We did it! 

The issue 1 of the Literary Magazine I’m working on together with a bunch of incredible people is out! One year after our first meeting – look at all the road we’ve traveled!

Thanks to all the artists that submitted, thanks to all the readers – now go there, and enjoy the read!

(and if you’re a writer/visual artist, why don’t you submit?)

Dario

Great interview! Thanks Sophia 🙂

NATURE OF THE WILDERNESS

Back in September the wonderful Dario Cannizzaro approached me to review his first published collection of short stories: Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies.
And no, I’m not usually the type of person to read about zombies! But I gave it a go, and was quite astonished at the level of contemplation on life, plus the quality of Dario’s writing. Read my review for the book here.
Sweetheart Script Medium
Dario was kind enough to agree to be interviewed… read on to discover more about his writing, life, and advice!

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One early morning, I wrote the two magical words THE END after finishing the last chapter of my novel, Dead Men Naked.

Then I learned that THE END was not there yet. Sure, the story was over, but I discovered pretty soon that something else just started: the endless quest for a definition. If you’ve written a story, a book, a poem, you know that eventually someone will ask you, What is it about? And if you’re half like me, you’ll mumble some incoherent words about all the things that your story is not, without being able to find what definition your story would actually fit.

This feeling stayed with me the entirety of my quest for an agent, and resurfaced when I had to write the blurb for my short story collection, Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies. Was it Fantasy? Urban Fantasy? Modern Mythology? Magical Realism? All of those tags seemed to only grasp the surface of what I wrote.

So I did the most sensible thing – I avoided labels wherever I could, which for a short story collection was easy, because Amazon has a category just for it (even though I had to pick a second category and forced myself into Science Fiction – for now). I thought, let’s leave the definition to my first readers and reviewers.

When the first reviews came in, I was incredibly happy – because they were very good, comparing my work to authors such as Vonnegut, Fante, Bukowski – but I was also lost, because those same authors struggled with finding a defining name for their genre. My own readers couldn’t define my genre.

And now that the collection has traveled a bit, and Dead Men Naked is about to be published, I face the same challenge again. What genre do I write in? Is it Speculative fiction? Transrealism? Mystical neo-renaissance? Zeitgeist-y fiction?

I know my stories are quirky. I know they’re whimsical, poetical, and yes, philosophical in nature. I know there is a fairy-tale like air to them, if fairy tales were written for adults. I know they exist because I had something to say, a story to follow and share. So I hope you’ll forgive my lack of a definition – and hope you’ll enjoy them nevertheless.

My friend, poet exquisite Mr. Kevin Bateman, has a knack for gathering together great minds in spiritual places all around my favourite island.

This time, Kevin organised a great event called “Live Inside our Dream” at the Blackrock Castle and observatory, in Cork City, Ireland, and I’ve had the honour of being one of the participants, together with great writers and poets like (in order of appearance) John Mee, John W. Sexton, Danielle McLaughlin, Marie Gethins, and Kevin Doyle.

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From left to right: Kevin Doyle, Danielle McLaughlin, Dario Cannizzaro, John Mee, John W. Sexton, Kevin Bateman, Marie Gethins.

I’ve read “The Name of the Rose” upon request of our good Kevin (starting at 16:30 in the video) but my suggestion is, if you have 40 minutes to spare, watch the full event, because in this time and age, having so many great writers all together reading their work is a pearl to be cherished.

Here’s the link to the live Periscope.

Enjoy and happy Sunday!

One of my favourite authors once said:

I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth.

  • Cormac McCarthy

Of course I read this quote exactly when I was writing short stories again. At that particular point, he almost convinced me that my stories shouldn’t see the light of day, and should stay in my digital drawer forever.

But then I realised something. Cormac McCarthy, for how amazing he might be, said what he said because he didn’t feel he was good enough to write short stories.  He did write two shorts indeed, Wake for Susan and A Drowning incident, while he was still in College. And if you read them, while you’ll see the genius lying behind the phrases, you wouldn’t recognise Cormac.

That’s because short stories are hard. And actually, a good short story is harder than a full novel. Yes, in a novel you need to be careful with timing, consistency, and keep the reader entertained until the end. But the power of a longer work resides in the fact that, if you played your cards correctly, the reader will want to know how it ends, because (s)he’s invested a good amount of time in the characters already.

In a short story, you need to pack a story, a meaning, sympathetic characters, antagonists – all in a short space. Short stories are the chocolate pralines of baking – you see those little things and think they’re awesome, and you can eat a whole bunch of them, but you never stop to think how much time a single one took to make.

That’s when it hit me. Instead of sending the short stories out and get them published on Literary Magazines, I should organise them in a collection; much alike chocolate pralines, a single one might not placate the hunger, but a box of them might work just fine.

So here it is, my box of chocolates for you. Someone said about chocolate boxes, You never know what you’re gonna get,  but that’s part of the beauty; you will find some of them incredibly tasty (Bathroom Love) and would wonder why you don’t have more of it, while some other might be less punchy but leave a lingering aftertaste (The Announcement). And at the end, there’s also a bigger slice of cake (Impurita’), for the reader who will find himself or herself hungry after all that amuse-bouche.

Happy reading!

Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies