September 27th, 2011 / 11:54 am
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.
– xtx

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


  1. Anonymous

      pboz was the shit. that’s when these indie magazines were exploding helicoptors exciting.

  2. stephen

      i was also rejected by a whitney. i remember last year sometime reading the post on tao’s blog about the pboz kerfuffle and smugly commenting something about how pboz is gone and tao is doing well.

  3. Gian

      Pindeldyboz published the second piece I ever submitted to anything. It was a story about Chet Baker or something which I wrote and submitted when I was in some kind of booze-fugue, because when I received the acceptance letter, I didn’t remember writing or submitting it. For years, it was one of those things that I wished wasn’t available online anymore because it’s just awful. It’s weird though:  I met my current boyfriend by sending him an email and asking him out, and he later told me that he googled my name and read that story and that story is why he decided to write me back. So I guess it served some kind of purpose besides embarrassment.

  4. Lincoln Michel

      I liked Pindeldyboz a lot. They were kind enough to publish me a few times. I feel like in that time period there were a lot of websites that did a good job publishing funny stuff that wasn’t straight humor, like weirdo short stories with a lot of humor not pieces. There seem to be less of them now for some reason.

  5. karl taro

      my friend Sarah Montague published a story there in 2003 or something. I don’t think I had ever heard of it before that and I wasn’t writing fiction then so I didn’t think much about it. 
      when i did get curious about lit mags I went up to this newsstand on Broadway and Grand which actually had a great selection of lit journals and because Pindledyboyz was one I had heard of, I was specifically looking for it. I bought it, brought it home and then realized I had actually bought a magazine called Small Spiral Notebooks. So I never actually read Pindeldyboys.

  6. herocious

      I like J. A. Tyler’s selection on the final screenshot.

  7. shaun gannon

      lol dan

  8. Chad Parmenter

      Whitney once admonished me, because we were in a group of people and I was playing a large, African drum quite loudly.  At the time, I was unreceptive, but, interestingly, I’ve been playing it more quietly since then, and started playing the much quieter guitar, so she was a great editor for me to work with. 

  9. BoomersMustDie

      Got a thrill from all those Glimmer Trains, gotta admit…

  10. Russ

      Man, Gemstone III was awesome.

  11. James C Langlois

      Seriously, I played that game way too much in 5th – 7th grade. First on AOL and then when it was on its own website. 

  12. Richard Grayson

      What I liked about submitting to Pboz is you would get an automatic reply that told you thanks and that you needed to go outside in the fresh air because you looked pale.  They published two of my stories, one quite terrible.  Whitney wrote great pieces for Entertainment Weekly back in the day.  I associate Pboz with other webzines of the time I read and got published in: Surgery of Modern Warfare, Eyeshot, Barrelhouse, Small Spiral Notebook, Identity Theory, Frigg, The 2nd Hand, Eclectica, Blithe House Quarterly, Me Three, Edifice Wrecked and a lot more.  Mostly dead links now, I think.

      I printed out the pages on which I appeared, assuming correctly that unlike the dead litmags I published in from the 70s and 80s, there was no way there’d ever be physical evidence of the publications.

      You can get a good idea of the era’s webzines here:

  13. Bradley Sands

      Daniel Bailey said: “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.”

      Damn, I delete all the submissions that I’ve received after I finish putting a new issue together (and it’s been like forever since the last one but it’s coming out soon through a publisher rather than myself since I’m broke). Maybe I should leave the rejected submissions in the email account in case this ever happens (at least until I run out of room) so the author can contact me if they lose their story and I can send it back to them (although in Daniel’s case, it would have been the earlier version rather than later version). I can archive them in a separate folder.

      Although this sort of thing only happened one time as far as being contacted about a lost story: An author contacted me about her missing story and I was able to send her the file, but that was because not much time had passed since I had rejected it.

  14. elizabeth ellen

      i have to echo what tao said. 2004, 2005 were exciting years for online writing. i remember checking almost daily sites like opium, surgery of modern warfare, sweet fancy moses (goin’ way back!), eyeshot, pboz, haypenny (whaddup, detroit boys?), umm…monkeybike, (is that the site ben brown did? what the hell ever happened to that guy?), etc. now i don’t check any site unless directed by someone. whaa whaa. i wonder if that’s because internet writing was actually more exciting back then or because we were new to it…??? 

