California Writing

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

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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.
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(Painting: “Herbstlandschaft mit Booten” by Wassily Kandinsky.)

Sweet Spring

Pop Lit Fiction

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.
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(Painting: “Springtime in Giverny” by Claude Monet.)

Experiments in Pop

Pop Lit Fiction

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.
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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.

POP!

Pop Fiction

WE PRESENT not just pop lit, but sometimes straight pop, on our path toward true “fusion” fiction. No less a personage than Jonathan Franzen has claimed to have a similar goal– except that in his ultra-long novels there’s less entertainment value than in a single story by Alan Swyer– and less than one-tenth the heart.

Doubt it? Read Alan’s new tale “Country Sweetheart” to see what the pop lit revolution is about.

Writers are reinventing the short story art! We’ve been covering this in our ongoing series, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” In conjunction with running Alan’s story we present Part IV of the series at our News blog. This section is devoted to– what else?– pop writers.

Grab the New!

“When the world gets weird, instead of doing a Dusty Springfield –”

“A what?”

“‘Wishing And Hoping’ that things’ll change, you’ve got to do something so that you’re who’s changing.”

“That what you do?”

“It’s what I’m doing.”

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Real Life in Flash Fragments

flash fiction

AT ITS BEST flash fiction gives you real life in short bursts. Could one say the effect, from an artistic standpoint, is cubist? Sample two new flash pieces by Andrew Sacks to see. One story’s about a marriage. The other, about a job interview. Fast-but-sharp reading.

Miles had always tried to compensate by a self-confidence bordering on bluster. Certainly not a bully, he did in fact seem to intimidate many people, or at least put them on their heels a bit, by his overriding assertiveness and swagger. His belief in himself was absolute. . . .

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We’ve also tweaked our “Young Writers” essay, including the fourth profile, of Jess Mize. Are these four writers the future of literature? Do they point a way forward for the literary art– bringing new imagination, charisma, and talent? Read the essay. We’ll be spotlighting other young writers in coming months.

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(Painting by Juan Gris.)

Vigorous Pop

Pop Fiction

To demonstrate our ongoing commitment to pop fiction we present as feature a new Norbert Kovacs story, “The Fight.”  American literature became thoroughly American when it became thoroughly vigorous– expressing the tough lives and harsh environment of the American landscape. Back in the days when American lit, via writers like Jack London and Rex Beach, was thoroughly populist– not simply a plaything for generously-educated elitists in Brooklyn wine bistros or Manhattan drawing rooms.

We believe you’ll find the Kovacs story a far cry from that refined lifestyle! (Incidentally, when we continue our Overview of new literature, we’ll address the “Pop” side of the pop lit equation– this story a preview.)

Bruises colored his chest like dark blue medallions. His shoulder received a scarlet gash from a punch that had torn him. Mort strained to stand up under McCurdley’s new blows. He had to tell himself to fight. Deliver, he thought. Hit. He lunged and swung.

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(Painting by Fyodor Bronnikov.)

 

Pop Lit Style

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

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(Also read our News blog notice on Calder’s just-released novel.)

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Art by Sonia Delaunay.

 

Cooler Writers?

Pop Lit Fiction

–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.

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(Painting: “The Fate of the Animals” by Franz Marc.)

 

The Young Writers: Overview Part III

Feature, Pop Lit Fiction

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.

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(Painting: “The Red Tower” by Robert Delaunay.)

Portraits: Lit Overview Part II

Feature

WHY the photo of the Tesla Motors vehicle which has been breaking speed records? Because THAT’S what we at New Pop Lit are about. We started this project to reinvent the literary art. To find or produce literary products faster, cleaner, more efficient and more exciting than the norm.

We believe the literary art has to change and will change. We see contemporary American literature trapped in a “salon” mentality– centered on one east coast island, within five monster conglomerates housed in overpriced skyscrapers, publishing only strictly correct and approved writers.

Things already are changing! 2017 marks the existence of scores of upstart literary outfits such as ours– and many thousands of DIY authors who don’t apply the “rules” because they never heard of the rules. Yes, much of the work is mediocre or worse– but at the same time, room is created for the new. For the arrival of the VanGogh-Gaugin self-motivated genius who’ll go so far outside the bounds, art will be overturned. A writer who’ll break all artistic speed records– or maybe, go into untrod areas in the creation of meaning and emotion.

This has begun to happen, in small ways. The purpose of our series, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age,” is to showcase writers who’ve pushed right up to the bounds of literary creation, and in so doing, point the way to truly revamped and renewed stories and poems.

Among the writers we discuss is Anne Leigh Parrish, who’s appeared here before. We’re privileged to present her latest story, “Picture This.” Clarity? Simplicity? Emotion? Anne Leigh touches the right chords.

We discuss Ms. Parrish and those right artistic chords at our News blog in Part II of our Overview. Enter the literary future. Read both story and overview now.

He’d grown up with three brothers and two sisters, a house full of noise and misery, hatred and resentment, never able to have his own space. That’s why he became an artist—the lure of escape.