I’ve always been something of a numbers nerd. I was once upbraided at school by Mr. McCartney, the maths teacher, for not doing his polynomial equation. In its place, based on a complex formula of my own, I was trying to calculate the position in the following week’s charts of You Really Got Me by The Kinks. It was obviously going to hit the top ten but the crucial question was in which spot? If I remember rightly, I was only out by a couple of places, which I considered very good. You’d think that with a name like McCartney, the maths teacher would be excited, but sadly he took no interest at all in pop music.
Anyway, the publication of With Our Eyes Open, 34 stories based on the theme of ‘a journey’, gives me a great opportunity to share a few statistics. Because you’ve obviously been wondering where and how the journeys were undertaken, so here is the breakdown for you.
Twelve are in the UK, no doubt reflecting the fact that most of the authors are British. The US has six and France two, with Italy, Poland, Kenya, Zambia, Iran, South-East Asia and outer space each getting one. Seven are unspecified. Regarding mode of transport, seven are by car, four by train, four on foot, three by bus, two each by boat and plane, and one by spaceship. The remaining eleven don’t involve a vehicle as such but describe a journey through life. There appears to be a correlation between ‘unspecified location’ and ‘journey through life’, but further research is needed to determine whether this is significant.
Of course, you may take Mr. McCartney’s view that my love of pointless statistics only says something worrying about what goes on in my brain. I beg to differ. It’s fascinating to see that 34 authors can take the same prompt and interpret it in so many different ways. There are some who take a broad perspective, with characters reflecting on life’s crucial issues, and others who focus on a specific time and place. But despite the differences, all have something to say about what it means to be human. Which is why, in fact, they were selected for the anthology. The shortest journey, incidentally, is about eight yards, the longest 2.7 billion miles. All of which goes to show, I think, that it isn’t the journey itself that counts but the story we choose to make of it. The authors here have all made stories that open our eyes as they take us travelling with them. And not even Mr. McCartney could argue with that.
The 2017 Book a Break short story anthology is available for now on Amazon as a kindle ebook in colour or directly from this site by clicking below. Alternatively, you can donate directly to the Against Malaria Foundation. Forward their thank you email to me (curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com) and I will send you the PDF file straightaway.