Pindeldyboz published my very first published short story, “In Hiding”, back in January of 2004. (Man, that seems like a long time ago.) I’m still rather fond of this story, for sentimental reasons, if not aesthetic reasons. Now comes the news that Pindeldyboz is folding. Says Whitney Pastorek, founding editor:
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Pindeldyboz, we’ve made the decision to shut it down. At some point in the next month or so, therefore, the site will be going dark.
It wasn’t an easy decision in many ways, and in many ways it was. Over the last 10 years, we’ve published a whole lot of stuff by a whole lot of people. It’s been a blast, and we like to think we’ve been an important part of the internet online fiction community — or at least given some great voices a forum in which to shine. In return, Pboz has given us endless creative inspiration. It was something to do that existed outside the mundane tasks of our ordinary lives. It was never a full-time job, we never got paid, we never got famous. But that wasn’t ever really the point.
I’ve not included a link because, like she says, the site will soon be dark. I have saved in my story in hmtl, though that will soon cease to matter. I’ll be posting “In Hiding” here tomorrow, so it will have a second internet home. Thank you, Pindeldyboz and Whitney Pastorak, for giving it a first one.
I have postulated that what you write on the internet is forever. Supposedly everything on the internet is being permanent archived by the Wayback Machine and others. So as long as there are digital devices, “In Hiding” will still be out there. This infinitely accessible version is, the theory goes, a good deal better than if it had been published in some obscure literary magazine in the form of a few hundred copies moldering in dusty cardboard boxes, waiting to be pulped. (A couple of my paper-published short stories are currently languishing in this limbo.) I still tend to think that is true, but, you do have to ask, how many people are ever going to query the Wayback Machine for my short story? Besides me and my mom, I mean?
It is worth noting the sea change that has taken place in these short six and a half years. At the time, publishing on the internet was still looked down upon, was thought of as “not real”. Now The New Yorker publishes every short story online, for free, and a new novel is considered DOA if it doesn’t have a Kindle version. For those of us who continue to labor in obscurity, this is mostly a good thing. It’s access, even if of a promiscuous sort.
Finally, I note that it has been something like 4 years since I had a short story published. I was going pretty well there for a while, churning them out and placing them in various places. Then I turned to novels. One manuscript took me two years and, as I can now see, was a resounding failure. I adjudge it to be so, anyway, when I can bring myself to run my eyes over its pages of portentous pretentiousness.
The second manuscript also took me two years, and the jury is out on that one. I’m up to twenty-some rejections by literary agents but I don’t plan on giving up on this one until the rejections run into triple digits. Maybe not even right away then. I feel that if this is adjudged a failure, it will be by agents and their interns, not me. And at that point, I’ll put it out there myself, probably following Marc Horne’s DIY publishing guide. Which is progress, I hope. In 2004 it was still pretty unthinkable, at least to me.
Point being, I haven’t published anything in a long while. Right now, a couple things I’m working on could either be short stories, or the embryos of more novels. I’m sort of torn. Commit another couple years to another manuscript which may never see the light beyond the inboxes of some trusted readers and self-publishing, or aim for a short story which more than likely, will appear on a website which will soon go dark, like Pindeldyboz?