Winter is over and Game of Thrones is coming. We emerge from our burrows, blinking and prickly. There is a sun, a god, perhaps a sun god. In any case, it is beautiful. Like you, we spent our winter bingeing on buttermilk whiskey pie and Netflix and, though we are bloated, we are not full.
David Carr’s complaint of “barely keeping up” rings true. Carr mourns the “once beloved magazines [that] sit in a forlorn pile, patiently waiting for their turn” and we, too, find ourselves spending more time making mounds of media than consuming it. Our AWP hauls are obscene, our DVRs at-capacity, and one of us just subscribed to The Economist, for fuck’s sake.
On this we can all agree: there is just too much, too many goddamn words especially. Laura Miller over at Salon offers perhaps the most straightforward solution for readers: consume the things that move you. And her charge to writers? “Don’t be boring!” By which she means, assume your reader is profoundly impatient and lazy and MFA-averse. That probably isn’t bad advice, as a rule, but, as network television has shown over the past fifty years, can have disastrous consequences in the long run. (We’re looking at you, Juan Pablo.)
Our solution is not to ask writers to cut to the chase or to ban the Workshop; we think the answer lies in fostering trust. Trust that these pages or this handful of words might be worth your while, that perhaps they’re being shared not for some immediate reaction but just to spark the slow turning of an idea. Way back in our manifesto we wrote that a good magazine should provide “a micron filter…allowing only the finest trickle to pass through.” To us, reading in an era of information overload is less about keeping up than listening for and trusting in that trickle. We’ll inevitably always need new filters — better filters, weirder filters, waggier filters — to help us wade through the Internet’s roar, but as much is our task.
This issue, we give you the best of what we’ve culled: interviews with comedian Chris Gethard, writer Chris Kraus, and Dossie Easton (co-author of The Ethical Slut); poetry about the state of modern poetry; an essay sort of about the state of essaying; and a short story about human wing implants.