Ah, the literary quarterly (anthologicalus periodicalus), those rarified compendiums of collected curios most often seen atop the coffee tables and nightstands of the smart-set.
There is Dave Egger’s McSweeney’s, of course, which continues to thrive; or Deluge Six (the literary lovechild of Trane DeVore, Jonathan Legare, Orion Letizi and myself, recently unearthed at the San Francisco Public Library), which does not. The grandsire of this publishing tradition is, methinks, the Paris Review, the Spring 2006 edition of which can be perused atop the aforementioned coffee tables and nightstands.
I had the pleasure of meeting the review’s erstwhile editor-in-chief George Plimpton, a forerunner of the New Journalism movement, outside of Elaine’s sometime in the mid 90s. I stepped out of a car to find Plimpton unlocking his bicycle from a pole of the joint’s awning and, lacking a solid opener, impetuously asked “What are you doing riding a bike?”
Plimpton patiently replied, “Oh, it’s the only way to get around Manhattan.”
The venerable scribe could tell I had more on my mind and indulged me with “And what do you do, young man?”
“I’m a small town newspaperman,” I said breathlessly and listed my then Lumaville affiliations.
Plimpton straightened his back and with utter graciousness appraised: “Ah, a colleague.”
What a class act. I felt as if he pinned a deputy’s star on me.
“I’m George Plimpton and you are?” he continued, extending his hand.
He raised an eyebrow: “Well, then Mr. Howell, a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir.”
With that, he rode into the night, coat tails flapping in the midsummer breeze.
Anyway, I mention all this because I’m mulling the notion of publishing again and would dig your suggestions (read that again, “suggestions” not “submissions” — at least not yet). Post them below.