Fish Anthology 2012


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Michael Wright

He unfolded another note. One notebook was filled with yellow and black circles with smiley or frowny faces filled in. Each page had one row of faces in various combinations of smiles and frowns. This was just stupid. Why would he do that? Zebo was right. OB must be psycho. Now he was obsessed with a girl. There were poems, no, more like song lyrics because there were chord letters written above them. Looked like a lot of lost love stuff. He had a pile of paper now, its layers crinkled like baklava. He scooped up the papers from the floor and ran across the hall to the bathroom.

We followed. Zebo shredded a handful of notes into a toilet bowl and hit the flush handle with his foot. One of the freshmen opened the door. Zebo growled and chased the kid out into the hall. He turned the water on in all the lavatories and unwrapped a bar of soap. He tossed the bar into the sink. It was round and white, etched with the outline of a castle. One by one they hit the porcelain, and the water that splashed off the bars onto the floor mingled with the papery swill from the overflowing toilets.

I leaned back against the wall. I had one more notebook. The tile was cool through my T-shirt. It felt like those big ceramic squares were my personal kryptonite, draining all the energy from my body, leaving me with a churning stomach and a light head. I slid down to the floor and sat with my legs stretched out in front of me, the notebook in my lap.

I held it close to my eyes and tried to focus. The top page had several titles written in. When John Blair escaped from his smoke-filled bedroom wrapped in the sheets from his bed, he carried his guitar case, an old backpack of notebooks from grade school, and a collection of hotel shampoos his father had brought home from business trips over the years.

Those items would be all that would survive from his childhood, except Blair himself, of course. His house, his photos, his family, all gone. In their place was a scar across his chest, closely resembling the continent of Australia, a brand of sorts where the fire lashed out at the bare spot in his yellow cotton toga, that months in the burn unit could not erase. I heard Zebo laugh and Henry singing in the hall. He squatted next to me and held out his hand. I reached for it, but he brushed my hand away.

He blotted the front page on his pant leg and held the notebook against his chest. He hesitated, as if waiting for something to catch up with him, or to say something, but his eyes were focused elsewhere. He stood up. He tilted his head ever so slightly and looked down under his curtain of bangs.

Fish Anthology 2012

Behind him the bathroom door slammed open into its opposite wall. From my vantage point on the tile I could see a familiar silhouette in the doorway. Candice put her hands on her hips and surveyed the room like Robert E. Lee at the Battle of the Crater. Her eyes lit on me. Seven Spring Street, Serena Smith slumbers serenely, snores slightly. Simon stirs, snuffles, still sleeps. Next-door, naughty nightied Norma Norris nuzzles naked Norman; nudge-nudge! Serena stirs, stretches; Simon still sleeps, shifts slightly.

Serena slipper-steps sideways silently, soaks, showers, sings sadly, softly; Sunday sunshine shines strongly. Brown-brick bungalowed Bertie Brannigan breakfasts, belligerent, blue-faced. Serena sighs. Jennifer Jones jogs jauntily, jugs jiggling. Sleazy Simon Smith stares steadily, smirks salaciously. Churchbells chime, churchgoing children cycle, chattering cheerfully. Roundy Reverend Robinson rests, rubs rope, resumes rapid ringing. She shines shoes, slaps suncream, sends Sally-Sue Sunday-schoolwards.

Simon slips-in side-gate silently, scratching slightly suspicious sore. Mandy Morris makes mojitos, mixing Morgan, muddler-mashing mint. Serena suspects Sally sometimes; she sniffles, smiles sadly. Sod Simon! Bong, bong, bloody bells! Belligerent Bertie Brannigan breaks, bashes bin-banging boys, brutally batters Brenda. Down Dingly-dell, David Dawson destroys daisies, dandelions, digs double drills; dreaming damsons, dill, dates, dewberries. Petrina, pour port, please! Mandy mutters, makes more Morgan-mix mojitos.

Passing patrolling policeman plods, peers; presses pager. Andy ambles away awkwardly. It is only the second time this morning she has asked, so I do not sigh as I occasionally do, after a fourth or fifth time of asking. Music is Wednesday. But she is not convinced and somewhere between the huge fistful of pills she must consume every morning and our anxious ritual of staring out the window at Bleecker St. Her school, her sister Jane, her cat Ruby Bridges, her beloved Mom Kate , her beloved Dad me — these are the parameters of her constricted life.

But music alone seems to lift her over the wall. Anna, now 16, was adopted from China, the loveliest and sweetest 6-month old anyone had ever seen. Though she was slow to walk and talk, she was always beguiled by music. She could sing along with Beatle songs before she could speak sentences. At 5, after a fluke accident landed her in the emergency room followed by seven stressful visits to seven doctors in seven months , she was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick C, an extremely rare, extremely terrible, progressive neurogenetic disorder.

