Literary Magazine Club
I asked a bunch of writers to write down everything they remember about Pindeldyboz magazine w/o research
Pindeldyboz the web presence published a story by me titled “Susan” and then rejected something else using a terse tone in the rejection email and specifically mentioned that I had used a certain word too many times or something. I think the editor was a person named Whitney. I felt at the time that Pindeldyboz had high street cred. I think at one point I made a list of goals to achieve and one of them was to be published by Pindeldyboz. Around that time I also had feelings of confusion about their name. I never saw the print mag because they had stopped doing the print version by the time I was aware of it. Mostly I remember it thinking it had a street cred higher than internet literary magazines that were likely to publish whatever by me, and the name “Whitney,” and the story “Susan,” and the harsh rejection letter.
– Brandon Scott Gorrell
They published good stuff despite having a weird (in a bad way) name and sort-of-ugly website. I think we excused the name and website because they had started early in the history of the internet, when the word “cyber” still was used earnestly and some people thought the internet was a fad.
– Catherine Lacey
I think when I first came across them they had a table or a booth or something maybe at AWP and the only thing I really wanted to know was how you pronounced it. I never submitted anything to them, I don’t think. Maybe I did. But I think I decided that I wanted to submit to them and I was going to get an issue or two and then they folded. I think I might have been drinking through all of my recollections and actual associations with anything the likes of Pindeldyboz.
– Jamie Iredell
Pindeldyboz was one of the first five online magazines I learned of, I think, in 2003 or 2004 maybe. I’m not sure how I learned of them. I had a creative writing class with Tara Wray who was in issue 2 or 3, I think, and I liked her story a lot. I might’ve learned of Pindeldyboz from her. I remember thinking that I liked Pindeldyboz more when the editor was the first editor, whose name I’m remembering now as “Jeff Bison” or something else with “Bison” in the name. That editor left and Whitney Pastorek became the editor, I think. At some point they accepted a story by me and published it online. At some point they had a poetry issue and I submitted and they accepted me but didn’t publish the issue until something like 3 years later. I closely associated Pindeldyboz with Hobart in my head at the time, because they were both on issue 4 or 5 of their print issues, I think, in 2006 maybe. There was a period from 2004 to 2005 where I felt really excited any time Eyeshot, Pindeldyboz, Hobart, Dicey Brown, and some others published new things online. I have owned issues 2 through 4 of Pindeldyboz. Eyeshot published me twice and the editor met me at a reading I had a Philadelphia. Later I saw he gave “Shoplifting from American Apparel” 3 stars on Goodreads. I have gotten in a “quarrel” or something with Whitney Pastorek that was linked by Gawker but I honestly don’t remember the details of it. I don’t think I have felt as excited about writing and reading stories as I felt in the period from 2004 or so to 2005 when I was really interested in the group of magazines that began after McSweeney’s and had a similar tone as McSweeney’s and of which Pindeldyboz was maybe the most notable. Maybe not “excited” but it seemed like a distinct feeling I felt that I don’t think I’ve felt again since then. I would feel sad when each of the magazines’ editor would say they were focusing on other things or when each of the magazines would stop posting things in the same way I felt sad, or like “left behind” or something, when some friends I had in middle school would quit playing or lose interest in the text-based MUD called “Gemstone III” that a group of us were “addicted” to for ~2 years, playing it like ~7 hours a day every day.
– Tao Lin
I think I submitted there like a year ago and never heard back then realized they don’t exist anymore.
This is at the hotel I’m at:
– Andrew Weatherhead
they were great and had a really, really long response time and now they’re gone and i should know who all the editors involved were, but i don’t because i don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on around me
– Andrea Kneeland
Pindeldyboz: The first time I saw this word, the name of this magazine, was in Matt Derby’s bio on the back of Super Flat Times, and although I couldn’t remember how to spell it, it was easy enough to find online because it was the first thing to come up if you typed in anything at all similar.
I got a genuine kick out of several bits I saw there, liked the look of it overall, and figured if it was good enough for Matt, I’d might as well sling something their way.
They responded more quickly than most, more politely and playfully than most, and also enthusiastically accepted my work.
I thought, Cripes, that went rather well, and felt good about it.
All gone downhill since.
– Zack Wentz
I just remember I would like most every story I’d read in Pindeldyboz and there were always “top notch” writers in there. I wanted to be in there too. Finally, I was. I felt super great about it and sad when they closed. It had a simple design that let you focus on the writing. I remember it was one of the zines that when there was a new issue I would always print out at work and read it at my leisure.
I think Whitney had started Pindeldyboz (with Jeff Boison?) just before I came to the Atlantic Monthly thread (where she and other writers/editors posted). This must have been just before 9-11. Pindeldyboz was second in my mind only to McSweeney’s for hipness. I remember driving to a cool bookstore in Ann Arbor and buying a copy of the print version of P-boz and the guy who rang me up asking me if I was a writer. “Only writers buy these things,” he said. I never made it into the print journal, but I was always completely stoked to be on the web version of Pindeldyboz, especially if Whitney was the one accepting my story. I miss Pindeldyboz. But more than that, I miss Whitney. She’s a ballsy gal and one of the coolest people I’ve met online.
