Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lansing Lit Mags, and me.

I've already posted a link to a slides-only video version of my Lansing Lit Mags presentation at Ignite Lansing 3.0. This afternoon, LCC TV posted video of both the slides and me. I think I have a nerdy sort of charm.

What would I do differently if I were to do it again? I think, especially given the spirit of the event, I'd focus a bit more on the opportunities for small periodical publication offered through the internet, and talk about how Oats led into Robin Sloan's current work. It's a tough compromise to make, since I already had to cut so much. I barely had time to name drop Pablo Neruda and Margaret Atwood (I didn't get to mention the interview with Allen Ginsberg in issue #17, or Tom Bissell's first published story in volume 30 #2, etc., etc.).

And these are tough compromises, because there are a lot of cool things that people have done, and one of the big things I wanted to do was to show off some of the good ideas so that people could see the variety of forms that lit mags have taken and not come away with the idea that the lovely, glossy, rather staid versions that are out there right now are the only options. The costs of entry are nearly non-existent.

One story I didn't tell had to do with the transition of The Offbeat from a self-published 'zine to publication with the MSU Press. Before the final decision was made, Tim Carmody and I talked between ourselves about publishing a final compilation issue showing off the work that The Offbeat had printed over the previous three years and centering on an essay which would argue that if we had done it, with minimal support (basically free web space and an email address) from MSU, that anyone could and should do it. Rather than asking a new staff to pick up our publication, we would have created a gap and asked someone else to fill it with their own publication and their own ideas. I'm proud of The Offbeat, and happy that it has carried on. Because of Offbeat/1, I have an editor credit in the Library of Congress.

Still, part of me wonders what might have popped up had The Offbeat not hung around.

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