More than a decade later, there is still no cure for NPC, and no real treatment. It will almost certainly snuff out her little light before she reaches adulthood. On the bus from the hotel to the neurology center, Anna belted out one of her favorite songs. Even the stricken men and women who rode the bus with us smiled that morning. Though she struggled in school — and with simple, everyday tasks — Anna never struggled to sing.

We decided she could not perform that December, shuddering at the imagined image of her seizure-stiff body toppling off the stage. The following spring she went down like a tree in our apartment hallway, her face skidding on the floor, giving her 2 black eyes and rug burns on one porcelain cheek. Did she feel embarrassed by looking like a piece of bruised meat? Hesitate to show her wounds to the audience?

No way. Anna sat in a chair while her classmates did their dance, and she was singing, just singing in the rain. We spent much of that dismal year slogging around New York trying to find an appropriate school for Anna. At the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in Brooklyn — a school I was pretty sure was inappropriate for my Chinese Catholic daughter — I watched a woman distribute bells, drums, and horns to a class of severely impacted special needs students. And the idea of music therapy stuck with me. Anna, once a giggling, happy child, often was quiet and sad now.

Was this merely a side-effect of her many meds? She seemed to crave a companion, or an activity that would lift her spirits and act as a doorway into more hopeful possibilities. For the past 3 years, she has looked forward every day to that one day.

Winners | The Bridport Prize

If, as Walter Pater once observed, all art aspires to the state of music, perhaps all therapy should aspire to the state of music therapy. Although her therapists are trained educators, and make use of skills akin to those of psychologists and MSWs, music therapy embraces an improvisational component which allies the therapists more closely with jazz musicians and artists.

It is, in every sense, action therapy, in which both therapist and client respond to the mood, emotion, and ambience to create a musical moment, a collaboration which enables the client to express emotions or transcend a difficult experience.


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Considerable research exists to suggest that music therapy is especially effective in helping autistic and emotionally troubled children push their way out of the cell of the imprisoned self, and touch upon feelings and thoughts they may not have been aware they had. In my experience, it is a therapy that clients love to be involved with, even as they are working hard. Music therapy allows her to accomplish, to create, to complete simple experiences which most of us take for granted, but which the cruelty of her enervated condition often does not allow her.

Watching her sessions, I have been struck by how strongly Anna responds to musical suggestions. This is a kid whose disease makes her speech clumsy, at times all but inaudible. Provide her with a song to sing and suddenly she is belting it out like a nightclub chanteuse. When she enters the studio, and her therapist begins to sing and play the piano, Anna will join right in, even if she was nodding out seconds before. She picks up the beat, she bobs along, sometimes rhythmically moving her body in the wheelchair where she is often slumped for most of the day.

Despite the serious weakness of all her muscles, she will even try pounding the piano keys, banging a drum, shaking bells. She nearly always senses the next note and approximates it. Anna loves to sing. I should be clear here that her voice is downright weird. Sometimes, she sounds like she has smoked too many cigarettes her whiskey voice, Kate calls it. Yet there are few sweeter sounds to us — especially if we have spent the past half hour trying to extract from her even a single phrase about her day.

Ask her a direct question and you will get a stammered word or two at most. And sometimes when she sings, it is so clear to me that music is the one true balm to the sorrow of her life, a way to express that which she cannot express — has never been able to express — in any other way. Is this just her stoic personality? An inability to find the right words? A neurological deficit which keeps her from feeling pain?

Fish Anthology 2011 c Siobhan Worn 2011

We have never been sure. Now that her disease is nibbling away at all of her functioning and she is less able to speak at length, we will probably never know. A few months ago, I met her school bus as I do most days, and pushed her wheelchair the few blocks to the NYU building which houses the Nordoff-Robbins Center. She seemed grumpy, though, and did not say Yay! It was a day on which her mother was away. Kate travels on business and has since Anna was a baby.

Anna is used to this. Anna nodded, bobbing her head to the music. And then — and this is one of those musical moments it is so hard to put into words — the therapist ever so slightly altered the tune. The chords changed from minor to major. The faint suggestion of a smile seemed to cross her face. Back to top What Remains by Martin Childs He told me he was having trouble with forgetting, which I took to mean remembering, and so next day I bought a Moleskin notebook and two pens, Pilot I recall, Japanese, disposable, in case one got stolen on the ward.

They called the few things in a drawer. Martin Childs. The following cento, composed by Brian Turner for the launch of the Fish Anthology in Bantry, has a line from each of the poems from the Fish Anthology With the Sails Unfurled. At the border, I forget who I am — like a leaf changing into a verb, I toss and turn, going nowhere.

Now, let us speak of love. These glorious pieces have spun across the globe — pit-stopping in Japan, the Aussie outback, Vancouver, Paris, Amsterdam and our own Hibernian shores — traversing times past, present and imagined future as deftly as they mine the secret tunnels of the human heart. Enjoy the cavalcade.

The standard is high, in terms of the emotional impact these writers managed to wring from just a few pages. Loop-de-loopy, fizz, and dazzle … unique and compelling—compressed, expansive, and surprising. Energetic, dense with detail … engages us in the act of seeing, reminds us that attention is itself a form of praise. Dead Souls has the magic surplus of meaning that characterises fine examples of the form — Neel Mukherjee I was looking for terrific writing of course — something Fish attracts in spades, and I was richly rewarded right across the spectrum — Vanessa Gebbie Really excellent — skilfully woven — Chris Stewart Remarkable — Jo Shapcott.

The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey. An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, […]. How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity?

The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers. What a high standard all round — of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision. Ruth Padel. I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so — they are madcap and eccentric and great fun. Others — despite restrained and elegant prose — managed to be devastating.

All of them are the work of writers with talent. Claire Kilroy. The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary. A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come. David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology.

The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives. The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. I sing those who are published here — they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue.

I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us.

These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form. Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. The past is here.

2014 Winners

This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read.

These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart.

There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story — grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world.

The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one.

Teaching and Research Interests

How did they think of that? They read like they simply grew on the page. The writers in this collection can write short stories. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again.

A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening. A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging. Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra?

Fish Anthology Buy Now Kindle Version. Recent NEWS. Fish Books. Fish Anthology These glorious pieces have spun across the globe — pit-stopping in Japan, the Aussie outback, Vancouver, Paris, Amsterdam and our own Hibernian shores — traversing times past, present and imagined future as deftly as they mine the secret tunnels of the human heart. They raise their snubby noses, eyeing her. She thinks of Thomas, eyeing her as she left him at Luton Airport. She looks across to the hills and the peaks behind them.

The sky is a dull pearl, flat and quiet, and the morning mist has frozen into a row of frail tufts along the valley bottom, as if a steam train had recently departed. Her eyes begin to water. The calf remains still. She blinks. Someone offers to bring us to the beach and Bassam relaxes a little. And a huge ferry boat gliding out to the UK, the floating steps and tiers just within eyeshot. When we get back the lads are getting ready to go try on the trucks.

Ahmed is coughing so he takes a bottle of suppressant with him. Months and months of trying, stuck in this shadow world. We sing along at the top of our voices. We smoke and drink coffee until the early hours, and fall asleep to the gentle sound of scurrying rats on the shelter roof. Ahmed got as far as the shelter door, collapsed and crawled onto the bottom bunk. It was a cheap copy, all he could afford. A hologram of himself, flickering under the blanket. The camp is getting more and more crowded, and a news crew is trying to get people to talk to them.

A few Sudanese guys were getting lunch ready and they beckoned me over. They pulled up a deckchair for me, and we dipped lumps of stale bread in a huge pot of chilli stew. Do you think they would treat us like this if they wanted us here? In England maybe there is a better chance — maybe we will be welcome there. These glorious pieces have spun across the globe — pit-stopping in Japan, the Aussie outback, Vancouver, Paris, Amsterdam and our own Hibernian shores — traversing times past, present and imagined future as deftly as they mine the secret tunnels of the human heart.

Enjoy the cavalcade. The standard is high, in terms of the emotional impact these writers managed to wring from just a few pages. Loop-de-loopy, fizz, and dazzle … unique and compelling—compressed, expansive, and surprising. Energetic, dense with detail … engages us in the act of seeing, reminds us that attention is itself a form of praise. Dead Souls has the magic surplus of meaning that characterises fine examples of the form — Neel Mukherjee I was looking for terrific writing of course — something Fish attracts in spades, and I was richly rewarded right across the spectrum — Vanessa Gebbie Really excellent — skilfully woven — Chris Stewart Remarkable — Jo Shapcott.

The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey.

An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, […]. How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity?

The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers. What a high standard all round — of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision. Ruth Padel. I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so — they are madcap and eccentric and great fun.

Others — despite restrained and elegant prose — managed to be devastating. All of them are the work of writers with talent. Claire Kilroy. The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary. A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come.

David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology. The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives.

The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. I sing those who are published here — they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue.

I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us. These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form.

Ten pint Ted & other stories, & poems :

Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. The past is here. This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read.

These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart. There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story — grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world.

The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one. How did they think of that?


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They read like they simply grew on the page. The writers in this collection can write short stories. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again. A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening. A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging.

Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra? Fish Anthology Father, you fished an ocean of Sapporo and sake with the vague nets of your mind. She had wanted to come at Christmas, and in March. He nods.

Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012
Fish Anthology 2012 Fish Anthology 2012

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