It's all about Alt Lit now.
Don't bother juxtaposing surreal and mundane scenarios and images any more.
Don't bother letting me know it's 'only writing.'
Don't bother letting me know these fictitious characters aren't real and my emotional pull towards their made up lives in made up situations is contrived.
Don't bother making no sense to confuse me into realising I was too 'into' what you've written.
Don't bother Alasdair Gray.
Don't bother Ian McEwan.
It's all about Alt Lit now.
This may be my most pretentious post yet.
So, I've been reading a lot of Alt Lit recently. And reading a lot about Alt Lit recently. What the fuck is Alt Lit?? Well, this kind of is.
As far as I can discern, the term is an abbreviation of 'Alternative Literature' with a deliberate nod towards computer lingo. On several different blogs this discussion has been raging recently, but the general consensus seems to be that it is fiction that utilises new social media as intrinsic to its form. The writers (such as Tao Lin, Marie Calloway) tend to be students or recent MFA graduates in their mid twenties. All have blogs. All publish stuff in chapbooks and on Facebook. Thank you Zuckerberg for creating a platform for a new medium of literature to spawn on. The style is brief, concerned with mundanity, cuteness and personal sadness. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest Calloway's Adrien Brody as a recent famous example.
Because it's so linked with social media, Alt Lit seems to also be very concerned with the writer, as apposed to the writing, in a very 21st Century Big Brother celebrity sort of way. Marie Calloway writes about a character called Marie Calloway having sex with older men who she's been chatting to on the internet. She posts pictures of her naked with semen on her face. People like me find it fascinating for some reason and spend their free time blogging about it. There's something a bit Jersey Shore about it all.
In some ways it's very direct. In others it's very pretentious. But then those at the forefront of a movement have always been considered pretentious trouble makers. Think establishment rockers like Dali, Van Gogh, Manet, Picasso, Joyce (again) etc etc. It's authentic to the writer as it comes directly from them, not through a publisher, resulting in more idiosyncrasies and more grammatical errors. It is essentially the literature of our time. Like it or not, you can't deny the contemporary-ness of it.
I have just spent the last few hours writing a short story called Crying, about a couple who meet at a party and then have a vague relationship solely through email. I am probably going to include it in my little e-collection of short stories I am self publishing next month. The likelihood is also that I will publish it here first. While Alt Lit in theme I am hoping it will be not be so concerned with form that personal connection will be forgone. The general gist of the collection is an emphasis on personal disconnection, mostly through media connections. There's a story told solely through dialogue on gay dating app Grindr. There's internet blind dating. There's language and cultural barriers that make connecting with another person difficult. My intent is never to overshadow the emotional intent of the story with the way it's told - not in that way, anyway. I want them to be true - because what is the point of fiction if it isn't true?
I still don't have a title. Ideas??!