hello again! i decided to make a new column on this blog. i will present new magazines (and maybe also books and artists) within this new series. this will happen at least every month, so stay tuned!
the first magazine for this column is "Edit". it's a german literature magazine with an experimental layout and great, minimal - sometimes abstract and pattern/structure orientated - photography. they have a wide topic range, starting with narrations, poetry and excerpts from a drama to reportages, an interview and a dossier about conceptual writing.
this issue also contains the three winners of last year's essay award, founded by the magazine itself last year. the award was a pretty success so that will continue to happen next year, too! so if there's someone out there who writes essays (even in its wildest forms), try it! maybe it's rewarding and you can stop thinking about what you want to be "when you're a grown-up" because now you are a writer! would be kind of great in my eyes.
PLUS you can even write to them in english. they published the first chapter of Christian Böks' "Eunoia" (okay.. right.. doesn't sound like english).
like the issue's editorial says: DON'T LET SOMEBODY DISAPPOINT YOU.
or get in the way of what you want. or steal your ice-cream. ever.
Edit is published three times a year and already exists for 20 years.
i love all the little details in the edges! the fact that the pagination is sloped shows effort and love for their job. there's no spelling mistake (sad that this is a plus, no standard) and .. did i mention the details?
okay.. you probably know now which is my favorite part.. "Between Words" by Elizabeth Clark is part of the dossier on conceptual writing. i don't think that i get it.. but i love it!
so for everyone who read this post up to this line (ha! two meanings!), here's a
little excursion to the wide world of essays and conceptual writing! .. in not so little letters. (all of the written thoughts belong to their authors (Edit and Kenneth Goldsmith) - these are not my own definitions, just the way i understand and would sum up these things.)
----------- what's an essay in literature?
you can't tell that an essay is always similar to other essays. you can't tell that an essay always has the same form .. but what you can tell is that they all have the same goal, the same function:
it's rather about the words, the text as a product than about transfer of knowledge (guess that makes me the perfect reader for Clarks' "Between Words"!). it's an artistic way of handling facts and reality. you can nearly do anything: prose, lists, dialogues, ... freedom, freedom..freeedooommm
an "essai" is a try.
---------- what's conceptual writing?
read the magazines' dossier.
okay, not funny. i'll tell you what it is, according to Kenneth Goldsmiths' "paragraphs on conceptual writing":
# the idea is the most important thing. can be a simple, not complex idea.
# you plan and decide on everything before you write. in order to avoid subjectivity.
# the writing process is nevertheless essential because you can't perceive your work until it actually exists.
# "the idea is the machine who produces your text"
# doesn't have to be consequential
# the less subjective decisions the better
# as long as needed, as short as possible (ehm.. i don't really know if that's correct english or just a "cute-but-stupid-german-tries-to-speak-english..-english)
# simple form doesn't distract.. if the form's regular, every irregularity in content gains importance/attention
# readers' perception/understanding doesn't matter because every reader will understand something different. (aha. little rebel, mr. goldsmith.)
# add the process (drawings, thoughts, failed versions) because sometimes that's more interesting than the result.
# don't confuse new materials with new ideas
# "there's nothing worse than looking at art wallowing in playful kitsch." (mr. goldsmith doesn't like a cute little golden elephant figure? don't mind. i like you.)
# conceptual writing is as good as the idea behind it
i don't think that i'd agree on every single one of these points but there are some interesting aspects (i don't want to sound like a snobbish high school teacher, sorry). what i think is notable are goldsmith's final published words:
he clearly says that you don't HAVE to follow these rules but that they are very close to his current thoughts on this topic. these thoughts are part of a permanent change - a change in his work, his mind, his experiences. he underlines that if his sentences were inexplicit or blurry, his thoughts behind them may be, too.
so if anyone has experience with this kind of literature, found a mistake or has an interesting text to read .. let me know!