We could call this week’s feature “Portrait of a Young Detroit Guitarist.” We’re privileged to run excerpts from an exciting new novel by a New York City photographer. “Frisky Moser” (his pen name) was once in a Detroit rock band, and has now penned a fictionalized-and-fresh version of events, “Jack Strat and His Baby Blues.”
Lately there’s been an influx of talented New Yorkers– artists, entrepreneurs, edge-seekers– into Detroit, as the Motor City continues its comeback. The aptly-named Frisky is evidence it’s a two-way interchange.
She started putting on makeup, mostly working her lashes and lips, checking me out as I was sitting on the couch with my guitar in my lap. I could see her stealing glances at me in the mirror. We were alone.
Art: “Harlequin with Guitar 1919” by Juan Gris.
With the fiction and at our Features page you’ll find actual photos of Jack– and his boots.
(Also keep up-to-date with the All-Time American Writers Tournament.)
PART OF OUR MISSION at New Pop Lit is to present the most powerful fiction we can find, from the best new writers. We fulfill that mission with our newest short story, “The Fetus,” by Clint Margrave. It’s a tale of high school and bullying, but it’s more than that. Art’s task is to give us the complexity and confusions of life; of our crazy, cruel, three-dimensional world.
The bell rang and Mr. Schlosser asked us to open our textbooks to the introductory chapter.
“Biology is the study of living things,” he said. “One of the central questions we’ll be exploring this semester is what does it mean to be alive?”
(Artwork: “Still Life” by Juan Gris.)
p.s. Also stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament!
The American scene today is saturated in politics. FBI CIA NSA antifa alt-right movements parties investigations spies recordings informants everyplace.
Though it sometimes resembles a comedy routine, this is fertile ground for the writer. An endless series of fictional possibilities present themselves. We’re back in Edgar Wallace days, where all plot scenarios become believable. Maybe likely.
Samuel J. Stevens explores one of those scenarios in a short, dryly humorous piece aptly titled, “The Vast Conspiracy.” Another in our explorations of the artistic fusion of “pop” and “literary.”
They did not look like the thugs he’d seen in old Bureau files. They looked indistinguishable from the trendy hipster kids that populated the Village and Williamsburg, the only difference being they wore suits.
LOS ANGELES has long been the most extreme example of American excess. Many writers have tried to capture SoCal’s special vibration; its captivating mix of ethnicity, cars, class, color/weather/nature jammed together like an expressionist painting come alive. One of the best writers on the subject is Robin Wyatt Dunn– who appeared in our modest first New Pop Lit print issue with a terrific story about Los Angeles. Now he’s given us another one, “Travelogue,” full of reality and imagination. A journey through L.A., but also, perhaps, through somewhere else. A Robin Dunn story is always a unique experience. Don’t miss this one!
Here in the Big Sleep there is no moon, so the sea is tideless. However, it does move. Creeping tendrils of water you will find anywhere along it, shimmering in the darkness. I have walked along Seaside on many a moonless night.
Speaking of California, be sure to read D.C. Miller’s Appreciation of Philip K. Dick, part of our ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament.
(Painting: “Herbstlandschaft mit Booten” by Wassily Kandinsky.)
We’re near the end of spring– early enough for cool summer reading as heat descends upon the landscape.
Questions: Are there forces in the universe beyond our understanding? Does a talisman actually work?
These questions are asked in our new story, “Sweet Spring” by Scott Cannon, one of our favorite writers. If you want an enjoyable read, this is it!
It was dark within, but I thought I saw something pale in the heart of it. I was shoulder deep in the roots when I heard you ask if I found anything. My hand closed on something cool and smooth, and I drew it out.
(Painting: “Springtime in Giverny” by Claude Monet.)
THE FUTURE is in fiction and poetry written with clarity and conciseness. Short and to the point. Read quickly but meaningfully on an app.
Toward that end, we present a short short by our own Kathleen M. Crane, “Aloha from Detroit Revisited.” Set in Detroit’s punk rock scene near the end of the millennium, it’s a replay of an earlier tale by K.M.C., “Aloha from Detroit”– the title work in her e-book short story collection. “Revisited” presents a different perspective on the same events. Providing a different angle. A more rounded look.
