LMC Updates

9 views
Skip to first unread message

Roxane Gay

unread,
Nov 23, 2010, 9:41:05 PM11/23/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Hi All,

I just wanted to remind you that this month we're reading The Collagist. In the first guest post, Jessi Probus discusses Andrew Borgstrom's "571 Points":  http://htmlgiant.com/literary-magazine-club/lmc-on-how-%E2%80%9C571-points%E2%80%9D-could-be-a-metaphor-for-online-literature-but-is-like-not/

On Thursday, December 9th, we'll be chatting with Collagist editor Matt Bell at 8pm EST. 

We'd love to post more guest posts so if you've had thoughts about the current issue of The Collagist, please do send them my way. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers,
Roxane

Owen Kaelin

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 4:33:05 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
If everyone else is discussing the work, I think I'll discuss the design of the site. Anyone else discussing the design?

   Owen.

Tom DeBeauchamp

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:13:17 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I think that's a great idea, Owen. The online reading experience is a lot different from that provided by a book--which is very different from a magazine or a letter or a clock. It would be fun to have a conversation on how the Collagist handles it. The magazine has a pretty straightforward layout, but Dzanc can feel like a maze.2

Tom

Megan Renehan

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:18:43 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I definitely took note of the experience this time around, too.  I read The Tyrant online, but it was still laid out like a book, and I was really surprised at how different the experience was, how difficult it was to get in that deep reading mindset with The Collagist. 


From: Tom DeBeauchamp <debea...@gmail.com>
To: "litma...@googlegroups.com" <litma...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Tue, November 30, 2010 5:13:17 PM
Subject: Re: [LMC] LMC Updates

xtx

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:22:46 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I always print out The Collagist because I like to sit with it.  Breathe it. Take it in.  At my own pace.  Comfortable.  The material they present is not fast food. It is dining.  I do not gulp, I sip.  I put down my knife and fork between each bite, chewing thoughtfully, savoring each flavor, as there are usually so many to reflect upon, discover, enjoy.
 
Great. Now I'm hungry.

--
www.notimetosayit.com (effme)

Megan Renehan

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:29:15 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
That's a great point.  I'd actually intended to print it out for exactly that reason, but forgot to do it while I was at work (where I freely abuse the unlimited printing), and ended up going through it online.  The tremendous difference in the reading experiences makes me wonder if the editors going through submissions print out everything.  Would it make a difference if they did?


From: xtx <notime...@gmail.com>
To: litma...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Tue, November 30, 2010 5:22:46 PM

Luke

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:35:52 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
No we don't print everything we read but we do print everything in the editing stages and again during formatting. 

Luke

Sent from my iPhone

Tom DeBeauchamp

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:39:43 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
It's an interesting difference, though, that you have to print it out. I wonder if having a downloadable, printer friendly PDF would help.

I have this illusion, though, that the web medium should be capable of being immersive. I wonder how much of the difficulty we're experiencing is as a result of the extrabrowser distractions. I've noticed that the links on the left hand of the window distract me a bit.

Clearly, these are petty concerns. One could say, "just be a better reader." And maybe that's right. I like being able to see all of a page of poetry at once though. I like being able to admire its shape. David James's "A Shedding of the Skin" has some funky justification, but it's difficult to get the full sense of it when you have to scroll down.

I've tried to view it as if the scroll was a part of the work, as if the visual depended on the user interaction, but I'm not there yet I guess.

Mike Meginnis

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:40:42 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Yeah, I mean one thing to consider is that most print mags you're reading probably read most or all of their stuff on the computer first, at this point. We definitely do at Puerto. I haven't noticed a significant change in print journals as a result of this, so I suspect the difference is something we've been trained into and have to train ourselves out of. People reading for magazines can't afford to miss something great. They're desperate to find the right piece. So they remember to be attentive in spite of the computer, once they know what they're doing. Or this has been my experience. But when we read the Internet we have a billion other things to read, and so it's easy to forget to pay attention, because you're not at all desperate for good reading at any one moment, though in aggregate you need it very badly; in any one moment, you are probably on some level desperate to stop. 

This is how I feel anyway when I read online. Brand actually matters a lot to me as a result. I read more stuff on The Collagist more successfully because Matt has demonstrated judgment I can trust. If an online magazine can't do that I generally never read it, because I don't really believe, at root, that I need to.

