Adam Robinson and Ben White in conversation about the Fictionaut groups they are admins of and how the literary press and journal they are involved with fit in the picture.

PGPlogoCIRCLES1Q (Nicolle Elizabeth): Adam Robinson, I see you have a Publishing Genius Press Fictionaut group going. Have you ever seen my favorite movie of all time starring George C. Scott and Kathy Bates called Angus which is based on a short story by Chris Crutcher? It was an indie 90s movie, Green Day did the soundtrack. So, Angus, the hero, is a “fat kid who is fair at football and good at math” and he is desperately in love with Melissa Lefever who is a popular cheerleader. He says the line, “I just want my moment.” Think of this as “a moment” for the Publishing Genius Fictionaut group, here. Don’t think of me as Melissa Lefever though, she would probably think i was odd. What is Publishing Genius, what does it do, what is it all about?

A: Ha, what, no, I never saw Angus but it sounds pretty good. I always just want my moment so this is perfect. Publishing Genius is my small press that publishes books — mostly short paperbacks — with an eye toward the unconventional and the pretentious. I mean that in a good way.

Q: What do you hope for the Fictionaut Publishing Genius group to achieve/do/accomplish if anything?

A: I hope it will be fun. I feel a little overwhelmed by the Internet. Like, I don’t know how to do Facebook that well, but I have friends who use it to great advantage. But I don’t have time to invest in Fbook, since it’s firewalled at work. And there are so many distracting bells and whistles, and everyone is just promoting their stuff all the time, and it gives me a headache. So I just started the Fictionaut group for Everyday Genius because Fictionaut seems so simple, so streamlined. Everything here seems to be about the work. Like, no one is saying “quick buy my book, come to my concert, someone just gave me a chocolate milkshake” — so I’m hoping I can turn the EDG group into a venue for people to read and respond to the awesome writing that gets published in the journal.

Q: Why the internet?

A: The Internet makes it happen. I feel so enabled by the Internet. I have met people through the Internet that I am glad to know. I’m on the Internet right now! I AM ON THE INTERNET. It’s not fun for me though. It’s toilsome. For real. It hurts my head. Still, I love the Internet. Thank you Internet!

Q: What is your favorite thing/moment about the Fictionaut Publishing Genius group so far? has it been helpful in any way if so how?

A: Well, it’s really new to me but my favorite part of the group so far is either David Erlewine or the logo. I hope I figure out some good things to do with the group.

Q: How if at all have you enjoyed Fictionaut in general, a specific moment in time would be so awesome, if there is one. if not we can try to mail you a beer but i have no idea if that’s legal.

A: My favorite moment came right after I posted a story and then suddenly a bunch of people read it and gave me comments about it. That blew me away. I really like the openness of the community. And I like Kathy Fish‘s stories a lot. I had been hearing about her a lot but I don’t know her work. Now I’ve read her stories, a bunch of them.

Q: Tell me anything else at all here you’d like to say, tell me.

A: Well, gee, there’s so much I’d like to say. I saw TripleQuick started a group here. That’s exciting.

Ben White for Nano

nanosidebarQ: What is nano and how does the Fictionaut group for nano represent nano to readers, if at all? if its gone completely sideways and upside down from nano’s “feel” then what has come of that and why do you think this is?

A: Nanoism publishes thrice-weekly ridiculously-short stories aka “nanofiction.” Because we simultaneously publish all of our stories on Twitter, a nano-story can be no longer than 140 characters (no titles either).

On Fictionaut, we’re here to continue getting the word out, inspire some people to embrace brevity, be a place to see some itty-bitty fiction, and maybe talk a little. As far as I’m concerned, ’round these parts we can stray from the somewhat arbitrary word counts, so long as we capture the spirit of literary distillation.

Q: Ben, once and a blue moon they send me around to ask people their Fictionaut group’s favorite exothermal reaction. if you could describe nano, (the journal’s fictionaut group of which you are an admin’s) favorite (or most similar to the group’s feel) scientific phenomena, what would it be? (40 pages or less will do we are running a tight ship, here.) Is the nano group a flying piece of rock from the moon? a black hole? a lightning storm? lobsters mating? why?

A: Nanoism would be a black hole. As a singularity, it’s the super-dense, super-compact result of big-ass bright star collapsing to a single point in space. It’s not always easy to see the whole story on the surface (because light cannot escape a black hole, obviously), but if you know how to look, you can see the effects of its gravity.

I think that horrible extended analogy just cemented my place in nerddom.

Q: How if at all has the nano fictionaut group been fun/exciting/helpful/scary/dangerous?

A: It’s a pretty new group, but I have hopes that we’ll get some people to write reeeally short who might not otherwise be so inclined. If nothing else, I can pat my contributors on the back and say, “you’re awesome.”

Q: Has nano come to know and/or publish any new authors through Fictionaut or is it mostly a celebratory group of a similar bunch of writers?

A: Mostly a champagne party, but some recent submissions have come through Fictionaut.

Q: What can we expect from nano this upcoming year?

A: In addition to continuing our tiny status quo, December will be a special theme/contest month (details here; entries accepted through October 31st). We’ll hopefully have our second big nanofiction contest in the spring. And sometime in the nebulous expanse of time called the future, maybe something you can hold in your hands. Maybe.

Q: Anything else you want to tell me should go here. (this isn’t like when you were in college and your friend got sick and people were like ‘What did he take?!? Tell me what he took?!”)

A: We can be hesitant to embrace the never-ending shortening and shortening of fiction and argue its merits, but at the end of the day, if the words move you, if the words get you thinking—well then mission accomplished.

For some people, it’s an exercise in brevity or a good way to save good sentences, good images, good ideas. Why you write short doesn’t matter, that you share it with people does. In the end, it’s not about catering to the internet attention span of thirty seconds, it’s about offering up writing that fits in the cracks of your day.

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. 1 This week in tiny fiction | ben white

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