminded lot, I was pretty sure that my English-language student wasn’t heading towards the red light district. It was another case of False Friends – an English word that looks similar to a Dutch word but with a totally different meaning. She was seeking work and going for a job interview, the Dutch verb for which is, soliciteren. I explained to her what she’d said and we all had a good laugh about it. Fortunately, the Dutch have a great sense of humour and don’t take themselves very seriously.  


(Writers Abroad is a password protected site, so if you'd like to leave a comment, you can come back here and leave one.) 

M.J. Nicholls -- Come Ride My Elephant

I struggled with this ‘language’ prompt for several weeks—all good writing to me makes language intrinsic to its purpose, how could it do otherwise? Then I thought about amusing misunderstandings had with people from different countries. None. All the people I’ve met from Italy, France, Africa, America, even Wales, have spoken clearly and without fault. My own incompetence with identifying accents is slightly amusing—I once mistook an Englishman for an American (hahaha) and corrected a French Jehovah’s Witness’s grammar for a ten minutes (hahaha—priceless!) OK. Not that funny.

Instead, this post is about unspoken languages, conversations we have with people in our heads that comprise an entirely subconscious system of communication conducted with ourselves that we hope other people might share and respond to via telepathic intuition. This will make sense as the piece progresses, I hope. If not, think bad things about me.

Dorothee Lang -- Three Cups of Chai

Some warned me that Varanasi, the holy city at the river Ganges, would be terribly dirty. Others said it is a magic place. What I wasn't prepared for, though, were the tea misunderstandings that happened there. Here's what happened: Three Cups of Chai.  


Kris Brummet -- Dear Santa, I want the iMan . . . with APPs

My Dad asked me this year what I wanted for Christmas. I said, “a man.” He gave me an iPad. He gave me an iPad with the sole intention of having the ability to Skype with me. OH THE HORRORS. He calls me every Sunday. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Sunday phone calls, but I often look like I’ve been pulled out of the muck of some city sewer on Sunday.  The first time he says, “you look like shit,” the Skype deal is O-V-E-R.


Laurie Kolp -- Have you Heard Anything Funny Lately?

Conversations can be so ludicrous sometimes, don't you agree?  I've had some humdingers I'd like to share with you. Grab a chair and take a seat; let's talk.

The first conversation took place at a business dinner Pete and I had with another couple. None of us had ever met except for Pete and the other man. I don't remember how we got onto talking about deviated septums and sinus surgery, but that's what was buzzing at our table when Pete said he couldn't smell anything as a result of his turbinates being zapped ten years ago.  


Marcus Speh -- appealing to angels: a london travelogue

went to lon­don last week where i lived for ten years until after our daugh­ter was born & where i hadn’t been in four years. walked a lot. noticed how much fuller the city seemed though i have no idea how that’s pos­si­ble. how many more peo­ple can you squeeze into this town? no more tower records on pica­dilly cir­cus, but instead another soul­less mega cloth­ing store. how many clothes can you sell to peo­ple who’re already clothed?


Robin Graham -- The Return of K

We’re in the living room. Laptopping.

K is browsing fashion sites and I am doing an obsessive compulsive circuit of my usual haunts; making sure things are alright on the social networks, repeatedly. If you add enough of them to your armoury then by the time you’ve checked them all it can seem worth popping back to the first, in case anything has happened there in the meantime. And then the second…  


Michelle Elvy -- You Say Arugula, I Say Lettuce

I was surprised when Carrie called. We hadn’t seen each other in years. We’d been high-school friends, sure — the kind you don’t expect to see again after you’ve been  pomp-and-circumstanced down the school stadium steps and the last D-Major chord has drifted out on the breeze. But I’d just had my first baby and she’d had her second, so she called for a mommy’s lunch.

At the upscale yuppy café (“my fave,” she gushed), I ordered a baked stuffed potato (the closest thing to real food on offer) while she drank protein-vitamin-water and pushed sprigs of delicately arranged arugula around her plate.


Christopher Allen -- English as a Foreign Language

Something you may not have known about me: I teach EFL. Yes, I do. And I've taught English as a Foreign Language for the last 16 years. How time flies when you're drilling the irregular verbs, I know.

I came to Germany on June 1, 1995, and for the first ten years--with the exception of old Alf reruns--I had no access to American TV. I didn't have CNN or MTV or SNL. I lost touch with Friends; actually to be honest I had never been in touch with Friends before I left the US, so it would be more accurate to say that I met new friends in, I think, 2007--long after my new friends had stopped being Friends.


Andrea Spirov -- Picking up Palabras

¡Hola! ¿Cómo está?

These were the first words I learned in Spanish. All last year I promised myself that once the wedding madness was over, I was going to treat myself to an intensive language course. I registered online for a class, only to be left hanging at the last minute because the school didn’t attract the minimum numbers to run with it. It was too late to enrol in another one.  