This is actually true in print too but the physicality of the object and the fact of your purchase and in many cases the age and prestige of the brand help you to remember to pay attention.


mike

Roxane Gay

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:44:46 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
We don't print much of anything out but I also prefer reading on the screen. I'm an anomaly. 

lorian long

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:54:35 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
i feel like there's a kind of 'grit' inherent to printed text that
translates to the screen via color and font, not sure if i can find
the grit in the collagist, feels too pastel or something. i like bold,
nasty colors. the collagist is pretty, sanitary. on the other hand, i
do like reading straight pdf shit-- the way tyrant was uploaded, cuz
it feels more like a book? maybe?

xtx

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 6:58:20 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I like how the layout of The Collagist, 'sits back' and lets the text be main stage.  It's simplicity is the pedestal and the writing is put upon it.  Or something.
--
www.notimetosayit.com (effme)

Matt Bell

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:00:22 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Thanks so much for all the feedback, both specific to The Collagist and that which is more generally just about the challenges of reading online. I think I've done so much reading online over the past few years, that it's become almost second nature to do so: I just finished reading over a thousand nominations for this year's Best of the Web book, and that's in addition to the PDF review copies, the hundreds of submissions recently for the magazine, the book and journal editing I'm doing on-screen. Every day I use some combination of printed books and magazines and printouts, iPad/Kindle/smartphone, and desktop and laptop to do all these things, on top of my own writing, which is 90% done on the computer. It adds up to-on a normal day--ten to twelve hours of computer time, so I don't think I have the same resistance to reading on the screen as people who maybe don't do as much of it as I do. It's just part of life now.

That said, I think reading at the computer can be distracting, both for layout reasons--some of which are at least partially unavoidable, because websites, unlike books, need navigational links and buttons and so on, and some of which are just bad design--and also because the computer itself is incredibly distracting. Right now, I've got five Firefox tabs open across two monitors, plus a menu bar and a dock on the top and bottom of the screen both capable--and all to willing--to deliver popups and badges and sounds and so on. It's to concentrate at the computer, without a doubt.

I've found the iPad and other similar technologies to be a pretty ideal way to experience web journals, at least for me-- its easier to sit back and enjoy, there's less immediate distractions because of the full-screen nature of the device, and it's easier to make the text bigger, which is good on my eyes and for my comprehension. Clearly, that's not something everyone has access to, but I think as that technology and others like it spread some of our irritations with reading online are likely to fade.

Best,
Matt
www.mdbell.com
How They Were Found

P.S. This is a great conversation, and I'll try to participate as I can, but I'm actually still working too, and might not get back in a timely fashion. Thanks for all your great contributions so far!

Amber Sparks

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:00:44 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com, litma...@googlegroups.com
Then I am, too. I read everything for Emprise on my iPad. 

I actually really dig The Collagist's look. 
You can probably tell from my blog, but I like clean clean clean, with lots of white space--probably because I'm getting old and I can't see so well anymore.

Megan Renehan

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:05:05 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
my general browsing habits definitely get in the way of how i read online.  it's easy to skip around online, skim through an article, browse by headlines, check facebook in between stories...the web is ADD paradise.  i get thrown off when a magazine that requires deep reading, like The Collagist, looks like a blog.  with a book-like PDF, it's still a little tougher to concentrate, but the look of it sort of jump-starts that "FOCUS NOW" idea.

Matt, great point about the iPad.  i haven't used it, but it makes sense that it would bridge that gap between the super distraction of the web and the total lack of distraction a book offers.


From: Matt Bell <mdbe...@gmail.com>
To: litma...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Tue, November 30, 2010 6:00:22 PM

Roxane Gay

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:12:13 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I have to say that since getting an iPad I read *so* much more and one of our big projects right now behind the scenes at PANK is creating e-books of our monthly online issues as well as getting ALL our offerings into ebook formats. E-readers are just wonderful.

In terms of The Collagist, I've always loved the simplicity of the design but it feels so hard to find the magazine now that it has been pulled under the Dzanc website. 

Matt Bell

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:17:45 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Roxane, the putting it with the main site has definitely had some pluses and minuses, and for whatever reason I haven't found a good way to get the CMS we're using to take the old collagist URL and point directly to the magazine instead of what it does now. It's something I'm working on.

