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.)
Our series on new happenings in today’s literary world continues. “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.”
Part III looks at the new generation of writers– literature’s hope and future. We were going to call this section “The Lost,” as a nod to the Lost Generation of the 1920’s, a huge influence on a couple of the best young writers we’ll be featuring. We decided that designation was too downbeat. We’re optimists. We might as likely call this section “The Found”– talented individuals who found writing as their preferred means of expression, when they might instead have been painters or musicians or movie directors.
(Of course, there are no longer painters; musicians are reduced to the atonal or electronic, the human element cut out. Movies? Are there still movies to speak of? The Academy Awards are this weekend, and by all accounts contain not an outstanding crop.)
No, the future belongs to writers– to new literature. We kick off this part of our overview with a new story by Samuel Stevens, “Greener Country Grass.” This will be followed by new work by three other young talents, as fast as we can ready and post them.
Despite his youth (he’s still in college), Samuel Stevens is a thinker, essayist, and novelist, as well as writing in the shorter form. Definitely a name on the literary scene for years to come. Read his story now.
“Do you have a lot of money like Ray?” one of them asked.
She took me aback. “No,” I said. Ray did come from a well off family. The girls were all a little drunk; Loeb must have been keeping them supplied while I talked to the bartender. I pulled up a chair and sat down.
(Painting: “The Red Tower” by Robert Delaunay.)
TODAY we present a short but striking tale by brilliant new talent Ana Prundaru, whose poems, stories, and art have begun appearing across the globe. Which causes us to facetiously ask: Who is Ana Prundaru? Is this a cover name for an entire team of writers and artists able to produce, on whim, work notable for its sense of immediacy; of now? It’s the sense captured, we feel, in “Elusive Instinct.” Read it and find out!
We danced through the fluorescence, edging somewhere between snaking seductively toward the bartender and giving each other crap for almost falling over. All this time I could feel his eyes on me. The tall guy who had interrupted me seemed to follow my every move and there was heaviness in the room. . . .
Speaking of new talents, in one week we begin an ambitious series focused on the sudden rise in our post-literate age of individuals whose work screams, “Not yet! Writing still matters! Literature has not yet lost its importance.”
We’re here to announce that importance. The series is tentatively, ambitiously, hyperbolically titled “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” It’ll start at sixty miles-per-hour then really kick into gear as we present what’s happening beneath the narrowed gaze of establishment gatekeepers. Stay tuned.
WE KICK OFF 2017 with new fiction by Sonia Christensen, “Dry Bones.”The story is accompanied by an interview with Sonia at our News blog, in which she tells us whether or not there’s a back story to this unusual tale.
Sonia Christensen is part of a wave of terrific new short story writers. We’ve been privileged to showcase some of the best of them. These are exciting times to be involved with the literary game– best of all for those who enjoy reading stories.
He’s told her that he would help her bury the cat if she wanted him to. He said that the first time they walked by and she pointed it out and said, oh god it’s still there. But there’s a traumatic cat incident in her past so instead what they do is cross the road whenever they’re nearing the cat, so they don’t have to get too close and they don’t have to look. But Luke always looks.
(Painting by Theodore Gericault.)