01/05/2005. Contributed by Donna Jones
magazine: Copper Pig Writers Society. Price: $ 5.95 (CAN). ISSN: 0843-476X. Distributed in Canada by CMPA and the UK by BAR.
check out website: www.onspec.ca
You have to admire a magazine that looks so good. It's an art form in itself. 'On Spec' never ceases to amaze me. It has beautifully created art for its cover and highly entertaining fiction within its pages. Before you even dare to think it, put it right out of your head. It's Canadian. Step away from the insult, nice and calm now! That doesn't matter, because it has all the goodness of a square meal and juice on the side.
Somehow the editorial 'Travelin' Shoes' by Jena Snyder had personal significance to me as I read it. Jena has worked with 'On Spec' since 1988 and has notified us of her leaving through this beautifully honest editorial. Welcome walls get in our way, there comes a time when we have to skirt round them and get on with our own work!
I started reading this edition of 'On Spec' with the express purpose of reading some and then continuing with the book I had already embarked upon reading. Fat chance! I picked it up and then found I couldn't put the bloody thing down!
I have to mention some of the stories. Catherine MacLeod's vignettes of fiction are superb. If ever a writer has mastered the make-every-word-count thesis, then this woman certainly has! Her shorts are super-short, but they convey everything they need to, like sharp slaps in the face.
There must be a mention of the editors here, too. Not only is the fiction of an incredibly high standard it is arranged with insight. The last story of long length was perfectly placed at the end. 'Pizza Night' by Laurie Channer was a horrific climax to a fantastically put together magazine. It was so disturbing that I felt physically ill after reading it. This is not a bad thing, friends, this is emotive writing that touches you. There's not enough of it these days!
There were stories that failed to please me, more a matter of taste rather than a problem with their quality. To be honest, I finished reading them with no less pleasure, but a feeling of detached frustration.
The only real criticism I have for 'On Spec' and I really hate it for this: there's not enough in each edition! 112 pages seem to fly by too quick.
Such a great magazine stands out for the overall quality and integrity of its contents. Because of this 'On Spec' has to be one of my most loved literature mags I have had the pleasure of reading. Writers should aspire to be published in it. Readers should expect to devour it cover to cover. For Christ's sake' don't let me get my hands on the next one or I'll never get any work done!
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