There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
Somerset Maugham (via ellenkushner)
I’m fairly certain one of them involves whiskey.
Well, as pretty much anybody standing in my general vicinity knows, this was our first week publishing fiction at Radius. Did it go well? It’s honestly still too early to tell, but I know I’m pleased with the results, and stoked about the future.
The decision to begin eyeing the connections between poetry and genre fiction was perhaps a counter-intuitive one, but from where I’m standing, it seems a natural line of study: The first poems preserved the stories of gods and heroes, and genre fiction is steeped in metaphors and symbolism that we almost no longer recognize as such. It struck me as interesting terrain to explore.
And trust me, we’re just getting started.
The decision to serialize stories came from thinking about the heroes and stories of the 19th century, how fans would return to a periodical to read the next part of a Doyle or Dickens story. This seems unnecessary on the Internet, where you can have whole libraries at your disposal instantly. But still … I was curious. I wanted to know if anyone would respond to that sort of serialization, if they would develop that sort of reading habit. Frankly, I wanted to know if people missedanticipation for stories. Certainly, there’s anticipation for new seasons of TV shows and sequels to movies, to the next issue of a comic book or the seemingly unreachable next George R.R. Martin novel. We talk about the story, but is the waiting for the story part of the experience?
I don’t know. We’re serializing four stories at the moment, each of which will run for a few weeks. Maybe everybody will just be annoyed, and indicate that they prefer reading everything in one gulp. Or maybe people will enjoy the format, and enjoy the thrill of waiting. Damned if I know. We’ll find out when we get there.
Anyway, here’s an index of the experiment so far. If you’ve not checked some of this out, I wholeheartedly suggest you do. We brought in some top-notch genre writers to launch this thing, and I ‘m terribly grateful for their support and encouragement:
Introduction: Prayers and Stories: Pulling New Heroes From the Oldest Well, By victor D. Infante
Mondays: Union Dues: Freedom with a small f (Part One), by Jeffrey R. DeRego
Tuesdays: Baby Detonate for Me (Part One), By Victor D. Infante
Wednesdays: Pink Aviary (Part One), by B. DeMarco-Barrett
Thursdays: Murder by Remote Control: an Essex Man story (Part One), by Gary Phillips
On Falling: Action Heroes, Metaphor and Gravity, by Sam Cha: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.
And there we are. That’s a heck of a lot of content for one week, isn’t it? We’ll be slowing down a bit, over the next week or so, and only serializing stories. After that, poetry will work its way back into the mix, and the two will co-exist in harmony. Hopefully. I guess we’ll know when we get there.
(P.S.: Check out the nifty redesign by Lea C. Deschenes! We’re still tweaking it, but so far, it looks gorgeous!)
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Hi. My name is Victor Infante, and I write stuff for a living. Sometimes poems, sometimes stories, sometimes reviews of rock and pop shows. You can read more about that on my newly revamped website. It’s not a bad life, as it goes. It never seems to pay enough, and I always feel like I’m a little behind on everything. But it has its perks.
Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, a life in writing means you get to see things that are truly amazing.
Today, a number of my colleagues covered President Barack Obama speaking at The Worcester Technical High School graduation, and I confess, part of me is a little jealous. Not because I harbor any burning desires to jump back into hard news, but because it was one of those moments where the stars aligned and, if you step back, you can see the thousand small threads that connect everything: Dozens of bright teenagers, facing the blank canvas of a future, and — whether you care for him or not — one of the most powerful people on the planet. And we look at the latter, and say he’s the story, but that’s not quite right. And we look at those dozens of teenagers, poised on the edge of metamorphosis, and say that’s commonplace, when really it’s remarkable.
Without those kids, the president being here would be just a travel itinerary. And certainly, his presence made us look at them, but the truth is each and every one of them — the students and the president and the audience and the people reading the newspaper — are stories in progress. They’re love stories and tragedies, heroic epics and cautionary tales, Horatio Alger rags-to-riches stories and small, quiet firefly stories that burn briefly and bright.
Being able to tell those stories is a privilege, and if I’m completely honest, it’s a privilege I never quite feel the people and companies who own newspapers ever seem to quite understand. How could they? Most of them come from some other world: From ad sales or venture capital or something sensible like that. There’s always that small gap in understanding between what they see and what we do. It’s the nature of the beast.
But once in a while, we get lucky. We get to stand at the axis where the meek and the powerful converge, and we have the privilege to report back what we find there. And maybe that changes the world a little. And maybe it doesn’t. But either way, we get to point and say This. This matters. Pay attention.
And most people probably won’t. There’s also usually a gap there, too. But it doesn’t matter. You still get to tell the story, and in that telling, you help make the world just a little more real. You hold up a sign that says that we were here, and this is who we were. And sometimes that’s terrible. I made my way back to arts reporting because I wanted to look at the best in people for a while, wanted to watch people who create, and tell their stories. But as hard as it probably was, this one looked like a good day. I hope it was — I left the office before the reporters came back. And as I said, I’m a little jealous. I always want to see things I’ll probably never be able to see again. It’s the best part of this job. Sometimes, it’s what makes it all worthwhile.
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