Are you reading?

Last week I posted an excerpt from the introduction to Interfictions 2 here, and a link to the whole deal.  But we also now have two of our Annex stories live online.  Have you checked them out yet?  The first one is Genevieve Valentine’s “To Set Before the King” and this week’s addition is F. Brett Cox’s “Nylon Seam” which comes along with a song written and sung by Brett, who is also totally rockin’ the guitar as well.  A blend of music and story.  I love stuff like that.  If you’ve got a free moment, and work is slow and boring anyway, or the kids are in bed, etc, take a swing over to the Interstitial Arts Foundation website for all the free content that is going to keep appearing over the next few weeks until the second volume of Interfictions itself appears in November.  I just looked over the copyedits for the book this past week, by the way, and was reminded of how kick-ass the table of contents is.  I can’t wait to re-read the book, and wait till you see the full cover.  Sweet, sweet stuff.

Damn, I love making books.

We’re getting ready

If you’ve managed to forget that the second volume of Interfictions is being released later this fall, I certainly haven’t.  We’re getting ready to start posting our Annex stories online, as we lead up to the publication date of the book itself, but today, over at the Interstitial Arts Foundation’s website, you can already take a look at the introduction to the book, written by Henry Jenkins, the Provost’s Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at the University of Southern California.  Previously, and very recently, he served at the co-founder of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT.  Henry’s written a really great intro to the book, which I will excerpt here:

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

– Groucho Marx

Let’s start with some basic premises:

  1. I do not belong in this book.
  2. The contributors also do not belong.
  3. You, like Groucho Marx, wouldn’t want to belong even if you could. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have picked up this book in the first place.

Let me explain. The editors of most anthologies seek stories which “fit” within prescribed themes, genres, and topics; the editors of this book have gone the opposite direction – seeking stories that don’t fit anywhere else, stories that are as different from each other as possible. And that’s really cool if the interstitial is the kind of thing you are into.

At the heart of the interstitial arts movement (too formal), community (too exclusive), idea (too idealistic?), there is the simple search for stories that don’t rest comfortably in the cubbyholes we traditionally use to organize our cultural experiences.”

Why not go over to the website to read the rest of it, and see if you don’t belong either?

Interfictions update

Just a heads up.  Very soon this fall the second volume of Interfictions, which I co-edited with Delia Sherman, will be appearing.  And even sooner than the book is released, we’ll be releasing a new story in the Interfictions Online Annex every week until the book appears.

I very much hope that readers like what Delia and I have gathered for their reading pleasures in this second volume.  More to come, but until then, the launch dates for Annex stories are as follows:

On Sept. 15th we’re launching the Interfictions Online Annex, with 1 new, online-only, story/week until the book publication November 3rd:

Sept. 15: Genevieve Valentine, “To Set Before the King”
Sept. 22: F. Brett Cox, “Nylon Seam”
Sept. 29: Kelly Barnhill, “Four Very True Tales”
Oct. 6: Ronald Pasquariello, “The Chipper Dialogues”
Oct. 13: March Rich, “Stonefield”
Oct. 20: Kelly Cogswell, “For the Love of Carrots”
Oct. 27: Chris Kammerud, “Some Things About Love, Magic, and Hair”
Nov. 3: Eilis O’Neal, “Quiz”

Interfictions 2: Your Name Here

I had to steal this entire post from Gavin Grant, because it’s not only all the information those of you who may read this may need, but funny.  If anyone out there is so inclined to aid in the cause of non-profit bookmaking, here’s your chance:

Interfictions 2: Your Name Here

Well, maybe more like Your Rich Pal Who Likes To Directly Support the Arts’s Name Here. The Interstitial folk have had the great idea of sending out a direct call for support for their new anthology in Tweeterland, Blogistan, Flogistan, and Facebukia. And in case those countries are not on your usual paths, here’s the goods:

We live in a world of niche marketing. The Interstitial Arts Foundation brings artists together to tear those barriers down.

We are asking you now to join us in our next adventure in storming the barricades: Interfictions 2: a New Anthology of Interstitial Writing, edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak. Interfictions 2 will be published in November 2009 in collaboration with Small Beer Press.

Interfictions 2The first volume of Interfictions, published in 2007, was hailed as “A phenomenal collection…engrossing and provocative” (Hipster Bookclub) that “belongs on the nightstand of anyone interested in the development of contemporary short fiction” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

This second volume features original work by a whole new set of writers who joyfully explore the big imaginative spaces between conventional genres. And this time, we’ll be reaching out to even more readers by publishing a series of free stories on the new Interfictions 2 Annex online!

