I just filled the next issue. It feels great whenever this happens. It always takes a long time to fill the last story slot for some reason. There are still twenty or so submissions to respond to. If one or more of them are great, then the size of the issue will expand.
It is a very good issue. It suffers from token female writer syndrome like most issues of Bust. I feel like it is a kinder and friendlier Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, except for a story where Mitt Romney pleasures himself with his mouth and a story by D. Harlan Wilson where many people get shot with bullets. D. Harlan Wilson is great at cartoonish violence. I think I'm tired of violent stories, unless D. Harlan Wilson writes them.
Last issue, I rejected a bunch of good stories because they made me depressed. This was the beginning of Bust's evolution. I used to really be into black humor. I still am, but I'm shying away from it now. I think all of the "extreme" stories in the last issue had black humor, except for Blake's. I am getting tired of "extreme" stories. I'm not sure how I would describe Blake's story since it's dark, not really humorous, and I still loved it. I think it exists in a different dimension.
A lot of the stories in the new issue are more uplifting and bittersweet than stories in the past. A lot of them are written in a simple language and feel magical. This is the sort of fiction that I'm interested in reading and writing now. I think the contents of each new issue reflects me tastes at the time of its release.
I'm going to try to get away from negativity in my writing. And black humor. Less people will get killed in my writing. I want to write things that will make me happy to be alive. I want people to read it and feel happy to be alive. I'm not sure if I'm happy to be alive, but maybe I can write myself into feeling this way.
I think Shane Jones has been a big influence on me in the regard of happy surrealism. He also has a story in the issue. Maybe Richard Brautigan is also an influence on me. But Shane Jones is corporeal, so he is more inspirational. It is conceivable to see him and touch him and send him an email. And if I write about him in my blog, he will probably read it. I hope I get to meet him on Sunday.
I don't know if I will succeed at this happy surrealism idea. I think it's natural for me to be negative. I will work on a story and write negative things and then delete them and write happy things. I will do this until I stop writing negative things. I think I am maturing or something. I might be writing another shock value-y novel for a publisher though. Hopefully I can turn the content of my writing on and off.
Steve Aylett also has a story in the issue. His writing is the polar opposite of simple. He is also very negative. But his fiction is not shock value-y. I consider him my "favorite author." I don't know if I will continue to feel this way after I read his next book. I think Steve and I might be growing apart. Including him in the next issue seems like an act of nostalgia. I think people will like his story a lot.
Two authors who have stories in the next issue are locals (and I think Shane lives like an hour away). I've never put out a journal with a story from more than one local author (and it's usually something really short from a friend). It's too bad I'm moving to Boulder in June because that's when the issue should be coming out. If I wasn't moving, we could have a reading/release party. I think I'm happy regarding every other aspect of moving.
I still need cover art for the next issue. Usually I put absolutely no effort into getting art and find something that's awesome. I'll stumble across something online, love it, and contact the artist about using it. Or I'll contact an artist who I really like about drawing something. Or an artist will email me something I like even though I don't put anything in my guidelines about submitting art.
But I just updated the guidelines looking for art and sent a myspace bulletin through Bust's page since a lot of artists add me as friends. I also posted on livejournal's pop surrealism group because I while back I figured out that pretty much all of my covers use art that can be classified as such.
The following issue will be an online, flash fiction edition. I might continue to do online issues until after I finish grad school because money is probably going to be tight (and my funding minimal). Maybe I should apply for some grants and try to remain print after doing the online issue?
Sometimes I feel a wave of panic after I send an email. Because I cannot take it back.