Friday, November 25, 2011

Chicago Reader: Culture Vultures

This has shaped up to be an excellent week for Instafiction. Our Twitter and Facebook pages have experienced some small measures of growth lately, and we've been extremely happy with our dedicated readers and supporters. Jeremy and I have e-mailed some press releases to a few publications and websites, hoping to get feedback, some possible acknowledged support for our endeavor, and more exposure to people looking for a good variety of short fictions. One of the releases I sent went to the esteemed Chicago Reader, and I was offered a chance to write one of their weekly Culture Vulture features, a revolving assortment of Chicago based writers, actors, and artists who share what they're consuming, creative-wise.

For this, I had to select a certain literary magazine to write about, and I kept coming back to PANK Magazine. Jeremy recently selected two of their stories for our daily Instafiction links (Rachel Levy's Becoming Deer and John Jodzio's This Is All the Orientation You Are Gonna Get), and the stories in the magazine are some of the best, most consistent pieces of writing. So in addition to having Instafiction's name in such a respected Chicago newspaper, it was extremely satisfying to share the name of what has become one of my favorite literary journals. I'm sharing my piece below, but please visit the original link (or, if you're in Chicago, pick up the paper this weekend) for other pieces. Alongside mine are excellent recommendations for a Thanksgiving weekend of "Deadwood" and the upcoming productions of the DePaul Theater School.

Chicago Reader Culture Vultures: (Originally published November 24, 2011):

"Researching literary magazines is often an exercise in repetition. For every genuinely innovative print journal or webzine, there are, quite literally, dozens of tired attempts at "edgy writing" failing to stand out or offer anything beside the claim of being different. With this in mind, PANK Magazine has forged an impressive spot in the online literary community.

"Bios are boring," states its Twitter description. Although this is a defiant statement, it reflects the magazine's lack of pretense. With the exception of themed editions, the only real mission for PANK is quality short fiction. The stories are genuinely heartbreaking and compelling, the contributors work in a variety of genres, and the end products get the most out of the realistic and the mythical. Rachel Levy's story "Becoming Deer" offers a truth lying in the soul of any great piece of writing: "Slice open a word, and it will bleed." PANK Magazine's writers and editors do this with a measure of increasingly rare consistency."


In their wonderful Thanksgiving blog post, the magazine offered us some kind thanks for our article. Because of this weekend and its quick descent into holiday madness, I'd like to ask serious readers to think about small presses and journals this year. If you have readers on your Christmas lists, do some research and give subscriptions to some of the better journals out there. Not only will you expose your friends and family to some under the radar works, you'll also be financially supporting organizations and writers who need it.

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