My two major complaints about numerous online literary magazines are: 1. They are so confusing and disorganized that finding anything takes diligent detective work; 2. The stories are boring and the poetry is derivative and lacking in creativity. I am happy to say that this young journal manages to avoid these pitfalls. Lowestoft Chronicle’s website is nicely laid out and there is wide variation of reading material.
I immensely enjoyed “The Adventures of Root Beer Float Man” by Michael Frissore, a humorous tale about a man with super powers such as being able to scream like a little girl, and who is dedicated to solving crimes, if he can correctly identify them. Frissore’s style comes through as the protagonist asks his boss for time off to investigate a friend’s death: “‘Well, you know, Sparky,’ he said. ‘You don't really work here anymore. I fired you three weeks ago. You have no training in journalism and you creep everyone in the office out.’” And so our hero sallies off to right the world’s wrongs.
Another good one is a tongue-in-cheek piece of fiction in the first issue (March 2010) entitled “The Last Election” by Frank Roger, about a group of men electing a pope as the planet around them is gradually being destroyed by earthquakes. It is quite possible the last man standing will become the de facto pope, but will have little opportunity to fulfill his papal ambitions. The author of the story states he has “a few hundred stories to his credit and publications in more than 30 languages.”
Each issue has some art. I particularly liked the bizarre creations of Jenny Star-Busch Johnson in the Winter 2010 issue, and the hard-to-categorize work of Francis Raven in Issue I. For poetry, try Spring 2011, Wayne Lee’s “Ordinary Deckhand,” which begins:
With zen mind, beginner’s mind,
let me pretend I’ve never sailed this sound
so I can see these breaching whales
with newfound eyes, adolescent eyes,
This is an eclectic journal which stresses that it likes humorous pieces with an emphasis on travel, hence many of the works take one to far-away and exotic places. A sample of the editor’s humor is as follows: “In contrast to my Humanities schoolteacher, who would place exam papers on a grocery scale and grade according to weight, at Lowestoft Chronicle we always give priority to shorter manuscripts.” So, folks, at Lowestoft, shorter is better.