I love writer swag. Notebooks, fancy pens, tote bags, stickers with book quotes on them. I drool over The Writer‘s monthly Take Note column, listing all the things I could buy to make myself a better writer. If I sling my typewriter tote bag over my shoulder, people will know that I labor over the craft each perfect sentence in my masterpiece. If I wear my NaNoWriMo t-shirt, people will see that I am capable of writing a novel in 30 days. They will see me with my expensive pen and my leather-bound notebook at the coffee shop and murmur, “Yes, there is a real writer, you can tell she is very serious because she has a a scarf with books on it.”
PANK announced today that they would be closing down at the end of this year. This is a drag on multiple levels. One, they always had the best buttons at AWP and two, because being published by PANK is an awesome experience for any writer. I would know — they picked up my story “Hotel Jesus” in March 2011.
“Hotel Jesus” was one of my turning-point stories where I began to see that I could play with form and format. I allowed myself to explore the narrative voice rather than dictate it. It’s a story driven by language and image, rather than plot, and it allowed me to start looking at characters who exist in the grey areas of morality.
It’s also hopelessly fucking sad, and I can’t remember what sort of terrible nonsense I must have had going on when I wrote it. But I haven’t written anything like it since, which is too bad. It’s a fascinating little piece.
Fare thee well, PANK. You will be much missed.