August Flash Contest Winner: Erin Vance!

Hello! About a month ago we started our monthly writing contests for our donors on Patreon and promised to post our top 3 picks on our blog–we only have 1 contest entry for this month, but it’s really good. The first contest has closed and the second is launching later today (bonus round: if you start donating before Wednesday you’ll get a hard-copy of antilang. no. 1 and get to participate in the writing contest!).

Without further adieu, Erin Vance’s “Happy Hour”

After she let the rhubarb rot with its roots still anchored in the garden, Aoife filled the prescription. The pharmacist’s ivory coat was stiff like rawhide. He handed her the medication. Aoife plodded home along the dirt road, breathing the dust until her chest felt tight and her head spun. Meclizine hydrochloride. Take two tablets at onset of vertigo symptoms. If dizziness and nausea persists, take one tablet each hour, not exceeding thirteen in a period of twenty-four hours. Do not operate heavy machinery or drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Aoife swallowed hard and coaxed saliva to the front of her mouth. The medication was fetid, chalky. The tablets stuck to the sides of her tongue, began to dissolve as she choked them down her throat. Aoife rounded the corner to the house she shared with her mother, to the porch, to the overgrown garden, the decrepit oasis where the mosquitos were still leeching the blood from her mother’s hands. Aoife’s mother sat on the porch in a pink housedress, a gin and tonic in one hand, the other lingering over a jar of Arbequina Gourmet Stuffed Olives. Aoife’s mother had a proclivity for the anchovy stuffed ones. Aoife liked them because the image of the goddess Mnemosyne was transposed onto the label in faux-gold leaf. Aoife kissed her mother’s forehead, the white hair soft like feather grass. She dropped the paper bag from the pharmacy on a table and went inside to mix herself a drink. Three o’clock meant gin and olives. It was three forty-five. Just enough time to have two or three gins before four o’clock ushered in vodka and soda crackers.

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Aoife settled in a plastic chair next to her mother and flung her dirty sandals off the porch. The two women sat in a dry sort of silence, the air around them astringent, smelling slightly of formaldehyde or insulation. Aoife refilled her glass, and her mother’s. Her hands were clammy from the condensation. A pigeon impaled itself on a metal spike, upon which had previously hosted a citronella candle until it melted off in the sun. The macabre interlude prompted Aoife to bring the vodka onto the porch. She sucked on unsalted soda crackers, her head spinning again. She wondered if she should take more of the medication. She popped two tablets into her mouth. They were lost in the wet sludge of crackers and vodka and saliva. The pigeon twitched. It let out a sound that was half-squawk, half-scream, a multi-lingual death growl. It was only three feet away from where Aoife and her mother sat. Aoife sucked on a cube of sugar, filtering vodka through the cube as it dissolved. The bird whirled around on the stake, like a child swinging a hoop around on a stick. It made Aoife dizzy. It wasn’t really whirling. It couldn’t be. She wondered if she should take more of the medication.

Aoife stood to refill her mother’s glass. Her feet were wet. They’d been damp for a long time. She picked up the crystal glass and it splashed onto her hand, stinging where she chewed the skin away from her nail beds. The astringent vapours coated her body. Aoife felt unclean. She turned to the pigeon on the stake. Flies were swarming it. They formed a big, black cloud. Aoife cried out and they were gone. The pigeon was gone, too. Not even its bones remained.

Aoife wondered if her mother had also seen the bird, had also seen it whirl and disappear. Her mother was silent. Aoife sat. The plastic chair dragged against the wood with her weight. Aoife closed her eyes against the spinning afternoon. When she opened them, the sun had set. Out of the corner of her eye the porch light bounced off of the pink fibres of her mother’s housedress. She wondered if she was an amnesiac and brought the drink, still stiff in her hand to her lips. The liquid was warm. Her mouth buzzed with fruit flies. Aoife wretched. She flung herself onto the ground. She writhed, spitting and gagging, tearing at her lips, scraping her cheeks and tongue with her jagged nails. Her head was full of bugs. Aoife ran screaming, straight into the stake. It caught her in the neck. A pigeon cooed in the distance. She gasped, but did not struggle. She fell and closed her eyes, clutching the wound, and went to sleep.

Her mother did not stir.

