We opened the submission window for issue six a couple of days ago. We aren’t accepting emailed stories and poems this time around (at least in the main), but instead are trying out a submission manager which goes by the cheery name of Submishmash. The reasons for this are several: first, the number of submissions have increased to a level where there is a danger of us loosing track of people and submitted work; second, Submishmash lets authors keep track of their work through the whole process; and third, it saves us a hell of a lot of effort in making sure people have sent us all the right information, files we can open, etc.
The idea isn’t to create another barrier between the magazine and prospective writers; in fact we would very much like people to get in touch with any questions or comments about the process. Feedback would be extremely helpful.
The deadline this time around is the 14th of March, so if you would like to send us your work, please go here to take a look at our submission guidelines and access Submishmash.
This first post was just going to be a hello, but I realised that I had recently written about introductions for issue five of the magazine, and so (with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld): what’s the deal with book introductions?
Maybe Paul Auster thinks that the plot of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger is so familiar that everyone should know the ending by now, but you know what? I didn’t. Call me shallow, but I’m less likely to read the rest of the book now I know that – and I quote page vii in Auster’s introduction to Hunger directly here, talking about the protagonist: ‘In the end, for no apparent reason, he […]’. The paragraph then proceeds to summarise the book’s major plot points. Quite a feat of compression for a book of 222 pages. Then again, if you ever need to write an essay on Hunger, I’d recommend digging out this edition. It’s fairly easy to recognise, as it has the words, ‘With an introduction by Paul Auster’ emblazoned on the cover.
The practice seems to be restricted to classics and translated works. Avoid the introduction to the wonderful Moscow Stations by Venedikt Yerofeev for example, unless you want the translator – of all people – to completely and unambiguously ruin the ending for you. Do these introduction writers (do they have their own collective noun?) think that these types of novels are simply vessels for transmitting a metaphor to the reader, that the story itself doesn’t matter? I can’t think of any other reason why my edition of Albert Camus’ The Plague has its story spoiled, while the copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman which sits on the shelf next to it doesn’t.
If publishers really want to include these no doubt thoughtful and well-constructed pieces of literary criticism in their books, why not print them at the end? Until then, I’ll be skipping over those dozen pages between me and the story, and hopefully staying a little less bitter in the process.