November 8th, 2011 / 4:00 pm

x-snatch 14

1. You should probably get the fuck off the chesterfield and grackle your flash fiction manuscript to The Rose Metal Press Sixth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. As you well know, RMP make books that are regal, complex, bebob and badass, all humped and hawking as they fly.

7. John Holten goes:

 …the guys making Grand Theft Auto, today they’re real fictional realists.

2. Higher Education says:

While we who teach in M.F.A. programs can show our students how to write a strong pedagogy statement and stage mock interviews, the best job training we can give is to help students write a good book, cajole them into finishing and revising that book, and give them advice on getting it published.

3. John Jodzio goes:

I’m fifteen. According to every oncologist, shaman and tea leaf reader in the tri-state area, I’ve got between three and six months to live. Right now, I am wearing a blue shirt that says “Carpe Diem” but I’ve scratched off the ‘e’ and the ‘m’ so the shirt reads “Carp Die.”

4. BOOKFORUM says some writers are not tickled sunny by James Woods:

Jonathan Lethem (8 years later!): Wood is a critic whose better angels are at the mercy of his essentialist impulses.

Allan Hollinghurst: But actually, when he got to the bit when he was imagining how I might write something, it just seemed so pathetic that I stopped taking it seriously.

Hey has anyone else read The Swimming-Pool Library? That book be glow.

13. And Amy Lawless says: “My knees buckle from love and what is going on in the x-snatch.”

14. As a writer, do you like or hate theme issues of literary magazines? As a reader, do you like or hate theme issues of literary magazines?

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  1. deadgod


      Care Dim

  2. Daniel Bailey

      14. i mostly feel indifferent toward them. i’m usually like, “why would i write something about baseball or australia or whatever. i don’t care about this theme at all.” i just assume the writing in a theme issue will be less than because it was chosen based on theme rather than on its own merits.

  3. Spenser Davis

      14. As a writer, I find it to (occasionally) be a pain to try and fit something into a theme or dig through my work to find something that might work. Though in some ways that’s good because if a writer just tosses random bullshit into the arena it’ll be thrown out. So in some ways I think it’s good, it can ensure that the issue has only the absolute best. 

      That said, as a reader, I love it. Helps tie together an issue, allowing poetry, fiction, nonfiction, etc to all flow as one big entity, which is awesome. Her Royal Majesty does this in an amazing way. 

  4. Spenser Davis

      Though I’d say it helps, to an extent, because it’s not just a ton of slush thrown in there. Sure, it can eliminate legitimately good writing if it’s not thematic, but it makes the writer of said good writing craft something also legitimately good to fit the theme. 

      So my comment below might not include my entire perspective so here’s my true summary: SOMETIMES it’s excellent, SOMETIMES it can make a journal into a crappy old rag. 

  5. alan

      Come on, have an opinion.

  6. BmrsMstD

      I think themes =  basically a Granta rip-off = lazy editing

  7. Michael

      Theme issues work for me if I already have something that fits the announced theme. Cool. But I have no clue how people write from scratch toward a theme, esp. when the odds of publication in the journal–assuming it’s a good one and I’m going straight slush–are low.  So, what if I end up with a rejected story that was written for a particular journal’s theme issue? Maybe I’ll publish it elsewhere, but it’ll still bug me, like I needed a journal to give me a stupid writing prompt. I think I’ve advanced beyond that stage. 

  8. Spenser Davis

      alright alright. let’s say as a WRITER i generally don’t like theme-based lit journals. as a READER i love them because everything fits in one comfy theme as i work my way through it. 

  9. Ester

      Interesting question that No. 14. As a writer, I sort of like them because it makes me think of my poems in a different way, gathering different combinations when I put together a submission. As a reader I usually do not enjoy them because I find most theme issue themes (outside of strictly formal ones, which I do enjoy, e.g. The Very Short Poem, Prose Poems) sort of tiresome (especially if based on the typical sorts of themes you see, e.g. Death!, Science!, Strong drink!) or PC silly (if based on a social subgroup [rather than a shared humankind we’re-all-in-this-shitstorm-of-life together-&-everyone’s-my-sister/brother and fuck identity theory with a wire brush], e.g. “what do the left-handed, arachnophobia, dental hygienists

      have to say sonnet-wise…for 200 pages?”). For fiction or essays and art, I suppose they can be fine, but poetry-wise I appear to be the only person on the face of this sputtering planet who prefers poems I read to be individual and self-sufficient…as opposed to the vogue for linked series. (Analogue: I never really cared for concept albums either.) I like every poem to be a self-contained universe that I can jump inside and roll around drooling in, without having to consider how it adds to or extends an overarching narrative. I read novels for over-arching narratives. I think i’ve drifted a bit. But yes, content themes remind me of linked series, and as a reader I prefer to live in one poem at a time and to be surprised from page to page what I might come across. Why 100 pages of poems/essays/stories about one topic when you can have many? That said, there are some theme issue I’ve enjoyed. So I guess I contain multitudes. I wonder of anywhere cool is open to submissions from people who are both overly verbose & ambivalent about theme issues? I’m gonna check Conduit.

  10. Nick Moran

      Stop trying to make “glow” happen.

  11. deckfight

      like’em as a reader

  12. deadgod

      Only serendipitous “glow”?  Dismal.