"The Erotics of a Queer Fantastique"

XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV & XXV - Benjamin Winkler
Tracy and Jessica Will Not Be Attending - Bett Williams
You Are the One I won't Ask About - Bill Hsu
The Glass Mountain - Bob Glück
Thank Your Oar-Like Arms - Colin James
Johnny Smoke - Erik Wennermark
A Goat-Fucked Casuality - George Michael Taylor
Two Poems - James Bradley
You Wanted to Know - Joel Kopplin
The View From the Palm House - Joseph Houlihan
Mimes - Kevin Killian
Tracey - Lara Mimosa Montes
Sex in the Forest Mansion - M Kitchell
For a Boy in Matli - Patrick Johnson
Interregnum - Robert Whitehead
Regular - Sanchari Sur
Notes on the Post-Body - Sarah Cook
Candyspine: An Education - Zack Wentz

Archive of Past Issues

Editorial Introduction

For the first time since LIES/ISLE was started in 2008, I feel the need to impose an editorial voice on the contents of an issue. There's many reasons for this, but the primary reason I've made this decision is that this will, for the foreseeable future, be the final issue of LIES/ISLE.
          When I started the journal with my then co-editor, Jenny Tian, I was admittedly naive. I hadn't dealt with the issue of submitting to lit journals, yet alone done much reading of them. The few that I had encountered, without much extensive research, I found flat, tied to tradition, and the opposite of what I wanted to be reading. I had heard rumors of greatly experimental journals, but the journals were all dead or unavailable to me. The few that remained online seemed interesting, but not quite exactly what I wanted to be reading. I wasn't looking very hard.
          Despite this fault, we started full-steam ahead, and 7 years and 7 issues later, here we are. In running a web journal, I spent most of my time hoping for work that actually used the medium of the web in a challenging way. I republished a project I had done in issue two in the hope that it would open the floodgates. In all seven years, I have not received a single submission that was in html format.
          This is not to say that I've been disappointed with what I've been publishing all these years; the opposite is true. I feel like I've published very exciting work, and it's work that I will continue to stand behind. Until this final issue, other than occasionally suggesting to people I've met that they should submit something, I've also refrained from soliciting work. I tried once before for the Desert Issue, but no one I emailed sent anything to me.
          Similarly, I've found that choosing a "theme" for every issue has ended up serving as a deterrent (violently so on some occasions, as I remember arguments I got into on HTMLGiant comment threads) instead of an inspiration to many writers. I wanted to shape each issue around a theme as a unifying structure--the hope was that if a reader were interested in the theme of the issue they might end up reading the entire journal instead of just whatever piece their writer friend had linked on Facebook. I'm not sure if this was the case, but I can say that throughout the entire time the journal was open, an issue never broke 100 submissions--the closest being the Desert Issue, which received about 80 submissions. The standard number of submissions was between 25 & 50.
          The simple explanation for this could be exclusively that this is a minor journal; it's not widely publicized or discussed. I've never had a problem with this, being a fan of the so called minor-literature throughout my entire history as a reader. But a smaller pool to choose from meant that I had less of a variety to choose from than I assume a journal like, say, PANK has. I've never been that good at publicity.
          But this, of course, is not the reason I've decided to call it quits. Since Issue 4: Mazes & Labyrinths, LIES/ISLE has been a one-man operation. My co-editor Jenny started law-school and, not surprisingly, found she didn't have the free time to stay involved. It wasn't necessarily that becoming the sole-person involved heightened the work required to run the journal--it didn't. It actually lightened the load, because I was doing all the same things as before, except now I was making decisions without the input of anyone else.
          The reason that, now, I find myself ready to be finished has far more to do with the way my aesthetics have developed: I am infinitely more interested in the idea of "the book" than I am in excerpts or short standalone pieces that fit into a lit journal (hence my increased involvement with my press, Solar Luxuriance). If something had happened which found me with an abundance of submissions that were basically self-contained web works, I might be in a different place now. It seems that such works don't exist, and if they do, their creators are not submitting them to this journal.
          The other reason that I've always been proud of LIES/ISLE is that I've more or less treated it, design-wise, as a print journal--there's a different layout for each issue, and I've tried to have the layout/structure reflect the themes. This is exhausting work, because I'm basically building a website from scratch with each issue, trying to make it a unique object. And as I've become more involved with print design, I find myself far less interested in the limitations of web design when you don't have a profoundly sufficient understanding of javascript & css--I have enough of an understanding to get by, and I always solve the problems I encounter, but this is a major roadblock at times that has often lead to delays. In fact, almost every time an issue comes out, I've had the work for the issue selected for 3-6 months (there are pieces in this issue that I accepted in 2013).
          I've also found that after a period of voraciously reading online journals, I just don't any more. As such, it seems remarkably hypocritical to be publishing a journal the purports to be at the "cutting-edge" of literature when I'm not paying that much attention to everything.

