The Book of Apertures

Written by Lazy Gramophone Press on Saturday the 30th of January 2010

"A Handsomely produced Book (The Book of Apertures).” - Philip Pullman

"I love Lazy Gramophone, you're doing terrific work.” - Terri Windling

"In a time when publishers are taking fewer and fewer risks on unknown writers, Lazy Gramophone are to be applauded for giving their collective a chance to shine.” - Litro Magazine

"A wonderful environment of ideas and imaginings - The Lazy Gramophone group as a collective have demonstrated a remarkable and inspiring ethos throughout and their willingness to provide a means of expression is second to none.” - Amelias Magazine

Full Book Reviews can be found here:
- Amelias Magazine
- Litro Magazine

Set against the backdrop of our own existence,
these pages house a collection of stories

a collection of stories that peel back the covers of that other world,
that world of emotions, forces and things, which have since the creation of time
been forever lapping upon the shores of our own.

For the last two years our collective group of young, emergent writers and artists, have been hard at work.

Arising from the relative obscurity that encircles each of our lives, this book has been born quite simply, out of our shared passion for storytelling.

The central theme of the book focuses on exploring those unexplainable elements of life that at one time or another, affect us all. As children particularly, we have all used our imaginations to conjure upexplanations for the things that we didn't quite understand, and so, in creating this book, the writers and artists were asked little more than to develop this idea.

Therefore, with an emphasis upon collaboration, containing fifteen short stories and nine poems by fourteen different writers, exhibiting forty-one pieces of original artwork by nine different artists, The Book of Apertures represents a series of explorations into the enigmatic nature of life, as viewed through each contributor's personal aperture.


All Lazy Gramophone Press books are the result of collaborations between a pool of talented creatives, including authors, poets, illustrators,artists, editors, typesetters, and designers. The Book of Apertures is such a collaboration, and is the result of a project spanning two years, in which fourteen writers and poets have worked closely with nine illustrators to produce this collection of short stories, poems and artwork.

The Proposal

This an extract from the project proposal, outlining ideas for a possible collaboration:

'I think, that with the huge variety of imaginations and talents within Lazy Gramophone Press, if we all worked together, we could create something really diverse and special, as almost everybody would be involved somewhere along the line.

My idea is to create our own book of fairytales. The stories should be set on earth, within the real world, yet they should also hint at a world that exists around ours. The tales should contain morals, rules, nuggets of information about the world that we live in, explanations of why things are like they are; no matter how far- fetched or fantastical your ideas.

Essentially, the book would work to create its own milieu, a fantastical, world that in some way fits around the real world. I'd also like the book to be richly illustrated, with the artists following the same values as the writers.

This project, if taken up, with so many people involved, is naturally going to evolve. Therefore, until we know who is on board, and until we see everyone's submissions, it's going to be impossible to say exactly what the final book will be...'

Step inside The Book of Apertures

Take a peek inside The Book of Apertures by clicking the links below:

1. Baggage by Stacie Withers

Extract from Abby Stokes is Going to Die by Charlie Cottrell

3. The Boy Who Saw Blobs by Claire Fletcher

Extract from Apple Tree by Joanne Tedds

5. Extract from Sompop by William Conway

Writer Interviews

After the book was completed, we conducted a series of short interviews with a few of the books writers, read what they had to say about their work below:

Joanne Tedds

Q: 'How would you describe Apple Tree?'

A: 'Apple Tree is a tale about magic; the subtle undercurrent of possibility and how learning about and experiencing even the most unconventional love can change the direction of the most withdrawn person.  Ultimately Apple Tree is a story about a boy who finds his voice.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Apple Tree?'

A: 'Working on an anti-bullying campaign and my interest in the magic of the mind.'

Q: What are the themes of the story? And/or, what would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'The major themes in Apple Tree explore exclusion and introspection, conveying how our relationships with others can determine the relationship we have with our selves.'

William Conway

Q: 'How would you describe Sompop?'

A: 'A story that doesn't really happen or make any sense. Maybe the only story you'll read that has dragons and mobile phones in.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Sompop?'

A: 'The woods down the road from the house I tried not to grow up in, kids that make me feel stupid and adults that make me feel clever.'

Q: 'What are the themes of the story? And/or what would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'Magic isn't real but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.'

Stacie Withers

Q: 'How would you describe Terra Quod Mare?'

A: 'It's a self contained record of a feeling, an impression, which a specific, singular and impermanent state of being left behind.  Much like a burp.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Terra Quod Mare?'

A: 'Australian aboriginal Dreamtime stories, poems by Atwood and graffiti by locals, insomnia, frozen Vimto lollies, Oreo cookies and milk, the music of Dar Williams, Figgy Duff and Paul Simon and my own, temporary, physical invader.'

Q: 'What are the themes of the story? And/or what would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'Creator as creation. By virtue of our own existence, we carve out a groove in the world into which only we can fit, and over which those we meet will invariably trip and scrape their knees.  We are primarily a series of distractions to each other, some more rewarding than others.  See, if Id just written that to start with, I could have saved you a lot of time which proves my point.' 

