Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gift-Giving, Part Two (wherein we even the odds)

About a month ago we decided to hold a "membership" contest on both Facebook and Twitter. We offered to give away free issues of Fiction International by offering what we thought were similar goals: When the Facebook fan page reached 500, we would give away 5 issues, and when Twitter followers reached 300, we would give away 5 issues. We saw that each entity was just over 100 fans/followers away from reaching their respective goals, so we reasoned that the contest was fair for both.

Wrong! Simple gamblers' math would tell us that five issues divided among 500 fans is not the same as five issues divided among 300 followers - but we are not gamblers, so.... However, some of the fans/followers are better at gamblers' math than we are, and Twitter's followers quickly pulled ahead of Facebook's fans. As I write this (12/20/2011) we have added 287 Twitter followers (out of 300) and 446 Facebook fans (out of 500).

But the contest isn't over yet, so we've decided to even the odds a bit, plus we will increase the number of free issues we will award: When Facebook reaches its goal, we will give away 50 free issues, and when Twitter reaches its goal we will give away 30 free issues. (50 for 500 versus 30 for 300). This means - we think! - that the odds of winning a free issue will be one in ten regardless of which entity you use.

Plus we have a wide variety of issues to choose from! Take a look at our website, because we have a lot of issues that are still relevant to contemporary cultures. Our themes have a loooonngg shelf life. One or more will certainly interest you. Plus you can sample most of the issues: We have added links to a few of the stories for nearly every issue we will give away.

And the free issues will be distributed on a first-come basis so if you are selected as one of the Lucky Fifty (or Lucky Thirty) and act quickly, you will probably receive the issue you want. Win-win!

We are also trying to "clean up" the Twitter followers a bit, because at least three people created empty Twitter accounts, where we were the only person the account was followed, and without any personal information or tweets, so - to be fair to other Twitter users - we deleted these empty accounts from the competition.

Though we are flattered that so many people want a free issue of Fiction International!

Friday, November 18, 2011


By: Harold Jaffe

The holiday season is on us. Xmas muzak everywhere.

Terrorism is in the air, as it has been to one degree or another since the devolution of the Soviet Union to a polluted version of Russia.

Capitalism needed a demon to replace Communism.

Is there something that can be called benign terrorism?

Such as compassion, not just felt, but expressed for oppressed humans, such as the innocent and impoverished Iraqis and Afghans killed or maimed during the US's assault on those sovereign nations.

Compassion, not just felt, but expressed for the Bangladeshis, a made-invisible country of about 150 million souls, its crucial rice paddy industry largely overrun by the ice melt in the Antarctic which has transformed the Bay of Bengal into a maddened ocean.

Compassion, not just expressed, but enacted, on behalf of stock animals like cattle, pigs, chickens, whose lives consist of extreme torment crowned by slaughter.

Schweitzer put it this way: Extend your feelings, try to recognize the suffering of those animals that are slaughtered and eaten.

The suffering is greater than before. Stock animals shot with chemicals and hormones, in many instances spending their entire doomed lives in tight pens where they can scarcely move.

I call compassion benign terrorism because official culture excludes it from its criteria for happiness and unhappiness.

One is not permitted to become unhappy at the suffering of a stock animal, at the suffering of a brown-skinned family whose modest house is bulldozed because the adolescent son is suspected of throwing rocks at an armored vehicle.

What about plain speech, such as attributing oil as the leading if not sole reason for the invasions of Iraq and Libya?

Attributing Congress’s overwhelming majority in support of the homeland security bill and bank bailout to moral cowardice and cynical opportunism.

Global leaders denying climate change while proceeding full throttle with toxic chemical industries along with the reckless overuse of nuclear power plants and fossil fuels.

If referring to these perceptions as benign terrorism seems inapt, call them deviations.

But to deviate in this time of moral fervor, xenophobia, and the exponentially growing, manipulated disparity between rich and poor is about as reprehensible as terrorism.

