wet asphalt

The New Wet Asphalt

I'm both sad and somewhat relieved to say that Wet Asphalt is no longer a literary magazine published like a blog, or a literary blogazine. That idea was a good one, even an excellent one, but without much more time and money than I have at my disposal it was never able to be what what we wanted it to be. With my compatriot Quackenbush's contributions dwindling to nil and submissions at barely a trickle, the site increasingly became my own personal blog, which was unfortunate because I already had a personal blog. To complicate things, I increasingly have more and more venues to place reviews and literary essays (ironically, thanks mostly to this site), which has made it harder to decide what I should publish here and what I should save for other places. Also other projects, not to mention my various day-job commitments, continue to take up my time.

The conclusion I ultimately came to was that it only made sense to consolidate my efforts. Wet Asphalt is now my personal blog in name as well as practice. JF Quackenbush is welcome to use it as his personal blog as well. It will still have the kind of link lists and commentary it's had for the last few months, but it will also have personal musings and non-literary content previously reserved for EricRosenfield.com. It will no longer have my essays and reviews (except for very short form and/or personal rambling sorts of reviews), though if possible I will link to where those have been published on other sites. The result will be that this site will be updated much more frequently.

EricRosenfield.com will turn into a portal, with recent Wet Asphalt and Literate Machine posts, my Del.icio.us tags, and so on.

My Live Journal will go dark. I wasn't using it much anyway.

Wet Asphalt is dead. Long live Wet Asphalt.

I've been memed

Generally, I don't like Internet memes. They're usually annoying and pointless and when I see one on my LiveJournal friends list I usually scroll past it without reading.

That said, I've recently been Memed by LitKicks. The meme is to make a list of the first sentence of the first post on this site every month for the last year. Which actually seems like an interesting way to look at the year in Wet Asphalt. So in the interest of that and of being a good sport, here we go:

January 2007: "Wet Asphalt is officially on hiatus until March 1st."

Well, that takes care of February too.

March 2007: "I am an ignoramus." From "The Future of the Fantastic: New Wave Slipstream Fabulism" by Me.

Good to know.

April 2007: "I contacted Kelly Link both about my various articles about her work and the first Future of the Fantastic article." From "Kelly Link responds to the Future of the Fantastic" by Kelly Link and Me.

May 2007: "Bad criticism is more boring to write than it is to read and I don't know why people would do it." From "The World's Shortest Critical Manifesto" by JF Quackenbush.

June 2007: "A light bulb salesman fell in love with a duck." From "The Duck" by Benjamin Rosenbaum.

July 2007: "Reader J. Newton Wilcox writes us:" From "LeGuin Calls out Slate" by J. Newton Wilcox.

August 2007: "Wet Asphalt is on hiatus for the month of August."

Clearly running the site is hard work.

September 2007: "When I started this website, it was with the idea that there would be many people working on it, and with the hope that we would get many submissions, this on the strength of the initial essays stating our position, and certain vague promises." From "Status" by me.

And here I give in and the site becomes more bloggy...

October 2007: "James Wood, I think, is in his element talking about Philip Roth." From Friday Round-Up" by me.

November 2007: "There's a fascinating article at The Arts Fuse about critic Edmund Wilson, which posits Wilson as the ideal blogger." From Friday Round-Up.

December 2007: "Today was day one of the New York Independent and Small Press Book Fair." From Report from the New York Independent Book Fair Day 1.

And there you have it, one year of first sentences in Wet Asphalt. Normally at the end of one of these things you tag some other people who then have to perform the meme as well. I am merciful, and will not do this.


When I started this website, it was with the idea that there would be many people working on it, and with the hope that we would get many submissions, this on the strength of the initial essays stating our position, and certain vague promises. I probably should have known better; during our last project, YankTheChain.com, I often had to write all the material for months on end, without a submission or collaborator in sight.

By "us" I mean myself and Jay Quackenbush, my partner in crime for both that site and this one. However, while Jay continues to review (the few) poetry submissions that come in, his own submissions have dwindled to nothing. Once I got the idea to ask people for reprints, we were able to put up quite a lot of great work that I think hadn't gotten the exposure it deserved the first time around, and that was wonderful. However, there's only so much writing for Wet Asphalt I can do, so many books I can read that might make for interesting reviews, so much reading I can do of material which may turn up something good to reprint, in addition to working full time and daily writing fiction and, you know, having a life. Frankly, I look at guys like Ed Champion and Daniel Green and I wonder how they do it.

I was going to just shut Wet Asphalt down. Concentrate on fiction. But I've reconsidered. I like Wet Asphalt, I think I need this little soap box. But I think that the site is going to become a little less of the literary magazine published like a blog we originally envisioned and a little more of the straight-up blog. Shorter posts. More links. But still some articles and reprints and original work as we get it.

I'm also going to start a new project next month which will help channel and focus some of my energies. But more on that later.

At any rate, the best way to read this site continues to be by using a Feed Reader. To all of you who are still reading after irregular updates and abrupt hiatuses (hiatii?), thank you.


Wet Asphalt is on hiatus for the month of August. Keep your blog readers peeled.

Coming soon...

Coming soon to Wet Asphalt, we've got criticism by Tom Bissell, the man we once called the best critic around, which excites us to no end. Also, fiction by Brian Evenson and Pamela Sargent! Stay tuned.


Wet Asphalt is officially on hiatus until March 1st. Until then submit your essays, reviews, fiction and poetry to us.

Anonymous Comments

We've made it so that people can post comments anonymously, but anonymous comments go directly into a moderation queue, while registered users can post comments directly. This is because the last time we allowed anonymous comments without moderation, we were innundated with spam comments. I'm sorry that a few spam robots make things more difficult for everybody, but there you are.

Anonymous Comments

As an experiment, we are making it so that people can post comments without having an account. As we mentioned, we've had problems with vandals and spammers in past projects. So if we start to see any of that, anonymous posting goes away again. Otherwise, enjoy.

Note: Like Slashdot, if you do post without registering, your name will come up as Anonymous, so you can put whatever name you want at the bottom of your post. If we see a lot of people doing this, we can modify the code so that it lets you put your own name in there, even if you're posting anonymously. We'll see.

Slow Down

I know there hasn't been an article this week, including Reading Versus Watching. I'm moving and JF Quackenbush is busy at work, so I think there's going to be a significant slow down until at least the end of the month.

Keep your RSS readers peeled, though...


Reading Versus Watching this week is being pushed to Wednesday because it is long and involved and brilliant and needs editing. However, we do have something else planned for you all today.