Everything is fucked and why do we bother
I was talking to poet Zack Haber last night about lit journals and shit, and how I really fail to see the purpose of them any more, how entirely arbitrary the process is, etc. I offered the idea that lit journals are futile as literally nobody reads them except for writers, and generally writers who are interested in being published by said magazine. There are, of course, exceptions, there are a handful of lit journals that end up on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and Borders (hell, I casually picked up a copy of The Chicago Review there and that’s how I discovered Barbara Guest) that I presume people pick up & read, whatever.
There’s a difference in the economic approach to the world of literature and that of art– the systemic structure of art dictates that there is inherently a buyers market, that part of the 1% that is ever-so-slightly less evil and uses their immense and unbelievable riches to purchase art, thereby creating a somewhat sustainable market for artists. The difference in the art world and the lit world, of course, is that in the art world the unique vision/experimentation/cutting edge realness (whatever) is privileged, becomes famous, makes hella money, whereas in the lit world you have to basically be or imitate some permutation of a voice of New Yorker fiction slash Dave Eggers to make money. This is fucked.
Anyway the initial point of this is that I actually no longer understand why 95% of lit journals exist. Editors publish to their taste, and if they make any other claims they’re fucking lying. I have an online lit journal because I enjoy web design and I like coming up with themes that I’d like to read. It’s entirely myopic, to an extent. I run a small press because I like designing and making books. As to why I write, well, I’ve written an actually thought-out post about that before, and I forget sometimes, but ultimately it’s because I enjoy it, I like to put things in the world that I wish existed. I also think literature can be communication. Zack said he didn’t care if only other writers read his work. I think I do, but I’m not sure.
Anyway that’s the end, no moral.