Tom DeBeauchamp

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:18:44 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Some sort of subscription service would be ideal. An app would work, but
so would an email. Of course, that increases the difficulty of actually
publishing the thing.

Matt Bell

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:21:26 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Tom, we do have an RSS feed, which allows you to subscribe to content as well:

http://www.dzancbooks.org/the-collagist/rss.xml

Not that Google Reader is a good place for attention span--Is there anywhere worse? Still, it's at least one way to stay notified as the issues comes out.

Tom DeBeauchamp

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:30:17 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Thanks Matt. That's great. I've always intended to use Google Reader more than I do. I subscribe to a number of things, but, like you say, not much of an improvement.

I'm subscribed now, though. It'll definitely be worth giving Google Reader another shot.

One thing, in all this talk about the online medium versus traditional books, that dares mentioning is how awesome Anna Clark's video review is. You get to see how much she enjoyed the book. There are few things as rewarding as actually enjoying a book, and one of them is seeing someone else enjoy one.

It's like getting a suggestion from a friend, but not being able to interrupt. Perfect.

Matt Bell

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:35:25 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I'm so glad you mentioned Anna! Her enthusiasm in those video reviews has been a part of every Collagist issue except one, and we're so lucky to have her with us every month. She's one of my favorite features too.

Tom DeBeauchamp

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:46:58 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Have there been any thoughts of publishing, not the words of a poem or story, but a video performance of it?

Not to dilute Anna's video presence, of course. Her videos expand the possibilities of a Literary Magazine, so I wonder, what next?

Dustin Luke Nelson

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 7:48:36 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
We did this with InDigest for a Rodrigo Toscano poem, as his poems are very performance based.
http://indigestmag.com/blog/?p=319

Roxane Gay

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 8:07:50 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
We have a video performance in the forthcoming issue of Bluestem. I'd love to get more contributors sending audio and video. It really adds something to see or hear people reading their own work. 

Nancy Stebbins

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 10:38:41 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
I'm joining this conversation a little late, but what struck me reading these pieces was the difference between reading them online and reading flash, which is 99% of what I read online. These really required a different level of attention. That said, I loved the stories. I especially loved Kellie Wells' piece, having just finished her novel. In the case of the novel, I have underlining and scribbling in the margins, which wasn't possible online. Maybe printing it out would work better.


-----Original Message-----
From: litma...@googlegroups.com on behalf of Roxane Gay
Sent: Tue 11/30/2010 7:07 PM
To: litma...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [LMC] LMC Updates

>> *How They Were Found* <http://www.mdbell.com/howtheywerefound/>

winmail.dat

Owen Kaelin

unread,
Nov 30, 2010, 11:03:21 PM11/30/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com
Great: I'll write about the design, then.

The design of a webjournal is critical, I think, and there're a bunch of elements that can make it work better or worse in a variety of manners.

Mike brings up a really interesting point about the "but I also want to go here and here in a moment" aspect of the web that affects the way we read online fiction, which print journals don't have to deal with. I'm sure there are things that designers can do to retain a reader's attention as much as possible.

Roxane: Kill Author (which I'm appearing in... tomorrow, I think) was asking around, a couple weeks ago, for audios of people reading their stories. They didn't like the background music I'd chosen to liven up my boring voice (they didn't want anything in the background -- I didn't know this), but since it'd taken me so long to get around to doing it, there wasn't much time left over for them to listen to a new one... so only the text will be there. But... the idea of author-reading-his/her-work is more and more interesting to me.

Also, the audio & visual experience in online journals: I agree that this should be exploited more because this is one thing that print journals cannot do.

In my opinion: ideally an online journal should beg not to be printed out.

   Owen.

Gayle

unread,
Dec 8, 2010, 4:35:18 PM12/8/10
to litma...@googlegroups.com, litma...@googlegroups.com
Paper vs electronic vs voice transmission of a story: I got criticized once in a workshop about the "authenticity" of my dialog but when I read same story aloud elsewhere the audience told me, "oh, you have to read this story on RTE! We love these stories on Sundays! We love your voice (this second workshop was in Ireland)" So my actual voice transmitted what my written voice apparently failed to do. In any case you electrolitmag folks have a lot of power at your disposal to take us to the hearth where we can hear a story vs read a print story/poem where the visual impact is more apt. 

Sent from my iPhone hopefully
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages