by Matt Potter
I have just started a website. Actually it’s my second. I have three blogs too, though one is not used (I don’t know how to delete it), one is used (though not as a blog blog, but just for story challenges … like this), and the third is lost somewhere, having never really been born. (I abandoned it – not knowing how to delete it – and then set up my first website instead.)
So my past and present are littered with e-detritus. There is a purpose to all those I use, and that is, basically, promoting my own stories.
Although the most recent website, set up in early December 2010, was established to promote the works of other writers. I started it because (1) I was bored and thought it might be fun, (2) I have confidence in my own taste, and (3) I was pissed off with other fiction site editors who give no or almost no feedback when emailing you with the bad news: We can’t use your story. Or We don’t like your story. Or Your story is not for us. Or … well, you know the drill.
So I always give feedback, even about the stories I don’t like or feel are ‘not for us’. Always.
Anyway, it is much more work than I expected but the site has expanded exponentially which, if you knew me in person, you would have expected.
You can find the website by googling Pure Slush or Pure Slush fiction.
The Pure Slush tagline is flash … without the wank. If you don’t know what wank is, in this context, it means crap, or shit, or spin. I get tired of artistic, creative spin, and there does seem to be a lot of it in the flash fiction e-world. (To find out more about wank, once you have googled Pure Slush or Pure Slush fiction, scroll down from About along the top, ’til you get to Slush / Wank and click.)
There seemed to be a frisson of excitement amongst a small, small, small part of the flash fiction e-world which yes, actually was exciting, when the site went up on 6 December 2010, some of it because by stating it was anti-wank, therefore I was also declaring that some of the stuff out there is wank.
Funnily enough, saying that, in fact, is wanky (or full-of-spin) in itself. Saying Pure Slush is anti-spin, is actually a marketing (spin) tool. Which is amusing and in fact, I love multiple layers of meaning, wheels within wheels, spin on spin on spin sort of thing.
So cut to three weeks later and I decide it’s time to expand my e-empire and for Pure Slush to publish e-non-fiction too. So enter Real Time, the non-fiction offshoot. (Go to Pure Slush then click on Real Time.)
I know a lot of people all over the world now, having lived an expat life for the last three northern summers in Berlin, a city full of expats. And it’s so easy keeping in touch with them now via Facebook and emails, and given time zones, Australia is about a third of the world away from the west coast of the U.S., and a third of the world away from Europe. It works well.
So I have asked a slew of people to write non-fiction pieces for Pure Slush, and everyone has said yes so far. Who would say no, it’s so intensely flattering?! I know this when I ask people, and they probably know this too but it’s fun and it’s win – win and we all walk away (or turn our computers off) happy, egos stroked.
I have a tendency to remember people’s own stories – the quirky, the intimate, the sexy, the sad (which is flattering in itself) – so e-approaching people to write their own stories is a cert.
Here are some of the ideas I have proposed. I asked:
• a friend of Austrian-German parentage who was born in British Columbia to write about being educated in a French-language school as a child.
• a friend to write about the differing cultural experiences of having been married to an Italian woman (his ex-wife) and an American (his wife).
• another friend to write about the English books she was given as a child, while growing up in East Germany, by the American husband of a West German relative.
• and then to write about moving to Sheffield, England … and then again about observing the differing experiences of her new step-children, growing up in northern England compared to East Germany … and yet again about showing them Berlin. (Phew! She is busy!)
• an acquaintance to write about being a bilingual comic – can you tell the same joke the same way in different languages, and expect or get the same reaction?
• a writer already on the site, to write about why he left the States to live in Mexico … and what keeps him there.
• and another writer already on the site re the same, except she lives in Canada.
• an opera singer friend to write about performing in small German opera companies, and how does that compare to … well, anything.
• a translator / interpreter / sub-titler friend to write about her job, particularly when dealing with legal bureaucracies: she has a great story about Swedish campers and an African who was knifed.
• an Italian friend to write about being a renegade woman of a certain social standing living in Italy … or about the relationship she has to the US mid-West, years ago when she first went there as an exchange student, and recently, when she returned again, this time for a funeral.
I am still thinking of new non-fiction ideas, and digging friends up … so, if you are a friend of mine (or can pass for one) and have a multilingual / multicultural story to tell that is quite possibly amusing, revealing or both, email me at email@example.com … and let me know.