THE SECOND story in our look at today’s dating scene is a much darker animal: “Cat Doctor” by D.C. Miller. Ostensibly a response to The New Yorker‘s recent Kristen Roupenian story “Cat Person,” it’s more than that– it’s a look at the malaise of the West’s current intellectual class. People who believe in nothing– not even themselves. Whose ideological inanities, post-conceptual art and postmodern literature are an expression of nothing. Representations of the void at the center of their lives. A world in which the villains aren’t men or women, but everyone.
Appropriately, the story is set in Berlin, a city forever on the cutting edge of the end of Western civilization. Last stop before the nightmare of gotterdammerung and oblivion.
It was a catchy statement, and she liked it, but she wasn’t certain where to take it, whether it was true or not, and even if it was, what it would imply. She heard the sound of someone sighing audibly, like an echo from another room, and for a moment felt confused, before she realized it was her.
IN THE FACE of such a pessimistic, albeit truthful, examination of relations between men and women, of ideas and culture, we remain optimists. We believe the culture will turn over because it has to turn over– it’s at a dead end, with nowhere to go but to scrap the present and embrace another direction.
(Featured painting: “The Night” by Max Beckmann. Other: “Sjalusi i Badet” by Edvard Munch.)
WE BELIEVE the only way to find truth in this fallen world is to look at life three-dimensionally. Which means, observing an object, idea, or person from more than one vantage point.
When dealing with a complex topic– like men and women; like dating– it’s best to present more than one narrative on the subject. Otherwise you might be perceived to be taking sides, even when you’re not.
Oh, we know. That’s not how it’s done at places like The New Yorker, which gained rare attention for their moldering enterprise earlier this year when they published a short story about the dating scene. AS we’ve received a strong submission which might be a response to their tale (due here in a week)– and AS we’re unable to publish their story ourselves, New Pop Lit‘s Kathleen M. Crane was asked, as Contributing Editor, to contribute her own perspective on the pitfalls of dating. The result is “Red Panties and a Guitar.” We hope you’ll find it an entertaining take on the #MeToo movement.
I went home disgusted. How could I continue in a relationship with someone so obviously self-centered? . . . But I did continue.
FAR AHEAD of her time in examining these issues– of men and women; of dating– was proto-Jungian author Jane Austen, whose profound insight was that things aren’t always as they seem– they might be the opposite of how they seem and what people believe them to be. In her best novel, Pride and Prejudice, the revelation is startling. The good guy shown to be bad guy– bad guy revealed as good guy. Slick libertine unmasked as pedophile, while the stoic snob everyone hates must ride, literally, to the rescue. Austen’s situations are surprisingly contemporary. Perhaps we’ve not changed as much, AS human beings, as we like to think.
Austen’s novels well illustrate New Pop Lit‘s beliefs about the three-dimensional viewpoint.
(Art: “Still Life with Guitar” by Juan Gris.)
The world is changing, and the worlds of fiction and poetry are changing with it.
With scores of other kinds of media now in existence, other options for the individual, reading needs to be quickly accessible. Upon being read, the story or poem should give the reader a quick high or kick. It’s the only way the literary art can compete.
Among the innovations coming from new writers and websites are short shorts and flash fiction. Stories shorter than the traditional story. Instead of 5,000 words, 500. Or 150. When done well, the new works become more compressed, more powerful, more impactful– ending at times with modernist abruptness.
Today we present two such works by Andrew Sacks, who’s as adept at the form as any writer out there. We hope you enjoy them.
Now a more “serious” engagement presented itself, in the mutual celebration of her birthday. David knew something special had to be done. There would have to be a gift, and a meaningful one. Chosen wisely. Chosen for a woman of taste and a certain obvious refinement.
Our story this morning, by Indiana-based writer Brittany Terwilliger, will resonate with the dating crowd… and anybody who’s ever been disillusioned with the dating crowd! Check out The Maybe Game…
The buzz of his snore breaks through my early morning sleep. I look up as if from a tomb, calculating moves that will change nothing. Most mornings, if I close my eyes again I can fall back to sleep. But never when Sebastian stays over. Dust motes float through shafts of light above us, tiny swirling universes with faraway cares. I wish he wasn’t here. But that’s not true, is it. No, the truth is I wish he was always here. Which isn’t that different, when you think about it. I might never see him again and the thought of that makes me want him and despise him at the same time.
Thank you to http://foodiereflections.com for the photo credit.