hmsenduranceSince 2005, I’ve written 124 stories. That’s not a bad number but it’s by no means great. Some-teen stories a year isn’t exactly super productive. But it’s alright.

Some of the 124 are okay. A lot, especially the early ones, are terrible. When I look through the titles in my 2006 folder, I see an awful lot of Word docs that I’m scared to open. I’d like to think that most of my most recent output is decent. But then, that’s what I probably thought back in 2006 as I gazed with pride at those awful titles in that smelly old folder. Either way, there’s about a dozen or so I’m really pleased with.

Written in early 2008, The Spirit of Shackleton was to my mind the best story I’d written up to that point. I have fond memories of brainstorming the kids’ names with my colleague Ashleigh Key when we should’ve been working. Oddly for me, the title came to me at the end of the process and is, in fact, the name of a Glen Phillips song. I told him about it on The Twitter. He said cool. So it’s all kosher. Probably.

It’s a strange thing, though, that despite my giving this a high score, it proved to be pretty tricky to place. Eventually, it was picked up by Terry Rogers’ Menda City Review, a place I’ve been honored to have work a couple of times in the past. Terry is one of the best editors I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and I was saddened when MCR closed its doors. Thankfully it was only a brief hiatus and he and his excellent journal are back. Even if you don’t read the stories, check out the photography.

Now. It’s not every magazine who accepts reprints. In fact, it’s reasonably rare. But whenever I discover a new market that’s happy to take previously published work, I always like to try them with The Spirit of Shackleton, if for no other reason than it gives me an excuse to read it again for myself, and that’s what happened when I read the Submission Guidelines for Go Read Your Lunch, an online imprint of Alternating Currents.

Five-and-a-bit years later, the proclaimed Best Thing What I’ve Ever Written has been overtaken by The Scottish Book of the Dead and a couple of other pieces I’ve written in the last few months, but I’m still very proud of it. You can see what all the fuss is about by clicking this link: