My room was at the top of a concrete grain silo. The rest of the farm had fallen away to almost nothing except the silo and the 117 year old barn. The farmhouse hardly had a roof and the top floor was full of holes and dangerous.
I knew nothing about American writer Eric de Jesus prior to hearing him perform at the Editions of You ‘zine fair in Oxford on Saturday. There he read sections from his new novella, his words backed by electric guitar and drums, creating music which looped and cascaded while de Jesus spoke. The effect was so hypnotic that I didn’t catch all of what was being said, but what I did hear was enough to make me want to find out more.
Not one regret. In a span of seventy pages or so de Jesus weaves a beautifully balanced sense of place and atmosphere; his uncomplicated prose tunnelling straight into the brain. The narrative reads like a memory or a daydream, straightforward at the time, but in retrospect full of gaps and strangeness.
It took me just slightly over forty-seven minutes to read We Won’t Be Here Forever. I know this because, in an apparent proof of my incredibly average reading speed, the album of music that accompanies the book – by British ambient electronica outfit Minus Pilots – finished just seconds after I turned the last page.
The album, commissioned specially for the project, is reminiscent of Talk Amongst the Trees-era Eluvium: all lo-fi delay, gently looping and shifting patterns of notes. It complements the words very well and adds significantly to the atmosphere, making you wonder why this kind of thing isn’t done more often.
The package is not flawless – the book could do with a quick once-over by a proofreader for one thing – but it is an honest, engaging piece of writing that will stay with you. And it has a bloody good soundtrack.
We Won’t Be Here Forever is available here. It costs $13.
First things first: issue six is shaping up nicely. Last week we completed the difficult process of whittling down the hundreds of submissions sent in for issue six to those we felt were right for the magazine, and have now entered the murky depths of the copy-editing process.
Between now and publication, we will be heading out to a few small publisher fairs and events. First on the agenda is the Editions of You ‘Zine Fair. The fair is taking place “under the shelter of an olde-y world-y striped marquee” in the grounds of Oxford Castle this Saturday (the 9th), and promises to be a lot of fun, with stalls, live music, readings and workshops a-plenty.
The month of May sees us in London for The International Alternative Press Festival, specifically their Alternative Press Fair, which takes place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of May at the Conway Hall in Holborn. We might even have the new issue in hand by then, so if you’re in a rush to get hold of one of the limited-edition numbered copies, this might be your best shot.
After that, the next one we have planned is the always-wonderful Small Publisher’s Fair in November, but if you know of any others you think would be worth a look in the meantime, please let us know. We generally don’t need much persuasion to go to these things.
In other writing-related news, photographer Stacey Yates is on the look out for flash fiction for her new project, entitled Imaging Jane. The idea is to write a short piece inspired by the police report of an unidentified woman who died in May of 1998. From these fictions Stacey will create a series of photographs with the ultimate aim of piecing together an idea of just who ‘Jane’ might have been. It’s a fascinating project, and one which aims to cumulate in an exhibition in London and companion book. The deadline is the 28th of April though, so you might want to get cracking.
That’s it for now. Expect more updates as we get nearer to publication.