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Happy Birthday to Us – 7 Years.

What can we say?

Do we have a skin complaint?

Do we feel lucky?

Are we a colour of the rainbow?

Which of the dwarves would we be?

And could we consider ourselves a continent?

Probably none of them but what we are is privileged to have been here for seven years!!

This posting is all about that celebration, so none of the usual shite from me…Well apart from that introduction!!

We have a few bits and pieces to get through, so first off let’s get the reviews done for last week.

We had two new writers who we welcome with all our usual wishes, fun on the site, see more of their work, that sort of thing!

And the other three writers have all been here before.

Our topics this week include; communication, a toll, a character, an injury and a lesson.

As always, our initial comments follow.

First up we had our first new writer.

Michael W. Clark got us up and running with ‘Anne: Office Monster.’

‘I like the panic and madness, fear and confusion.’

‘The style suits this very well.’

‘This will be so recognisable for many of us.

On Tuesday we had Anthony Billinghurst’s latest story, ‘The Bridge At Drochaisling.’

‘A very curious piece.’

‘Excellent writing!’

‘This was a lot of fun.’

Our next new writer was Aishwarya Suriastava. The week’s back was broken and also this was our actual anniversary date. It was a pleasure to publish, ‘A Given’ on this special day!

‘A modern parable of sorts, I liked this a lot!’

‘So well put together.’

‘This was quite entrancing.’

There is no introduction needed for our wonderful fellow editor – Leila was published on Thursday with, ‘Amy And The Felinespy: A Feeble Fable Of The Fantasmagorical.’

‘Another wonderful trek into commonbeak and catspeak.’

‘This explains so much!’

‘Brilliantly inventive but recognisable.’

And we finished off with another old friend.

Tim Frank completed our week with, ‘ The City, The World.’

‘Surreal and interesting!’

‘A nightmarish glimpse of an alternative reality, I would think.’

‘Peculiar but very interesting so all good.’

That’s the round up weel rounded up so onwards and upwards…

Memorable Lines.

If any of you have read these specific postings over the last few years, you will know that we pick out certain lines that we have thought to be exceptional.

There are never many but every one is of such quality that we need to showcase and celebrate.

To the writers of these wonderful words, we tip our hats!!

I Only try to give you direction because sometimes you seem so utterly rudderless.
(A Good Person – Fred Foote)

I have hypertension, arthritis and hemorrhoids. I have two ex-wives and a slave driving boss. I don’t have the time, energy or interest in keeping anybody happy but me.
(A Good Person – Fred Foote)


He confused not wanting to live with wanting to die.
(Gameday With Gran – Shawn Nocher)

Drinking is my joy, it takes me to my solitude.
(My Plea For Solitude – Harrison Kim)

There’s a reason why fairy tales stop at ‘Happily Ever-After’, it’s because there ain’t no such thing.
(The Raccoon And The Fitness Trainer: A Feeble Fable Of The Fantasmagorical – Leila Allison)

She said it in a way some women let a secret trickle and go on about its way as if they’ve not let it go at all. (The Last of the Roses–Tom Sheehan)

Macey McGarry was a face licker. (Macey–Hugh Cron – Scheduled for December 3rd)

I’ll take away the boy’s disease and remove your soul at the same time. I’m ambidextrous, you see. (The Devil You Don’t Know–David Henson)

Neither parent really wanted him, but they expected him to live their way. (The Flight of Time–Yashar Seyedbagheri.)

See doesn’t even see me. I am every old woman in this store. (Troublemaker--Cathy Adams)

I was told you will sniff my chair after I leave and only ask about sex. (Visiting Dr. Redd–Constance Woodring

***

Talkable Untalkables!

Although it has been unasked for, a Talking Untalkable Fictional Character has something to say.

A Ghost Talks On the Topic of Talking Untalkables

The Editors at Literally Stories are living human beings. And although they are to be counted among the most open minded of such creatures, there is one topic on which they display negative bias: “Talking Untalkables.”

I, Judge Jasper P. Montague, died  early in 20th Century, thus being dead, I am at the head of the list of Talking Untalkables. The Eds. do not understand how dead persons can tell a story. They greet that with the same degree of perplexed vexation and sometimes hostility that they have shown to closets, books, all flora and fauna, accumulations of water and body parts–to name some, that for one unsupported reason or another have spoken during stories submitted to the site.The Eds. say “Go ahead and have your untalkables talk, but there had better be a good explanation for it.” 

To be fair, many Talking Untalkables have been published, but every one has had a good reason for doing so. John D. Connelly’s Laundry Night comes to mind–not only do his untalkables talk, they also make obscene gestures. But mostly, relying on Talking Untalkables that just talk as though it is perfectly understood by all usually leads to shame and despair.

