I can trace a much more direct line between my online literary life to the fulfillment of my dream to become a novelist than I can from my academic training to the same, although I’d never be here if I didn’t live there, I guess. I’ve talked about this in detail elsewhere, but I’m so much more comfortable in a living, busy world of ephemeral short-lived drama than in a museum of long-lived Literature. Which is funny because I’m such a slow writer.
My first attempts at participating in the online writing community consisted of stalking Anthony Neil Smith; he was editing for the online Mississippi Review and putting out Plots With Guns, and I always imagined he was being pulled from one side by the academy and by hardcore noir from the other. It wasn’t until I published my first flashes that I started to meet a lot of other writers online. My first and most successful flash, “Rot,” was a scrap I’d forgotten I’d written (I suppose it’s possible I didn’t). It appeared in Identity Theory, and I got fan mail (including a super kind note from Dorothy Allison!). But it wasn’t until I felt brave enough to send a dirty joke to Dogzplot that I discovered that folks like Barry Graham and Scott Garson (he and I were in the same MFA cohort) were hanging out–online–with very creative people who truly restored my faith in fiction as a progressive art. I’ve been very lucky professionally, too–my departmental colleagues respect my online publishing activity, which is not typical or so I gather.