The “experimental” tag can be as much a millstone as a term of praise, because the mainstream literary fiction establishment has very narrow guidelines as to what constitutes good fiction and they (reviewers, publishers, booksellers) are apt to slam the gate on “experimental” work so readers don’t have to be challenged by it (but I guess these observations won’t come as a shock from an FC2 author).
Not only do I sometimes move toward the performative myself in readings, but I also love it when other people perform the “voices” or “scenes” without me. And perhaps more to the point, my man human, Andy Mingo, is working on a third film adaptation of one of my stories.
I came to write the first stories, which would six years later become A History of the Imagination, as a game of chance. I was reading Cage. I liked the possibilities for play in his aleatory games. I wanted to make a box full of Duchampian readymades. I wanted to fashion some toys for myself.
Sometimes I am surprised at what unsettles people. I do not sit down with the objective to ‘shock’ or make any attempt to be outrageous. That would be the business mode of a circus freak show. And yet I always think about the old cliché ‘art is meant to provoke’ when I’m told that readers are disturbed or unsettled by my work. It means I’m doing something right.
I’ve been aware of FC2, or, as it used to be, the Fiction Collective, for as long as I’ve been writing. I’ve always been interested in unusual, innovative, and transgressive fiction. When Janice Eidus offered to sponsor my collection of stories, I was thrilled. I always felt FC2 is where I belong.
A Prose Aesthetic of Progress: The Formal Evolutions of Forts, Chairs, Painting, and Michael Martone
It’s funny about Fort Wayne, why it’s a fort; do you know why it was so strategic? It was on a continental divide, but it’s only a matter of like, ten feet, not like the Rocky Mountains. Before there were roads, before there were cars, people traveled around in canoes. It is a strange quirk in the geology of glaciers. Two rivers meet in Fort Wayne but the resulting river, the Maumee, flows back in the direction of its tributaries.