MINI-INTERVIEW: Colin Meldrum.
(Colin Meldrum is the founding editor of A cappella Zoo (www.acappellazoo.com), a web & print journal of magic realism & slipstream.)
1.) Is experimental writing an overdone dead end?
COLIN MELDRUM: Not overdone, but yes.It’s hardly probable to be truly innovative anymore. But while there’s little uncharted territory left to discover, this “dead end” alley is worth keeping open and alive. So, perhaps “experimentalism” has settled into a cul-de-sac, a genre, rather than a movement. We made it to Oz, learned the language, even became desensitized—but some of us would still rather not resettle Kansas. The task, then, is to distinguish personal experiments (exercises) from results worth sharing, results in which once groundbreaking—now secondhand—techniques frame or accent an independently worthwhile story, rather than distract from it.
2.) How does your journal stand out from the solipsistic hipster pack?
COLIN: I don’t read our contributions as solipsistic. Not most of them, anyway. I certainly doubt that our contributors intend to be obscure or self-indulgent. We’re about hybridizing and building bridges, rather than alienating or shocking readers for the sake of defining an antagonistically unique niche for ourselves. We’d like to stand out as adaptable, as communicative and teachable within the reading and writing communities. We’d like to stand out as publishing not the product of a writer sitting and trying to write something/anything, but the well-rounded, memorable stories which ached to be constructed, obsessed over, and communicated.
3.) What's your goal with A cappella Zoo?
COLIN: Not to change or enslave the world. And probably not even to prove a point or to stumble upon a new movement in contemporary storytelling, though I confess the dream was tempting in our earlier phases. We do intend to explore the spaces between mainstream and genre, adult fetish and childish fancy, my perspective and yours. We’re not ready to push any dichotomous categories off their pedestals, though; I’d say we’re more interested in providing a home for the writers who already wander these in between spaces, and to connect these writers with the readers hungry for them.
(If you visit any of Colin’s own writing, he’d like it to be his contribution to issue two of Sideshow Fables.)