Sunday, August 3, 2008

made with organic stone ground corn

I like this whole lit scene that has developed around blogs. It is good. It makes me happy and inspired. I feel like I'm on the outskirts of it. I am ok with this.

I like that fifty percent of the people who are involved seem to have online lit journals. Lit journals are good, although I would be happier if there were more print journals.

I'm not sure if I want to submit to these online journals though. I feel like I'm anal retentive. I don't think I would be this way if I didn't edit my own lit journal.

I think that most of these online lit journals have layouts that lack consistency. Like there might be one story that uses indents before the paragraphs and another story that uses line breaks before new paragraphs, and another story that mixes indents and line spaces for no rhyme or reason. And stories with different indents of various sizes.

This looks sloppy to me. It makes me hesitant about submitting my work. Because I am anal retentive.

It makes me think that the journal's editors is are an editor. The journal's editors are compilers. They select the stories that they like and don't go beyond that. They just cut-and-paste the story as it appears into their html editing program or whatever.

I think this sort of looks like shit.

Plus stories online are easier to read when there are line spaces between paragraphs rather than indents. The spaces give the eyes an opportunity to relax.

I think the layout of the stories should match up unless the layout of each story is different intentionally for the purpose of aesthetics. Bear Parade is good at doing this, except when I sometimes find their e-books hard on the eyes. Those e-books may be difficult to read, but at least they don't look like shit. They look good.

I don't know if I should care if the layout of an online journal looks like shit of they are publishing quality, readable stories. I don't think I want to care, but I can't stop myself from caring. I guess I can submit with trepidation. I will feel like I'm making a compromise. Maybe this is ok.

I talked to Mike Young about this yesterday. He thinks the inconsistent layouts are intentional. He said something like the literary journals doing this to intentionally be anti-literary journals. He said something like that at least. I don't really remember.

I'm not sure if I agree with him. I don't think editors are going out of their way to make their layouts inconsistent (and maybe neither does Mike). But maybe the editors are leaving the stories as they received them because of their desire to be anti-literary journal.

I don't think any of the people who I link to on this blog are the kinds of editors that I'm talking about in this post.

16 comments:

Gina Ranalli said...

I have to agree with you, Brad. You ARE anal. ;)

Bradley Sands said...

I'm gonna judaize you.

kek-w said...

"I don't know if I should care if the layout of an online journal looks like shit of they are publishing quality, readable stories. I don't think I want to care, but I can't stop myself from caring." - It's good that you do.

Yes, it is anal; but sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand lol.

"He thinks the inconsistent layouts are intentional. He said something like the literary journals doing this to intentionally be anti-literary journals. He said something like that at least. I don't really remember." - that's an interesting idea and one that I don't have a problem with. But I'm not sure it's true.

I think it's more in line with people using a lower-case 'i' or no punctualtion in emails and posts, probably. The on-line/digital domain seems to inspire a certain degree of slackness; I'm not sure if this is because people are aware on some subconscious level that it's not 'real',,,or that transacting with the web, texting, etc is done in rapid eye-flicker mode; that we subconsciously 'speed up' on some neural level and this makes us sloppy, by default. I can feel that weird non-physical 'tug' as I write this comment...I'm already thinking about the next thing I'm gonna do. It's like we lose interest in things even as we do them. The brain seems to speed up somehow, but not always in a good way. This is why paper is still so incredibly important.

kek-w said...

"punctualtion" lol.

see?

Bradley Sands said...

"Grammar and punctuality"

http://chokeonyourpopculture.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/a-look-back-on-bizarro-fiction/

BLAKE BUTLER said...

i agree, i can't stand a poorly designed journal and won't submit to them usually, i think the 'aura' of a work on the page is just as important as the work itself in the reader's mind: if it is ugly they are less likely to want to read it etc.

DIAGRAM has always been one of my models for great style online, bear parade def too

good thoughts

kek-w said...

Aura: that's a good way of putting it.

Mike Young said...

Rocking the Walter Benjamin references re: aura.

I agree that this style we're talking about is in line with the idea of using "i" instead of "I."
But I don't think it's so much digital reality slackness as a derivation of the classical punk/DIY aesthetic. I.e. the more "homemade" something looks then the more made it seems and the more "authentic" it must be. If something is too "slick," it looks unmade, like it appeared out of the ether, inhuman. But if something is stapled or slapped together, then there is visible evidence of its construction, seams. And that makes it "better" under the codes of this punk ethos.

So I think there are different kinds of "poor design." Like this punk thing is intentionally "poor" design, but there is also regular poor design for reasons of laziness, ignorance, etc.

Yes, I know: sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

kek-w said...

"a derivation of the classical punk/DIY aesthetic. I.e. the more "homemade" something looks then the more made it seems and the more "authentic" it must be. If something is too "slick," it looks unmade, like it appeared out of the ether, inhuman. But if something is stapled or slapped together, then there is visible evidence of its construction, seams. And that makes it "better" under the codes of this punk ethos."

Yeah, that's a spot-on observation, Mike. The idea that there's a deliberate stylistic 'subversion' on some sites to add a subtext of authenticity or a sort of cultural 'overbite' to the content is a very valid one, for sure.

I'll buy that for a dollar.

The way I write about music, say, on my blog is very different to if I was writing a more formalised article for an ink magazine - different readership, editorial dictates, 'house style' all play a part....on line, I write in a more playful way - i'll use shorthands like w/ or wh/ not just for a speed of typing, but also 'cause it references stuff like Burroughs, Patti Smith, Dylan sleeve-notes and other shit I grew up with...sounds a bit affected, i know, but it's a shorthand referential thing for me that I didn't much think about until recently - it was mostly subconscious, but it works on some of the levels you described above...so I totally get what you're saying.

Jess Gulbranson said...

I realize that the titles might be nonsequitur, but where's the stone-ground organic corn? I mean, I do work with hearty stone-ground grain for a living. You shouldn't get my hopes up.

Bradley Sands said...

This entry is all about you, Jess.

HappyIGuess said...

i am lactose intolerant too homie.
aint nuthin but a g thang
baby
2 low down gs going
crazy

uptown in the
you aint still heard
even my homies say i'm heartless
northsiiiiide

yo
going on


i like you

Bradley Sands said...

Thanks.

I just ate two quesadillas. I might regret it.

Not a fan of Tao Lin, huh?

Jess Gulbranson said...

Montenegro, please.

HappyIGuess said...

jess: you can't use the n-word! expect a call from jesse jackson. don imus will giggle about this.

Jess Gulbranson said...

Imus will give me a backrub, I'm one of the few people in the world who actually read his novel...