The Writer’s Dilemma is that there are an estimated two million novelists in America, and maybe ten million self-styled poets– with many more of both writing in English in other countries. The performers are on the verge of outnumbering the audience. Or: writers have become the audience.
The only possible solution is to recreate the art. To construct works wholly new, to set those who write them apart from the innumerable crowd.
TOWARD THAT END we recently ran a contest for stories with two viewpoints. We present the winner of that contest now: Tom Ray. His winning story is “What He Thought Was Right.” His tale is about two Vietnam veterans, and their encounter with a World War II veteran and that veteran’s grandson. Has the clash of generations always been with us? A clash, maybe, not of generations so much as viewpoints. It’s an excellent story. We hope you’ll like it.
Harold said he served in infantry, and Art believed him. Old guys who lie about Vietnam would shut up and kind of drift off when they found out Art had been there. And Harold didn’t tell war stories that sounded like a movie script. He’d just make a few vague statements, always ending with, “I saw some bad shit over there, man.”
At the same time, we have new work at two of our supplementary blog. At our new Special Projects blog, home of quirkier writing, we have “The Little Squirrel and the Baby Eagle” by Wred Fright. At our News blog we have a look at what we’re up to behind the scenes, with a post titled “Prototypes.”
Something for everyone!
WHERE ARE THE WRITER CELEBRITIES?
THERE HAVE BEEN a few of them over the years, even recently, as we find with our atmospheric new feature set in Manhattan, “That Time I Stalked Nick Tosches” by Brooklyn-based author Scott Laudati.
We wish we could’ve met Nick Tosches ourselves!
The Next Best Thing: To discover or create a few new literary celebrities. Which may be part of what this hyper-ambitious project is about. Until then, enjoy the essay.
“He’s a writer,” I said. “These guys don’t get the face time. They don’t hate their fans like actors do.”
It was a gamble, though. Would he dig a young fan interrupting his drink? There was a war in every line on his face. I hadn’t seen anyone else recognize him, but maybe that’s why he drank there. There was no way to know if he’d shake my hand or put his cigar out on my eye.
(Painting: “Portrait of Victor Chocquet” by Paul Cezanne.)
A QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT
FOR THOSE who haven’t heard, we have a winner in our first cash prize contest, one Tom Ray. Check out our NPL News story about it.
ON OTHER FRONTS, we’ve been using our revamped Special Projects blog for quirky writings, often of a humorous nature, as well as for sneak previews of pop lit things-to-come. Peruse our latest offering, “Sending the Dog to a Farm” by Gregg Maxwell Parker. Next up there will be amusing fiction from Wred Fright— before we move on at last to our planned collaborative novel– which should be fun!?
Plus much more.
(Art: “Organization” by Arshile Gorky.)
WE DECIDED at the start of this year to avoid the predictable. Toward that end we have imaginative new fiction set near a beach, “The Longboarders” by talented writer Nikki Williams.
Physicists tell us time is an illusion. Is it? As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
We hope you enjoy the story!
A man sat between two peaks in lotus pose, his back turned to them. Theo looked back at her, put a finger to his lips. The Maori raven tattooed on the man’s back seemed to wink at Sasha. Then he drew in a long breath, his exhale sounding like a sigh.
ALSO: We’ll be announcing soon the winner of our impromptu Contest. Stay tuned.
(Art: “Painterly Architectonic” by Lyubov Popova.)
PART of our mission with the arts grant we received will be to continue developing new forms for the short story. New structures and shapes, not unlike modernist shapes in the plastic arts. Experiments in structure.
As with anything, there’s a steep learning curve involved in perfecting the multidimensional short story. We’re working through several iterations. The end goal: A better reading experience.
TOWARD THAT END–
Our first announced contest is a short and modest one. A one-month contest, with a prize of eighty dollars ($80) for the FIRST competent and readable story we receive written from two different viewpoints. Alternate and connect the two viewpoints however you like. If we don’t receive an adequate story within those parameters at the end of one month, the contest will be extended for another month, and so on– until we have a winner. The winning story will be featured at our site.
The contest is open to anyone except New Pop Lit‘s two editors.
6,000 word maximum, 1,000 word minimum.
Send all entries to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Contest” in the subject line.
The contest begins now, today: March 4, 2022.
Again, this is the first of several contests we’ll be running this year.
Thanks in advance to anyone, or all, who participate– and good luck!
A TOPICAL POEM
WE SCRAMBLED to insert a new feature into our line-up, one related to the ongoing war in Ukraine. We’re fortunate to have received a poem– “Kyiv In a Winter Evening”— about the crisis by Bruce Dale Wise, who uses anagram pen names as authors of his work– in this instance, Radice Lebewsu. Whatever, it’s a very good poem, and we thank Radice/Bruce for submitting it to us.
Now scenes of devastation follow streets with spitefulness,
tanks, drunk with power, roll into the city’s frightful mess.
ALSO be sure to check out our previous poetry feature, “Heaven Bound” by Alisha J. Prince, as well as new literary satire by Stuart Ross.
WITH THE WORLD per usual in turmoil, poets and poetry are more necessary than ever. With that as context we present “Heaven Bound” by Alisha J. Prince— the kind of poem we love in its expression of rhyme and rhythm, its ambition, and the way it captures the reality of life in London, England. Alisha is one of the overlooked literary talents we’re always happy to stumble into– because the future of this project, and of literature itself, resides in them.
Crimson chaos fills the gaps
Inside the council pavement slabs
Torn and ravaged pizza boxes
Rats and bats and cats and foxes
(NOTE: We also have new fun stuff coming in a day or two to our revamped Special Projects blog. Not to miss!)
WHAT IS LOVE?
We all want it but we’re not always sure how to get it. Many times we come close– then disconnect. Things don’t work out for any number of reasons.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, we present a poem which might be about disconnected love– “When It’s All Said and Done” by Aqeel Parvez.
If you haven’t found real love for yourself yet, keep trying! It’s out there. In the meantime, read our new poetry feature.
early morn, fairly warm, we subsist as two,
separate entities, delicacy, fallen leaves.
OUR FIRST FICTION FEATURE OF THE YEAR–
–and it’s a good one, capturing the insanity of the hypertechnological world we live in now, but also structurally a terrific tale, full of unpredictability and imagination, as well as subtle humor. The story of which we speak is “The Swipe” by Michael Maiello, who is one of the finest talents on today’s writing scene. It has to do with a dating app, an image, and the world, and– we can’t say more. Read it!
AS our goal is to move further toward the experimental in 2022, we offer as our first feature of the year some experimental (or at least alternative) poetry, “The Alternative Top 40” by Charles March.
One may have to read the lines over a few times to fully “get” them– the poem has its own rhythm unnoticeable at first glance, but present. Subliminal. There.
We hope you enjoy it!