I resist the separation of church and genre.
As a child I walked to lunch with a book in my hand. Sure, I was beat up a lot. Sure, I might have been called unflattering names—ugly monikers that still exist on a passport somewhere deep inside my psyche. But the worlds I visited by reading were worth the cost of travel, and I take that knowledge into my current writing. My aesthetic aims, which alter from week to week, have at least one constant: effect over affect.
I distrust and dislike the “literary” when it’s more about the appearance of sophistication than readerly enjoyment, when it’s more performance than invitation. Yes, literature is religion—of the best and most humanizing variety—but the church it erects often keeps readers out. Why separate the literary from the genre? What can genre writing teach us about structure and stakes, about how to tell a—pardon the expression—good-old-fucking-fashioned story?¹
Let us form our own literary religion—the religion of slipstream, of the highbrow potboiler, of the novel of ideas in popular form. There will be no special rites, no collection plate or entry fee. Take off your shoes if you want. Pull up your reading chair. Pray with me.²
Stuff and things
Things and stuff
None of this matters.
Here for space.
¹ This works the other way around too: the literary can inform genre. Right now, however, I am more focused on importing the popular into the literary rather than exporting the literary into the popular. But you could argue that even using words like “import” and “export” is divisive.
² Eventually this page will not have this footnote, but instead will have links to stories or think-pieces that I feel best represent the kind of writing I’m talking about.