Monday, July 27, 2015

Page 69: On the Edges of Vision

The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....

In this installment of Page 69, 
we put Helen McClory's On the Edges of Vision to the test. 

OK, Helen, set up page 69 for us.

It's the first page of a short prose poem called 'Shadows', a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche (or Beauty and the Beast) myth story, but run through with ideas of multiverses and both macro and microscopic landscapes. Basically a love poem to science and trying to connect and exist.

What is On the Edges of Vision about?

 On the Edges of Vision is a collection of flash fictions, short stories and prose poems like 'Shadows' which deal with the loneliness of literary monsters - and gods and demons and people who just think of themselves as monstrous. Like it says on the back of the book, the monster is human, and only wants to reach out and take you by the hand.

Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what On the Edges of Vision is about? Does it align itself the collections’s overall theme?

While it doesn't represent the general style of writing in the book - more traditionally short-storyish pieces predominate, and many with a pitch black sense of humour - I think it certainly aligns with the idea of connection, of finding or failing to find a self within the presence of others. 

PAGE 69 


an we be Cupid and Psyche? It’s so terribly dark here, in here, closed in by the nothing, beloved, I sink and switch. But here comes the odour of herbs growing on a stony hillside. There are galaxies that are nothing but hanging gardens of scent. I think, and there are your fingernails, digging in the dirt and ripping leaves. The mass of it all. If I can try to describe them. Shuddering past. If I zoom in on the almond nails and the delicate green needles.

Down further is the bridge of plant veins, the cellular heartland. Down further, the palace in the mountains. The doors part and the palace is gilded but just as dark, so what is the point of goldwork and marble escaliers you cannot see? I ask, awaiting a serious answer. By the light of a candle, that’s all you get. A candle held up against multiverses of sovereign black.

Can you drip wax red onto my bare wrist and that way, that way block me out? Patter. To be in love you must


Helen McClory is a writer from Scotland. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales. There is a moor and a cold sea in her heart. On the Edges of Vision can be found here.


  1. Hi, cool blog - I love the self-deprecating title :'D Any tips about the most life-changing books?

  2. Actually, it means this is where you will find the next best book (read). That I have my finger on the pulse of the small press community and I'm confident I'll introduce you to your new favorites.