November 8, 2010

The Incongruous Quarterly

Have you guys heard about the Incongruous Quarterly? Its tag-line is publishing the unpublishable, which initially made me nervous until I found out that "unpublishable" might just mean too long or too short or too weird or too raunchy or too...something. It is still their mandate to publish good writing.

The first issue is available online here.

The deadline has now passed for the issue I'm guest-editing (fiction), but there will be other calls for submissions coming up with other guest editors. Submit! It is online-only, but this is a reflection of budget, not quality.

The way that I got involved is a story that makes me happy: last December I'd shown up at one of Sherwin Tija's wonderfully strange events: the Arcade Choir. From the event description:
Forty singers stand in the middle of a room. They are not professional singers, though some of them might be. They all have iPods, and on every single one of those iPods is the Arcade Fire album “Funeral”. At a signal, they all press play and, the album loud in their ears, start to sing the opening strains of the first song of the album.
Now this singing won’t be very pretty. They’re singing not only the words, but the instruments as well. People are encouraged to hum, howl, beatbox, make any noise that will translate the songs to the audience better.
Not everyone will know all the words. The people in the choir will have listened to the album plenty of times, but not very carefully. They know how the song goes, but won’t necessarily know the lyrics. Or know them correctly.
Because the music in their ears is so loud, they won’t be able to hear themselves, their neighbours, or the sound of all of them collectively. This might result in some very bad singing, but the choir is encouraged to sing their hearts out, the way one does when you’re in the shower and only singing for the joy of it.
I showed up alone, a little apprehensive, but too excited about the event to skip it. I love that album. And singing. So I went in.

I met two other women who had showed up alone -- and both of them were writers, too. (Writers: a curious and fearless bunch.) And one of them was E., IQ's co-founder and editor-in-chief.

Me: striped and singing.
It quickly became evident that it was a lot more entertaining for the singers than the audience (who all dashed out at the first opportunity). But it was really fun and funny (Sherwin recorded is the strangest thing ever) and highly unique. I was glad I went -- even more so when E. approached me to get involved with the quarterly. You never know where or how you might meet someone and where that might take you. This is the thing that coaxes me out of the house on those nights when I'm feeling especially introverted or guilt-plagued about being behind with my writing.

No comments: