Let’s consider the truth behind advertising.
[This can be considered a response to this post, and its comments thread.]
You’ve just become the fiction editor of a small journal. You open your email and see that you’ve received 1,000 unsolicited submissions. The first ten were sent by:
- Carlos Shirley
- Jeanne Goss
- Jack Livingston
- Christine Stribling
- Melissa Mathieu
- Benjamin Tatro
- Tao Lin
- Ryan Monk
- Naomi Foltz
- Matthew Orosco
Which one do you open and read first?
Christopher Higgs at HTMLGIANT recently posted this question: “If you were teaching a class on American experimental fiction, what texts would you choose, and why?” He went on to list a set of possible books for an “Introduction to American Experimental Fiction” course:
Ishmael Reed – Mumbo Jumbo
William S. Burroughs – The Soft Machine
Kathy Acker – Blood and Guts in High School
Carole Maso – Aureole
Jean Toomer – Cane
David Markson – This Is Not A Novel
Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons
Ben Marcus – The Age of Wire and String
This post won’t be about adding or subtracting books from his list (although I’d suggest Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress over This Is Not a Novel, and Carole Maso’s The Art Lover or AVA over Aureole.) Rather, I want to talk about experimental fiction as a genre.
Because Chris’s question reminds me of a debate that comes up frequently in US experimental film circles…
Some of us have been discussing long takes in movies, and John mentioned that he’d like seeing a list of films that consist primarily of the beautiful things. So here is a start at such a list. (And here is another one, which like this list embeds many YouTube clips, such as the magnificent opening shot Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958), the homage Robert Altman pays it in The Player (1992), and many others—including some overlap.)
But first: What’s the value in the long take?