Whee, a balloon

Far Off Blog

November 2013

When writing wounds

Sometimes we love stories which seduce us with their wordiness, where we can lose ourselves between elaborate subclauses. At other times, we want to be wounded by the sparseness of words, like in this ‘six-word novel’ often attributed to Hemingway:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

Such tightly woven stories are alluring because they invite us in, asking us to make up for ourselves the tales teeming behind the syntax.

Try stripping down something you’ve written to the faintest skeleton leaf.

Cake. So much cake. (And a free magazine.)

Hello! It’s our birthday today.

Have some cake.

We should confess, Far Off Places are slightly greedy when it comes to birthdays. We also like to claim 9 March, the day we launched our first issue at StAnza. 25 November, however, marks the day that Beth, Trevor and Annie sat in a room with a view in Edinburgh, surrounded by several bottles of blackberry wine, and decided to make a magazine. Together we were a designer, a web designer and an editor—and we knew that we possessed a reliable font of enthusiasm in the shape of a Ceris, who happened to be elsewhere. (The fact that Ceris was also a merciless comma splice slayer was a fact yet to be discovered.)

It is tempting to claim that we founded the magazine in a fit of blissful ignorance and joyful naivity—a ‘how hard can it be?’ sort of mood. However, it had just as much to do with passion, whimsy, curiosity and an intense playfulness. And those characteristics (joyful naivity and all) are still what make Far Off Places what we are

Another characteristic that makes us what we are is our fondness for cake, and our fondness for sharing cake. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to share cake online. So instead, we thought we’d treat our readers to a present. Just for today, if you buy an issue of Far Off Places, you get another issue of your choice for free. Just go to faroffplaces.org/sales and treat yourself to a copy of the magazine. At the end of the day (or the beginning of the next day), we’ll email you, ask which issue you’d like for free, and we’ll treat you to that one.

Have some more cake.

They seek him here, they seek him there

We happen to have some dedicated followers of The Kinks here at Far Off Places HQ. So as soon as we decided on the theme ‘Sartorial’, we knew what our first writing prompt for the issue would have to be.

What does today’s dedicated follower of fashion look like? Where might you find him? And how does he view himself?

Sharpen your quill and sketch your stylish gentleman/gentlelady in poetry, drama or prose. Don’t forget to check out our submission guidelines before letting your creations meander our way!

Video courtesy of hawkmoon03111951 / youtube

A-Bogling They Did Go, Heigh Ho

A week has passed, and the time has come to award three intrepid Bogle hunters for their exploits. We were not, I repeat not, influenced in any way whatsoever by the cuteness of certain photos submitted… In no particular order, metaphorical gold medals go to:

Seth Crook

for his shadow of a Bogle seen on a beach on the Isle of Mull.


Jeni Macleod

for a Bogle hole discovered under a Wishing Stone with the help of her dog, Kelpie.

Jeni Macleod 2

Jeni Macleod 1

“I’m darn sure I saw wee jaggy teeth flash at me from the shadows. We’re going to keep bogling til he comes out. I have tea & scones on the stove day and night, in hope. Would just love to meet him.”

Rosie Rutherford

on behalf of Billy, Caramel and Ooshi Bear, who found a Bogle under a chaise. (Editorial team’s joint reaction: “Soooo cute!”)


Congratulations to all intrepid Bogle hunters! Copies of Far Off Places are winging their way to you as we speak.

Photos (copyright) Seth Crook, Jeni Macleod and Rosie Rutherford

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