we asked our contributors some questions. they answered the questions. we will ‘post’ them here.
the first interview is with matthew sherling. the photo above is from his twitter account.
1. do you read books? i mean like, full-length ones (ebooks or print). if so, what’s the last 2 good ones that you read? if not, why not?
i do read books, often obsessively. the last 2 full-length books i read & enjoyed were ‘visions of cody’ by jack kerouac & ‘the autobiography of alice b. toklas’ by gertrude stein.
2. should writers call themselves writers anymore or is there a better term?
hm. sometimes it’s hard for me to say ‘i’m a writer’ or, more specifically, ‘i’m a poet’ (that always feels inherently pretentious for some reason). in the online writing world most ‘writers’ seem to do a lot more than just write. or their ‘writing’ at least seems to go beyond just their ‘books’. the boundary that once held writers’ ‘work’ & ‘life’ seemingly apart is now dissolving via the internet, so it’s (potentially) more about their character as a whole (some may say ‘internet presence’, ‘brand’, ‘persona’). anyways, i don’t know how (or don’t feel justified) to answer this question directly.
3. are image macros poetry? why or why not?
my definition of poetry seems somewhat amorphous, although i tend to sympathize more w/ the idea that poetry can transcend its conventional definitions / forms. so yes i think image macros can absolutely be poetry. in fact, if done affectively, i think image macros can be a more engaging form of poetry (esp to young ppl today) than only-text poetry.
4. what’s the most exciting literary/art/creative/writer/designer thing you’ve gotten into recently?
one thing I love abt ‘alt lit’ (& this is also potentially problematic of course) is that, like noah cicero said once, you can wake up & get on the internet & have several things to engage with / read that have been posted that very day. steve roggenbuck says we’re creating things / art / a culture that we can use as (among other things) a substitute for television. there’s undoubtedly an entertainment / warding off boredom element to all of it. so ‘recently’ seems so fleeting in the internet world. right now i like the video/poems ppl have been sending sarah alexander for ‘everyday genius.’
5. as whatever this alt lit community is, what should we be doing more of?
more ambition & less bickering.
6. what creative projects are you working on now?
i am kind of always working on my manuscript of poems, currently titled ‘BRING ME MY ABSOLUTE SURRENDER’, although it’s essentially finished. nathan springer & i are also working on a multi-media ebook that will include text, video, image, music, etc. & of course CUTTY SPOT.
7. what do you do to make money? or how are you getting money i.e. ‘surviving’ ?
i make money by teaching & tutoring at a tutoring center in san francisco. also, as far as my internet output, fanzine (is the only place that) sends me $$$ for my interviews, etc. MUCH <3 TO FANZINE.
8. do you submit to places or do you just post your own stuff up on yr web site? should ‘new’ writers be submitting to places or just ‘author-creating’ their own stuff?
mm. good question. there are two words I am very weary of: ‘pure’ & ‘should.’ i’m not sure what new writers ‘should’ do or not necessarily, except write something he or she would be excited to read. so often I think writers write things that they feel like they ‘should’ be writing, according to other people’s expectations. i’m pretty sure we’re all guilty of that sometimes. but i think we shd write things that excite us. anyways, i’m a huge fan of DIY, however I submit my stuff to a lot of places – whether my manuscript to book contests etc or individual poems to magazines. i guess i feel more ‘legit’ if someone accepts my work vs if i just publish it on my own, but this feels insecure. do what makes sense to you!