What can you do to help? This extraordinary collection of interstital fiction needsyour financial support. We’re asking you to sponsor not just a book, but an idea – the idea that artists need to be able to express themselves freely and directly to their audiences, without the restraints of conventional genre limitations.

Here are some ways you can help us publish Interfictions 2:

SUPPORT AN INTERFICTIONS 2 STORY

  • $500 pays one author for a 10,000 word short story
  • $375 pays one author for a 7,500 word short story

SUPPORT THE INTERFICTIONS ONLINE ANNEX
8 stories will be available only online, with one appearing every week from August until November 2009.

  • $400 covers author honoraria for the entire Annex
  • $50 pays one author for an Annex story

SUPPORT THE NUTS & BOLTS OF ACTUAL BOOK PRODUCTION & PROMOTION

  • $400 covers typesetting fees
  • $200 buys Interfictions 2 a magazine ad
  • $100 prints up promotional postcards
  • $25 sends out five copies to reviewers
  • Your Choice: Gift amount of your choosing supports the IAF’s General Fund

Become an Interfictions 2 Sponsor with a gift of $500 or more, and we’ll list you as a Sponsor on our Friends of Interfictions 2 web page. And if your gift of $500 or more is received by June 30, 2009, your name will be published in the printed anthology!

Your gift of $499 or less will get you listed on a Friends of Interfictions 2 web page as a Booklover, and Booklovers who donate between $375 and $499 by June 30, 2009 will have their names published in the printed anthology. Individual supporter names will not be linked to specific stories or work.

SUPPORT A STORY, GET A BOOK!
We’ll also send signed copies of both Interfictions and Interfictions 2, signed by editors Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak, to supporters who contribute $375 or more. In addition, Sponsors of $1,000 or more can choose to receive a signed limited edition print of Connie Toebe’s “Moonlight“, the art used on the cover of the first Interfictions.

The easiest way to contribute is on our Web site athttp://www.interstitialarts.org/donate.

Or you can mail your check along with the 2009 Gift Form to P.O. Box 35862, Boston, MA 02135. Contributions of any size are most welcome.

The IAF is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, so your contribution will be fully tax-deductible. But more importantly, when you make a gift to the IAF, you can bask in the knowledge that you are helping to build a new work of literature that can change people’s lives.

Thank you for your continued support. Please feel free to link to or pass on this page to anyone else you think might be interested in art without borders!

Warmly,
Ellen Kushner
Vice President & Co-Founder,
Intersitial Arts Foundation

Alex Myers selected for Interfictions 2 cover art

Here’s the lowdown on the cover art for Interfictions 2.  It’s going to be a weird and wonderful look, I think:

 

We got a fantastic array of work from artists who responded to our searchfor interstitial images for the cover for our upcoming anthology,Interfictions 2:  over 300 images showed up at the new IAF Pool at Flickr.

Many of them were seriously considered, but we can only do one cover, and in the end editors Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak, along with publisher Gavin Grant & the first Interfictions volume’s cover artist Connie Toebe, agreed to agree on this one.

 Alex Myers‘ “e” is part of a series he made “as a response to my growing awareness of art as commodity.

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These paintings will not last.

They will fade.

They will curl.

They will eat themselves.

They will not make a good investment.

They are beautiful.

All are mixed media on cereal boxes.”

We asked Alex Myers why he thought this painting was a good fit forInterfictions 2, and he replied:

” . . .  because this series has always dwelt in a place between comfortable categories.  Not quite traditional painting, nor traditional throw-away package design, they instead, hybridize the two, creating a space for themselves.  This to me is the very essenc

e of Interstitial Art.  Art that lives in the cracks, between the spaces of the well-defined.”

Part of what attracted the editors to “e” was that some of its images, weirdly, can be found in the stories they’d already chosen for the anthology . . . . I guess we’ll see when Interfictions 2 appears this fall!  Meanwhile, watch this space for a mockup of the cover, coming soon.

Congratulations to Alex, and thanks to everyone whose art appears on the IAF Flickr page for all to see and comment on . . . and new work appears on the IAF homepage (in the blue column, to the right).  Please don’t forget that while the search is closed, the Flickr group is still open:  please keep posting your interstitial work, and keep in touch!

Seeking Cover Art

Seeking Cover Art for Interfictions II!
IAF

 The IAF has thrown open its doors (via a Flickr group) to artists who might like to have their work considered for the cover of Interfictions 2. Won’t you take a moment to throw your hat into the ring?  The official call for art is as follows.


The Interstitial Arts Foundation is searching for cover art for our second literary anthology, Interfictions II. All visual artists are invited to submit images for possible use as the cover art of the anthology. 

