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feeble mind yields unexpected revelation

i’ve been published before. it was more than 10 years ago, so long ago, in fact, that i’d forgotten the name of the magazine. very embarrassing, but true.

nonetheless, it happened. twice, in fact. they were a pair of contemporary fiction short stories, published in the University College London literary magazine, Undertow, while my wife and i were students there.

you’d think i would remember something like this, particularly given my current work and aspirations, but no, it only just recently reappeared in my memory. i suppose that’s what years of being ‘practical’ and leaving writing on the distant back burner can do.

apparently the magazine is no longer active, or they’ve made a concerted and remarkably successful effort to hide almost all evidence of its existence from the Internet. in all my online searching this weekend, i discovered only a single reference to it: a book entitled Beowulf & Other Stories, by Richard North and Joe Allard, published by Pearson Higher Education.

this doesn’t seem like a logical step, but i found myself struck nearly dumb* by the name of Richard North, my faculty advisor at UCL. he was, for the largely ignorant and under-prepared american student that i was, the quintessential young british professor, and i was in awe. in classic british fashion he was neither exaggerated in manner nor excessive in praise, but always clever, erudite, clear, and forthright. he challenged me, whether he knew it or not, and i pushed myself to make this ‘half-educated’ american worthy of his careful praise.**

what made this re-discovery all the more impactful, though, was his brief biography in the book’s description, where he mentions his own short stories and poems to Undertow. i had no idea at the time, and must now dig through our chaos of boxes to see if i can find my own copies of Undertow in search of his material.

that these first publications of mine are stuffed away in some until-now-forgotten box is only further testament to the weakness of my resolve, back then, and the fitness of my mind, now.

but no more distraction. to the garage!

* though how would an observer have told the difference at this point, eh?

** in point of fact, my current students can probably blame Mr. North for at least some of what they must endure, today, if i may make so bold a comparison.