“I guess the biggest question facing us is: why do this?”

“Too philosophical.”

“Okay, like, why does anyone need another literary magazine? I could get all schmaltzy and “there-is-always-room-for-one-more-voice” on you, but really, I just want to be impressed by what people are writing and give them a place to show it off.”

“True.  I mean, it’s not enough just to tell people we’re starting another magazine.  This is the internet.  Space is ample, plentiful, and ripe for the taking.  Fecund, if you will.  But more than just an outlet, I also think that this is something that will keep you and I from going insane.  From falling into the abyss that is the end of Western Civilization, the non-reading and, more importantly, non-thinking pool of “literati”.  This is all about survival.”

“Also true. I think I went on a date with insanity once – ambulances were involved.  Let’s give people like us a place to be goofy.  To unhinge.  It would be nice if we could create a place like the one we’re in right now as we write this: older guys smoking out back, thick-rimmers drinking ‘ccino’s trying to read Infinite Jest, pre-teens playing a CSI pinball game.  I really hope people know that we’ll take any style of writing regardless of form or style or perspective, etc.  I just want to see people taking risks with their work.”

“Insanity.  Hmm…I see what you’re getting at.  Harkens back to 2001.  I was caddying for two ritzy women on 9/11.  We had finished the front nine and they popped into the clubhouse for drinks before we left for the back nine.  Then they heard about it, as everyone was standing around a TV near the bar.  Nobody was drinking.  After about fifteen minutes, the one Callaway-clad dame says to the other, “Well, what, are we just going to sit here all day in front of the TV?”  They shrugged, went back out, and began to play the back nine with the same assured nonchalance they had on the front.  I guess I’d like to see the site become a haven for people trying to write their way out of experiencing people like those two women.”

“Agreed, although I would love to see a story from one of those two women, just for a change of pace.  But so okay, speaking of voices, let’s be upfront: we’re Midwestern boys with a hard-on for urbanity.  This naturally lends itself to a kind of “left-behind-ism”, the type where one has to keep hyphenating things because they can’t quite concretely define where they’re from or why Columbus is different from Pittsburgh is different from Detroit and so forth.  It’s unquestionably the underlying answer to the first question that I didn’t want to answer: we’re doing this cause we want to make the places we’re from feel bigger/livelier and because even when we’re halfway around the world there’s a type of Midwestern pulse that is informing the creative work we’re doing.”

“Yes.  Pulse. Everyone’s got stories, I mean hell, look at this notepad full of conversational runoff from people at work, from people on my train.  Not just stories, though, I’m talking like when that guy on the freeway goes off the guardrail and is careening for the creek below, gripping the steering wheel with arms locked, as though his bracing grip, becoming more firm as the creek approaches, will somehow lessen the impact.  That guy, what’s going through his head at that moment?  That’s what we want.  Guess we’re gonna have to hang out in an ER with a tape recorder and notepad.  But that’d be weird, and I’m pretty sure extremely illegal in some way.  We need the mental runoff from moments like that.”

“True to some extent.  I will never say “we don’t want ___ kind of story”, but I’m thinking that we probably won’t be as excited by shock-value “guy goes into grocery store with a gun and a book of poems, reciting verse as he annihilates” pieces.  If the writing is outstanding, then hey, go for it.  But there has to be a relationship between the art and what I will generically call pain.  I think in terms of formulas a good deal, so: what I think we are looking for is the absolute value of the pain equaling the art ( |P| = A), where there is a pulse underscoring the pain or ridiculousness or conflict or whatever term you prefer.  The guy isn’t just falling off the cliff in his car so you can describe every single graphic detail of the metal going reverse-accordion into the valley.  There has to be a value/pulse underscoring it: something to be said about guardrails, or why he is driving alone at night, or what is in the back seat.”

“But what if this guy is driving a two-seater?  Seems like a more-likely high-speed vehicle to go off a guardrail.”

“Hmm.  That might be the movies talking.  I’d love to see some hard facts, though.”

“Sounds like you’ll have to reevaluate  that equation, then.”

“It’s a cheap metaphor anyways.  I’m hungry.  Let’s eat and open this organism up for submissions.”

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