Sunday 9 November 2014



In The Rag Literary Magazine's 6th issue, many of the characters you'll meet are living disappointing lives, whether through their own poor decisions or because they were dealt a bad hand, or a combination of the two. When painful and often mundane reality clashes with their hopes and dreams, they struggle to stay afloat.

The Rag publishes short stories and poetry semi-annually from today's best up-and-coming writers, with a focus on gritty and transgressive work.

"Someone in the Room Will" by Falcon Miller

"Where the Butterflies Meet" by Timothy Ghorkin

"many many plumbers" by Daniel Fuginski  

"Elevation" by Andrea O'Rourke

"Ayesha Miller" by Royce Brooks  

"An Affair" by J.A. Bernstein

"Floaters" by Benjamin Soileau  

"Swimming with Sharks" by Don Boles

"Croton Falls Still" by Kara Delavoye  

"Kuskanax Creek" Jordan Mounteer

"Pneumatology" by Tyler Petty  

"Oddly Precious Melancholy" by Janna Layton

"Dog Days and Wet Dreams" by J.R. Hamilton

"Best Work" by Stacey Bryan

"Lightin' Hopkins Emerges from the Woods at Mooresville, In" by D.A. Lockhart

"Todd's Mom" by David Joshua Jennings  

"On Bread Alone" by Josh Goller

Art by Justin Duerr

My reading tastes don’t very often get pushed to explore the literary end of the spectrum, preferring to sit in my comfort zone of “low-brow” crime; however my mind is not a closed shop and when asked by one of the editors to see if I fancied a look at his magazine, I agreed. Though not before advising him that in general I avoid poetry – on the grounds that very often I just don’t get it and truth be told – CBA (in text speak) to figure out what the author is alluding to.

Well how did we go then? Loved the artwork, enjoyed most of the stories and was agreeably entertained by them. Wasn't over-whelmed by pages and pages of flowery verse that ultimately left me feeling under-whelmed or like an unwashed member of the hoi polloi.

Highlights were……    

Swimming with Sharks by Don Boles – a sad and seedy tale of a visit to a sex shop and some online porn browsing leading to a sordid and unfulfilled sexual encounter.

Floaters by Benjamin Soileau – a tale of marital distrust and insecurity.

An Affair by J.A. Bernstein – how a one-off casual encounter can haunt and linger in the memory for 17 years, before being acted upon.

Todd’s Mum by David Joshua Jennings – teenage fantasies and lusting become reality and life-changing for all involved.  

Best Work by Stacey Bryan – how an artist destroys and dies sculpting a piece and is ultimately re-born in his new creation.

I didn't dislike any of the pieces in this diverse collection, I just liked some more than others. I even read and mostly understood the poems!

Adult themes aplenty with marital discord, sexual encounters and peculiar peccadilloes, alcohol misuse and more; displaying a whole plethora of normal human behaviours…….hate, love, obsession, selfishness, cruelty and violence.

A really enjoyable and stimulating read overall. 

(I don't believe I have read anything previously from any of the contributing authors, so on that score I'll be counting this as a new-to-me author for Kerrie's quarterly round-up.)

4 from 5

The Rag is edited by Seth Porter and Dan Reilly and the magazine's website is over here.


  1. I admire your willingness to expand the repertoire, and glad you enjoyed it. What a beautiful cover that is...

    1. Thanks - it was a worthwhile venture on this occasion. I did like the art-work throughout, but couldn't reproduce any other than the cover.

  2. Glad you enjoyed this. I have been reading some short stories on the web lately so I may get over my dislike of them. Eventually.

    1. Wow, I'm glad to hear that and I'm suitably impressed! You are pushing those boundaries! I hope you acquire the taste for them.

  3. Col, I used to read a couple of literary magazines that came out in my parts but I seem to have forgotten all about them. Now I occasionally read them online and discover some fine writing talent.

    1. I read more online stuff maybe 10 years ago - mainly crime fiction magazines and fanzines - Plots With Guns, Thug-Lit, Thrilling Detective etc.
      I liked getting to know new authors through their stories first. It will be interesting to check back on this issue in 2 or 3 year's time and see who is doing what and if they have made the leap to novel format. Not that that is always a logical progression for authors, some are happy working in the short story format.