  15. Gene Morgan

      It makes me feel like an old piece of shit, but I feel the same way. I don’t know what happened. Now I just hate everything and keep to myself.

  16. Daniel Bailey

      that would be a cool thing, though i’d imagine it wouldn’t be a common thing to email editors asking for way old submissions. i’d probably delete submissions once i rejected them too. i’m surprised you actually got that request even once.

      it’s probably not a bad thing that story is gone. it wasn’t ever that great and i had a really hard time figure out what to do with it anyway. 

  17. Bradley Sands

      I never deleted submissions right after rejecting them. I always waited until much later when all the stories had been chosen for the next issue.

      That story had a lot of potential. It would be cool if you sent me another if you still write fiction. I remember reading that awesome story of yours where the protag is playing one of the John Madden Football video games or something while the end of the world is happening. Forget where that was published.

      So are you done with school or do you have until like May (or around that time) to graduate?

  18. aaronb

      Wait… am I married to Gene Morgan?

  19. Anonymous

      great story

  20. postitbreakup

      this is all well and fine, but your drunk typo-ridden post was a lot better, b.b.

  21. mimi

      i read that!
      and then it was gone!
      thought it might have been my own drunken dream!

  22. tao

      what was your name/class? i think i was a dark elf named ‘esperanth wraithling’

  23. tao

      what was your name/class? (race, i mean, i think)

      also profession, forget profession, i think i was a dark elf wizard

  24. Guesty


  25. Darby Larson

      pboz = it

  26. Daniel Bailey

      yeah, the john madden one was in the first no colony. i haven’t written any fiction in a while i think that’s part of being in grad school for poetry, you focus so much that you don’t have time. i’ll be done in may. i’m living in denver and driving up once a week now because fort collins is dicks.

  27. Jeff Boison

      Those were the good old days!  Thanks everybody. — J

  28. lee

      Hi EE — I think it was all sort of like “social media,” pre-Friendster. People without blogs or Facebook status update outlets sent out weird little smoke signals to the world via the online e-lit sites on the internet, and then e-mailed each other and other stuff, chatted on message boards, and even MET IN PERSON. It was definitely social in its way (demented and sad, but social). Not counting submissions (and responses to weird rejection letters), I remember receiving dozens of e-mails a day. (Does anyone still receive DOZENS of e-mails a day?) It was fun. The thing is: I thought I was the only one who lost that loving e-lit feeling! I lost it maybe around 2005 or so — the highlight for me being 2001 to early 2004? It’s 2011 now, right? I’ve always thought it (e-lit enthusiasm) was something that only lasted a while before one lost steam . . .

      Ben Brown did uber, yeah.

      Tao: I upped the goodreads stars for your novella to four . . .

  29. Matthew Simmons

      Love pboz.

  30. aaron b
  31. Matthew Simmons

       True or false, Aaron:

      That jewel on the Hobart tumblr page is a tribute to The Big Jewel.

      We all want to know!

      Or, well, I want to know!

      Also, Ed Page might want to know!

  32. Bradley Sands

      My school was lacking fiction classes, which was really annoying considering I had met and spoken to a lot of alumni and current students from the program and no one mentioned that to me (although maybe it being called, more or less, the Jack Kerouac should have been a big hint). I guess the biggest problem was one of the fiction professors retired and her last semester was the one previous to when I started (and she was known to be really good). It would have been nice had I known she was retiring when I chose to attend the school. So there was like one fiction professor. And another one who taught a screenwriting class that I took one semester, although he only taught “classroom” classes during one of the semesters where I attended the program as a student (he taught online/low-res classes and maybe undergrad classes during the semesters where he didn’t teach).

      Anyway, your comment just tricked my whining about it since even though I write prose poetry but I went to school to study fiction, not poetry. But besides my thesis, I think I wrote more prose poetry during school than fiction.

  33. Bradley Sands

      Lacking “in” fiction classes rather. They had some, but so few.

  34. Afternoon Bites: Orwell’s jazz flute, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Pindeldyboz remembered, and more | Vol. 1 Brooklyn

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