There’s a perfectly good reason why I talk. I have something to say and I can say it through thermal dynamics. I mix the hot and cold spots 
that can be manipulated by ghosts and create tiny vortexes that move the keys on a computer. Ha! But if you write a tale that features an apparently sane and sober person walking past a freshly pinched loaf of dog feces and that pile begins to speak, you might want to think up a reason for that happening,

Remember–we untalkables talk plenty–but Editors are always wanting to know the how  of it.

Untalkably Talkable Yours.

Judge Jasper P. Montague
Versatur Circa Quid!

***

A Statistical Matter

On October 31st 2014, I recorded my first entry in the Submissions Tracker Excel Document (aka the Spreadsheet of Wonder or Spreadsheet of Doom depending on my mood). From that point until the end of April 2020, 5406 stories from 2868 authors were logged – nearly nine million words that mattered enough to people to put them down on a page and send them in to LS.

Almost exactly a quarter of these stories ended up being published on the site, 70% of them did not. This is not a reflection on their merit, quality or the red ink, sweat and tears that went into them, simply a case of them not fitting for us at that time. I hope that most of them found happy homes elsewhere.

Just over a hundred stories were withdrawn after we started reading them and, in true artefact-in-abandoned-nuclear-facility style, the spreadsheet still shows 36 in a pending state (I can assure you they don’t remain there!).

In digging through the data this morning (it’s what I do for a living after all) it was so lovely to see so many names that have supported LS for so long – the incomparable Tom Sheehan, Frederick Foote, Adam Kluger…far too many to mention but every single person important and appreciated.

Of the more than 600 published authors on that frozen in time list, over 500 of them were one timers on LS, which makes the milestone achievements of the likes of Tom, Hugh, Leila, Frederick and others seem even more remarkable.

I’m more of an occasional visitor to LS Towers these days but thanks to the generosity of spirit and friendship afforded me by Hugh, Diane and Leila I’ve got an open invite and indefinite leave to remain. I feel extremely privileged to have played a role in the Literally Story (see what I did there) and it’s been such a joy to see it thrive and grow after I stepped back (much credit to Leila here for supporting Hugh and Diane in a way I could no longer do). It’s hard to do justice to the impact and influence all the LS editors past and present have had on my life but as I’m a numbers guy let me just say that I’m 100% grateful.

For everyone reading this – thank you for being part of the LS journey. Here’s to many more years of storytelling magic.

Nik

***

A word from us!

I don’t think that when Adam first suggested we start up this site any of us (five originals – hello Adam and Tobbe – I hope you are well and happy) had any idea what it was going to become. We are so thrilled and proud and humbled (yes at the same time – we’re writers we can multiemote – if that’s not a word it should be). There are so many of you out there with wonderful stories, exceptional writing and such passion for the written word that it is a constant pleasure to work with you and to showcase your stories.

That’s not to say that there aren’t the very rare occasions when something happens to upset or even annoy us but they are so very few and far between that they don’t matter. It’s hard work, it’s immensely time consuming but it’s also an enormous pleasure. None of us can know what is coming in the future, I think that is more true now than every before, but I would love to think that Literally Stories has a few more years yet.

To my fellow editors I just want to say thank you. For your friendship, humour, support and good will. You enrich my life and I can’t imagine a reality without you up there in the ether. One day – One day we’ll have that drink!!!

dd

***

So seven years!

Who would have thought it?

I can’t ignore the usual thanks to our amazing writers and those who read and comment. I will have a few drinks to all of you. Not singularly as I would end up in A&E again, I learnt a few years back about toasting lists. Man that was some grocery shop!! It ended up with hallucinations and a stomach pump.

I need to mention, three exceptional records that we’ll have by the end of the year.

First – Yash. This amazing writer has had more stories published in a year than any of us.

Second – Tom Sheehan has had his 150th story accepted. (It will be published sometime in the New Year.

Thirdly – Leila has not only had one hundred stories accepted – She has had a hundred consecutive acceptances.

I leave my plaudits to Tom and Leila for the appropriate postings. Please watch out for both their milestones.

Talking about Leila, it has been an absolute pleasure working with her. She stepped in when we needed help and hasn’t disappointed. Her interaction between us has been funny, enlightening and educational – We’ve learnt a few more colourful phrases!

Leila brings another perspective when we are discussing the submissions and I would say, overall, she is always in the writers corner!

The site is healthy. We are well in advance with our stories and we continue to attract new writers as well as having our old guard like those already mentioned and Dave, David, Harrison, Doug, Marco, James, Fred to name but a few.

