David Porush is the author of Rope Dances (FC2). He was awarded the Boit Manuscript Prize for his novella Cinema and a Boit Short Story Prize for “Imperial Place.” He earned his PhD from the University of Buffalo, and while there he founded The Buffalo Writers Project, a group which sponsored readings and workshops in fiction and poetry.
FC2: How did you first learn about FC2?
David Porush: First of all, this harks back to the Fiction Collective (I guess we could call it FC1). It was spring of 1976 and my mentor, Ray Federman, urged me to send in a collection of stories I showed him one day. He showed the collection to Ron Sukenick who also encouraged me to submit it to the Fiction Collective.
FC2: Tell us about Rope Dances.
David Porush: I wrote the first story when I was 19, the last when I was 23 and it shows… but the beauty of being semi-conscious when you write is that the coherence of the libido and hallucinatory life takes over. I also wrote under the spell of a “school” of pomo authors–Barthelme, Barth, Coover, Calvino, Pynchon, and Federman–which helped frame and structure what were otherwise inchoate dreamscapes.
Fc2: FC2’s mission statement says, “The Fiction Collective Two is devoted to publishing fiction considered by America’s largest publishers too challenging, innovative, or heterodox for the commercial milieu.” Will you elaborate on what it means to write challenging, innovative, and heterodox fiction in 2012?
David Porush: The cliche back then was that the capacity to innovate fiction was just about exhausted. Today’s generation of FC2 authors show how wrong that was. The continuous re-vitalization of fiction from FC2 seems to come from the tension between fiction and the technosphere, both explicitly (Matt Roberson’s 1998.6, Rosalyn Drexler’s Art Does Not Exist) and implicitly (too many works to single out). In a world of personal spaces over-illuminated by the bright light of the Web, those dark corners that only words on a page can circumscribe are ever-more precious, and the authors who seek them out and circumscribe them successfully seem to be impelled by courage and necessity. FC2 is still in the business of enlarging the domain of the human.
FC2: Steve Katz has written that the Fiction Collective began with the desire to “make a literature.” What does that phrase mean to you?
David Porush: Not sure, but at the risk of re-inscribing Steve’s words, I’d say the Fiction Collective began with a desire to ensure the survival of a literature by innovating anything possible.