In the eyes of official culture and most Americans.

Deviation, then, on the occasion of the holiday season.

Gift-giving comes to mind.

Gift-giving is deviant because it tends to be an impulsive action from the heart which has nothing to do with repayment, opportunism, or calculation, and is solely designed to benefit another.

"Tends to be" because there is a species of gift-giving which is calculated and opportunistic, such as political campaign contributions, and even ostensible gifts from the heart like wedding bands or communion dresses or Christmas presents.

That isn't the kind of gift-giving I have in mind.

Why would Georges Bataille say that strong art must always include the immoral subversion of the existing order?

Morality is possessed by the white gloves of the existing order.

Bataille's gift to us were his formulations and his mania.

I will risk sounding sentimental:

Examples of uncalculated gift-giving might include rescuing a stray cat or a wounded bird; giving alms to a homeless person; paying the toll for the car behind you on a toll road.

True, you can perform even these acts of mercy with one eye on divine compensation, but they are not commonly done that way.

Less tangible forms of gift-giving might include paying serious, unpatronizing attention to a child, animal, plant.

Attending to a human not used to be taken seriously, such as a so-called mentally ill or imprisoned human.

Less tangible still would be to spread goodwill like a gentle virus to everyone human, animal, vegetable with whom you come in contact.

But that is generally the province of spiritually elevated souls.


I recall an instance in NYC. A bus driver in one of the problematic parts of Manhattan sang rather than talked to his passengers, singing out the next stop, singing while he drove.

The Manhattan passengers, habitually stressed and suspicious, especially while en route to work in the AM, praised the driver for being so relaxed, so balanced, so -- as it seemed -- contented, thereby broadcasting this contentment.

Broadcasting contentment is good.

What about broadcasting righteous anger or anguish, as a conscience-bound German might have done during the Nazi period?

Or John Brown enunciating his "No! in Thunder."

"No, I refuse to stand by and watch my black and brown sisters and brothers be enslaved by the same professed moralists who aspire to imitate Christ."

Do those instances of righteous anger qualify as gift-giving?

Yes, they do.

In any case, you can see how a disinterested (not uninterested) gift-giving counters in principle the niggardly dictates of capitalism.

The difference between disinterest and uninterest is that disinterest implies a passionate, caring separation from the object in question, whereas uninterest implies a dispassionate, uncaring separation.

Potlatch, practiced by northwest Indian groups, is a complex prototype of ritualized gift-giving, part disinterested, part competitive.

Let's leave potlatch to the Native Americans; they have suffered more than most of the rest of us.

Their cultures are deep.

Their hearts and minds are integrated.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Getting Black Out There!

Fiction International is pleased to announce the winner of our 2011 short fiction contest (Blackness): "Rogues Gallery II" by writer Mary Byrne. Ms. Byrne will receive a cash prize of $1000.00 and her text will be published in the 2012 issue of FI (About Seeing). We'd also like to congratulate runner-up Dorothy Blackcrow Mack for her text "The Black Cradleboard" which will also be published in the 'About Seeing' edition.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The DV8 issue is coming to San Diego!

We expect to receive the DV8 issue from the printer on Monday and will begin to send it out to subscribers that same day! If you are a subscriber or contributor, look for the issue in your mailbox.

If you are not yet a subscriber, why not become one? Subscribe to Fiction International today and ensure your copy is mailed next week!

Also: Editor Harold Jaffe selected the winners of our "Blackness" contest and we are even now notifying them. Look for an announcement of the two winners - the grand prize winner receives $1000, and both stories will be published in the next issue of FI!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

About Seeing

"We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are."

"You gentlemen and ladies of quality who frequently don't know yourselves what Christian virtue and justice are, look at the sunken, deep-set eyes of the lower classes, where you can see all too clearly the sorrow and misery that weigh on their hearts. Not everyone who sees his grieved and martyred face in the washroom mirror in the morning is a murderer or drug addict." -- Harold Jaffe, excerpt from Death in Texas

Seeing, Noun: Perception by means of the eyes, beholding, visual perception.