From February 2 – 16, artists are invited to post images on our Flickr group athttp://www.flickr.com/groups/interstitialarts for all to enjoy. At the end of that time, the editors ofInterfictions II, Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak, along with Small Beer Press publisher Gavin Grant and Interfictions I cover artist Connie Toebe, will choose an image for the cover of this exciting original anthology, to be published in November, 2009.

What are we looking for? Any visual image that might look good on the cover of a book. It could be a painting, a computer image, collage, sculpture or maybe even a piece of clothing. The first volume’s cover was actually a photo of a 3-dimensional diorama box, so a photo of a sculpture or craft piece is not out of the question. Contributing artists should be sure to consider their art in the context of a book cover. A book cover isn’t simply a pretty picture but part of a complete design. If you’re photographing a 3-dimensional piece (especially something that isn’t rectangular) please remember that the quality of the photo counts as well. A nicely composed photo is as important as the quality of the artwork in the image. The book cover will be 5.5″ wide and 8.5″ tall so a horizontal or square image might not work as well as a vertically oriented one. That being said, we’d love to be surprised. Show us something we’ve never seen before!

The details:

  1. The final image will have to be available as a JPG, at least 5.75″ x 8.75″ at 300dpi. For the Flickr group, artists need only post low-resolution versions of their images. If your image is selected, we will contact you and request that you send us the high-resolution version for printing. 
  2.  

  3. The deadline is February 16, 2009. The Interfictions II Flickr site is the same as the IAF Flickr site:http://www.flickr.com/groups/interstitialarts
  4.  

  5. Artists are limited to posting 3 images for consideration. If we like your art but not the images you chose, we may write and ask you for more. 
  6.  

  7. Although interstitial art is by definition wonderfully wide-ranging and experimental, we retain the right to remove anything from the pool that we deem inappropriate. 
  8.  

  9. The artist whose work is chosen will receive a $500 fee from the IAF for the use of their image on theInterfictions II cover along with the rights to use the image in any publicity for the book and for the IAF. Artist retains the original artwork and the copyright on the piece. 
  10.  

  11. The editors reserve the right to use art from another source for the cover. However, we are holding this search not only to choose a cover for our anthology, but also to make more artists aware of the work of the IAF and to give everyone a chance to see more really good interstitial art. In that spirit, we will spotlight the cover art as well as five runners up on the IAF blog at http://www.interstitialarts.org . In addition, the most recent entries to the Flickr group will be syndicated into a section of the IAF homepage for the duration of the search, and quite possibly beyond.

 

Questions? Post as comments here, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Good luck! We look forward to seeing your artwork!

And P.S.  If you’re an artist who would like to aim your work for this cover towards the general idea of interstital art, please do look into the idea of what interstitial art is at the website:  www.interstitialarts.org.  And better yet, take a look at the first volume of Interfictions, which can be purchased online at most booksellers (or at least browsed online at most booksellers).

Interfictions 2.0 ToC Announced!

If you haven’t already seen this at my co-editor Delia Sherman’s blog, you heard it here first (and if you did read it at Delia’s blog, you heard it hear second, or third, or maybe fourth):  The Table of Contents for the second volume of Interfictions has been announced, and looks like this:

Jeffrey Ford, “The War Between Heaven and Hell Wallpaper”
M. Rickert, “The Beautiful Feast”
Will Ludwigsen, “Remembrance is Something Like a House”
Cecil Castelucci, “The Long and the Short of Long-Term Memory”
Alaya Dawn Johnson, “The Score”
Ray Vukcevich, “The Two of Me”
Carlos Hernandez, “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria”
Lavie Tidhar, “Shoes”
Brian Francis Slattery, “Interviews After the Revolution”
Elizabeth Ziemska, “Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken”
Peter M. Ball, “Black Dog: A Biography”
Camilla Bruce, “Berry Moon”
Amelia Beamer, “Morton Goes to the Hospital”
William Alexander, “After Verona”
Shira Lipkin, “Valentines”
Alan DeNiro, “(*_*) ~~~ (-_-): The Warp and the Woof”
Nin Andrews, “The Marriage”
Theodora Goss, “Child-Empress of Mars”
Lionel Davoust, “L’Ile Close” 
Stephanie Shaw, “Afterbirth”
David J. Schwartz, “The 121”

As Delia says:  “It was hard, hard, hard to choose these stories. We got a lot of good ones. In fact, we got so many, we decided to put up an online Annex of stories that we didn’t want to get away. They’ll appear in the weeks leading up to the publication ofInterfictions 2 in November, not in the order they appear here:”

