I’m pretty much ready to go — the Phase 1 contents of Ficticities are taken down, the new categories are set up, the first questionnaire is written and formatted for data collection, the procedure for populating the site with content clearly specified. So why do I hesitate in launching Phase 2? Why don’t I want to get started with finding and reading those short fictions, excerpting them into virtual flânerie posts, luring writers to the site, encouraging them to fill out the surveys, amassing findings about whether fiction writers could and would want to join forces in a syndicated publishing house?
For one thing, I don’t much like reading short stories. I admire them I suppose, but most seem concerned with people and their relationships, with something happening to those people that moves the narrative along on a forward trajectory. I.e., I don’t like most short stories because they’re stories.
The idea is to find writers of short fictions, then see whether they’d like to write long fictions together. But what if the short story writers just want to write long stories, or several short stories linked and intertwined and segued together? I probably wouldn’t want to read those long fictions either.
Phase 1 of Ficticities was a kind of long fiction, with the sequence of blog posts constituting an incremental layout of design specs for an organization that doesn’t exist. I have to acknowledge that the organization I imagined is more intriguing to me than any actual organization is likely to be. Just give it another quarter-turn toward the unlikely and the absurd… Fictional organization design — it’s like fictional architecture, fictional cartography.
For Phase 2, I find myself more interested in the architecture and layout of the fictional City than with the fictional excerpts I’d find for populating it. I’d rather populate the City with my own excerpts, even if there are no larger works from which the excerpts are excerpted. I’m also interested in the surveys, not so much as means of gathering data but as formatted prose poems. The City would be populated by short fictions that aren’t stories; the City would in the aggregate be a long fiction that isn’t a story.
But if I write the City it’s likely to have a population of 1, with no tourists.
So I’m waffling.