David McLendon is a writer and editor based in Ann Arbor by way of Park Slope, Brooklyn. His writing and editing career spans three decades, having studied under Gordon Lish and founding Unsaid literary magazine. His publication has put out pieces by a who’s who of contemporary writers, including Brian Evenson, Padgett Powell, Ottessa Moshfegh, Gary Lutz, Michael Kimball, Will Eno, Ann Carson, Joseph Wojtowicz, and Russel Persson. He is an inspiration and a friend. I caught up with him and colleague Jeff Honeyman at Old Town Tavern and proceeded to get particularly intoxicated. This interview was edited after the fact.
MILES LARSON – How do you write?
DAVID MCLENDON – What do you mean how do I write?
MILES LARSON – The creative process: what do you think about when you write?
DAVID MCLENDON – How do I compose? What do I think about before I compose a sentence? It never works that way. The thinking part. I’ve tried to do that. It never works that way. The sitting at the desk part. The coffee on my desk and the birds outside my window. The way it happens is this way: a phrase will hit me when I’m walking down the street and I’ll think about that phrase. I might overhear something that someone says incorrectly, but in an interesting way. I don’t know, I usually just hear somebody say something fucked up or something just comes to my head and I try to go with it, and that’s it. But each sentence after the first one needs to echo that first sentence. That’s important. Anytime I sit down and say “I’m going to write,” it never works. Never. Never ever ever. And it’s very frustrating because it’s what you want to be able to do. It’s what you want most. If you want to do a job, if you want to paint a painting, if you want to take a picture, if you want to go out and shoot some shots of a tree, or a person, you can go do it. But writing is not a camera. It’s not even a gun. It’s very frustrating.
MILES LARSON – Because you’re literally making something from nothing.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes, and there’s also a kind of obsessive nature to it. I think a lot about acoustics when I write. I don’t think about story at all. Or, at most, in a vague sense, like if I imagine a jar with a few coins in it. I’m picturing a guy shaking a jar with a few coins in it, but as far as telling a story, “this guy’s name is Arthur and he’s standing on Ashley and Liberty” You know, all this information? I never go there. Never. Never ever ever. I try to stay as far away from information as I can. I want the writing to hit you more like a song does. You hear what I’m saying? There are notes that can make your heart do something that feels like “Aw, fuck man.” That, “Aw, fuck man” kind of feeling. You know? A Minor comes to mind. Music by far is the most powerful art. I don’t think any of us would argue against that.
JEFF HONEYMAN – Yeah it doesn’t give you facts, it gives you truth.
DAVID MCLENDON – Exactly. Sensation. It gives you feeling. It doesn’t give you fucking information.
MILES LARSON – Solid emotion, pure emotion.
DAVID MCLENDON – Like Honeyman said too: Truth. There’s a huge difference between ‘fact’ and ‘truth’. Huge difference.
MILES LARSON – This is true. [laughter] I remember you saying that writing as an artform is purely infinite, there are no limitations whatsoever.
DAVID MCLENDON – There aren’t.
MILES LARSON – Do you ever find yourself applying limitations to yourself in spite of that?
DAVID MCLENDON – Well, the infinite ways one can create has a lot to do with limitations. Limitations are very important. And I think also in our so-called “real” life we have limitations. Like the thing you might think is your biggest weakness, the biggest thing holding you back from the world is actually, in art, the strongest thing you have. And I also feel that applying limitations to whatever kind of art you create can be effective. I was just speaking with somebody the other day about–do you know this Perec book? Perec decided to write an entire novel without using the letter ‘e’. Well, the crazier thing is that book was translated into English. Somebody had to translate it into English. Without an instance of “e.”
MILES LARSON – What was the original language?
DAVID MCLENDON – French.
MILES LARSON – What the fuck. I knew the book existed but I didn’t know it was translated.
DAVID MCLENDON – So I have more respect, or almost more respect, for the translator than for Perec.
MILES LARSON – Jesus, that’s insane man. People are crazy.
DAVID MCLENDON – So that was a limitation. Or is that being weird just to be weird? I don’t know. I tried to write a piece a few years ago without using articles. So there was no ‘the’, there was no ‘a’. A few friends of mine read it, really good readers, and it really annoyed them. They were like “it seems like you’re trying to do this”. So you want to do something that doesn’t seem like you’re insincere.
MILES LARSON – Make things seem effortless.
DAVID MCLENDON – You want it to be honest. You don’t want to say “here’s my little trick, I’m not putting an ‘e’ in any of this, I’m not putting any articles in any of this”.
MILES LARSON – It turns into a gimmick at that point.
