Howdy! Taking a break from writing my syllabus to take a break from writing my syllabus, so I have a couple of minutes to Tell You The Good News About Indie Lit! Seriously, I've only been a consistently active participant in the scene for about a year and a half, and already the questions--online vs. print, micro vs. macro--seem old and non-productive sometimes, like going to a big family picnic where they find out you're an English professor and you get all those loud question-attacks from Uncles who are proud to be ignorant. Crimey/Noiry/Southerny fiction writer and reviewer Art Taylor gets it (for reasons a light cyber-stalking will reveal), and he is enthusiastically in the business of explaining it to diverse and curious populations, reminding me that my presence at the picnic might be useful after all. Art is in the process of putting together a brief piece for the George Mason community about new fiction, for which he has interviewed Mason alums (Me, Scott Garson, and Tara Laskowski).
Of course, these days I don't need to explain much to my advanced fiction writing students about what's going on, and the unit descriptions in my syllabus are really for the salary committee more than anyone else.
Here's an inappropriate answer I gave to one of Art's questions about writing big and small (I'm pretty sure I stole the image, but from where? And DE, did I use this gag at the conf panel?): Think about seeing a clown in an emergency room with a BBQ fork in his thigh. That's one narrative experience, about the observer's immediacy. Now think about that clown as an abused child who grew up to flunk out of the police academy and has just discovered he has "feelings" for his best friend. That's an entirely different narrative experience, using the exact same base material. Oh, and neither one is poetry.