Christopher Brown is pursuing his PhD a city of magpies. In 2018, he was selected for the RBC Taylor Prize’s inaugural Emerging Writers program in non-fiction. His most recent work can be found in The Feathertale Review and The Lamp.
To read the rest of this resonantly millennial dating woes tale, click here (pages 10-11)
Tasnuva Hayden is an emerging Canadian writer of Bengali descent, residing in Calgary, Alberta. She studied creative writing, linguistics, and engineering at the University of Calgary. Her creative writing has appeared in NōD Magazine, J’aipur Journal, chapbooks, and anthologies. She is also the Fiction Editor at filling Station—Canada’s experimental literary magazine.
Lose yourself in the ethereal images in Tasnuva’s story, continued here (pages 59-61).
Emma Tilley has a BA in Creative Writing from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. Her debut chapbook will be published by Rahlia’s Ghost Press in 2019. She has this epistolary story and a flash fiction in antilang. no. 3.
We have a confession– this piece made our editors cry the first time we read it. So, find some tissues and continue reading it here (pages 45-47)
Kitty Hardy writes from the solitude of Alberta’s boreal forest. This is her first fiction publication, though her poems have appeared in NōD Magazine and From the Other Side. Kitty also runs the fabulous Kitty’s Bohemian Boutique, an online store for upcycled clothing and accessories (check it out– there’s free shipping on now!)
If you’re in the mood for an upcycled fairy tale, then find the full story here (pages 55-58)!
Read the rest of the story here (pages 23-27)
Kilmeny MacMichael lives in the Okanagan Valley, where she writes flash and short fiction. She has been published online with The Ilanot Review, Watershed Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, and other publications.
We’re almost ready to launch antilang. no. 3 and soundbite vol. 2, which means it’s time for some previews!
Andriana Minou is one of only a few international contributors this time around, but her intense blend of spoken word poetry and rhythmic vocals makes her piece “Lake Labyrinth” the perfect first pick for our winter preview.
Andriana Minou is a writer and musician based in London. Her work as a writer has been included in several anthologies and literary journals in Greece, the UK and the US.
I have a champagne flute in my hand. The bubbles have gone flat. The liquid is warm. I scan the modest crowd for my date. He is handsome but I don’t love him. I wear a gold dress like the Goddess Brigid.
Sláinte! A man smacks his pint of Beamish into my champagne flute as he grins at me and then rushes past. Most of the drink spills onto my dress.
Cliona! Finish your drink and come dance with me! Clare rushes over and kisses my cheek. I pour what is left of the champagne into my mouth and grin, my cheeks puffed out. Clare laughs and tugs me towards the dance floor. It’s so great to see you out, Clio! It’s been what, two, three months? I thought you’d followed Beck to Canada!
Twelve weeks and seven days. Tomorrow it will be thirteen weeks. I haven’t seen Clare for around ten. Beck left eight weeks ago.
I’ve been really busy with classes is all! Clare laughs, stumbling backwards into a man with long hair gathered into a bun. He turns around and smiles, grabbing her around the waist. She keeps facing me while they dance together.
And it looks like someone’s in the honeymoon phase with a new man!
What’s his name? Darren?
We’ve only been on one date, it’s nothing serious.
Whoever helps you get over Beck is A+ in my books, Clio! She winks, and swivels to grab the man by the cheeks and kiss him hard on the mouth. He looks surprised when she pulls away and she throws her head so far back that she can wink at me. Clare dissolves into giggles.
I’ve got to go to the toilet. See you later, Clare. Stay safe, okay?
The toilet is quiet. It smells of vomit but at least its quiet. I check my phone. The only message is from my mum. Happy New Years, sweetheart! Play safe! I open Instagram. A little red circle tells me @BecktheWreck has posted a new story. I debate whether to click on it, knowing he’ll be able to see that I’ve viewed it. He unfollowed me when he went home to Toronto. I scroll through posts of friends and family celebrating the New Year. Glittery dresses, champagne flutes, kissing couples, my best friend Asha posing with her cat for a New Years kiss. I click on Beck’s Instagram story. He is smoking a joint in his bedroom with a redheaded girl. She smiles at him. I used to smile at him like that, I think. Back in TO where I can ring in the New Year with 5 ounces of premium legal Mary Jane! He laughs and adjusts the camera. This is Mary Jane! The girl laughs. It’s Catherine, you dummy! I watch the video four times. I pause it when Beck’s smile is wide. I cry in the bathroom at 11:05pm on New Years Eve.
My phone beeps. An email reminding me of my appointment at Reproductive Choices Clinic in the morning. I know they will probably turn me away. I know I should have let someone who can actually qualify take the appointment. But, just like I know I should tell Beck about the baby, I ignore it and hang my head between my legs.
I wake up and Brendan is open-mouthed, snoring next to me. I roll over and scroll through Instagram, stopping on a photo of Beck and the redhead, kissing while confetti falls around them. It’s captioned Third NYE with the love of my life. So happy we found our way back to each other in 2018. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019. #blessed #couplegoals I want to comment on it. More than that I want to message him and tell him how angry I am. My appointment is in an hour on the other side of Dublin, though. I tell Brendan he can let himself out and eat whatever’s in the fridge. He grunts and rolls over.