We’re based in Detroit, where we hear and read much about how the auto companies– not known for being cutting edge– have to adapt to the technologies of the 21st Century. How moreso literature!– whose Manhattan mandarins operate with the mindset of the 19th.
As lit moves onto new platforms like smart phones and e-books, the style of writing itself has to adapt and change. Slow-paced thoughts won’t work. Word-clotted writing is dead– whether from James Joyce or Joyce C. Oates; Jon Franzen or the acolytes of David Foster Wallace. In ten years the heavily-lauded writers of the present will be obsolete.
They already are. Writing is changing, via flash fiction and pop poetry. We’re at the forefront of that change.
He wondered who was dealing Rick, after his warnings. He shrugged. Rick was an adult. He glanced at Rick, pale and slumped under his black mohawk at the end of the bar. Sure, an adult.
We’re stylists. We look for writers who are creating what we consider to be pop lit style. That elusive hybrid that’s both “pop” and “literature.”
One of the best of them is Calder Lorenz. His story for us, “The Good Road Gone,” has elements of noir combined with a terse style and a sense of the literary. Pop writing that means something. We think you’ll like it.
He heard the car door. He looked at the clock on the windowsill: 3:04. He smiled at that. He got the rifle and then he loaded the clip. He wore a gold medal around his neck: St. Anthony. It was a gift. Something lucky he’d gotten before he’d gone off.
(Also read our News blog notice on Calder’s just-released novel.)
Art by Sonia Delaunay.
We make the point again and again. In this noisy age literature in all its forms has to change. To become far more exciting– within the culture; to the general populace.
In Part III of our overview, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age,” we’ve profiled young writers who bring new perspectives to fiction. Who have the talent to reinvent the art. Few fit this designation better than Jess Mize, who’s been making noise across a variety of upstart lit sites. We have an excerpt from Jess’s novel-in-progress. Fittingly, the story is about reinvention.THEN stay tuned for a new profile of Jess and her writing, due in a few days.
At New Pop Lit, the future is NOW.
The young boy learned in one fell swoop of his powers and of the neurotic, mysterious trance of performance art. It was like seeing lightning strike a natural object right in front of your eyes, the electrical force penetrating your mind and becoming a live, vibrating current in the conduit of your brain waves.
(Art by Jean Metzinger.)
At New Pop Lit we’re on a mad search for future writing styles– and for new styles for writers themselves. We foresee a changed literary landscape where writers’ personas are inseparable from their work. Once, writers were public figures. They deserve to be so again.
Which brings us to Lauren N. Jackson, third of our “Young Writers,” part of an long examination of literature today which we’re calling “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” The four examples we’re using are each extremely talented, albeit in markedly different ways.
Are there commonalities between the four of them? Yes!
First, their writing styles are striking and economical. A Pop Lit requirement.
Second, all of the four convey a sense of unease, even bewilderment, at the world before them.
This is the case with Lauren N. Jackson’s entry in our series, “The Spore Guild.”
Does art equal madness, and madness art? Read her tale and decide for yourself.
(THEN read commentary on Lauren and her writing, as we add to our “Hyper-Talents” essay. Be sure to scroll down.)
Now the question I’ve finally allowed on my lips is – what’s out there? What haunts us, hunts us, destroys us? How much longer do we have? Will I go truly mad? What if I already am? Perhaps my whole reality has shifted in my head and I only think I’m living my true life.
(Art: “The Revolt” by Luigi Russolo.)
–in which we continue Part III, “The Young Writers,” of our overview of today’s literary scene, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” Continue reading the essay here, as we’ve added commentary about the second of four young writers to be profiled, Eli Cranor. THEN read Eli’s excellent short story about the teaching profession, “Five Minutes.”
As you’ll see, the question posed during this part of the essay is, “Can writers become cultural stars?” Our answer to the question is a resounding “YES!”– but we acknowledge it won’t be easy. Every cultural force has its beginnings. With the Beatles it was dive clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg. With revived literature, it might be right here. . . .
Mr. Koontz first few weeks at school had involved very little details. Instead there were a lot of situations like this: a large blonde woman sits down in front of you and she has a daughter, they look nice enough, but you can’t remember the girl’s name, not even a detail like her name.
(Painting: “The Fate of the Animals” by Franz Marc.)