Monday, December 9, 2019



Editor's note:

You know how it goes:
"It's time! It's time! It's time!". And then Dan Severn's WWF theme kicks in. Because you're about to experience something completely different, something that will fundamentally change your perception of reality. Something that will change your opinion on what art is capable of doing to mind.

Some loud words, huh? Well, gotta start with something. Why not start with some braggadocio? Never a bad thing.

Some backstory. Originally, Issue 16 was scheduled for September. The submissions were going strong and there was a lot of stuff to pick from. Over the course of August and early September i was ecstatic how well things were going - the traffic was solid, i had a hundred or so submission to make another issue right away. You can't imagine how happy i was that there was no extended hiatus between the issue as it happened throughout 18-19.

The other thing that made me really happy was that the submissions and decline reactions were far from the toxicity i had 17-18. Hell, i can make an issue entirely out of angry rejection letters, there were some nasty stuff. But this time, no one was making drama about the rejection of their works. It was very formal and very refreshing. It was also the root of the problem, but i failed to notice it.

I started to construct the issue in early September and somehow it didn't came together. It just wasn't working. Things refused to gel. It was just a bunch of stuff. Bunch of really cool stuff, but it wasn't working as an issue. It was just a bunch of stuff. And it really bugged me. I don't want Brave New Word to be a compendium of sacramental "bunch of stuff". BNW is like an Unkle album - a constellation of different visions making a starry sky and making room for further inspiration.

And so I've tried and tried and tried to make it right - rearranged the sequence over and over again, experimented with different post layouts, tried to mix things here and there - nothing worked. Around October 20th it was time to "...lose, and start again at your beginnings".

Doing Issue 16 Mark2 was somewhat dubious. I couldn't get away from the phantom of the failed iteration. Because of that, second incarnation of Issue 16 was mostly about chasing ghosts and trying to catch that particular "je ne sais quoi". There was no focus - just an attempt to fix something that didn't even existed. Naturally, it never even came close to being finished.

So in late November i wrote a post on Facebook explaining the situation. It wasn't like i had any explanations to do - after all, barely anyone even knows about Brave New Word. I just needed to let it out of my system.

Four days later Russell Jaffe made a comment on the post: "I am submitting because you are the bomb and I trust you as a real artist". This was it. This comment broke me into tears. It pointed out what was wrong all along.
The problem was that I've mixed up my dayjob with the rest of my life and in the process - pretty much lost my mojo. I've tried to approach work of passion as if it was business, just another facet of my day-to-day activity, some matter-of-fact rumblings with milestones.
Naturally, it wasn't working. It would never work like that - by trying to make the best issue, i've handled BNW as a product and it took out the very essense that made the magazine click.

What was i thinking? Probably, nothing in particular. That's how you give up - the grind and hustle are so tight, things just blend together. And it never occurs to you that you just did a u-turn. The heat is on and that's all that matters. And by the time you notice it by yourself - it's already too late. Hopefully, Russell reminded me what it was all about.
If The Great Russell Jaffe believes in me - that's gotta mean something. And I had something to prove.

The subtitle of this issue is "with a little help from my friends". It is an assorted collection of different artists presenting their artistic explorations - a kaleidoscope of sorts. Some of it is easygoing, some is laser-focused on going beyond the knowable. Without further ado - Brave New Word Issue 16.


Issue Line-up:

  1. Nils Geylen - oheyo
  2. Cecelia Chapman - Semiotic-pareidoliapophenia
  4. Claudio Parentela - 5 visual pieces
  5. Hiram Larew - Four Poems
  6. Elmedin Kadric - Matchstick Haikus
  7. Michael Estabrook - Nausea
  8. KB Nelson - Two Pieces
  9. Tom Snarsky - Five poems
  10. Christian ALLE - Ushas 1-7
  1. Russell Jaffe - 5 poems from Ip (unpublished)
  2. Piotr Szreniawski - Eight One Letter Pieces
  3. Yrik Max Valentonis - Three from Lost in Urban Landscaping
  4. Jenne Kaivo - Scattered Mushrooms
  5. J D Nelson - five poems
  6. Volodymyr Bilyk - Topical Chores
  7. Sacha Archer  - An Alphabet 
  8. Howie Good - 8 prose poems 
  9. Johannes S. H. Bjerg - Not Wind, Feeding Your Mother 
  10. Robert R. Thurman - Two visual pieces