I first heard of Stephen Michael McDowell almost immediately after discovering the alt lit community, but it wasn’t until a friend passed me a copy of his 2012 novella treees that I realized the clarity and strength of his style. Comparisons to Tao Lin and other alt minimalists are inevitable, but reductive: McDowell’s voice is his own. But equally importantly, he’s been a consistent and beneficial presence in the alt lit community, providing a critically sharp but temperate and balanced voice in what can often be a volatile milieu. In March of 2012, he began curating/managing/editing the gallery/periodical/collective Mammal, and last week, Scott Krave (author of last year’s Bone Smoke) interviewed him about his motivations in doing so. The Flâneur is very pleased to present the conversation that ensued, in its unedited entirety. Enjoy.
Pop Serial 5 has taken a while to arrive to digital shores. The World Wide Web is a hard thing to surf now that it has become so gigantic. Serious-ass effort went into making Pop Serial 5. Stephen Tully Dierks one of the hardest twerking members of Alt Lit, spent a great deal of time putting together some of his favorite writers to make the entire thing rather ‘legit’. But what Pop Serial 5 does is what no Pop Serial did before. For one Pop Serial ended up co-branding with a cereal and with Rice Krispies treats. Previously Pop Serial stuck with Rice Krispies never going as far as the actual treat. Yeah things certainly have changed for the stranger.
2014 has been a crazy year for Stephen Tully Dierks as he has continued to live the Vida Loca right down in the boogie-down Bushwick. His previous residential location in Chicago seems to have been relatively good. Bushwick is better however via the Brooklyn lifestyle. Plenty of art kids live in Bushwick, even some non-art kids, just kids hoping the art rubs off on them and makes them cool. This phenomenon explains how all those stock brokers moved into gleaming glass towers in Williamsburg just to call themselves hipsters.
But this is not a blog post about gentrification this is a blog post about Pop Serial 5, the fifth Pop Serial to enter homes across the great US of A. Stephen Tully Dierks is selling physical copies of them via the Internet, because honestly, if it isn’t online then it isn’t Alt Lit. Alt Lit lives online. Whatever literature lives offline is probably pretty tame, or is waiting to be translated into online format. Every purchase of a physical edition of Pop Serial does not help Stephen Tully Dierks at all since his profit margin is zero (printed on demand).
Stephen Michael McDowell (Alt Lit loves people named Stephen with three names) is going to create the online version of Pop Serial 5 though you can technically read it via the Magic Cloud thing. When that happens there will be the kind of Beach Sloth Blog Post never seen before, besides those other times. Beach Sloth is a big fan of Pop Serial in all its forms whether it is some re-blogging Tumblr or that critically acclaimed edition. Honestly a lot of people never expected to see the new Pop Serial 5 make it to their illuminated glowing computer screens. Thankfully this is happening, via the LCD Soundsystem and its final, third farewell album. Pop Serial 5 is simply the beginning of a whole new era, of one where Alt Lit gets mocked in better and better publications, from Vice Magazine to the New York Times.
Tigers are majestic creatures. With an entire magazine dedicated to tiger music (Tiger Beat) tigers have it all figured out. From their palaces deep in the jungle the tigers watch the entire ecosystem. Happy with how they look a lot of tigers have managed to accomplish quite a bit. One famous Tiger advertises Frosted Flakes, a cereal popular with children and lonely adults. Yet another tiger is well-known for having made a career in Las Vegas with local idiots Siegfried and Roy. Every tiger knows the many different tiger stories mythologies created for tiger amusement.
Writers enjoy exploring the worlds of tigers. A startlingly beautiful display of colors tigers tend to thrive wherever they go. Life as a tiger is an easy one indeed. Nobody messes with a tiger. The writers of the world search out the tiger impressed by the tiger’s ability to get things done. Most of the things a tiger gets done are relatively terrifying. Other animals are afraid of the tiger and for good reason. One of those reasons is the tiger is a vicious animal that tears other animals apart. Yes that is an obvious reason and the reason is what most writers focus on since writers are also animals trying to survive. Beyond that there is a surface level. Tigers are beautiful.
Every time a tiger goes down a path all the other animals say “Whoa” before the tiger tears them to shreds. The tiger looks too good for the world. Many (citation needed) have stated that tigers may come from another galaxy where things naturally look that fly. Heck if a person was born and even remotely looked like a tiger that would be a very attractive person. Humanity’s standards of beauty are warped when there are people who believe Kevin Bacon looks attractive. Really nobody should think Kevin Bacon is attractive. Sure Kevin Bacon is a nice guy, looks pretty decent, but compared to a tiger Kevin Bacon is nothing. Kevin Bacon might as well be actual bacon for a tiger.
Life as a tiger is an easy one. Reincarnation allows people to become tigers after they are done living in the retirement homes of the world. Sure people might want to be reincarnated into other creatures, perhaps given another go at being a human, but tigers have it the best. For a tiger the world is perfect the ruler of all.