We have tenacious writers who work so hard at their craft like Dianne Willems, Rachel Sievers, Jane Houghton and Ed McConnell. Their acceptances may be few but I can’t express how much respect I have for them as people, professionals and their stories have enhanced the site.

This is an absolute pleasure to do and it keeps me out of mischief!

I’ve ‘met’ or should I say corresponded with so many amazing folks that make my life a much happier place.

And just to finish off, I will have a specific toast for a few individuals.

Our two past founders who are sadly not around the site anymore are always in my thoughts.

So first toast to a beginning goes to Adam and Tobias. (Has to be Bacardi – That was my beginning!)

Second toast – To my Welsh friend and also founder editor – Nik who I try to keep in contact with. (It will have to be a Guinness with a Black Rum chaser in tribute to his mad pastime. Guinness and Black Rum are the only things that will ever make me run!)

Third Toast – To our newest editor, Leila. This lady is one of the most interesting people I have virtually met – See what I did there! (It has to be a Gold Label Jack!)

And lastly – Well apart from Gwen, there has only been one constant in my life over the past seven years and that is Diane…Thank you so much X

(There is no thought needed, a double Talisker!!)

All the very best to all my fine friends!!!!

Cheers!!

Hugh

***

Now would be an excellent time for high minded, life affirming wisdom. Then again there are no bad times for that high minded, life affirming wisdom, so it is once again obvious that I have little of that to offer.

When lacking high minded, life affirming wisdom to share, it is best to be brief.

I want to thank Hugh and Diane for bringing me in off the street and giving me a position of moderate respectability. Some say that loitering around an establishment for a number of years in hopes of gaining permanent entry is a mark of futility, yet here I am.I should go on and on about my co-Editors, but the only truly wise thing to do is point out all the ties that Hugh, Diane and Nik have helped writers when the Eds. at other sites would threaten to call the cops. I have been a recipient of their largess, and I have seen it extended to others. Sometimes writers are like feral stray cats; we lash out at a helping hand automatically because so few hands have been extended to us in a friendly manner.

Although we trade in words, those would have little meaning without thoughts and actions to give them meaning. So, I raise a glass to seven years (of which I’ve been around for six), and toast this most humane of sites.

Leila

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay 

19 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Us – 7 Years.”

  1. I like the fact that you guys don’t give a shit about who I am. You just want the stories and you apply your own standards to your editorial decisions. You don’t ask writers their political affiliation. You don’t demand to know their sexual preferences. You don’t ask their race. I wasn’t asked to write to a theme or to use your favorite words or to kick the story off with a line written by you. Over here, I am asked to make donations, to pay fees, to submit to investigations into my use of social media. Editors want to know my sexuality, my favorite positions, my nationality, my address, my place of birth, my marital status, and my favorite writers. Several venues demand an accompanying essay explaining my inspiration. I submit to you first because frankly I don’t give shit about all this and don’t especially care to share. It’s none of your business. It is all I can do to write the damned stories and, frankly, I have no idea why I do, and only vaguely how they come about. It is so refreshing to find a place where people just want to read and write stories, just for the hell of it. Thanks so much for five plus years of bliss. David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said that man!!
      You have summed up a lot of our thinking.
      But believe it or not, we have, in the past been slated for stating that we don’t care who anyone is. That was (Unbelievably!!) looked as us being some sorts of racists, homophobes and unaccepting.
      We are truly honoured to have every single writer on this site, it is all about the likes of your good self David.
      And when, every now-and-then, we get some negativity or abuse, what actually gets us through is stepping back and realising that very thing – It is all about the quality stories and all our amazing writers!!
      Thank you so much my fine friend.
      You’ve made my morning.
      Hugh

      Like

  2. A wonderful post and a real pleasure to read the heartfelt messages. Maybe LS being around for seven years is indeed a privilege, but the word that comes to my mind is “earned.” I hope to be writing a similar comment seven years from now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave,
      It has been a pleasure to work with you over the years and all my response to David applies to all of you.
      On a personal note – I can’t tell you how honoured I am to share a site with the talent that is here. I am envious of your imagination Dave and I too want to be reading your stories over the next seven years!!
      All the very best my fine friend.
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if I’m the “Doug” mentioned, if so thanks. Google has allowed me to find that in different bodies I’m dead, a golfer, a coach, a raiser of bonsai. Perhaps not legion, but as names go mine isn’t as rare as I thought.

    Most publishers are wham bam sorry Sam but you and Cindy Rosmus at Yellow Mama and Swan / Brian at Short Humour have been downright friendly even with bad news.

