Wasn’t One Ocean on CellStories

My short story, Wasn’t One Ocean, was featured on CellStories August 4, 2010. CellStories publishes short fiction for mobile devices. A story a day. Free. In the palm of your hand. If you happen to have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or a Google-Android based phone like Nexus One, MyTouch or Droid, that is. I don’t. But if you do, follow this link on your mobile device to read the story, and to share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader: Wasn’t One Ocean by J.R. Carpenter is ready for you to read on your mobile device. Or, if you have a phone that can read QR codes, just zap the one below and your phone will take you right to Wasn’t One Ocean.

Wasn't One Ocean

“It took me years to notice that you didn’t love Montréal the way I did. You never made many friends here the way I did. But then, you never lost friends here the way I did either. When you said you wanted to move to Vancouver I thought: Wasn’t one ocean enough for you? At the time, neither one of us knew that no two oceans are alike.”
J. R. Carpenter, Wasn’t One Ocean

If, like me, you have a mobile phone so old it is barely capable of taking a decent photo of your dog, you may read Wasn’t One Ocean online in Carte Blanche, The Literary Review of the Quebec Writers’ Federation, where it was first published in 2005.

Carte Blanche

Hennessey’s High Pasture

Hennessey's High Pasture
My short story, Hennessey’s High Pasture, appears in The New Quarterly, #98, Waterloo, ON, Spring 2006. This story used to be called The Bayley-Hazen Road. I began writing in 1996, and submitted it to at least a dozen journals since then. I am grateful to every editor who had the good sense to reject it before it was ready. My thanks to the Trautz family, for helping start the story off; to Jenn Goodwin, first reader; Amy Hempel, generous reader; and Kim Jernigan, The New Quarterly editor who turned up at end of the old Bayley-Hazen Road.

Excerpt from Hennessey’s High Pasture:

“Most nights the dogs and I walk up to Hennessey’s high pasture. You can see the whole King’s County from up there. Even when it’s dark you feel it, the earth curving away from you. But I’m not ready yet. I smoke a cigarette. No matter which way I hold it, the smoke blows toward Earl.”

J. R. Carpenter
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The Very Short Story 101

So two fiction writers walk into a bar. That’s not the opening line of a joke, that’s just what fiction writers do. They walk into a bar. Now if they haven’t slept with each other yet they might engage in some witty flirting. If they have slept with each other already or are sleeping with a friend of a friend or secretly hate each other or each other’s writing or have written reviews of each other’s work, some awkward editorializing might be required. But basically, two fiction writers walk into a bar, they drink an alarming amount, there’s chemistry or there’s competition, and eventually one will turn to the other and ask: So, who have you been reading lately?

In January 2006 Mike Bryson, editor of the Toronto-based web journal The Danforth Review, asked 27 Canadian writers what curriculum they would bring to class, if they were asked to teach an introductory level course, The Short Story 101. I’ve never taken an introductory level course on the short story let alone taught one, so I don’t know what makes a good curriculum. Not all of the 27 lists listed on TDR read like curriculum. Some seem like maybe they were compiled to impress fiction writers in bars. But maybe that’s just me.

I used to hate to read short stories. Then I found out I write very short stories, which isn’t quite the same. Anyone signing up for “The Very Short Story 101” would probably be better off just reading poetry. Chances are I’ll never be an English teacher, not with that attitude. But the next time I walk into a bar with a fiction writer, here are some of the authors, stories, or groups of stories that I’ll try and squeeze into the conversation:

Franz Kafka, “The Metamorphoses”
Isaac Babel, “Red Calvary”
Gogol, “The Overcoat”
Chekov, “The Kiss”
James Joyce, “The Dead”
Angela Carter, “The Bloody Chamber”
Haruki Murakami, “The Elephant Vanishes”
Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Grace Paley, “The Small Disturbances of Man”
Cynthia Ozick, “The Shawl”
Amy Hempel, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”
Barbara Gowdy, “We so Seldom Look on Love”
Anne Carson, “Short Talks”
Lydia Davis, “Almost No Memory”
Mark Richard, “Strays”
Joy Williams, “Honored Guest”
Ron Carlson, “Towel Season”
Lisa Moore, “Open”
Greg Hollingshead, “The Roaring Girl”

So, who have you been reading lately?
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Lust for Life Launch Tonight

I’ll be reading “The Prettiest Teeth” tonight at the Montreal launch of Lust for Life: Tales of Sex and Love at the Sergent Recruteur (4801 St-Laurent, corner Villeneuve).