I've passed the durational point of interest for many, but bear with me as I have just a few final points to address.

I would like to address the gender discrepancy found in this issue, and found throughout LIES/ISLE's history. There's a reality that perhaps in the past I didn't do enough to attempt to address the imbalance, and this has, for whatever reason, perhaps kept non-male writers from submitting. I'm not sure. Since I believe in transparency, allow me to tell you the numbers from my inbox. I rejected 19 submissions. Judging solely from names, 15 of these rejections were male, 3 were female, and 1 was a collaboration. Excepting solicitations, I accepted 14 pieces. 3 of these acceptances were by females, 11 were by males. So, in total, there were 33 submissions: 26 male, 6 female, 1 couple. I noticed this and attempted to resolve the issue in a couple ways: first, I solicited many female writers. Most did not respond, few declined, and I ended up with one additional--and great--piece for the issue. Secondly, I asked friends and acquaintances for ideas for additional female writers, in the hopes of finding more work from people I was unfamiliar with. Thirdly, I shouted into the void of twitter, "LIES/ISLE NEEDS MORE NON-MALE SUBMISSIONS: PLEASE SUBMIT." The tweet was retweeted, but, ultimately, didn't result in further submissions.
          I find this to be of concern, as my reading habits in general do not reflect this imbalance. I find this to be of concern because I know for a fact that there are not more male than female writers in this wide of a disjunct. My intention is to not try to offer some sort of "excuse" here to assuage myself of guilt. While I perhaps could have stuck it out and worked harder to even the imbalance, the honest response is that I was tired of running a journal, and realized if I didn't get the issue out, I never would.
           Issue 7 came out in July of 2013. This is is coming out at the end of January, 2015. The one thing that's nice about being the only person running a journal is that you can stick to whatever schedule you like, but in this case I felt like I was doing a disservice to the authors and the great work that is in this issue. I understand the frustration of waiting for something to come out.

As a final note, I would like to thank everyone who has read and submitted to the journal since its inception. It seems to have a struck a chord with some, and for that I'm very happy & proud. That's all an editor can hope for, especially in a venue that is non-monetized. I have no idea how many people visit the site because at some point in 2012 my web host changed their stats into a format the offers absolutely no valuable information, but I hope it's at least being read by someone. I'd also like to thank Jenny Tian, co-editor on issues 1-3 for being as excited as I was about doing this. A 2AM conversation on GChat resulted in where we are today.

This issue of LIES/ISLE is dedicated to two people: Antonio Urdiales, who died in 2011, and George Michael Taylor, who died after I accepted his brilliant story for this issue, but before the issue came out. I hope they're living it up in the ghost-world, away from the pain and banality of the everyday. In my mind these two, both of whom I initially met in the comments section of Dennis Cooper's blog, book-end the journal: Antonio in Issue 01, George in Issue 08.

M Kitchell
January 23rd, 2015