Monday, May 31, 2010

No Exclusivity

In every story about a gang of misfits or group of friends, there are nicknames and headquarters, secret passwords, pledges to the end. The 3 Investigators had their booby-trapped junkyard, the Baby-sitters Club had their shared diary, the members of Pig City (in Louis Sachar's Sixth Grade Secrets) had their secret salute, and there wasn't a member of The Goonies or The Greasers that didn't have a nickname, be it Ponyboy or Data.

While my friends in middle school referred to one other as characters from Super Mario Bros.~ (I am proud to have been Goomba)~ slyly passing notes to each other in class using the school's complimentary assignment books, I began to recognize my peeps in other ways. The unnamed narrator of Fight Club understood he was part of a vast network of malcontents and rebels when he saw a heavily-scarred server in a high-end restaurant. I know my kindred spirits by the time they spend buying a new blank book, by the pages they devour on the El, by the novels they seal in gallon Zip-loc bags when it thunderstorms.

I am lucky to discover more of them each day. When my interview with Megan Staffel was published in the current issue of The Rain Taxi Review of Books, I was excited for a number of reasons: I love her collection, Lessons in Another Language, and the more people who know about it~ and about the press that published it (Four Way Books)~ the better. It was a pleasure interning with Four Way, and when Rain Taxi's Editor-in-Chief, Eric Lorberer, decided to publish my interview, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Another reward was adding to my must-read list based on the quarterly journal's insightful reviews. Rain Taxi proves that reviews are an art unto themselves, and the journal is singular in that they publish two different issues (in print and online) each quarter. They cover fiction, nonfiction, poetry, video, and graphic novels, and won the Utne Independent Press Award for Arts & Literature Coverage in 2000. They remain a driving force in the Twin Cities literary community and Lorberer is the director of the Twin Cities Book Festival, taking place on October 16th this year.

As a card-carrying member of the world's literary community (my library card), I am proud to discover so many of us everywhere, all the time, putting our passion, skill and persistence to work. Our numbers continue to grow. If you read, you're in. If you love, you're in.

Welcome. It's the best club in the world.


Jennifer Ruden said...

What a great magazine! I can't wait to read your piece! Congratulations.

Want Chyi said...

Thank you, Jennifer! I look forward to reading your work as well! Keep us posted.