Welcome to Issue Nine of > kill author. Back at the end of August, we announced on our blog that we were going to try out a new idea – asking a guest writer to introduce the next issue, with a view to maybe making this a regular or occasional feature if it worked out. As a journal noted for having anonymous editors, we’re grateful to have the best known and most prolific pseudonym around (meaning she’s gone one better than our total anonymity) to write the first guest introduction: xTx.

When > kill author first asked me to participate in their little ‘experiment’ of ‘guest issue introducer’ I was super stoked and honored until I realized that in addition to writing a little bit about a few of the pieces in the issue, they also wanted something ‘literary-minded.’ For me, this is a problem; literary-minded is one thing I’m not, which is a bit funny because I’m sorta kinda ‘part of’ and involved in the whole ‘literary scene.’

Or am I?

I mean, I read HTMLGIANT and I feel like a dumbass; half the stuff they write about and discuss there is a foreign language to me. I had never heard of David Foster Wallace until all the lit-scene sites told me he died. Up until early last year I didn’t know what MFA stood for. I am still not entirely clear on what Gordon Lish is all about. I never went to college, I like reading Stephen King and I know I use semi-colons incorrectly a lot of the time. My ‘real’ world is a small one and nobody in it is part of ‘the lit-scene,’ yet here I am lurking along the outskirts of a world I feel not very much a part of or entirely comfortable in. (Insert playground analogy here.)

But, is it important or necessary to be in ‘the scene?’ Based on my experiences I would have to say yes. All of the people I’ve internet-met and the websites I’ve perused that are a part of the scene have probably made me a better writer, and have given me a better understanding of what the writing and publishing process entails. Being on the periphery of the scene has exposed me to many different opportunities I probably wouldn’t have otherwise run into had I not been connected to ‘the scene’ on some level. So, yes, the answer is yes.

I may never be able to have a conversation about (or properly pronounce) Nietzsche. I may abruptly excuse myself from the table when everyone starts talking about narratives employing verisimilitude or postmodern aesthetic conventions. But despite all of the things I don’t know, ‘the scene’ has brought me closer to what I am slowly beginning to realize: age, education and experience levels aside, we are all alike in the one endeavor the scene is centered around, and in that, I feel comfortable.

> kill author’s Issue Nine is Vonnegut flavored. The quote presented to us is Vonnegut telling us, the readers, that “…we can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis – at any time…” and that, to me, is the pleasure of reading. It is also what Issue Nine gives to us, not just in style, but also in substance. So much goodness you’ll feel the grit of sugar sweet between your teeth.

Ani Smith’s poems always seem to speak my language, and in the three she gives to us in this issue there is obsession to the point of consumption and wishes for what is wanted; new beginnings.

Donora Hillard, Howie Good and Neila Mezynski give us prose that wriggles inside you, expands and takes up every space on the couch you had reserved for a lover or your dog that refused to leave your side. Word blankets.

I read Envoi by Elaine Castillo while lying on my back. I felt charmed. I love the blending, depth and layers in this piece. I found myself sitting up straight by the time I had reached the end; the pages an empty pie tin save for crumbs and bits of gooey apple ripe for ants.

J. Bradley’s piece does what he does best: putting pictures into words that wallop the reader like an abusive stepfather. I cannot ask more from a writer.

I took a pen and wrote hearts all over Joseph Goosey’s pages. Ballpoint-blue hearts written next to printed words defines my feelings: a girl’s crush. They mean my adoration chokes my brain’s abilities to describe or rationalize what makes it feel so, but, oh, it feels. So.

Bosworth gives us bison, Osgood gives us eyeballs and Kloss gives us alligators. Between the three there is fisting, fixing and the violent fall of a city; all captivating.

Plan B by Suzanne Marie Hopcroft is a beautiful focus on a small, significant spot on a woman. I wanted to stay there.

Rugs. Swan. Swoon. Smiled. Spectacular.

Broken or Just the Facts. I let myself get lost in this one. Moline and Jack. He loves her breasts and so much more, and she counts the things missing.

There is satisfying sniper fire, a girl between two men, a man lost behind the wheel of a car and a story about re-seeing a city that had always been seen.

This issue takes the reader so many places, inward and outward, you will need to get a passport. Final destination: Awesometown.


Visit xTx’s blog, Nothing to Say, to read more and find links to her writing across the net.