The Bleed issue 2
I have a new short story called The Heart of Things featured in issue 2 of The Bleed magazine, which will soon be distributed for free across the north of England and I expect that a digital copy will follow shortly on The Bleed website.
Started towards the end of 2011 and funded by the University of Northumbria to become a showcase for new and original voices in fiction, poetry, illustration, photography, drama, journalism and more, The Bleed magazine exists to foster creativity across a range of media. I first became associated with them when I contacted the editor Daniel Thomson about contributing something to the first issue. His response to my work was warm and enthusiastic, a marked contrast from the response that I got from a similar literary magazine the same week, who applauded when I spoke to them about artists that had endorsed my work and then stopped replying to my e-mails after seeing examples of said work!
Thompson’s vision for The Bleed can be defined by the Ernest Hemingway quote “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” One of the most visionary editors that I’ve ever worked for, Thomson isn’t content for The Bleed to read like a self-important literary platform, instead he likes every issue to have a theme and for all contributions to serve that theme and become part of a greater work of art. Issue 1 was about the end of the world, with all of the contributions existing as testimonies found in the wreckage of humanity, looking back at aspiring musicians, at fine artists and comic creators, works appearing as narratives that gave differing interpretations of what caused society to crumble.
Issue 2 of The Bleed is astounding in its audacity. Thomson has pieced together contributions from around the world to write the biography of an artist that might never have existed, essentially creating a massive, illustrated, full-colour novel that’s going to be given away at art galleries and in museums, in record shops and bars, at cinemas and music venues across the north of England. Thomson has taken the funding and talent available to him and woven a massive narrative out of the disparate threads given to him by photographers and journalists, illustrators and performance artists.
The novel itself reminded me of nothing so much as a blend of House of Leaves and the film Angel Heart (or novel Falling Angel), though there were such a myriad of influences at work that any number of other aspects might stand out more prominently to a different reader. There are also contributions by massively talented artists like Andy Waugh, who contributed to Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic, and the Eisner award-winning Bryan Talbot. My short story serves the greater plot and was the most collaborative prose that I’ve ever worked on. As far as I was concerned I had injected a great deal of myself into a story that could stand alone, but it fits perfectly into the structure of the greater narrative and adds another level to the quest to find the elusive artist Ezra Maas. I even found new illustrations that I didn’t know about inside the magazine by artist Karen Yumi Lusted, who I’ve been working with on a new comic series that we’re preparing to publish at Thought Bubble this year!
Whoever and wherever you are I urge you to seek out a copy of The Bleed issue 2. I’m proud to be associated with such an ambitious and innovative project and I’m still pretty floored that the editor used the funding to create such a massive novel to distribute freely. While his peers aspire to emulate important literary platforms that nobody reads Dan Thomson knows how to create entertainment from exactly the same content, taking something that could have had delusions of grandeur but excluded everyday readers and instead creating a magazine that provides an experience that nobody else is offering.
Any creative types wanting to contribute to future issues of The Bleed can contact the editor directly through his Twitter account @TheBleedEditor, though beware that this masked man might not be all that he seems.
Go and read The Bleed before The Maas Foundation censor this post and have my website removed!