Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I have launched Whirligigzine. I'd like to thank you all for hanging in with me and sharing my updates over the months as I've all-too-slowly gotten it together. Members of OW and others were unfailingly supportive and were there to help me over a few rough spots. But I'm happy to be part of the growing online lit world. Writers who don't realize the necessity of migrating to the Internet are going to be hurt in the long run.

I don't take the Internet's influence on reading and writing for granted and I see certain changes continue to be made to the dissemination of lit. A couple years ago putting one's own writing online was anathema, at least according to some like Hollywood writer Lee Goldberg. Today a blog like Diary Of A Heretic, that is comprised of nothing but fictional content from the author is nominated for a best literature blog award at the 2007 Weblogs Awards.

As 2007 was the anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, the question of what makes an outsider writer was forced onto countless blogs. And it gave us all a good view of an earlier version of what it meant to be outside the mainstream and then accepted by it, creating the greatly mixed results that the so-called King Of The Beat Writers met and which contributed mightily to his demise.

I followed with great interest a dustup involving the traditional and best known of lit's outsiders, science fiction writers. When the group the Science Fiction Writers Of America noticed that some of its writers' work was being put online without the author's permission they jumped the gun and rode into Dodge with cybersixguns blazing, angering other members of the organization to the extent that they retaliated with International Pixel Stained Technopeasant Day, where many members, including Campbell Award winning writer John Scalzi, posted their work online for free in protest. It is a long -- one might say labyrinthine -- news story that may not be clear in my brief summary. But it is quite interesting, especially in light of the current writer's strike centering on -- among other considerations -- compensation for online work. You may want to follow it through Google, or the search engine of your choice. The Scalzi Technopeasant link here is also a good place to start.

A number of litbloggers have proven themselves in other arenas, including, perhaps most notably, book reviewing. Ed Champion (edrants.com) and the writer who some consider the gold standard for litblogging, Maud Newton (maudnewton.com) have made appearances in the LA Times and the New York Times, respectively. And so the interplay between online and real world lit continues, as does the morphing from outsider blogger to insider mainstream journalist.

Whirligigzine will have a print version out soon, but it is really the online version that means the most to me. That is, the print version will be a reflection of the ezine and not visa versa. At the same time, the ezine will augment the print version, which will direct readers to the online site, where art and illustration that may be too complicated/expensive to print will be available for viewing at the cost of a few pennies of bandwidth.

I foresee a smooth melding of the two media and I'm as exited as I imagine early publishers and editors utilizing Gutenberg's new invention must have been many centuries ago. I'm feeling a bit like an amalgam of Max Perkins and Max Headroom, ready to have fun as one of the new hybrid editor-publishers, while leaving the shrieks of the Cassandras warning of the death of print echoing behind me. The brave new world of cyberlit, with all its possibilities, stretches out infinitely before us all.

Carpe diem!

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