Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Introductory Statement

Exploratory fiction, at least in the United States, is arguably near death. Determinedly mediocre American publishing aligned with tepidly written and rapidly disappearing critical commentary has left us instead with a seemingly endless series of dispirited personal narratives, flat-footed fantasies, and sentimentalized social statements.

By exploratory writing I do not merely mean "experimental writing," but works that in their language and structures challenge our thinking, surprising and sometimes even mystifying readers, who are left not with simple comprehension but with wonderment. When I first began publishing in the mid-1970s there were a substantial number of writers of such fictions (Walter Abish, Tom Ahern, David Antin, Paul Auster, Russell Banks, Michael Brownstein, Robert Coover, Guy Davenport, Lydia Davis, Jaimy Gordon, Marianne Hauser, John Hawkes, Spencer Holst, Fanny Howe, Steve Katz, Tom La Farge, Nathaniel Mackey, Clarence Major, Harry Matthews, Mark Mirsky, Toby Olson, James Purdy, Gilbert Sorrentino, Johnny Stanton, Robert Steiner, Ronald Sukenick, Rosmarie Waldrop, Wendy Walker, Lewis Warsh, Curtis White, and Dallas Wiebe, to name just a few) to choose from. Indeed, my Sun & Moon Press first published several of these figures. But since that time, many of these writers have died or ceased writing, and only a handful of younger writers have joined the active among them. Accordingly, the great tradition of US writing, from Gertrude Stein to William Faulkner, from Flannery O'Connor to Vladimir Nabokov is in danger of disappearing. What to do?

One person or perhaps even a small group cannot resolve the situation. But I can, as I have attempted to do in my activities as a publisher, present and reveal such writing. exploringfictions, my new on-line magazine devoted to narrative writing, is another such attempt. Perhaps by simply standing in the path of the dart [see photograph above] I can deflect those whose attention is centered only on a single point in time and space and help to refocus their vision upon the wide world about them.

Clearly such a publication will be strongly dependent upon my own contributions, but I hope the entire literary community interested in fiction will join me in presenting (living and dead, US and international) writers, reviews, short essays on (new and older) fictions (in English and translation), interviews, news and other related commentaries.

I must emphasize that the title of this publication is purposely plural, and will be edited with the recognition that fiction is not merely a Gemini (the novel or short story), but is a many-headed beast made up of numerous forms including epistolary writing, picaresques, anatomies, fables, pastorals, encyclopedias and other such structures.

exploringfictions will be published daily or weekly, depending upon when I write or receive appropriate new works.

—Douglas Messerli, Publisher


I invite new works sent either by e-mail (to douglasmesserli@gmail.com) or by regular mail (to Green Integer, 6022 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 202C, Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA)

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