"I was in a chair. There was a computer. I wasn't in front of the computer. I was doing something else. I looked at the computer to see about emails. I saw a new email. It said something about YouTube that made me think the words 'spam' and 'porn'. I looked at the computer some more and couldn't decide about the email. The email made me feel nervous. I felt nervous about 'archiving' emails. It wasn't like 'deleting' and it wasn't like 'saving' the email. I left it in the inbox. I got out of the chair." from "Night Owl: Edit"
Is there a different style or way of writing for the Internet as opposed to print journals? Has the vast amount of ways to communicate affected the way we write? Has storytelling as an art and pastime changed over the years? These are the questions that run through my mind as I read and enjoy the work of Colin Bassett and other writers he connects with. Their writing is brief, direct, and blankly honest. They speak from an overwhelming sense of boredom and need to share the common experience. That is not to say this writing does not belong in journals, but it also has a more immediate feel to it. Almost like it must be read immediately or it will disappear.
Colin Bassett is a young writer from Missouri who recently start the on-line literary journal bearcreekfeed. He has been published in lamination colony , northwest review, no posit, and Dicey Brown. He recently hand-printed and mailed free copies of his first chapbook, We Are in Exile Here.
Recently, Colin was kind enough answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): You recently launch your new on-line lit journal bearcreekfeed. It is off to a great start, but why a lit journal? What has the response been like?
Colin Bassett (CB): thanks. lots of people like kim chinquee. i do too. people have liked her story a lot.
a lot of online journals have issues that can be a little complicated. or at least i sometimes think 'complicated' when i look at them. there are a lot of online 'issue journals' that i like. but sometimes i feel 'overwhelmed' or confused. they have a lot going on. there is 'pressure' or something to have lots of different things in each issue: poetry and stories and essays, etc. or there is just 'too much' to want to read it all. i think ken baumann does issues well (with no posit). i like journals like dicey brown that 'feature' one thing and then 'end up' with a list of 'featured' things. i think mike young called bearcreekfeed an 'anthology' or maybe a compilation. i think that is right. that is what bearcreekfeed is or at least is going to be. this is what bear parade does as well. it is simple. it is about simplicity. gene morgan is fighting for simplicity. i like that.
OA: We Are in Exile Here is your self-released e-book that has been printed and mailed. You said you wanted people to read it on paper and then on-line. Do you feel printed work is more substantial then on-line work?
CB: i am unsure about 'substantial' i think. 'substantial' is a lot of different things. i don't care about online or in print. i like online because you can go to it anytime. also it is free. i don't want to ever pay for anything online. i pay for print journals and books. i like print. i don't think there is a difference. 'style' might make one thing more 'substantial' than something else but that is maybe it. not 'print or online' i don't think.
OA: Reading through the stories you have had published on-line you seem to write in a style that is becoming more prevalent among a group of on-line writers (i.e. Sam Pink, Tao Lin, Zachary German, etc). Would you say that this is a specific style of writing or a new school of writing?
CB: also: brandon gorrell, kendra malone, chris killen. other people of course. i just wanted to list some people's names. it might be a 'specific style' i don't know. a lot of different things that are not really 'similar' would probably get listed in a list of this kind of online writing. the list would still be 'accurate' but the thing that was alike wouldn't be obvious maybe. i don't know. i have no idea.
it is called 'serious literature' or something. when i think about it i just think 'bear parade' and that covers everything else that doesn't have anything to do with 'bear parade' and also everything that does. i don't want to say anything about the 'specific style' because it would be wrong or not make any sense.
there is 'crossover' into print though journals like noon and mississippi review, etc. some stuff in these journals would be 'okay' online. some stuff wouldn't make any sense and would seem 'too formal' or something. kim's story in bearcreekfeed is the 'online style' i think. she is the master of some things. i feel like listing people's names. frederick barthelme. that is it. i am not going to list people's names.
OA: You use compact sentences and brief almost abrupt describes to tell your stories. Do you feel that technology has influenced the way you write? It reminds me of one might communicate in a chat room or through gchat or on myspace, etc.
CB: i like 'gchat poems' that have been published in places online. that is all i can think to say. i don't 'write like a person chatting online' i don't think. maybe.
OA: With the popularity of writer blogs and self-released on-line e-books has the way we define the words "successful" and "established" changed as it pertains to writers?
CB: probably not. there are the same 'criteria' as always i think. the 'criteria' are not 'definite' and include a lot of different things that can make people 'successful' in different ways. maybe 'anthologizing' is less important than it used to be. i think you still have to publish books and sell the books and have the books reviewed and have people talk about you and publish in harper's and… i don't know.
i think you are maybe just identifying the 'small group dynamic' or something that is not 'new' or anything. if chris killen puts out a chapbook and twenty people read it and like it and mention it a little, then they will think about him some when maybe they wouldn't have otherwise. that is sort of it. but i like this. i am glad this sort of thing happens a lot.
OA: What's next for Colin Bassett?
CB: -new fiction at bearcreekfeed by other people
-new poetry chapbook by me
-then i am going to make someone pay me a lot of money to do an mfa
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
CB: coffee. yes. i like it. my kitchen. sometimes cheap and sometimes organic and fair trade.
OA: What type of music do you enjoy?
CB: i wrote in my chapbook about a band i like to go see. they are from the same place i am from. chris killen listened to the band after reading the chapbook. he liked it i think. he said without being mean or sarcastic that it was 'melodic indie pop' or something like that. i don't know if that is what i like. i like the band. they are called someone still loves you boris yeltsin. they are with polyvinyl, which is a good record company in illinois.
i have mentioned a person named 'chris killen' excessively.
For more on Colin Bassett visit his blog There is Enough Time for This and also check out bearcreekfeed. Did we mention Chris Killen?