Breadcrumbs, dust and hair. Skin flakes too. Maybe even a dead roach or two. Hygiene is only as good as the blindness that envelops the dermis. Flood the keyboard with globs of honey (didn't anybody tell you to eat away from your computer?) and you're stuck with some StudlyCaps. And today's reading material, a literary magazine, looks to employ that titular backwardness.
FreeXpresSion calls itself out as "The magazine for writers that readers enjoy" in a monthly full black & white 28 pages. The National Library of Australia lists both "Free eXpresSion" and "Free XpresSion" as alternate titles. With uneven variations, the deception and expectation is set already too high. (Or their love of StickyCaps knows no logical bound.)
Before the first turn it's out with the first of many, many, many poems. A thank you note no less to the editors all (this issue being the tenth birthday edition: Volume X, Issue 11 of November 2003) unleashes the first of the amateur load on the front cover.
can you taste the allusion?
Count of 60 pieces leaves us wading — absolutely drucking — with couplets, through pitches and meters, of a mere three articles and 13 stories, prose and otherwise.
Outside the editorial, classifieds and competition listings, only six pages dare leave their margins without a poem. Swallowing the mere hint of a thrill and adventure of new unfound microfiction with padded walls of stanzas and rhyming laziness.
If your brain shuts down at the sight of poetry, the pain you suffer is only as a fault result of continuing to read any more of the pages.
Tone and approach of the entire newsletter is middle of the road, safely-safely and not to rock any boats. A tactile, "fresh off the company printer during office hours" smell is evident in the uncut jutting of the fore edge.
Payment is Done on a bylinE with the option of discounTed (regulAr cover price of $3.50) copies. Why thEy're limiting you to only tHree is not Clear.
"FreeXpresSion upholds traditional family values and is widely read by people, from young teenagers upwards." The pedestrian mode of writing keeps it all within bounds of uninteresting turns of phrase and lacklustre goals.
Its guidelines do not dictate that entries be boring. At least the travel section, "Travelling Xpressions," offers something in the way of new. Information that is, nothing more.
Sorely lacks experimentation.
Reviewed on Friday, 26 February 2010