Q (Nicolle Elizabeth for Fictionaut): The metadata in the spaceship tells me Matchbook is our most “happenin” group currently. What’s the deal here, you bribing people?

A (Edward Mullany): We’re excited about the way Fictionaut is establishing itself as a place for both writers and groups of writers to read and discuss literature in an atmosphere that is positive and serious. The publishing industry is in flux, and it’s necessary for a place like Fictionaut to exist during (and beyond) this time so that everyone involved in publishing – writers, editors and imprints alike – can have an opportunity to affect the outcome of this flux. By offering a forum for a specific kind of discussion, matchbook hopes to encourage the expression of ideas that will help articulate the concerns of contemporary literary artists.

What’s with the time frame thing, you’re organized like the KGB, 2 week updates or something how come why is that whats going on here? I have no idea if this question is English.

We update our site once every two weeks because, although we publish only one author per posting period, we hope to give each author a generous amount of time on the site’s homepage. We hope too that the regularity of the posting schedule makes it easy for our readers to get a sense of when to check back to see what is new.

Who the heck is Matchbook anyway? Full birth and familial history accepted, is there a legend?

Brian Mihok is the creator of matchbook. I met him two years ago, when I moved to Northampton, MA, where both he and my wife, Anjali, were students in the MFA program at UMass, Amherst. He had an idea for a journal that focused on ‘short, indeterminate prose,’ and that, as we discussed it, came to include the possibility for a critical companion piece; our thinking was that, although creative writers don’t always like to discuss their work in terms of its critical context, a journal that actually encouraged that kind of discussion might have value. The title of the journal, we hope, is reflected in the simplicity of the journal’s design and purpose.

Love that Michelle Reale “Canadian Nickel” story on Matchbook itself right now. I mean LOVE. What’s the deal with the critical thought thing on the right? Kinda matchbooks with the Fictionaut feel amirite? Pretty cool stuff.

Michelle Reale’s piece is a good example of how the ‘critical thought’ can shed light on challenges faced by an individual writer as well as challenges that are universal to all writers. When Michelle writes, “Have you thought about the story further than the last line?” she is asking a question I think most writers would ask themselves about their own work. We’ve found that most of our contributors enjoy writing the ‘critical thought,’ as it isn’t something they typically have the opportunity to do.

You’re closed when are you opening up shop are your readers working with Santa toward world peace?

We’re temporarily closed to submissions, but will open up again as soon as we’ve caught up with the many stories in our inbox. We’re grateful for all the submissions we’ve received so far, and to the writers we’ve had the opportunity to publish. We encourage our readers to check back with us in the near future.

What does Matchbook like to read?

We like to read all sorts of submissions, though our focus is on ‘short, indeterminate prose.’ The reason we describe the kind of writing we publish this way is that we are less concerned with genre than we are with whether a piece of writing achieves the effect it intends to achieve.

What does Matchbook think is good advice for anyone about anything?

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought. – Basho

Anything else you would like to tell me here, if you scan a print of your hand I will google about the life and fate lines and get back to you.

I’m not sure I want to find out what my fate is, though I’m tempted to ask. One thing matchbook is excited about is the upcoming publication of a very short story by Stephen Dixon, the short story writer and novelist who taught for twenty-seven years in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and who is currently writing his 15th novel. Mr. Dixon’s short stories are admired for, among other things, a sort of tangential and exploratory insistence, as if their narrators are at once crazy and holy. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to publish this story, apparently the shortest he has written.

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. scott garson

    dang–looking forward to that SD story…..

  2. gabe

    Stephen Dixon, that’s awesome! Congrats, guys.

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