"A presiding officer, even of an ordinary polling station like this, should, in all circumstances, be guided by the strictest sense of independence, he should, in short, always observe decorum." -- Jose Saramago, excerpt from Seeing

Seeing, Adj.: Having vision, not blind, being sighted - able to see.

Hurry! Only One More Month to Submit!
For an issue About Seeing: Addressing the Visual Arts (cinema, video, painting, photography, etc) Fiction International is looking for texts, stories, and visuals. Go to Fiction International for submission instructions.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Truth Force

Here's a piece Harold Jaffe posted on the Facebook Occupy San Diego discussion page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/161765230583534/):

--We see a broken human emerge from the canyon and avert our eyes.

--We read of homeless vets and pregnant women breaking into boarded-up buildings to escape the cold; we avert our eyes.

--The buildings have been boarded up for years; squatting in them is against the law.

--Law is not justice.

--We read of a polar bear and her cub trekking 900 miles south from the north Pole to find food, dying on the trek.

--See what's been done to our living world.

--We avert our eyes.

--We see brown-skinned women and children being slaughtered in bloody, fruitless wars across the globe, and we avert our eyes.
--We see people, young people, rebel in cities across the globe. The rebellions are labeled riots; the rebels are labeled criminals.

--We know otherwise.

--Still we avert our eyes.

--We see aircraft funded by caucasian corporate despots relentlessly bomb the country of a brown-skinned desert despot.

--Their mission, they claim, is liberation.

--We know otherwise, even as we avert out eyes.

--We see cynical, opportunistic industrialists and politicians line their pockets while lying to their constituents, and we avert our eyes.

--We see long lines of laid-off working people waiting to claim their unemployment checks which will run out before they find another job.

--We avert our eyes.

--We are not permitted to see the tens of thousand of people imprisoned unjustly in privatized prisons where inmates are denied parole and forced to do surplus labor so that prison owners and investors can extort their surplus profit.

Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.
Avert your eyes.
Don’t avert your eyes.

Share the pain.
Have courage.
Bear witness.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Art as Cultural Activism

On September 5, 1981, the Welsh group that called itself "Women for Life on Earth" arrived on Greenham Common, in Berkshire, England. They had marched from Cardiff, Wales, with the intention of challenging the decision to site 96 US Cruise nuclear missiles on Greenham Common. On arrival they delivered a letter to the Base Commander which said "We fear for the future of all our children and for the future of the living world."

When their request for a debate was ignored they set up a "Peace Camp" just outside the fence surrounding the Royal Air Force Greenham Common Airbase. This surprised the authorities and set the tone for an audacious, lengthy protest that was to last 19 years.

The protesters refused to allow authorities to enter the camp, which became known as the Women's Peace Camp and gained international recognition with imaginative images such as eggs, spiders webs and children’s toys with which they decorated the chain link fences and contested area. In the end the UK and US withdrew their attempt to site the cruise missiles in Greenham Common.


During the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, a number of Chilean working-class women created complex tapestries depicting the harsh conditions of life and the pain resulting from the disappeared victims of Pinochet's repression. These tapestries, or arpilleras, get their name from the Spanish word for the burlap backing they used.

Working quietly and using traditional methods, the women's arpilleras came to have a wide influence within Chile and internationally. The tapestries preserved the memory of los desaparecidos and the dictatorship's brutality, as well as the unemployment, food shortages, housing shortages, and other hardships of daily life attributed to Pinochet's rule. Preserving this collective memory was itself an act of art-as-protest, but creating the arpilleras also empowered the women, many of whom experienced a liberation through their work and became involved in further protests against Pinochet's regime.


Krzysztof Wodiczko, born in Poland, emigrated to Canada, and currently lives in the US. He is particularly well-known for his guerrilla projections on official buildings purported to embody public values. Guerrilla, because his images were subversive and often projected without official permission. He sought, he explained, to unmask the buildings' existing rhetoric.

One of his first projections was a swastika on the façade of the South African embassy in London during Apartheid to implicate the British government and align them with the white Apartheid regime in South Africa. And to implicate the public building itself, which presented itself as an architectural emblem of moral value.

Later, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Wodiczko created a two-part projection in San Diego and Tijuana addressing the links between illegal immigration into the US and California’s economy, in which migrant labor plays a crucial role.

One projection is on the façade of a so-called Spanish style building in San Diego's Balboa Park, called the Museum of Man, which professes to be an anthropologically egalitarian repository of art and artisanry, but which Wodiczko sees as a muted celebration of western colonialism.

His projected image aligns a pair of white, male, well-groomed hands impatiently clasped, as if waiting for his meal. Above and to the right are two coarse outstretched hands -- manacled at the wrists -- but holding an ample basket of fruit, and, imprisoned as they are, ready to serve their colonialist master.


Rirkrit Tirivanija is a Thai artist. One of his installations consisted of the following: He bicycled around looking for space: empty warehouse or aircraft hangar, deserted K-Mart, abandoned Rite-Aid, haunted Burger King.

He rented the space and furnished it with stoves, cooking gas, freezers, fridges, microwaves, counters, bowls, cups, glasses, plastic cutlery, chopsticks, Tupperware, folding tables, chairs.
He purchased food: noodles, rice, potatoes, bread, soup, salad, tofu, fruit, green tea, bottled water, cocoa, curry spices. Comfort food.

He engaged the homeless as helpers.

Food prepared, he invited the homeless helpers along with the lined-up homeless to eat.
Continued through the day, into the night. Clean up, close for the night. Sleep on the premises.
Do the same thing for 60 days.

After 60 days he closed the space, got on his bicycle and looked for another empty warehouse or aircraft hangar, terrorized Rite-Aid, spooked McDonald's, gutted Gap, bombed-out Home Depot.
Select the space, rent it.

Feed the homeless for 60 days.

Close up, move on, find another space, repeat.


The preceding represents four examples of creating art in times of conflict. In every instance the art is problematic; not esthetic, as such; not even palpable in the instance of Tirivanija feeding the homeless.

What is the difference between art as it is usually constructed and what might be called crisis art, or cultural activism: the use of cultural means to effect social change or a wider social awareness?

Art that responds to a crisis is situational, hence created rapidly rather than painstakingly revised and refined.

Crisis art is directed rather than disinterested; more closely related to art as process than product.

Crisis art is keenly aware of text and context.

Crisis art often works best collaboratively.

Collaboration contests the auratic view of the artist? "Auratic," coined by Walter Benjamin, refers to the artificial elevation of the artist to a position above his or her fellows.

Crisis art is "immoral."

Georges Bataille insisted that the strongest art must function as an “immoral subversion of the existing order”; because "morality" is in the possession of the existing order, and as such is never what it professes to be.

Crisis art is (to quote a still fashionable term coined by the Russian critic Bakhtin), "dialogic".

The idea is not that the artist stands above the fray paring his fingernails, bemusedly observing his creations. Dialogic articulates the more humbling notion that the artist interacts, even integrates, with the community, on a largely equal basis, each affecting and affected.

Crisis artists must swallow the poison in order to reconstitute it. Expel it as art.

The poison, currently, includes our crazily spinning, electronic-obsessed, war-making culture and its profit-mad institutions; along with the rapidly worsening environmental crisis. The image of swallowing the poison and expelling it as art is shamanic.

But can art actually have any appreciable impact on the lives of humans who are oppressed, disenfranchised, struggling merely to survive? Can art affect cynical politicians and their corporate brethren?

