blood-moon

Suffering, Suicide, and Immortality

Pop Lit Fiction

THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN a strong connection between madness and genius. Between “mental illness” and art, exemplified in the careers of talented-but-troubled individuals from painter Vincent van Gogh to poet Sylvia Plath to rock musician Kurt Cobain. Could it be that the sensitivity which attunes them closer to the mind of the universe than other people– that allows them to “see” and express things the rest of us can’t see, also makes it too painful for them to live? Does their genius itself push them toward thoughts of suicide?

These thoughts are occasioned by our newest feature story, “Suffering, Suicide, and Immortality,”by Jess Mize. Ms. Mize writes fiction and poetry as edgy as any we’ve seen, anyplace. It doesn’t always make for comfortable reading, so be forewarned on what’s coming. We can’t ignore, however, that it’s particularly at this time of year, a time of bleak weather combined with the expectations of the holiday season, that the thoughts of many turn to suicide. Many have been there on one occasion or other, and so, perhaps, can identify with the troubled character in this powerful story.

My second attempt at suicide happened two years later. I had just quit my job at the dry cleaners. I had no ambitions, no motives, only a red and black despair that clouded over my every thought and action, a red and black despair like the closing of Joyland at night.

bullfighting

Inspired by Death in the Afternoon

Poetry

Our month-long tribute to Hemingway continues with five short pieces by Jess Mize– a very talented young American writer, as Ernest Hemingway was once a very talented young American writer. Let the celebration continue!

I thought about death in the afternoon and how once, over half a century ago I was gored in the groin performing a sarcastic veronica and confident with the knowledge of money to come and the scent of arrogant Spanish wine by the pool in San Sebastian.

 

hemingway young 1

A Month of Hemingway!

Announcement

That’s what we have planned for the month of July anyway. Toward that end, New Pop Lit‘s editors drive up this weekend to Petoskey and environs in northern Michigan, looking for the ghost of Nick Adams. Searching for the elusive roots of “Papa” and his literary art.

Why Hemingway, you ask?

Because Ernest Hemingway was American literature’s greatest pop icon– the last writer whose persona was huge enough to overshadow other pop celebrities of his time– from movie actors to sports figures to pop singers. Sinatra, Gable, Dempsey, DiMaggio– Hemingway was a bigger cultural figure than any of them.

What do we have planned?

-Photos and descriptions of our Petoskey excursion.

-Answers to our second Big Lit Question, which concerns Ernest the Hem. See this.

-New work from two talented young writers, Samuel Stevens and Jess Mize, which if not completely Hemingway themed, is Hemingway inspired.

Our objective in presenting these two striking talents is to recreate some of the excitement that occurred when young Hemingway himself began writing, in his twenties, in the 1920’s– likely the most exciting American literary decade.

-Plus any and all other Hemingway ideas and stuff we can come up with and implement in coming weeks.

You will not want to miss ANY of it!

jess1

More Hype!

profile

Our task is to discover exciting new writers– and to give attention to those writers we discover. Toward that end we have a profile of writer Jess Mize. Her story, “Valentine’s Day,” which appeared here recently, makes the much-lauded tales of Joyce Carol Oates and Mary Gaitskill appear to be written by Louisa May Alcott. In other words, cutting edge all the way. Read more about this talented young writer.

valentine hearts

Valentine’s Day!

Pop Lit Fiction

PARENTAL DISCRETION ADVISED

Our publication of “Valentine’s Day” by Jess Mize illustrates three things about us.

First we’re out to publish new talent. We aim to own the literary future. That means presenting to the world exciting, edgy young writers.

Second, we’re eager to be different. If we publish what everyone else is publishing, then what’s the point?

We especially seek writers who operate outside “the box” of establishment literature. Yes, there are scores, hundreds, thousands of well-smoothed and tamed conformist literary stories fabricated every year by MFA factories. Very refined. So much alike they’re interchangeable. They’re commodities. What they lack is the unique, daring voice.

Jess Mize has a unique voice. We’re publishing her story without the kind of changes other editors would demand, because we love the reality of her story. Jess Mize gives us not some consensus-safe parlor talk out of a New Yorker magazine boardroom, but instead, the way we live and speak today.

Which brings us to our third point. In this constipated century of political correctness, safe zones and the like, we remain committed to open expression and free speech. If writers and publishers don’t defend speech, who will?

In the famous words attributed to Voltaire, “I may disagree with everything you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

But enough of us. Please read “Valentine’s Day.”

Violet should have known something was up. They were the kind of assholes who would order food and send it back five times because it didn’t taste right. Of course it didn’t taste right. They had been smoking crack for three straight days and they were hungry but couldn’t eat because of the drugs.

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(Watch for our “Lit Question of the Month” answers, coming soon at our “Interactive” blog, linked at “Extras!”)