Yes, it’s terrible that media monopolies have taken over publishers. I’m a victim of it. And yes, places like McSweeney’s seem filled with fabulously beautiful and intelligent people who go to parties you’re not invited to—and all write the same. But I still don’t see writing or publishing as dead. If--as Noah Cicero stated recently (can’t find it)--you shouldn't get published by a big house b/c they're run by an evil corporate entity, you might as well quit your job and stop paying taxes. We live in an evil corporate entity.
Me, I'd rather be read than have indie credibility. I have all the indie credibility I need having put out the book myself. Tony O’Neill said it was punk rock of me to get into Entertainment Weekly, even though the book attacks celebrity. I’ll take that. I guess I’m uptight about this because I do want to belong to the mainstream. I don’t give a shit if Rick Moody writes the intro to a Soft Skull book, or writes a quote on the back of my book. I write books attacking the mainstream—celebrity culture, so far—but I also want to be on a major press. I want to be in Barnes & Noble, etc. That doesn’t make me a sell out, unless I change the nature of my writing. But then, the nature of my writing maybe doesn’t need to be changed. My writing is inspired by mainstream sources—50s pulp crime novels, science fiction. Richard Yates is mainstream. Kerouac is mainstream. Etc. Though Chapman makes this good comment:
The shelf of permanent great stuff is at least 50% full of books by outsiders. people who worked alone, without support, for years, for decades, without having first gone to the cocktail parties to get the material help of the then-current power brokers. people like faulkner, joyce, melville, beckett, agee, blake, dickinson, kerouac, lautremont, burroughs, rimbaud, on and on.
Still, this could turn into a rigid view of what is underground writing and what is mainstream. As if something has to be experimental to be sufficiently underground. Writing just needs to be a pure expression of the writer—wherever it’s published. There’s crap in the mainstream, crap underground. This whole thing feels like another type of conspiracy theory: just because Rick Moody’s words touched a Soft Skull book, it means underground writing is dead and gone—it’s all part of a media conglomerate. I don't see that. This feels like an intellectual exercise.
I don’t know—talk to me in a couple months when my book has been read and rejected. Right now, I’m hopeful. So far everything I wanted to happen with the book has happened. It’s killed some of my cynicism.