21 Months Old, Break the Rules

The stories

Spark and Flink by Ben Slotky
Mid Shift at La Fiesta with the Texas Teacakes Chapter of the Red Hat Society by Siobhan Welch
Yes and Yet by Jay Merill
All I Wanted Was Coffee, but Van Gogh Had to Play His Little Game by David S. Atkinson
Burying the Bird by Steve Cushman
Bottle Black by Nickie Shobeiry
Basking, Gloating by Michael Mungiello
Crocodile Wife by Kathryn McMahon
It Leaves No Shadows by Vallie Lynn Watson
After a Certain Point, You’ve Got to Name the Bird by Sheldon Lee Compton
Monitor by Claire Hopple
The Sequential Mode of Existence by Meg Tuite

Editor’s Note

Pablo Picasso said you should ‘learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist’. As an editor, one of my favourite things is having the opportunity to share stories that break the rules. Daniel Kitson, the comedian’s comedian, said he hiyaa’ed laws and bleurghed conventions, because he was a maverick, he didn’t play by the rules you choose to live by. And this month we’ve published maybe more rule breakers and convention stretchers than ever before. We loved Kathryn McMahon’s “Crocodile Wife”. We adored Michael Mungiello’s “Basking, Gloating”. We laughed at Ben Slotky’s “Spark and Flink” and we were wowed by Sheldon Lee Compton’s “At a Certain Point, You’ve Got to Name the Bird”.

But we also published some wonderful traditional stories this month too, which broke their own rules in their own ways. Siobhan Welch’s Red Hat Society delighted us. Jay Merill’s “Yes and Yet” was sad and hilarious. Steve Cushman’s “Burying the Bird” was divine, as was Claire Hopple’s “Monitor”. Nickie Shobeiry’s “Bottle Black” was beautiful. David S. Atkinson’s moot court case and coffee-ordering disaster was short and sweet. Vallie Lynn Watson impressed with “It Leaves No Shadows” and of course we were over the moon to publish Meg Tuite’s “The Sequential Mode of Existence”.

Jellyfish have broken most of the rules. They’re among the smallest animals, but also among the largest. Some of them live forever, ageing backwards as needed. They were around with the dinosaurs and they’ve been into space. And that’s one of the biggest reasons we love them so.

It’s been a top month, one of our favourites since beginning the magazine. I’ve probably said that before! But it doesn’t make it any less true. This was a cracker.


Break the Rules


A word on the art

This image is by Jean-Michel Basquiat, photographed by Renaud Camus. Basquiat broke the rules, literally and artistically.

Oh, and by the way

If you’ve never seen Daniel Kitson before, check this out.