Sorana Helena Santos

Q: 'How would you describe Anduviri & the Coat of Seven Continents?'
A: 'Essentially, it's a folk tale.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Anduviri & the Coat of Seven Continents?'
A: 'My influences at the time of writing were: Oral tradition in folkloric storytelling, native Americans, the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, and a small victory.'
Q: 'What are the themes of the story? And/or, what would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'That would be telling.'

Sam Rawlings

Q: 'How would you describe Echoes of Dawn?'

A: 'Echoes of Dawn is a horror story, though it could also be considered a romance. It is the tale of what happens when a young couple suddenly find their world disintegrating. With no other option but to run, the story is essentially what remains of the lead character's journals, a compilation of his writings and drawings.
Echoes of Dawn is an attempt to make sense of what actually happened to the lead character and to those people around him, it is a fragmented history of a horrific period in time. It has been compiled in retrospect, with each section reflecting the different stages of his journey.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing this story?'

A: 'More than anything else, this story has been influenced by film. While I was writing it I saw it as a very visual piece and pictured each Revolution as representing a scene from a much larger story. Essentially, I wanted to offer readers the spine of the story, therefore giving them the opportunity to use their own imaginations to colour in the rest. At the time I was watching a lot of westerns and horror films. The two horror films that particularly inspired this story were The Hills Have Eyes remake and Switchblade Romance, both directed by Alexandre Aja. However, more importantly, Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch, were really inspirational and very much the catalyst for the style of my story. '

Q: 'What would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'In reading this story I hope that people will use their own frames of reference, their own opinions and perceptions when interpreting the story. In accordance with the themes that I was writing about, I didn't want to prescribe a story. Instead, I wanted to write something that engaged the reader, challenged them, the answer will not fall at your feet, it must be pursued.'

Q: 'What are the themes of the story?'

A: 'Echoes of Dawn is a kind of social commentary; it is a warning of what might happen if hope and love continue to be prescribed. If 'we' continue to tell people in such certain terms and in such unforgiving ways how they should behave, what they should aspire to, if we continue to prescribe lifestyles like we are doing, forcing pegs into holes, eventually something is going to give. Or maybe we have already gone..? Maybe, instead of rising up and striking out, we have already, quietly succumbed? Maybe we are already like the creatures in my story, wandering the earth, fuelled only by an empty consumerism, by the hollow desires of a past and a future that we have never been inspired to truly comprehend. Yet, even scarier still, what if one day we wake from this unprepared, unarmed and alone, the world still intent on consumption. What would you do then? When suddenly you realise that all of the things you thought you had chosen to love, even the one person you believed you had chosen to love more than anyone else in the world, had in fact, now, unrelentingly, chosen you. That in actual fact, you need not worry about binding to yourself these joys, for it turns out, that it is you who has been bound to the'

'He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.'
(William Blake, 1757-1827)

Charlie Cottrell

Q: 'How would you describe Abby Stokes is going to Die?'

A: 'A haunting but hopeful tale of love and loss with a bit of magic thrown in
to soften the edges of the practical times we live in.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Abby Stokes is going to Die?'

A: 'Heartbreak; hope; the magic of a first kiss. The idea that when you fall in
love you are simultaneously at your most vulnerable and your most

Q: 'What are the themes of the story? and/or What would you like to convey
through this story?'

A: 'Like all fairy tales, it's got a bittersweet romance at its heart. It's a
simple little piece that hitches its wagon to the idea that love sneaks up
on you when you least expect it.'

Guy J Jackson

Q: 'How would you describe Window, Window? and The Kidnapping of Little Wallet?'

A: 'Short stories.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing Window, Window?'

A: 'I was bored out of my mind at a temp job in the fortieth floor of an airless building.'

Q: 'What were your influences when writing The Kidnapping of Little Wallet?'

A: 'I guess at the time I didn't like policemen or technology or bad guys, but now I'm quite enjoying technology.'

Q: 'What are the themes of the Window, Window? And/or, what would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'The frigid, humanity-less nature of corporate existence.'

Q: 'What are the themes of The Kidnapping of Little Wallet? and/or What would you like to convey through this story?'

A: 'Wherever you are, it's probably melancholy, but alright even so.'

Live Events

In order to celebrate the publication of The Book of Apertures, Lazy Gramophone Press will be hosting readings and exhibitions all over London during 2010. Click the links below to view events past present and future.

1. Official
Book of Apertures Book Launch

Donlon Books Presents... Lazy Gramophone Press


Sam Rawlings

Dan Prescott

Daniel Chidgey

Andrew Walter
Carl Laurence
Charlie Cottrell
Claire Fletcher
Emma Robertson
Guy J Jackson
Rahima Fitzwilliam Hall
Joanne Tedds
Lynsey Morgann Laurence
Matt Black
Megan Leonie Hall
Nelson Evergreen
Pax Amphlett
Rob Marsh
Sorana Helena Santos
Stacie Withers
Tom Harris
William Conway
Sam Rawlings
Dan Prescott
Daniel Chidgey

To buy a copy of The Book of Apertures, visit the Lazy Gramophone Shop.
Alternatively, to find out which bookshops sell our work, cast an eye over our list of
Lazy Gramophone Friendly Independent Bookshops.
Tags for this post: book, apertures, lazy, gramophone, press.

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