I have a short story in the latest issue of Prole magazine. It’s called ‘Falling Rocks’ and was inspired (in part) by this road sign, and the unfortunate little fellow in the sign who’s driving the car.
I first saw the sign when I was traveling in New Mexico years ago. US traffic signs vary by state, so I think there are some slightly different versions of it in Colorado and California – not all of them have the little driver, though.
In the last few years, the sign has had its fifteen minutes of fame because people sometimes graffiti it by adding a cow falling onto the car (and occasionally, other things, such as flying saucers). The story is also about parenthood and babies and trans-atlantic relationships – all things close to my heart!
It took me a long, long time from conception to actually finishing and publishing this story, but I feel that I finally managed to write it right (or come as close as I could), and I’m delighted that it’s now in Prole.
This issue (number 19) has six other short stories – some by writers whose work I’ve enjoyed before, and others who were new to me. Neil Rathmell’s ‘Peter’ is an unflinching tale that sweeps through an entire life. Charles Wilkinson’s story also spans years – flashing back from a funeral to a traumatic childhood moment, with artfully drawn characters. Lorna Sherry’s tale of a preacher on a desert island is both strange and lovely. Victoria Briggs’ ‘State of Nature’ brilliantly captures embittered family relationships. Kathy Stevens’ tale of an encounter at a bus stop is so vivid and real I felt I was there, and Sue Pace’s writing manages to be witty, energetic, subtle and moving all at the same time.
There is also lots of gorgeous poetry that seems to get right to the bitter-sweet essence of everyday things. I especially loved the poems on dawdling (Rachael Clyne), dogs (DA Prince), washing lines (Stella Wulf), cooking dinner and watching the news (Mark Connors), and phone boxes (Rebecca Gethin). Fred Johnston’s ‘New Order’ is a quietly devastating reflection on aging. And Angela Topping (whose collection Letting Go I recently enjoyed) has a beautiful poem about the Welsh town Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Prole is full of writing that’s intelligent and engaging, and unashamed to be tender and raw. I’m really chuffed to be in its pages.
UPDATE 29th May, 2016: The winners of The Saboteur Awards for independent publishing have just been announced, and Prole is this year’s winner of the ‘Best Magazine’ category. A well-deserved accolade!