Skin deep

black birches

Where does it hurt? asked the acupuncturist, and then placed the needles somewhere else.



It’s not that I have thick skin; I don’t. I just change skins often enough that names don’t stick.


black walnut ribs

So much of our lives are spent in caring for the dead — washing, drying, laying them out. Someday, when we too are dead, this will be our crowning glory: perfect hair at last!


the big beech

It becomes evident with age that this parchment in which we live is being written on from both sides at once.

18 Replies to “Skin deep”

  1. Hey, this is fine! And Zhoen and beth beat me to it.

    Each line so true to its picture prompt, and so otherwise true. The last line is turnkey Bartlett’s.

    You can’t submit this stuff to qaart just because you’re an editor? Words like quibble and nicety and strainatagnat come to mind.

  2. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. FWIW, this post was written on a day on which I felt totally uninspired, and had to force myself to write anything.

    Peter – I feel quite strongly that self-publication by editors sends exactly the wrong message to potential contributors. Nor am I alone in this: see here. (We do, however, allow guest editors to publish their own works if they choose – it’s one way to reward people for an otherwise fairly thankless task.)

    Gina Marie – Perhaps, like me, you simply need to get in touch with your inner porcupine. Note the link in my sidebar (main page, “Gleanings”) to the video of a porcupine waltzing with a tree.

  3. Profound indeed. As far as self-publication, I’m not sure which of several messages you mean.

    In SarahJane’s posting which you linked, the “sin” that stood out was that the editors weren’t straightforward with her, and especially they “stiffed” her without explanation, much less apology. That’s just rude, which is bad in its own right, not just for editors. :-)

    In general, though, an E-zine or carnival can be pretty much whatever its editor(s) want(s) it to be. Padding it with too much of your own stuff is cheesy, but I don’t see a reason why an editor has to pretend that they aren’t also a creator. (Certainly, self-inclusion isn’t a problem for the science carnivals.) Heck, most print magazines give the editor a regular column or foreword! In the case of “q”, I gather you even have a co-editor who you can get a “quality check” from.

  4. David Harmon – I guess I agree that there’s a certain artificiality to these kinds of professional standards, and that editors should feel free to flout them if they wish. But a literary magazine, electronic or otherwise, is a very different thing from a blog carnival, which is closer to a vanity publication (the prototypical blog carnival was called Carnival of the Vanities for a reason!). And I don’t think Beth and I are pretending we aren’t also creators — after all, we prominently link to our own blogs both in the sidebar and on the Welcome page.

  5. Dave and I just felt it not only gave an impression of ego and subjectivity, but that it was amateurish – after all, most zines are created by a small group of people precisely in order to showcase their own work, and most never become legit, in the sense of most longstanding journals. While I think that’s perfectly OK, even preferable in many cases, it’s not what either of us wanted qarrtsiluni to be. As it has gained readership and the quality of contributions has gone up, we both felt, I think, that it deserved a degree of professionalism in its editing and management that we probably hadn’t anticipated at the beginning. It’s been good to step back from the “creator”role as writers and image-makers – as Dave says, we both have good venues for that as it is – and instead look at the big picture of what a literary ezine can be and try to do that in the very best way we can…

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