I hold my wool coat close around me and lean into the wind. I pass St. Brigid’s Primary School. I stop at a stained glass window depicting the Saint.
Please. I whisper, before carrying on towards The Liffey.
At a newsagent by Beckett Bridge, papers have Abortion Legal Today! Splashed across the cover.
Quite frankly, Ms. Boyle, I am shocked that you would book an appointment for an abortion, knowing you would not be eligible, therefore taking this time away from a deserving woman who is eligible. I know this is upsetting but there is nothing we can do. I can direct you to Marie Stopes in the United Kingdom if you’d like. I know it isn’t ideal but you would have ten more weeks to make the trip and get the funds together. Perhaps the father can help out with the cost?
The nurse hands me a pamphlet and I leave the clinic. I cry and I think about all of the statues of the Virgin Mary weeping. She was probably weeping because she couldn’t get an abortion, either. Protesters flock me as I leave the clinic. Do you really want to start the New Year with murder, ma’am? A few women with signs chant Reinstate the Eighth!
I spit at the stained glass image of Brigid as I walk past the primary school. A little girl playing in the playground runs over to me.
You can’t spit at things! That’s not allowed! The girl is six or seven years old. I wonder if her parents wanted her. As I walk back to my flat I wonder about every child and parent I see. I wonder how many children were actually wanted. I wonder how many women chose to be mothers. I stop at a Macdonald’s and order a large fries. I open Instagram.
My girlfriends are posting about the first day of abortion access.
Beck is posting about the dispensary in his neighbourhood.
My cousins are posting photos of their kids asleep before midnight on New Years Eve.
Clare is posting photos from the party the night before. In one I am clutching my stomach and grimacing at the camera.
I click on the messages tab.
Hey, Beck. It’s been awhile. Text me when you can. 00353 1 830 0700. C. I don’t expect him to message me back, but I need the money to cross the border and get the abortion. He bought the condoms, after all.
As I finish my fries and lick the salt from my fingers I wonder about the redhead. I wonder if she’s ever been pregnant. I Google “abortion in Canada.” No legal restrictions on abortion at any stage. Outside, a group of girls with pink pussy hats hold up signs that say We did it! In big letters above a photo of Savita Halappanavar. In October I saw on Instagram a photo that Beck’s best friend posted of the two of them outside of a dispensary in Toronto, holding little baggies of weed. It was captioned We did it!
I wonder if there is anything wrong with the fetus that could warrant an abortion after twelve weeks. I wonder what the chances are of a medical emergency that would warrant an abortion after twelve weeks. I wonder if the herb mix I saw for sale online could actually induce a miscarriage after twelve weeks. I wonder if Beck will message me back. I wonder if I’ll be able to tell him. I haven’t told him in any of the twelve weeks I’ve known. I wonder if the Virgin Mary wept because she could not get an abortion after twelve weeks. I wonder if God is laughing at me, spitting on St. Brigid, comparing myself to the Virgin Mary, and just a week shy of being able to get an abortion in Dublin. I wonder if God is laughing at my bank balance and the extra 800-euro I need to make in order to go to England to get an abortion after twelve weeks.
I throw up in the MacDonald’s bathroom.
We all know how lit mags work: you send something in, and the longer you go without hearing anything, the longer they are taking to decide if they want your work (so, if you hear “no” just before the issue comes out, well, then at least you can take comfort knowing that your piece made the editors’ long-list). On the flip side, if you get a “no” within a month of submitting, then you know they really didn’t like it. Either way, with a “no” it’s rare to receive any type of feedback (so if you do get an encouraging note about your work, celebrate!)
By contrast, when we read submissions to The ALP, we categorise each piece and then go through work we’ve flagged for our issues (antilang. and soundbite). We do the edits for these pieces (the ones we accept for publication) before we send out our rejections. We also adhere to a tight schedule—we give ourselves around a month to edit and send out our acceptances and to put together both publications.
Because of this quick turn-around, things can get a bit awkward—sometimes we’re still sending out rejections after the issue has launched online. However, we post on our social media accounts (@antilangmag) when we have completed all our acceptances. So, if you haven’t heard back from us by then, you’ll be receiving a “no” with feedback.
Do we edit or give feedback on every submission? No. We are a publisher that prioritises editing, but we are not a free editing service. When people send us work that is not even close to being polished (obvious first drafts, an abundance of clichés or abstractions, etc.), then we send a generic “no thanks.”
For our “no with feedback” submissions, we put comments in the body of an email and typically address the strongest element of your work (the spark we see in it!) and any major issues. We do accept work that requires edits, but usually we don’t accept work that requires structural changes (i.e. switching the tense or perspective, rearranging scenes, or other edits that would take substantial time). So, our feedback will not be line edits, but rather comments and questions about the construction of the piece. These are pieces we feel are so close to being what we want, but need some sort of change that would take longer than our one-month deadline to incorporate (but that’s just us—a lot of these pieces do get scooped up by other lit mags that focus on elements outside of concision).
At The ALP, we do things differently. We know good work doesn’t emerge from a vacuum—while you sit down and physically write by yourself, the rewriting and editing are often done by sharing your work with trusted readers and editors. We want to highlight this communal element that is inherent to the writing process (and often overlooked).