DAVID MCLENDON – Exactly. It becomes a gimmick. What one must do is utilize his or her limitations. Limitations that may appear very subtle to others, but very strong to yourself. You see them on the page, you know what you’re doing, but somebody else might read it and not see it at all. You make rules for yourself and you really stick to them, or not. Especially if you’re trying to write a book-length manuscript – you’ll get to a point where you’re like “Fuck it, man. I got seventy-five pages using this rule and now I want to break my own rule.” As long as the book continues to unhinge itself from one sentence to the next, as long as it sticks to where it began in one form or another, always moving forward. It’s tough though, man. It’s hard work.
MILES LARSON – That’s the message I got from the Tao Te Ching; to do without doing, make things seem effortless, just put them out there.
DAVID MCLENDON – Well, it can be a lot of work to make something seem effortless. I’m speaking specifically about writing. Like, “I read this book and it just flowed so well and it’s very strange, very strong, very original and I read it in one night and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever read”–but how long did it take the writer to make that happen? They were probably pulling their hair out for years to make it seamless. I don’t know. It’s fucking tough.
MILES LARSON – Do you ever feel like you’ve hit a peak?
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes. Definitely.
MILES LARSON – Like things are as good as they’re gonna get?
DAVID MCLENDON – No, I don’t think one should ever think that. I think you should always strive to make the next one even more fucked up in a good way than the last one. But honestly, and this isn’t me trying to sell myself to anybody or anything, but I think now is my peak. I’ve started working on something new, Jeff’s read some of it. I used to sit in a room for an hour looking at one sentence and not getting anywhere. So now I’m just writing these things late at night, sending them to a few friends, and then the next morning I edit them. But I get it out there, immediately, to a few pals, because if I don’t do that, I go to bed with one sentence that’s going to go nowhere. I’m too obsessive, so I’ll never get anything done unless I’m doing it the way I’m doing it now.
MILES LARSON – I remember you recently showing me “Penumbra” and I later found out you had actually written that a long time ago and just kept editing it for years.
DAVID MCLENDON – At some point you must say, “This is it. It’s done.” You can get too close to it, and revise and edit it away from itself, from the place where it’s really good, and displace it to a place where it’s bad. You can actually revise something and make it worse. I know I’ve done that with my own pages. Modesty aside, I’m a really good editor of other people’s work, but I’m too close to my own work and I’ve definitely made stories that I’ve written worse by obsessing over them. So now I’m just trying to write fast, but I have to be in the right frame of mind.
MILES LARSON – Crank it out.
DAVID MCLENDON – But not without attention. I don’t want it to sound like a reckless activity because it isn’t. I’m very focused on what I’m doing.
MILES LARSON – Not over-thinking everything.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yeah, that’s a good point: over-thinking. Think about the word ‘thinking’ and the word ‘attention’. I think it is very important to be attentive but a lot of being attentive in writing, I think, is being intuitive, which is something different than thinking. It’s more about feeling. You just kind of feel something and you go with it. For instance, say I like the sound of a word, and I feel that there are others sounds I can pull from it, as when I use a word that ends with the characters O U G H and then the next sentence I use another word that ends with the characters O U G H, but the two words don’t rhyme. There’s that subtle thing in there that the reader doesn’t even notice. Because there is a repetition: their eyes are seeing O U G H, but they’re seeing the word ‘through’ and they’re seeing the word ‘rough’ in the next sentence. That sounds like over-analyzing the reading experience, but our eyes do take all that in.
MILES LARSON – A word is a symbol in itself.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes, you don’t have to rhyme, you don’t have to use alliteration. I like alliteration, I also like dissonance. I like the sense of a serious composition that comes across as recklessness. Like with painting, Francis Bacon or Jackson Pollack. I prefer Bacon. I like Pollack, too, don’t get me wrong, but while he sloshed on the paint Bacon would do an actual image and in the end he would just say, “Fuck it” and throw on an intentional mistake that he said made the painting perfect. I love Bacon. You ever look at his paintings?
JEFF HONEYMAN – Yeah that final chaotic splash of paint? Do you think that’s a mindful targeted piece of work or does he let it fly to the wind?
DAVID MCLENDON – He said he let it fly to the wind. He said he just took it and threw it on there. There’s no doubt that chance, accident, these things are in the real world, so why not make them part of art, too?
MILES LARSON – Serendipity of life. When I take pictures, I often don’t even think about it. It’s second nature, I just let it go and when it looks right it looks right.
