Saturday, October 22, 2011

APOPTOSIS OF WRITING is a useful website where the organization, operating on voluntary donations, lists markets for short writing: paying, non-paying, which have died, which have revived with money, which have revived with no payment, interviews, themed deadlines, and whose work has been accepted recently. If you can’t remember to check it, there is a weekly newsletter that comes to you automatically.

It’s hard to imagine a more useful or timely function, especially for beginners trying to find homes for their writing. But I’m always bemused by the info that’s provided. There are always a LOT of listings, but as new ones arrive, the list of dead markets is just as long. Here’s a sample:

Anubis Magazine (fiction, teen-written sf/f/h)
Candlemark & Gleam (fiction)
The Darkleian Times (fiction, sf/f/h)
Fender Stitch (fiction)
Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction (fiction, noir/crime)
Phantom Drift: A Journal of New Fabulism (fiction & poetry, fabulism)
Candlemark & Gleam: Substitution Cipher Anthology (fiction, themed antho)
The Zharmae Publishing Press (fiction)

Non-paying market listings added:

Alligator Stew (poetry)
The Applicant (fiction & poetry, Nepalese lit)
The Broken City (fiction & poetry)
Coffee Plus Fiction (fiction)
em: A Review of Text and Image (fiction & poetry)
Bank-Heavy Press: Husbands and Malfeasant Dogs (fiction & poetry)
MaLa: The Chengdu Bookworm Literary Journal (fiction & poetry, Chinese lit)
Mind's Eye: U Magazine (fiction & poetry)
new graffiti: Literature on the Streets (fiction & poetry)
Spiracle (poetry)
The Tavern's Vault (fiction)
The Vehicle (fiction & poetry)

I don’t know whether the links will survive the blog transfer, but they are great since they take one to the publisher’s website with little effort. What strikes me is that this is clearly a young person’s activity, which is probably why there are so many deaths of publications. Big ideas, good intentions, life intervenes. Probably because of the youth of the editors, the subject matter is dark indeed. To a kid’s eye (kids being someone not yet thirty) all that ghoulish, death-ridden, obsessed subject matter equates to courage, truth, and social action. Just check the news, eh?

And check this list

Caribbean Writer, The: Deadline extended (fiction & poetry)
Cincinnati Review, The: Now accepts electronic submissions (fiction & poetry)
DemonMinds: Website has not been functioning for over a month; editor has not responded to us; we are declaring this a "dead" market (fiction & poetry)
Dog Oil Press: Website hasn't been updated in over a year; editor has not responded to our inquiries; we are declaring this a "dead" market (fiction & poetry)
Kugelmass: Now accepts poetry (poetry)
Lonesome Fowl: Website has not been functioning for over a month; editor has not responded to us; we are declaring this a "dead" market (fiction & poetry)
Ramble Underground: Website hasn't been updated in over a year; now emails to the editor bounce; we are declaring this a "dead" market (fiction)
technicolor: Website hasn't been updated in over a year; editor has not responded to our inquiries; we are declaring this a "dead" market (fiction & poetry)

Imagine the time and effort it takes to check all these people. You’ll notice that the list is not limited to weird little vampire-fang publications, but also follows big respectable outfits like “The Cincinnati Review.”

Nature’s way is to create a zillion of something and then muster up the equivalent of cell-death. That is, sometimes death by trauma but far more deaths by apoptosis, the quiet falling-apart. Shockingly, this is how a human is formed in the womb: lots of cells, then most of them pared away. If that process goes a little too far, abort. Even the brain: as soon as you are born, unused brain cells “apop.” It appears that this is the way writing and -- more than writing -- publishing is going to unfold -- IS unfolding. Writing: making marks or images that convey consciousness. EVERYBODY’s doin‘ it, doin‘ it. The market is flooded.

Publishing: investing money in making profitable writing available through curation (choosing), editing, promotion, and so on. Publishing is a business model. Writing is only a business if publishers make it that by shaping it towards sales. Sales -- in one way of thinking -- are what define fitness for survival.

It is possible to find a symbiosis or niche where writing can survive without being published: academia, blogs, private subsidy, institutions. Blogs are the only environment where writing is controlled only by the writer. Of course, that doesn’t mean it will have readers. In today’s commercialized atmosphere, I don’t expect free long-form blogging to persist. Use it while you can. On the other hand, it is an artesian spring of ideas, networking, and hot-housing language and image that would impoverish the culture if it were missing. Increasingly people are resenting pay-walls for professionals.

Social media is not writing even though some poets use it that way because their work is normally short or because they use linking to continue elsewhere. Social media, which means very short personal messaging, is proliferating faster than blogs, they say, which means that it becomes ever more ripe for apoptosis that will turn it into something else -- evolve it like a fetus from fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal. (Don’t panic. Only a metaphor.) It’s great advantage is its speed and numbers, which are marketable in the same way as votes -- indeed, it is fascinated with votes: thumbs up/thumbs down, like/dislike. traffic quantification. Quickly, a kind of group mentality forms and it is cross-national. In fact, when it jumps to cross-media by including music and video, the language barrier disappears.

But not the capacity for creating illusions. We’re seeing things we never saw before, things that might permanently change the way your brain is organized -- the things you always took for granted. Particularly, both taboos and idealizations get mocked to dust. Apoptosis of the reputation.

I love the word “apoptosis” because it’s onomatopoetic. If you’ve forgotten, those are the words that sound like what they mean (bark, plop, clang). So many concepts are soap bubbles that I like to imagine make a little pop when they burst. Thin rainbow membranes around ideas and categories. In the 19th century there was a huge proliferation of sorting categories that seemed to be permanent. Now we pop them. No more dodos. Pluto is not a planet. What will happen if we pop too many things? Abort the world?

What if we pop ALL the ideas about the world? Won’t new ideas arise, like the publications listed by duotrope? Some with costs associated, some with rewards? We’re trying.

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