|Cover art for Shimmer Magazine |
Issue 31 May 2016, of two muscular
women engaged in combat
"An Atlas in Sgraffito Style" was born from earthquakes and Clarion. After many drafts (6? 8? I've lost count now), and no small amount of blood, sweat, and tears, it found a home at Shimmer Magazine. I wanted to use beautiful language to describe tragedy, the colour and life, and the forgotten people who rose up from the dust to take back what remained of their world, even when it was being eaten bit by bit by the darkness. Yeah, there are a lot of metaphors for the politics, street art, and class war that came out of the earthquakes.
I am such a sucker for great titles (a little bit of Tiptree in me I suppose), and when I came across the concept of sgraffito while researching street art, I knew I HAD to work that word and concept into the story. Sgraffito is a technique mostly used in plaster or ceramic work, building up layers then scratching through the top layer to reveal colour and/or texture beneath. This is the perfect metaphor for the story and Christchurch: a city scratching through the rubble to bring something beautiful up out of the destruction.
This is the best story I've written so far, and I'd really love to see it go a long way. It had the privilege of being beta'd by Catherynne M. Valente, one of my literary heroes, and it definitely flourished under her careful eye. My Clarion class also gave it the tough fisk it required. Thank you so much to Shimmer badgers Elise Tobler and Beth Wodinski for believing in my story and finding a place for it in their magazine.
Shimmer Magazine Issue 31 for May 2016 is now available, including stories from Arkady Martine, Bentley A. Reese, Rich Larson, and Rachel Acks. Each of the stories will be released online during May and June, with Martine's "All the Colours You Thought Were Kings" available now. "Atlas" will be available online from June 14. If you can't wait until then to read it and all the other fabulous stories, the magazine is available in e-formats for just $US2.99.