There are precedents that were successful against great odds: Upton Sinclair's The Jungle; anti-slavery writings during the abolitionist period; French writers and artists helping to end the colonial war in Algeria; Solzhenitsyn's denunciation of Stalinism and the Gulags; Act-Up's culturally activist response to the demonizing of gay men during the AIDS crisis in the 80s and early 90s.

Do the kinds of strategies and calculations necessary for making and employing crisis art stand in opposition to the notion of the artist as dreamer, as creating from the deepest levels of consciousness?

Consider Goya, Blake and the French Revolution, the Mexican muralists, Grosz and Heartfield, Brecht, Picasso’s Guernica, B Traven, John Berger, Elsa Morante, Victor Serge, Clarice Lispector....

Surely these artists continued to imagine complexly, to -- as it were -- dream, even as they fought through their art against injustice?

Might socially activist art also be created for its own sake, its seeming ethical rightness, without calculating its effect?

If art of a certain strain is committed to process rather than product, it is especially difficult to sum up its final success. Was the art in the aftermath of Hiroshima successful? Was the art that characterized the takeover of Greenham Common successful? Were the arpilleras made by disenfranchised Chilean women successful?

Crisis art, dissident art, social activist art (largely synonymous) are perennial; one can't anticipate when an injustice or string of injustices, will invoke an art to register it.

But how will this art be appraised 40 years from now when the crisis that evoked it is no longer a factor?

Paradoxically, art produced rapidly under crisis conditions will sometimes have more lasting power and even esthetic appeal than the painstakingly created seemingly disinterested art that most people identify as quintessential. Crisis art has an energy and focus which more than compensate for its relative lack of refinement.

In the US there have been historical "moments" -- the Quakers, the Abolitionists and Transcendentalists, the Thirties Marxists, the Sixties counter-culture, Act-Up in the late Eighties and early Nineties -- but overall American writers have been contemptuous of socially-activist writing. It doesn't sell, it is more didactic than "esthetic." Moreover, why should artists be in a special position to address political crises?

Writers cultivate consciousness, contemplation, and in many instances learning. They view through a broader lens. If they have a reputation they can find a platform to make themselves heard and express their opinions precisely.

What good will it do? Wars, oppression, colonialism, profit-mania have been with us since human hegemony? And now authoritarian power is decentered, much less visible. Serious art of any kind has been rendered negligible in the market place, which in the US epitomizes the country's ethos.

With effort and intelligence, decentered power modules can be identified, as young dissidents and hackers have located and attempted to disable deliberately elusive nexuses of power and control.

Human history, however bloody and unjust, has not ceased; and, crucially, the planet we inhabit and have debauched is dying. Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries, with its people crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal, which because of the Antarctic ice melt is behaving like an ocean, flooding ice paddies and entire villages. Animals and plants throughout the globe are becoming extinct rapidly. The sun, lacking sufficient protection from its ozone layer, has become toxic. Lethal bacterial agents set loose from leveled rain forests or industrialized seas migrate into the general population.

Possibly the hardest factor for concerned younger artists to accept is that there will always be an incommensurateness between their imaginative efforts and the result. The primary obligation is to not avert your eyes; to bear witness.

Harold Jaffe is the author of 18 books of fiction, "docufiction" and nonfiction, including most recently Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories, Paris 60, and OD. Jaffe is editor of Fiction International.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Need a Writing Prompt?

There are two types of writers: Writers who use prompts to navigate past their blocks and writers who don't. It's entirely possible that you will be both types of writer at different phases of your career.

If you are in the "need a prompt" phase, why not subscribe to Laura Davis? Once you subscribe you will receive a weekly email newsletter with a prompt that's partly psychological - to help you learn more about your particular blocks. Here's the latest prompt:
The Writer's Journey Roadmap
August 30, 2011

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it."

- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Today's Writing Prompt:

What keeps you from writing that shitty first draft?
Laura Davis is a professional writer's guide. Her Facebook fan page is here.

