Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Joshua Martin : on Collective '22






C22 grew out of a series of conversations Nathan Anderson and I were having in the middle of 2022. Nathan and I had been following each other’s work in various publications for quite some time, so it was inevitable we would eventually reach out to each other and form a relationship. Our writings, methods, and interests overlap so greatly that it seemed obvious for us to work on something together. We discovered that we both had a large backlog of work we wanted to see the light of day without having to go through the submission process every single time. Additionally, we came to the conclusion that much of this work would be difficult to find a home for (even though there are many, many great publications out there willing to take chances on our work) because of its extreme experimental and decidedly non-commercial nature. In the end, we just wanted a space to not only release but to help promote our works, so we figured that by pooling our efforts we might be able to reach a slightly larger audience than we could on our own, as well as playing off each other’s strengths and sharing the workload. From this, C22 was born.

Once we decided we wanted to go forward with this venture, we knew we wanted to bring a few more writers into the fold, though at the same time keeping everything small and manageable. We’d both recently discovered Lachlan’s work (Lachlan J McDougall) and I know I for one immediately responded to it, as well as his methods and overall ethos. He quickly became one of my favorite new writers, so we knew he’d be a great addition to C22. Vernon (Vernon Frazer) was someone whose work I had admired since the moment I discovered it. I think for both Nathan and myself, his work has been a huge influence. When Nathan said he knew Vernon and that he might be interested in joining, I was more than enthused. I couldn’t think of anyone better.

C22 (short for Collective ’22) is really, as the name says, a collective more than a press. Our aim has always been to strictly focus on the works of the four members. Our press only releases books from Nathan, Lachlan, Vernon, and myself and is never open for submissions. We all realized early on that we don’t have the stomach, time, or inclination for going through submissions. It’s a great thing that there are so many wonderful people out there who can do it, but we are not in that camp. Our goal has always been to remain small and focused. Between the four of us, there’s always more than enough work to publish.

At this point, we’ve release book length works from all four members (23 Photographs: A Book of Death by Lachlan, The Screaming Paper by Nathan, Dance of Resistance Brainwaves by Joshua, and Memo from Alamut by Vernon). We followed a somewhat strict publishing schedule for the first year of our existence (officially announcing ourselves around July 2022) of one book every two months, but going forward our publishing schedule will probably be a bit looser, operating on a book-by-book basis, though with still plenty of great new full-lengths books in works for 2023.

Nathan, Vernon, and Lachlan offer their books as free PDFs available on our website (https://c22press.wordpress.com/books/). This is in keeping with the ethos of C22, which is completely non-commercial. We are not in it for the money. Additionally, most of us gladly send out free copies of our books to friends and fellow authors. It’s more about sharing and getting the work into the hands of the people who would most appreciate it than trying to become anything close to a legitimate, moneymaking entity.

While C22 Press is focused solely on member’s books, we have also created several other projects that allow for collaboration with writers outside the core collective who are friends and other writers in the community we admire. This has included our zine, eYeland (https://c22press.wordpress.com/2022/09/08/eyeland-zine/), the first issue of which was released in September 2022. eYeland was made completely by hand using a lo-fi underground zine aesthetic featuring a variety of experimental written and visual work from invited writers. eYeland, like all our projects, is invite only. The zine is available for free and, as of now, only as a print copy, to further emphasize the underground/zine characteristics of the issue. There will hopefully be a second and perhaps even third issue of the zine later this year, though we are not working on any kind of schedule so it will happen as time, inspiration, and inclination allow.

One of our biggest endeavors, launched at the beginning of 2023, is C22 Open Editions (https://c22press.wordpress.com/open-editions/). Open Editions is a chapbook series in which every book is freely available for download on our website with an option to buy a print version made available by the author with any royalties going straight to them and not to C22. This series has allowed us to share more work more quickly and simply so that anyone can have access at any time with no commercial expectation at all. We’ve already released seven titles with several more either ready to go or in the works. Open Editions has also allowed us to invite (again, invite only) more outside writers in to contribute to the series. We encourage the most experimental works the authors have or want to make with absolutely no constraints. Open Editions is, again, about having a place to share the craziest and most esoteric work we can find. So far, in addition to great work from our members, we’ve released Hotel Eternity by Rus Khomutoff (our first release from a non-member). Coming later in the year, we’ll be releasing chapbooks from Andrew Cyril Macdonald and Ric Carfagna, as well as several others that are currently in the works.

C22 plans to keep plugging away releasing a wide variety of experimental projects. We’re preparing new full-length works from our members, as well as working with friends to build the Open Editions roster. Hopefully, further issues of eYeland will appear. We continue to expand our network and reach as many people as possible who are interested in exploring the outer realms of literature. Several of our members also create handmade works which they offer for free through the mail. C22 remains committed to the literary underground. Art for art’s sake. We hope to be a part of and help foster a community of outsiders, weirdos, literary oddballs, and others who are interested in literature not as a fad or a commodity, but as an art, an experiment, as an ever-growing and expanding method for challenging the assumptions of our consumerist, greedy, materialistic culture.

You can learn more, follow us, join our mailing list, read, contact, etc. at https://c22press.wordpress.com/





Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is member of C22, an experimental writing collective. He is the author most recently of the books Dance of Resistance Brainwaves (C22 Press), SCHISMS (C22 Press Open Editions), laminated tongue in aspic (Alien Buddha Press) and automatic message (Free Lines Press). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, Synapse, Version (9), Don’t Submit!, BlazeVOX, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and experiential-experimental-literature. You can find links to his published work at joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com

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