Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Used Furniture Review

As a genetically inclined junk collector and ragpicker—literally and literarily—I have to disclose that I was initially attracted to the new online journal Used Furniture Review simply because of its name.

Fortunately it lived up to what I expected of it—a journal that holds surprises, if only because unlike many print journals, it’s publishing a truly eclectic mix of authors who surprise me just as, well, a choice piece of junk/high art that I find in a thrift store might.

For example, read Kim Chinquee’s dreamy, distorted short I Wanted to Believe This Was My Life. She lyrically captures what might be called quotidian disorientation—sounds, movements, memories moving against and through each other without the possibility of focus or answers.

“I felt on the verge of things. My payments, student papers, that report. A journal, asking for an essay. My dad, a never-ending question. My guy’s head, thinking he felt pressured.”

But Used Furniture also publishes great interviews with the likes of Rick Moody, who discusses how he took refuge in the horrors of monster movies as refuge from the horrors of domestic drama as a child, his tastes in music, his current favorite books, and perspectives on his writing process, among other things.

Here’s a bit of Moody’s wisdom:

On his authorial stance: “The movement in and out of autobiography is something dialectical for me. I am always somewhere on a continuum between the completely imaginary and the completely accurate. Of course, there can be neither.”

On revision: “Over the life of a piece you usually alter it less radically, as you go on, and that’s how you know it’s getting better. But there’s no done. There’s no complete. There’s no exhaustion. There are only provisional versions of texts for particular purposes.”

Used Furniture also has published interviews with authors such as Tom Perotta and Luis Alberto Urrea.

One great thing about new online reviews like Used Furniture is their potential. For example, they’re taking ideas for columns. If were a young literary whippersnapper, I’d submit an idea.

So buy some used furniture for God’s sake. My experience is that most used furniture is better than the new stuff, if only because it has more character.

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