The alliteration here was accidental. So, don’t hold it against me. These are two ideas I’ve been stewing on for years and I’m finally trying to get them going. My big passion and my main reason behind starting this magazine has been trying to instill a bit of transparency into the publishing process. I want things to be more personal, less automated, and I want to treat writers like people, true resources, and less like a commodity.
To that end, Subtopian is launching the Writer’s Workshop. This is going to be a work in progress, but the forum is already available on the site and it won’t be able to grow until it gets some victims — I mean volunteers. Old joke. Sorry. The basic idea is to make the editorial process visible to the public. You submit a story. Me and my editors review it and leave our thoughts, opinions and advice. Others can do the same, writers, readers, whatever, yaks, llamas, bison, not sure why I’m stuck on odd long-haired mammals. I was just watching a documentary on Lake Titicaca. Stupid name by the way. When that lake was a kid at lake school it must have gotten wedgies like twenty-four-seven. Okay, sorry, back on task. The point is, it’s a peer review project with the added benefit of finishing in publication on the website. You don’t just put it up and hope for the best. You upload it, work it out with us and when we think it’s ready we run it in that month’s issue.
Next up, my brain child. I’m a big movie buff and I often read film reviews I don’t agree with. I’ve heard praise for movies I hated from well respected critics. I’ve heard critics rake a movie over the coals that I thought was great. I’ve even not watched a movie based on a bad review from a well-respected critic only to find out later that I really loved it. So that’s what “The Critic’s Critic” is all about. You, me, and anyone else can write a review of a bad movie review. Instead of writing yet another film critique in a sea of ones just like it, we take what we disagree with and tell the world why it’s wrong. Sound like fun? Then get writing. I want to see what you all can do.
In other news, the next couple of issues are going to be really exciting for me. This month will be an interview with Kody Ford from Directing Democracy. More on that later. Next I will have an interview from artist, author and publisher Maggie Craig, the author of a novel entitled The Narrows and founder of Papercut Press. There will also be a big write-up/interview with Graham Talley, owner and founder of Float On, a sensory deprivation tank center in Southeast Portland and only vaguely like that Altered States movie in theory, and co-founder of a new endeavor, CAKE: Consulting and Knowledge Exchange, a team of guys that basically just exist to be your brain trust and help you figure out how to succeed as an independent business. Down with corporations! Graham’s company, Float On, also features an imbedded art program that’s drawing a lot of interest and I personally can’t wait to get this story out.
That’s about it for this update. Please read our stuff and send us your work. We want to read it. Honest.
We’re just gettingt started here at Subtopian but we’ve already started taking on crew members. Rachael Johnson, a fresh voice in the Portland writing scene, has signed on to write a regular column entitled “Stuck On Repeat.” Rachael’s column will put a unique spin on current news stories by taking a look back at other moments in history where the same thing went down. It’s true what they say, history repeats itself. Read Rachael’s work here and be sure to check back in the weeks to come.
Subtopian has also had the good fortune to pick up a seasoned writer by the name of Jeff Costello. Jeff has been writing for forty years in and around the west coast and has signed on to share his unique observations about American life, the absurdities of traffic, what he’s seen on the road, life as a musician, and pretty much whatever else he deems worth sharing. Follow “Road Notes” with a keen eye and read “Road Notes: 101 North for the Winter,” Jeff’s first article with The Subtopian Magazine.
Thanks so much to these two exciting and unique writers. We can’t wait to see what you come up with in the months to come.
Coffee and Asteroids,
Editor-in-Chief and Your Friendly Narrator
Last summer I did a little book tour around the country. I put on these multimedia gigs with bands, artists and other writers. It went pretty well and I met a lot of cool people. One of those people was this guy named Kody Ford who operates his own magazine out of Little Rock, The Idle Class Magazine. Anyway, old Kody and I didn’t get to talk for too long, but we’ve stayed in touch and I could tell right away that he was the sort that is possessed with that certain kind of fire that leads people to great things. Here we are, not six months later, and Kody is wrapped up in this new project, “Directing Democracy.”
The plan is to get a bunch of ordinary people together to elect their own representatives. Those people then get together and write a proposed bill for how to change things in America. Legislature for the people, by the people. What a novel idea. They will then go on a big road trip, round the country, collecting signatures, performing interviews, and making a little documentary film about the process. The whole shebang wraps up when these grassroots dignitaries put the proposal into the hands of the folks in Washington. Sound like a pipe dream? Well, that’s why they’re doing it and you’re not. This is just the kind of from the hip shooting Subtopian is all about. This is how we take control and get ourselves out of this dystopian spiral we seem to have given into.
Expect further updates, interviews, and writing on this topic in the weeks to come and look into these boys, they’re going places. For now, this is your friendly neighborhood narrator…
This magazine is sort of the brain child of me, your humble narrator, Trevor Richardson. I found that in my writing there was always one unifying backbone that made all of it similar no matter how diverse: a sense of incompletion, in-betweenness, or abandonment. I have felt for most of my life that I would not be able to mete out the sort of existence that’s common in this country today. As I get older I find more and more people that share that sentiment. We’re doing it wrong. And because we’re doing it wrong we all have this grave sense of missing the point, wanting more, needing a change, and feeling an almost daunting urge toward acts of excess in order to feel level. This issue is at the heart of my life, what I want to write, and what I want to read. When I accidentally used the word “subtopia” in my novel American Bastards it shook something loose. I’ve been thinking about this ever since.
So this is my magazine. My main mission statement, apart from a desire to publish subtopian fiction, is to use this as a forum for talented, creative people to come together and maybe tackle the subtopian nature of their own existence. I want Subtopian Magazine to be a kind of think tank for edgy, daring thinkers to come up with a commentary about where we are and where we’re headed, but also potential solutions for how to steer us in a new direction.
We’re going to publish a whole lot more than straight fiction too. I’m looking for regular writers to take on current events, the arts, and to even write regular columns about what is most important to them. So stick around, hit me up, submit your work and lets try to create something different that will benefit all of us, our hopes, endeavors, and, above all, our individual sanity.
Whiskey and Nickels,