When I read, I do not apply the same aesthetic that shape how I play with sentences. I like lots of things, but I work in a particular range. I know these things intersect somehow.
I look for lightness even as I have difficulties saying what that is. I like pieces that are attentive to structure. I like pieces that seem to me to take the air of the world around us. I like curious things.
As is the remit, I read but did not select pieces that have already garnered significant approbation in the form of little stars. I did not select pieces by people whose work I have come to know well over the time I have been on Fictionaut. I limited myself to pieces posted over the past few weeks as a function of constraints at my end.
My thanks to Michelle Elvy for asking me to do this, and to the folk who have previously assumed this role: without you, I wouldn’t have had the first idea what to do.
Here are my selections:
When a cadence shapes long sentences such that it pulls them close to saying too much but tells you when to stop the sentences follow one after another and spill over what separates A from B. Then they stop. What happens then is particularly lovely. The pleasures of asymmetry depend upon structure.
The rhythms that hum through the sentences. The imagery and Art Bell. This has a kind of de-materialized Ballard vibe, a little journey to the edge of the apocalypse that runs invisible along the fade of empire. A network of illuminati tracks it. Their updates bounce amongst the satellites. Art is a radio impresario who relays them across the night. Every interior is wired for sound.
The downward movement of a Canada goose and a tent surround of pines in a time away from signals. The piece is contrary motion, a counter-point of gestures and a sense of being-suspended. The composition converges on the way fingernails trail across a forearm as the sky “blues to black” and disappears the scene. Note the lovely symmetry between situation and the language that triggers it.
An equation is a mannered thing, a formal operation in a formal language. An equation that describes a complex environment itself obeys combinatorial rules even as it contains myriad particularities that conform or do not to their own rules. Sometimes the relation between rules and what violates them cuts. So it is here.
I enjoy black humor.
Stephen Hastings-King lives by a salt marsh in Essex, Massachusetts where he makes constraints, works with prepared piano and writes entertainments of various kinds. His short fictions have appeared in Sleepingfish, Black Warrior Review and elsewhere. Looking for the Proletariat: Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Question of Worker Writing, will be published in the Spring of 2014 from Brill as part of the Historical Materialism series.
Editor’s Eye is curated by Michelle Elvy (Fictionaut profile here). She writes and edits every day at michelleelvy.com, and readers can also find her editing Blue Five Notebook (with Sam Rasnake) and Flash Frontier.