DAVID MCLENDON – Let me ask you this: Let’s say you’re hired to do a wedding. And as you’re looking through your lens at the bride and groom, over to the left of your lens you see a woman, probably the maid of honor, and she has something wadded, crumpled in her hand. And your job is to take photographs of the bride and the groom, but I really believe that the strongest things in art are things seen in the periphery. So if I had a job photographing a couple, I would photograph the couple, but if I saw the maid of honor off to the side leaning against a tree with something crumpled in her hand, I would take a moment to move the camera that way and do a close-up of her hand and try to capture that holding pattern of her hand holding something that’s wadded inside it and crumpled. Do you pay attention to the periphery?
MILES LARSON – Yes, it’s a unique image that will only happen at that one time.
DAVID MCLENDON – And she’s not smiling for the camera.
MILES LARSON – It’s a story.
DAVID MCLENDON – She thinks she’s off the camera and the same thing happens with writing. The things you see and feel and hear in life, some of the best ones are always off to the side, where what is heard is only partially heard. There’s always a little confusion in it, that’s what makes it great. The mystery, I don’t want things to be explained to me. I’m not reading a novel for instructions. I’m reading a novel for sensation.
MILES LARSON – Feeling, emotion.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes and no. Definitely ‘feeling’. Not to bring up Francis Bacon again, but he didn’t want to paint a mouth screaming. He wanted to paint the scream. The actual thing coming out of the mouth. The sensation of a scream. You can’t do that, but he came pretty damn close. Did you ever read those interviews with him? There’s a book of interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester. You should look it up, it’s really really good.
MILES LARSON – So we are both Southern boys who left. Did your perception of North Carolina change after you left and did you feel a degree of culture shock when you went to New York and then California?
DAVID MCLENDON – It’s the other way around. I went to California, then New York. It’s strange. Yes and no. When I moved to California, it was the first time I listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd in a way that I could enjoy it. [laughter] It was the first time that I read William Faulkner seriously, it was the first time I read Barry Hannah. I got a little homesick. I was young and kind of full of myself because I had read a lot. But then when I got out to California, there was a lot about the South that I missed. It’s where fucking John Coltrane came from. He was born just down the road from where I grew up. I always like going back down South, I was down South in June and I really liked hanging out with my brother and my sister and my mom and dad. It was cool. I’m going out for a smoke.
DAVID MCLENDON – So do you have another question?
MILES LARSON – I lost my notes. I had notes. Sorry I’m fucked up at this point.
JEFF HONEYMAN – Nice.
MILES LARSON – This is my W-2 form.
JEFF HONEYMAN – That’s what I hate about Winter, suddenly I have 18 pockets. And I never needed these pockets.
DAVID MCLENDON – I love that about Winter. I need pockets in summer that I don’t have.
MILES LARSON – So you are known for having started Unsaid. But You did something before that called Failbetter in collaboration with Thom Didato. What was the nature of that falling-out you had over the Henehan piece? It seems like it would have been a big shakeup.
DAVID MCLENDON – Me and Thom are still very close friends. Basically what happened from the very beginning was that I had a reading series called Failbetter and Thom wanted to do something online and that is really the gist of it. He would come to the reading series and we had people like Sam Lipsyte, Gary Lutz, Gordon Lish, Jack Gilbert; you know, heavy hitters, and it was always filled to capacity. And Thom wanted to do something online and at the time I was very anti-online, but he loved the name and I think he wanted to use the name, and he knew that I was a decent reader and editor at the time and we worked together at a bookstore so I said, “Sure, let’s try it out”. Failbetter did really well. After the first couple of issues, it just became what it became. It’s a great literary website. There were some pages by Kira Henehan that I loved and I wanted to post them. But Thom and I agreed from the very beginning that, if one of us said ‘No’, that was it. And he said ‘No’ to the Henehan pages. And that was fine, that was the agreement we had, I wasn’t upset with Thom, but I wanted people to see the Henehan pages. It was a piece called “Via Fondazza: A Still Life.” So that’s when I started thinking about Unsaid. I went home and thought about it and told Thom that I needed to leave Failbetter. I was going to write and start a literary journal of my own that would be somewhat more subversive than Failbetter.
MILES LARSON – Something you had more control over.
DAVID MCLENDON – It was never about control. It was about content. I wanted us to be more innovative. Failbetter has great writers, but it became a more traditional website. I wanted to do something with paper, a print journal, and work with writers who were willing to wager a lot with their writing. Wager all.
MILES LARSON – Failbetter was never a print format?
DAVID MCLENDON – No, never. Actually, they might have done an anthology, but not on a regular basis. But I wanted to do a paper journal with writing that was marginal and new and lasting. I always use that phrase, because that’s exactly what I want. Something that sounds very new, but is also going to be new ten, twenty, fifty years from now. New and lasting. And Kira Henehan is definitely a new and lasting writer. I think she’s living in New Orleans with a lemon tree in her back yard.