    I checked because I started getting published in the spring of 2014, but my first LS was i 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Doug,
      You are our original and unique Doug and it has been a pleasure to read your work, comments and to interact with you.
      I think we can honestly say that you make the site more interesting!!
      Thank you so much my fine friend for all your in-put.
      Hugh

      Like

    1. Hi Terveen,
      Thanks so much for the kind words.
      And we can’t thank you enough for your comments on the stories and the Re-Runs that you have contributed to.
      We harp on that the site is more alive when we receive comments and you do a wonderful job helping us with that!
      Hope to see you around for as long as we are here – We love to read your insightful and perceptive take on the stories.
      All the very best!!
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve enjoyed reading the stories through the years, some are exceedingly intriguing and well-written and I relate, others intriguing with different perspectives, others are, well… not up my alley. But I learn from each one… lots about writing skills and technique, about building the characters and setting tone and style, and about the individual author’s approach and themes. Kudos to the editors … all the dedication and time ….much appreciated, as I say in my submissions…. I also agree with everything David Lohrey says in his post above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Harrison,
      Thank you so much!
      Your comments, stories and interaction help make the site what it is.
      All of my replies are for all of you.
      I enjoyed reading your comment about your overall thoughts on the stories and I totally agree. We’ll never all like the same things but if we can read with an open mind, then that is all that we can ask – And as you say, we can normally come away with something from every single one.
      Thanks again my fine friend, you have all made my morning!!!
      Hugh

      Like

  5. Hi Hugh,
    Seven years in keeping this site going is a worthy achievement and deserves an accolade.
    I remember the days when we all first met and I have tried to follow the site whenever I could. I enjoyed Diane’s achievements of publishing her series of books, many I have bought and read.
    LiterallyStories have created some pleasure for me, sometimes with your own work I cried and shuddered when a lot of the Scottish guttural culture was laid bare.
    There are many fantastic stories by a diverse group of authors held in the archives and I find rereading them still makes me smile, and occasionally I need to put all the lights on and lock my doors.
    My congratulations to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. James,
      I can’t thank you enough!
      Seeing your name and a few others here, makes me go back to some weird times. When I ‘met’ you all on Shortbread I was dealing with a failed business, trying to hold onto my house and looking for work. The one thing that gave me somehere to go and somewhere to forget was Shortbread. I could get lost in the stories and I enjoyed the interaction between us all.
      But the first story I sent wasn’t really for my benefit, I was helping out at a literacies drop in centre and there was a guy there who told the most brilliant stories and I was helping him put them onto paper. I thought it would give him a kick to see his work in some sort of a publication and that was when I found Shortbread. I sent my own work in just to make sure it wasn’t a con or a site where there were costs. Sadly I never saw him again. I’ve been tempted to use his story and write it myself but my ethics would never allow me to do that!
      Thanks again James, you’ve made me think, remember and in a weird wee way be a bit thankful. (Fuck – I’ll always be bitter and twisted and sarcastic – I really do hope that is a Scottish trait…But maybe it’s all me!!!)
      All the very best my fine friend.
      Hugh

      Like

  6. You guys!

    I am amazed. Think of all that you’ve done. How many times the stories on this site have provided aaah’s and oooh’s – also what I scream everytime I walk in the woods : “That crazy man is pretending to be a wolf….”

    Seriously though, all of this is because the work you do. Who would have thought!? Super-duper mega-pega well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tobias,
      It’s brilliant to see your name here.
      I can only echo what Diane has said and if you have a look at my answer to James comment you will see the regard I hold for our early days.
      Hope you and your lovely family are happy and well.
      Hugh

      Like

  7. Greetings Editors all,
    Congratulations, you have produced an outstanding magazine; thank you for publishing some of my work. Here’s to the next 7 years!
    Regards,
    Tony Billinghurst

    Like

    1. Hi Tony,
      Thanks so much.
      Just like I’ve said, we are hoping to be publishing all the writers stories for the next seven years – You included my fine friend.
      All the very best!!
      Hugh

      Like

  8. Dear LS
    Congratulations on a wonderful anniversary! Such an honor to be a small part of this amazing community of writers. Such talent, creativity and respect for the written word —and the human beings that put their hearts into these stories. Thank you Literally Stories for creating a such a special literary home.
    Fondest regards ,
    Adam Kluger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam,
      Thanks so much for the kind words.
      I hope that you are fine and well.
      You’ve been a part of the site for many a year now and there is still no-one that can understate a story in yet tell us so much. You are a lesson on how to use every single word and if anyone is looking to write something really short, they should seek out your work.
      All the very best my fine friend.
      Hugh

      Like

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