– Elizabeth Ellen
As I’m assuming is (was?) the intention, I could never figure out how to say or spell it. I kept thinking they were like teddy boys but pindely ones, with stylish mod suits, but since I didn’t know what a “pindel” was, a lord-of-the fliesque image of boys heads mounted on spindles would pop into my mind, and since it ended with z, they were of the ‘n the hood’ kind, so assumed they were out of LA. It was always a challenge to get past spelling it to send them something, but I think they may have actually ran a piece of mine once, but I could never determine if they were still around or had a new issue. Oh, and it was run by someone with an equally hard to spell last name, something to do with either religion or animal husbandry, with a Czechoslovakian twist at the end, that some authors I’ve published would ask me to send books to, for review in Entertainment Weekly, which I always thought was a strange place to review books as the only person I’ve ever seen reading EW was my mother, but I probably sent this spindley-boy pastoral a review copy anyway just because “you never know.”
– Derek White
ani smith stream of consciousness re: pindeldyboz go, i think i remember they are one of the first online ‘lit journals’ i ever saw, i think their website was blue or something, its design reminded me of one of those old hacking sites in the 90s where badass hacker nerds would talk about like hacking banks and social engineering i always remember that their name is funny i think i googled it to find out what it meant but i’ve forgotten now if i ever found out but i remember thinking it is pronounced ‘pin-dull-dee-boss’ and i think that’s right i also remember that mark baumer used to be an editor there a long time ago and i remember thinking the stories not mark’s stories but the stories on pindeldyboz which i don’t know which ones were chosen by mark or not but anyway i remember thinking that their stories were very boyish or something i am now thinking it would be funny if all this stuff i just wrote was about a completely different site and not p-boz which p-boz is how i always thought of the name in my head but yeah it’d be funny if i just described some other place but pretty sure i did not the end
– Ani Smith
The Pindeldyboz website was one of the best websites I have ever seen for online literary magazines. It was straightforward, had easily accessible content, and was updated frequently. The quality of its content was also focused and consistently good.
After I voted in 2004, I put my “I Voted” sticker on the back of a print issue of Pindeldyboz. I was reminded that I voted every time I saw that issue.
– Gene Morgan
Wasn’t it edited by Roxanne Gay? Somehow I feel like that’s not true. I remember it only published fiction up to like 1,000 or 2,000 words or something like that but gave one of those disclaimers about how if it kicks ass they might publish something longer. I remember their attitude on their submissions page suggesting that they don’t like poetry. Which is sort of strange for an online lit journal.
I once submitted a story to Pindeldyboz but never heard back from the editors. The story was about a stripper stealing her elderly father from a nursing home and then making a hot air balloon from a giant squid and making their escape on the squid balloon. I feel like that story could’ve been made into a legit musical in the 1950’s. I also submitted that same story to Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens and Bradley Sands said he liked it but that it wasn’t ready for publication. I agreed. I worked on it some more but could never get the musical numbers quite right and then the story disappeared when my last computer died. Part of me thinks it’s shitty when editors don’t get back about submissions. Part of me doesn’t give a shit. Part of me thinks I had at least established my name enough at that point to deserve a response. But then sometimes its just like “Daniel, you gotta check yourself. You’re not even well-known by your own standards for being well-known.”
I remember reading a story about zombies or something like that and then thinking, “Do I really want to publish somewhere that publishes stories about zombies? I mean, come on folks. Zombies have not been original since like the 80’s. Let’s move on people.” I didn’t read much else from Pindeldyboz just because I tend not to read much fiction online unless a story is specifically recommended to me, in which case I don’t care or even usually notice where it’s published. Reading prose on computer screens is tough unless it’s in narrow columns or features Jeremy Irons reading it or something.
I always hear good things about Pindeldyboz though so maybe I suck dick for not reading it more.
– Daniel Bailey
Remember hearing a lot about Pboz back when. People used the term Pboz like it was some insider hand diddle of coolery, but only in the same way that old folks use terms about the internet nobody uses and white kids throw around swag. Early on, confused Pindeldyboz with Hobart’s website a lot, but mostly because I think there were a lot of blues. Do remember they published a bunch of writers I thought were slick with talent. The only story I can definitely recall reading off their website was Mike Young’s “None Of It Grace,” which I love, and that spoke legions for the reputation of Pboz and Co.
– Gene Kwak
Pindeldyboz was one of the first online lit journals I had heard of back in about 2005 because it seemed as if someone had McSweeney’s Internet Tendency in their contributor note they also had Pindeldyboz. I interpreted this as ‘a place to send things that were rejected from McSweeney’s’ and so I did that, got rejected from Pindeldyboz because if McSweeney’s didn’t appreciate Avril Lavigne no one would, and decided to focus my efforts on Metal Gear Solid 3 instead.
– Brian Oliu