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m., and will feature readings by contributers: Matthew Anderson, J.R. Carpenter, Tess Fragoulis, Harold Hoefle, Nairne Holtz, Neil Kroetsch, Mark Paterson, Neil Smith, and Barry Webster.

See you there!
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The Prettiest Teeth

One of my short stories called “The Prettiest Teeth” has been published in the anthology Lust for Life, edited by Claude Lalumière and Elise Moser and published by Véhicule Press, January 2006.

“The Prettiest Teeth” is not about boys or girls or love or lust or sex or sexuality. It’s really all about the teeth. Here’s the opening paragraph:

“Beth Wharton sits across the aisle from me. She has the prettiest teeth in the sixth grade. My teeth are a mess. One eyetooth is misshapen and the other one never came in; one front tooth pokes through my lips if I smile, so I try not to. I try to keep my mouth shut altogether, but it’s a losing battle. I can’t stop myself. I crack lame joke after lame joke on the off chance that Beth Wharton will crack a smile.”

For the whole story, drop by the Toronto and/or Montreal launch events or visit: http://luckysoap.com/publications.html
Lust for Life - The Prettiest Teeth
The Toronto launch will take place on Saturday, February 11th in the upstairs pool room at Rivoli (334 Queen Street West) at 7:00 and will feature readings by: Nalo Hopkinson, Barry Webster, J.R. Carpenter and Harold Hoefle.

The Montreal launch will take place on Monday, February 13th at Sergeant Recruteur (4801 St-Laurent) at 8:00 and will feature readings by: Matthew Anderson, J.R. Carpenter, Tess Fragoulis, Harold Hoefle, Nairne Holtz, Neil Kroetsch, Mark Paterson, Neil Smith and Barry Webster

Véhicule Press says: Lust for Life is a smart, witty, and fascinating anthology celebrating the diversity of the human sexual experience. These stories are daring, playful, funny, romantic, genderbending, sensual, mysterious, and sexy, and explore and celebrate love and sex in all its forms. It includes stories from Matthew Anderson, Catherine Lundoff, Neil Kroetsch, Robin Evans, Mark Paterson, Ashok Banker, Dan Rafter, Scott D. Pomfret, Neil Smith, Tess Fragoulis, Vic Winter, Harold Hoefle, Joel Hynes, Nalo Hopkinson, Nairne Holtz, Barry Webster, Ray Vukcevich, Holly Phillips, J.R. Carpenter, Maya Stein, and Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia.

For more information about the anthology visit: Véhicule Press
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The Cape – A Very Short Story

My very short story The Cape has just been published in the new Fall 2005 issue of Carve, a delectable morsel of a magazine published twice a year out of Montréal.

You may also visit The Cape online at: http://luckysoap.com/thecape/

“These events happened so long ago that this whole story is in black and white.”

J. R. Carpenter, The Cape
Montréal 2005.
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Hennessey’s High Pasture

The New Quarterly has accepted my short story Hennessey’s High Pasture for publication. It will appear in Issue #97 (due out January 2006).

“Most nights the dogs and I walk up to Hennessey’s high pasture. You can see the whole King’s County from up there. Even when it’s dark you feel it, the earth curving away from you. But I’m not ready yet. I smoke a cigarette. No matter which way I hold it, the smoke blows toward Earl.” J. R. Carpenter, Hennessey’s High Pasture

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Carte Blanche – Issue II

Please visit http://www.carte-blanche.org/issues/02/ to see the new issue of QWF’s online juried literary journal for QWF members.

Non-fiction – Sharon Lax, Gina Roitman, Lewis J. Poteet and Brian Zelnicker
Poetry – Elena Johnson, Elise Moser and Kristina Drake
Fiction – Frederick Kraenzel, J. R. Carpenter and Kate Sheckler

Congratulations to Elise Moser for winning the second issue prize!

Quebec Writers’ Federation
English-Language Arts Network
1200 Atwater Ave., Suite 3
Montreal, QC H3Z 1X4


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