Last Chance for Issue 1 & Patreon Update

Hello! As you know, we are ramping up for the launches of antilang. no. 2 and soundbite no.1 with previews running for both publications until and after the launch (September 5th!). So, we thought we should remind you of our Patreon offers that expires on September 5th…

  1. If you support us for $2/ month (before antilang. no. 2 launches), then we will send you a high-resolution PDF of our first issue that you can read off-line
  2. If you support us for $5/month or more (before September 5th), then we will mail you a hard-copy of antilang. no. 1

If you want to get your hands on one of our first printed copies, or would just like to read us anywhere you go, please support us! Your monthly donations mean the world to us!

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Additionally, we did not realise that Patreon charges in American dollars. Which means that when we say $2/ month, turns out it’s actually more like $2.50/ month. To make this better for all our current (and future) Patrons, we have decided to include soundbite files as part of the perks. Meaning, if you donate $2 (USD)/ month (or more!), you will now get access to downloadable soundbite readings–the individuals ones posted as previews, and the entire issue when it launches September 5th!

Flash Writing Contest!

Happy Friday! If you read our latest blog post, then you know we are starting monthly writing contests for our Patrons. Available to anyone who donates $2/ month (or more), a new contest starts on the first of every month. The top 3 picks will be featured on our blog (and because the challenges focus on good. short. writing., you could even submit your piece(s) to us)!

We have a lot of cool contest ideas lined up and can’t wait to see what our Patrons write (this could be you!). These challenges are meant to get you writing and to have fun with language–and the best part is they’re all one page long or less!

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Our first donations will be processed August 1st (YAY!) and we will launch our first flash challenge at that time.

Here’s a sneak peak of that first challenge, the Fifteen Word Scramble:

We will provide you with 15 words that must appear in your 1-page piece of writing (poem, story, drama, any genre). The goal is to defamiliarize the 15 words– for example: using nouns as verbs, creating interesting images through juxtaposition, or something else. Surprise us!

If this sounds like fun and you want to participate, then please support us on Patreon!

As always, we couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you!

Patreon: Step-by-Step

Hello! As you probably already know, we are accepting donations via Patreon in the hope to pay our contributors (soon).

But, you might ask, what is Patreon? Simply put, it is a website that connects artists and art projects to patrons (think England circa the Renaissance but online, and instead of one wealthy person supporting one art project, multiple people with a few spare dollars can support any artistic endeavor).

But, you might follow-up, how legit is this? The ALP is a (Canadian) federally incorporated non-profit, so we are legit. Patreon has a 5% service fee for connecting us to you that they only collect after a donation has been successfully processed (translation: Patreon doesn’t get paid unless we get donations). We think this is a fair operation, as it doesn’t require us to invest a monthly fee or flat rate into keeping our donations page active.

But, you might persist, how do I actually donate? Easy. Below are the 4 steps required to become an official patron of antilang.:

  1. Go to our Patreon page and peruse the 5 tiers we have created for patrons. These tiers range from $1-25 per month. The higher the tier you select the more sweet antilang. swag you’ll receive as our thank you! But we understand that not everyone can afford the higher amounts, so we have Patron-only content available for any level of donor, including monthly writing contests (the winners will be featured on our blog!).
  2. Once you have selected the tier you want to join, click “confirm.”
  3. At this step, if you have a Patreon account already, log in. If you do not have an account, then you can create one by entering a user name and password and clicking “sign up,” or by clicking the “sign up with Facebook” button. We have received confirmation that creating a username and password is really easy (none of the usual ‘that password is not complicated enough’).
  4. You’ve made it to the last step! After you log in a new screen will pop up asking if you want to donate additional money per month (for example, maybe you want the perks of the $10/month but want to give us $15 instead. That’s really awesome! You would enter the additional $5 in this box). You can choose not to add money to your donation and instead skip straight to entering your shipping address (not your billing address!). This is for our records so we can send you swag. Next you enter your credit card number or your PayPal account. And that’s it!

Important note: when you sign up to donate, the money does not immediately leave your account. Your donation is processed only on the 1st of each month, so if you sign-up to donate now, the money will not be taken from your account until August 1st (though our Patreon page will display the addition you have pledged).

Thank you, thank you, thank you!