If you are not currently in the "need a prompt" phase of your writing career, consider yourself lucky,

Thursday, August 4, 2011


FI's Blackness writing contest is deliberately elastic:






Birds falling from the sky, blanketing the sun

Love unloved

Obverse of white . . . . Contestants can take Blackness wherever they choose. In that regard, FI's editors will cede to them.

Deadline Aug. 31, 2011. Winners receive publication in Fiction International and $1000. Enter @ Submishmash.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

OD is being published

Harold Jaffe's newest volume of docufictions, OD, will be published in the Fall by Civil Coping Mechanism.

Each of the 13 docufictions features a well-known personage who either died of an overdose or was invested in "drugs" to the extent that they contributed to his/her death. Figures he addresses include: Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Seberg, Diane Arbus, Sigmund Freud, Aldous Huxley, Walter Benjamin, Bela Lugosi, Jimi Hendrix, Abbie Hoffman, Mark Rothko, Lead Belly, Jim Jones (Jonestown), and Chet Baker.

If a potential reader wants a signed copy for the regular price, email Hal and he will ship it to you when it's published.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Fiction International is hosting a fiction (prose) writing contest intended to expose new talent to a critical audience of discerning readers. The contest is limited to writers who have no more than two published books.

The theme: BLACKNESS.  Submission period: February 1, 2011 - June 1, 2011.

Grand prize: $1000, plus publication in Fiction International for the prize-winner and two runners-up.

Final judge: Harold Jaffe, editor-in-chief, Fiction International.

Submit at Submishmash

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hal's readings

Hal is giving a reading next week at SDSU and in San Francisco. He will be reading some (not many) 50- or 100-word stories from a very recent volume called Induced Coma, an extension and variation of his volume Anti-Twitter which was published in 2010.

"In Anti-Twitter I adhered strictly to 50-word stories. In Induced Coma it is either 50 or 100 words. Most of the stories are found texts which I’ve altered or turned -- to tease out subtexts and contradictions."

Then he will read a number of short narratives from Paris 60, a sort of journal-slash-travel log he kept when he was in Paris in 2008 to greet the translation into French of one of his earlier books.

Paris 60 is based very loosely on Paris Spleen, a series of prose poems by Baudelaire published posthumously in 1869. The “60” in Paris 60 refers to 60 days, one entry per day.

The Green Arcade
1680 Market Street @ Gough
San Francisco CA 94102

SDSU's Living Writing series
Love Library
San Diego State University

Monday, February 21, 2011

About Fiction International's Writing Contest

For over 40 years, Fiction International has published writers just like you -- intelligent, far-thinking, politically progressive, and stylistically innovative. We continue the tradition by giving away more than $1,000 in cash and publication in Fiction International to one deserving writer and publication (but not cash) to two others!

Deadline: June 1, 2011. Winners will be announced Fall, 2011.
Entry fee: $15.
Theme: BLACKNESS. The meaning of the theme is entirely up to you. Please do not submit any text not related to the theme.
To enter the Writing Contest, submit here.


Grand Prize: $1,000 cash and publication in Fiction International. Two Honorable Mentions: Publication in Fiction International.


You may enter as many manuscripts as you like.

We will only accept entries which are fiction, non-fiction, and indeterminant prose. No poetry will be accepted.

Enter online at Submishmash.

Your entry must be original, in English, and not previously published or accepted by any other publisher or producer at the time of submission.

We have set a wordcount limit of 2000 (approximately). Although we won't adhere to a strict word limit, any manuscript that egregiously exceeds the limit of 2000 will be disqualified.


Every entry will be read and evaluated by the judges. The top 20 entries (finalists) will be read by FI's Editor-in-Chief Harold Jaffe. The First Prize and Honorable Mentions will be selected from among the 20 finalist entries.


Q: Is it okay to have illustration or pictures accompanying my submission?
A: Yes. Providing the artwork is original to you, submission of artwork as part of an entry will be accepted as long as it is part of a text and is not intended to substitute for text.

Q: If there is a word count, how many words am I allowed?
A: Approximately 2000.

Q: Are pen names allowed?
A: Pen names are fine. Write your pen name on all forms etc. so there is no mistakes on credits. Please be advised that we only need your real name if you are chosen as a winner (in order to issue prizes).

Q: What if I am not a U.S. resident?
A: Since we are named Fiction International, we encourage non-U.S. residents. All entry fees are due in U.S. Dollars.

Q: Is there an age limit for entrants?
A: No.

Q: Are there are any other limitations for entrants?
A: There are two limitations: (1) Because FI's editorial staff is also also judging the contest, staff and family members are not allowed to enter. (2) Because the contest is intended to encourage new writers, the contest is limited to writers who have published two books or fewer.

Q: What if I wanted to submit only part of my novel into the competition (to stay with in the maximum number of words)?
A: If you submit a portion of a novel, please understand that it will be judged as a complete story, not part of another work, so it needs to a complete story in and of itself.

Q: When will winners be notified?
A: Winners will be notified by email in Fall, 2011.

For additional questions, email Editor Harold Jaffe (hjaffe@mail.sdsu.edu).


In order to protect your privacy, we will not make our customer list available outside San Diego State University.


To submit your entry online, visit our secure online entry form.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blackness. And Publication. What more can you ask for?

Fiction International is hosting a fiction (prose) writing contest in Spring 2011. The contest is intended to expose new talent to a critical audience of discerning, literary readers, and is limited to writers who have no more than two published books.

The theme is BLACKNESS (FI always has a theme), and there's a 2000 word limit for entries. The submission period is: February 1, 2011 - June 1, 2011.

Entries will be read by Fiction International editors and comments will be returned to the entrants. The top 20 entries will be read by FI editor-in-chief Harold Jaffe (who will select the winners). The grand-prize submission will be published in the 2012 volume of Fiction International and the author will be awarded a $1000 cash prize. There will also be two honorable mentions that will be published in the 2012 edition of Fiction International.

Winner will be announced Fall 2011. Go to http://fictioninternational.submishmash.com/Submit to sign up for the contest.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing in the Era of Trauma

I came across a strong article in EurAmerica (Dec. 2010, Vol 40, No 4, pp 829-886) today by
Griselda Pollock. She writes about Bracha Ettinger and the need for artists to approach their work with "ethical commitment" given the preponderance of trauma in the 20th century. A sample of Ettinger's art is provided here. The abstract is below.

Israeli/French artist and psychoanalytical theorist, Bracha Ettinger has declared: "In art today we are moving from phantasm to trauma. Contemporary aesthetics is moving from phallic structure to matrixial sphere." In analysing the significance of this claim, this article will bring together the legacies of feminist, post-colonial cultural theories in relation to the current focus on trauma, memory and aesthetics in an international context. The understanding of the twentieth century as a century of catastrophe demands theoretical attention be given to concepts such as trauma, as artists with deep ethical commitments bring issues of traumatic legacies to the surface of cultural awareness and potentially provide through the aesthetic encounter a passage from the traces of trauma. This article introduces, explains and analyses the contribution of Bracha Ettinger as a major theoretician of trauma, aesthetics and above all sexual difference. In addition, it elaborates on her parallel concept of a matrixial aesthetic practice, enacted through a post-conceptual painting, that retunes the legacies of technologies of surveillance and documentation/archiving, as a means to effect the passage to a future that accepts the burden of sharing the trauma while processing and transforming it. The article demonstrates the dual functions of Ettingerian theories of a matrixial supplement to the phallocentric Imginary and Symbolic in relation to the major challenges we face as we seek to understand, acknowledge and move on from the catastrophes that render our age post-traumatic.