Introducing Spittoon

Ed: A quick post to introduce a new magazine and writers collective in Beijing, before we get back to it at the Anthill. Spittoon just celebrated the launch of their first issue, and their poetry and fiction nights are always a treat. Founded by Matthew Bryne, who edits the mag with Simon Shieh, Kelly McNerney and Chris Warren, we're looking forward to future issues and encourage you all to follow them and submit (details below). In the meantime, they've shared a flash fiction piece and a poem in translation from the first issue with us, below.



Flash fiction by Ben Zarov


In the morning writing was easy for her. Words came naturally, crisper, and her sentences vibrated at a higher frequency than her evening writing, which was burdened by the weight of the day’s events (she had ceased to even try anymore). She had a routine that she had stuck to for eight years: begin with a letter to someone, anyone. She wrote to television characters, movie stars, deceased authors, old flames, loathed bosses and very rarely, to herself. She had written four complete novels and over two dozen short stories. She had sent none of them into the world and none of them were published. No one close to her knew she wrote. Sometimes, during the day, she herself was unsure. Her first book was a historical romance set in northern Mexico in the early nineteen twenties. She had written two endings for it, one tragic and the other fairy tale and she was unsure which of the two was right. In the first the protagonist, a brilliant young peasant woman, takes her own life to save her lover’s, a strapping American officer that had deserted the army after converting to Buddhism. In the second ending the two escape on a cargo ship headed west. They disembark in Thailand to finally settle, happy and far, far away from their former troubles. She had visited Mexico once as a child but not Thailand. Briefly she had dated a police officer from her small town though she had never come close to loving him. Every morning she wrote by hand one letter and at least five pages of prose. Sometimes she believed it was therapeutic, other times she simply continued out of habit, unaware that soon her hobby would change her life and the life of her next door neighbor, a lonely young man drifting through life, squandering his inheritance.

花莲之夜           Night in Hualian

沈浩波               Shen Haobo


寂静的                a quiet wind

海风吹拂的夜晚 from the sea touching the night

宽阔                   wide

无人的马路        is the road, no-one about.

一只蜗牛           a snail

缓慢的爬行       crawling slowly

一辆摩托车开来 a motorcycle coming towards you

在它的呼啸中    through its roaring

仍能听到           you can still hear

嘎嘣                   a single

一声                   crack

The Spittoon Literary magazine is currently available to buy at The Bookworm and at North Capital, located inside Ming's Courtyard - priced at 30RMB, with other sellers to follow. The Spittoon Poetry night is currently held on the last Thursday of each month at The Ball House, next to the Bell Tower, from 8pm The Spittoon Fiction night is on the second Thursday of each month at The Other Place on Langjia Hutong, off Beiluoguxiang, also at 8pm. People can find out all they need to know / sign up for slots at these two nights by either scanning the Wechat QR code below or at Submissions are now open for their next issue