Kelly Barnhill, “Four Very True Tales”
Kelly Cogswell, “For the Love of Carrots”
F. Brett Cox, “Nylon Seam”
Chris Kammerud, “Some Things About Love, Magic and Hair”
Eilis O’Neal, “Quiz”
Ronald Pasquariello, “The Chipper Dialogues”
Mark Rich, “Stonefield”
Genevieve Valentine, “To Set Before the King”

And for those of you wondering what the life and times of an editor trying to put a book of stories together is like, let me re-emphasize Delia’s own summing up:  it’s very, very hard.  We had somewhere around 500 submissions for this anthology, which was a beautiful thing in and of itself, so many people sharing their work with us, wanting to be a part of this endeavor.  It was difficult to sort through them all and to make decisions.  Delia and I loved more stories than we could take, and of course that’s how the Annex came into being to begin with, and even beyond the Annex there were other stories that sparked a lot of conversation between us that we hope find homes elsewhere, since ours became crowded to the point that we created a virtual house as well, and then that filled up, too.  

I learned a lot about storytelling from this process, though.  I’ve acted as an editor on small chapbook and zine projects in the past, but this was the first time I had my hands in a full-length book project.  It’s been an invaluable experience, and I look forward to doing it again in the future for Interfictions 3 when it’s time to pull together another assembly of interstitial voices.

But for now, look at that table of contents.  It gleams and glitters.  We were amazed by these stories, and you will be too.

On Reading

I spent today on a date with my laptop that lasted hours and hours, ranging from the home writing room, living room, bedroom, to the coffee shop and a restaurant downtown, then back again.  Reading stories for Interfictions 2.0 is what I’ve been doing, really.  It’s a really pleasurable yet difficult task.  There are all these stories, so many of them, and so many good ones, great ones, brilliant ones, and so many charming ones, which isn’t always a descriptor for the good, great, brilliant ones–charming is a quality that stands alone.  It indicates magic above and beyond technical ability and sturdy wordcraft, a vision or spell that wipes out the world around you for the length of its enchantment, from sentence one to the last word…and then beyond that, even, into the white space outside the page that we return to after reading, the world sketching itself back in around us, determined to be the predominant dream in our lives, the master narrative, us its bedazzled slaves.  

This is what the sort of story I’m always looking for does–don’t think of it as an editor but as a reader, anytime, anywhere–the story or poem or play or film or song that creates its own reality for a period of time, establishes its own rules and regulations, yet somehow tells me things about the world it’s taken me away from for a while, then returns me to it, either roughed up a bit or gently.

The more you consistently read in such great quantities, though, the harder it is to be caught in a story’s spell.  You learn the tricks and see the hands moving…this is also one of the signs of a story that gets its spell off and holds its reader:  you never see what’s coming, the trick retains its secrecy and mystery, it remains magical despite your best explanations.

Catching up

This past weekend I went to Columbus for the Ohioana Book Festival, where I was one of the guest authors. It was a lot of fun to meet readers and sign books and meet other Ohio authors and catch up with those I already know. Afterwards, there was a party for the authors at the governor’s mansion, which is quite beautiful. I got directions to the mansion from several Columbus residents, or those who live in the suburbs of it, and everyone mentioned I’d have to drive through a bad section of Columbus to get there. But as I drove both there and back, I didn’t notice a bad section, unless they meant the several blocks that seemed to be mostly apartment houses and rental units, rather than homeowner-land, and if that’s the case, I could have told them that’s not a “bad area” where I come from. Besides, all the places seemed really well kept up. If Youngstown looked like the bad area of Columbus, I wouldn’t be as worried and concerned, I think. Maybe that’s why a lot of people have no clue of the reality that the dying rustbelt cities face these days. It’s just not on their mental maps, it’s not a part of their daily realities, so they don’t think about it. The governor’s party was fun. I was allowed to take one guest, so I took my mom for Mother’s Day.

Now I’m back home and catching up with things. It seems whenever I go away for a couple of days, I come back to fifty things that need to be taken care of now now now.

One item of notice I wanted to mention before wrapping up, though, is that the Interstitial Arts Foundation, for which I’m co-editing the next volume of Interfictions, is holding a handmade jewelry auction until May 28th. The pieces look interesting, and they’re all based on various stories from the first volume of Interfictions. Go take a look at the cool stuff people have made and bid on something!  There’s also a third Interstitial Salon going on as well.  Lots of fun and provocative thinking going on over there, so take a look at that too.

I’m off for now.  More sooner than later, hopefully!

Yatterings Interview

An interview I recently did with Iain over at Yatterings has been posted today. He asked some really cool questions about the novel, process, interstitiality, influences, and short stories. Hope it’s interesting if you pop over there and read.

Hope you have a good Sunday. I’m all about taking it easy today and pretending like Monday is not going to come.