Cathy Douglas -- One Word of German I Know

I don’t really like to travel. The older I get, the less I like it. It’s not so much about the airports and gross food and unfamiliar bedding; it’s more about dropping all my projects for whatever length of time. I’m interested in what I’m doing right here, right now. I don’t need adventures.Of course that’s not true–everybody needs adventures. Getting lost has always been my specialty.  


Nine -- Gumboot

Cobwebs are everywhere here, and spiders with ugly bodies and long legs. They hang curled up like closed umbrellas, then reanimate to trek across walls and blankets. The house is a rickety old thing that sits on a hill. The door is never locked. When the big earthquake comes, I don’t fancy this place’s chances, but last week’s shaking and rumbling didn’t bother me. Maybe I adapt too easily to my surroundings. The people who live here find the earthquakes scary.  


Kate McCahill -- The Phone Store

I knew when I boarded the bus that I would have no luck at the phone store. Every time, it’s been the same: they tell me to come back later, it will be ready by Sunday, it will be ready by Tuesday. I bought a phone in Guatemala, you see, and for it to work here, the band needs to be opened. Whatever that means. So a kind friend takes me to the phone store the first time, because she, too, had to open the band on her phone. They tell us to come back later, and so the next time I return by myself.  

(Kate's site is a password protected site, so if you'd like to leave a comment please come back and leave one here.)

Brandon Graham -- A Variety of Hand Gestures Related to Agents' Responses

This symbol  is a printer's mark, called a manicule (from the Latin root 'manus' for 'hand') or printer's fist. Though less common today, it was regularly used between the 12th and 18th centuries, hand drawn in the margins of books, and was formerly included in lists of standard punctuation marks. Today it's used primarily as a bullet point in documents, or as a graphic compositional element. I've spent some time looking at old manuscripts at the in Chicago's very lovely Newberry Library and was interested in the variety and style of the loose interpretations of the mark by various artists (mostly monks). My brain brought these marks back over the past week as I received my first several responses from literary agents.  


Austin Wood -- Sentence Mining

I’m currently four days into my first 30 day trial – to create at least 10 flashcards a day using the sentence mining technique. I didn’t have any problem making 10 flash cards on Thursday. I’m currently taking private Russian lessons in Petrozavodsk so I pulled my sentences from the worksheets and notes that had accumulated since I started taking lessons four days ago.

Friday was a little more difficult because I only had one day’s worth of lesson material to mine for sentences. Six sentences came from that material and the rest came from random stuff I had lying around, such as the paperwork from the cellphone I bought at the airport and a newspaper I found on the kitchen table.


Steven Wing -- Punctuality 

During one of our first journeys in Mexico, I was reminded many times of things I had read about the lack of punctuality there.  Here's a sample:

"Mexicans have many traits to admire: their enterprise, their ability to make do, to endure and to enjoy life. Punctuality, though, is nowhere on the list for most of them. The Aztecs may have cared enough about time to carve their famous stone calendar, but you wonder sometimes if people here are relying on it to get through the day . . . .  


Sheree Mack -- The Golden Season

The Golden Season

Early morning, a fresh nip in the air.
The smell of raindrops.
The suns gives out a gentle warmth
as nature wakes up from the long
lazy days of summer, getting ready
for the long sleep of winter.


Edition #14 will be hosted by writer and poet Stella Pierides. Stella lives in Germany and England. She blogs HERE and tweets at @stellapierides. In the past couple of years Stella has developed a soft spot for haiku and has had work published in Contemporary Haibun Online, A Hundred Gourds, tiny words, Sketchbook, 140 and Counting, Mainichi Haiku in English, Asahi Haikuist Network, and elsewhere. She has co-edited and contributed to Even Paranoids Have Enemies (Routledge), and Beyond Madness (JKP).

The feature theme for Edition #14 is "Locating the Senses in Language / Place".  


I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire). He writes fiction, creative non-fiction and of course this here blog. His work has appeared in numerous places both online and in print. Read more about him HERE.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thank you!

Today I feel as if I've had a nice pat on the back, exactly at that spot where my shoulder has been causing me so much trouble the last few months. This morning I woke up to the Official Final Results of the Preditors & Editors* Readers Poll "best ezine editor" category.

We managed to take first place after all! Thank you to everyone who voted. It was so close that I had no idea if it would be enough in the end. And for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm referring to, I also co-edit Metazen with six other hard-working editors, including of course Frank Hinton, the mysterious creator of Metazen.

And congratulations to the editors Matt Potter, David Barber and Michelle Elvy (who, I guess I can say it now, I nominated! You're great, Michelle!). They all made it into the top 10. You're all more deserving than I am.

Again, thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me or any of the editors above!

Now to the future: The next two weeks, I Must Be Off! is going to be transformed into the >Language >Place Blog Carnival, so don't be shocked if the place looks very different for a while. There's going to be a parade of links to blogs, to old friends, to new friends. You'll see. I hope you'll stop by and see what's up.

I must be off,

*Preditors & Editors is a site that offers helpful information to writers, often at the risk of being sued.