October 28th, 2010 / 9:38 am

2 Obituaries: One Story & Failbetter

One Story (June 24, 2002 to October 25, 2010) The offices of long handed and literary-Illuminati-color-coded One Story collapsed this week in a grand gesture of at last fully defining in unwavering lifelike syntax their own definitive time, setting, and central theme. Long teased and haunted by their authors’ knack and exuberance in the construction of sentences that end the story as exploration before it can begin, the corpus of long story has whispered in its ruffling thin pages a yearning for at last the transcendence of the human spirit into the beyond, at last concretely demonstrating that yes, we all die, and yes the human heart is large, and yes, A really does lead to B if you line it up right. Survived by a collection of sentences clearly of a reputable but closely related bloodline, a brief but heartwarming reflection on One Story’s days and times will be issued to all past subscribers as well as anyone who has serially submitted to their enterprise every single open reading period since their inception, which notably and privately led to their development of the now ubiquitous Submission Manager (since bastardized incessantly by at least three anarchistic, freely sharing knockoffs), which affords self-hating pencil pushers across the globe the right to realize just how ridiculous this whole submit-then-wait-then-hate-then-submit-again thing is. Meanwhile, the spirit of the One Story lives on: truly, by now, a single story in our minds, espousing all. Friends and relatives remain hopeful that the termination of the ephemeral notion of the singular short story proves to extend beyond its time into a one to three book contract for those involved on the merit of this leap of faith into the demonstrable prowess of details that is the narrative short prose masterwork, more evidence that even if Raymond Carver is dead he isn’t dead and neither (for real this time) is Michael Chabon.


Failbetter (May 10, 2000 to October 25, 2010) At last deciding to put their money where their browser is, longtime publishers of romantically edgy online lit Failbetter succumbed to their own moniker and failed as hard as they could, driving their proverbial website animus into the proverbial nowhere of even this special little world called the online. Originators of the insanely-long-submission-response-time-even-if-you’re-just-a-website rule of thumb, Failbetter will surely be preserved only as we all remember them, if we remember anything, which in my case is that year when AWP was in Atlanta and these dudes showed up in suits standing next to a laptop on a table telling you to check out their website right there in the Hilton so that you might remember to do the same again when you got home, though as I recall again the web connection in the Hilton’s basement sucked and you couldn’t even do that, a pretty decent failure on the part of online literature perhaps in some way predicting this biggest and baddest of all failures, again ahead of the curve of all of us in publishing or elsewhere still supposedly extant, like gash marks on the wrists in a vertical fashion years before the gun goes in the mouth.

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  1. Jordan


  2. P. H. Madore

      Darn. One-Story was pretty great.

  3. P. H. Madore

      Drive across the country, tell your story walking.
      No one’s keeping you captive in the town that let you down (so sorry).

      Blame it on the television, blame it on the company;
      Don’t blame it on the fundamental fact that no one owes you something.

      “I’ve come about my share, i only want what’s fair.
      Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not greedy.
      Like everybody else, i wanna pay my dues.
      (I only want someone to tell me who to make the check out to.)

      Maybe we could run away and start a little repertory moviehouse or something.”
      she said, “sorry but i think you might be just projecting
      (but here’s the dough).”

      Pike street to park slope, Brooklyn.

      “A community of dabblers who are vain and fond of biting backs
      (‘we hate it when our friends become successful’)
      And a different school whose energies are spent evading income tax…
      And silicone enhancements by the breastful.

      Maybe we could run away and start a little repertory moviehouse or something.”
      she said, “sorry but i think you might be just projecting on to me.
      Why don’t you try LA?”

      “Well when you like something, it’s an opinion
      But when i like something, it’s a manifesto.”
      (pomposity is when you always think you’re right arrogance is when you know.)

      “Maybe we could start a little independent repertory moviehouse or something.” she said,
      “Sorry but I think you might be just protecting your investment or else assigning blame.”

      Pike St. / Park Slope by Rodney Danger

  4. Guest

      One Story. Sigh.

      They have one of the most disorganized editorial offices around: issues constantly late, lost in the mail, never updating addresses, making it impossible to cancel. I’ve dealt with a bigger pain-in-the-ass staff. Dealing with them is hell. Hannah Tinti needs to get her office in line instead of running “workshops” for 60 year old aspiring writers in Italy.

  5. Guest


  6. failbettercom

      We didn’t wear suits in Atlanta, otherwise we wouldn’t have been ready to bolt from the bookfair right to Trader Vic’s, where we bathed nightly in Mai Tais with the estimable editor, and even estimabler drinker, Marc Fitten.

      Also, our site is still up.