MILES LARSON – That’s beautiful.
DAVID MCLENDON – I haven’t been in touch with her in a long time. I hope she’s writing.
MILES LARSON – Logistically, how did you start Unsaid?
DAVID MCLENDON – Luckily, some of the strongest writers of my generation were in class with me when I studied with Gordon Lish. So these were pals of mine, and I was working with this brilliant man at a bookstore: he was a philosophy teacher at Pratt, but he wanted a job at a bookstore just to be closer to the public. He’s a great guy, his name is Robert Richardson. And his brother Daniel is a graphic designer. So I tell Robert that I want to start a literary journal, that I don’t know where to begin, and he tells me his brother is a graphic designer. So that happened, Dan and I started working together, and then I missed rent for a couple of months. And I’m not trying to romanticize this. At all. This is true. Once we got the issue together, I skipped rent for a couple of months so I could pay for it. And the landlord was threatening to kick me out. But by skipping rent for a couple of months, I was able to release the first issue of Unsaid. Kind of did the same thing for the second one. And then with the third one I got a publisher: my friend Archie O’Connor, who went to Community High here in Ann Arbor. Grew up in Ann Arbor. We became roommates in Brooklyn and when he saw Unsaid he wanted to be a part of it. So he became the publisher, and funded the next few issues. He was thriving in the technology industry, and the costs for printing were not a liability. Great business partner, great showboater. At the bars, when we did readings, he would tip the bartender $100. It was great. Then I moved out here, and Nicola Rooney of Nicola’s Books helped out on one issue, and then the next issue my friend Michele and some friends of mine from New York threw down some money.
MILES LARSON – What about this novel you’re putting out?
DAVID MCLENDON – We’re trying to put out the debut novel by Russel Persson, The Way of Florida, which will be published even if not by Unsaid. He’s got a publisher in England. If we can’t raise the money, they will distribute it in America. But I want to put it out. I’ve been attached to that book for no less than three and a half years and I think it’s a very very very important book. Gordon Lish, Brian Evenson, and Sam Lipsyte have endorsed it. It’s an amazing book. New and lasting.
MILES LARSON – The Gordon Lish one is the most over-the-top, intricate blurb I’ve ever seen.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes, and Sam Lipsyte just sent his in last night. This is an important book, and the next issue of Unsaidis going to be one of the best issues we’ve ever produced. It’s ready to go to the printers. We’re working on getting work from two more contributors. Maybe three. Very established writers. But it’s tough. I always feel like I live two lives because I struggle to get by in my personal day-to-day life, but somehow Unsaid always comes through. And I think it’s because of the caliber of writers that Unsaid publishes. It really is like a family. You were talking about peaking as a writer, I don’t think Unsaid has peaked. A few years ago, I think it was around Unsaid 5, I was corresponding with no less than twenty writers. Not about the writing, but as friends and it was really nice. And it splintered a little bit over the next two issues. After Unsaid 7, it’s been a year and a half since we put it out, I fell out of touch with some great people, so it’s time to put a new one out and we need funding to do this. And the money I’m talking about-it’s a lot of money to me- but in practical terms, it’s not that much money. Publicity can be free.
JEFF HONEYMAN – The contributors are pretty solid too, that’s publicity in its own right.
DAVID MCLENDON – Even the ones who are emerging, everyone in each of their families is going to buy a copy. Their boyfriend or girlfriend is going to buy a copy. Their friends are going to buy copies. If we do a reading in their hometown, everybody’s going to come to support them. I want to get it rolling again. And I’m hoping we can publish Persson’s book. For him, it’s a win-win situation. It’s getting published regardless. And that’s great. But I would love for Unsaid to do it and do a reading tour. And he wants to do it by hitting the road, driving across country, so we would need to fund him the gas money, that kind of stuff. For some people that we know, the money this would take would be a drop in the bucket. It’s just finding the right people who will support Unsaid.
MILES LARSON – You do know a lot of people though.
DAVID MCLENDON – I do, but I’m not good at fundraising. I’m not good at selling myself. I don’t wear suits. When the piece came out in Poets and Writers, a woman who I know around town saw it. She’s very rich and in the art scene here. So when she saw the piece about Unsaid in Poets and Writers, she approached me and said she couldn’t believe it. I said “Why couldn’t you believe it? I told you about Unsaid, we spent an afternoon talking about it” and she was like “I thought you were lying to me.” [laughter] Disheveled David, walking around Ann Arbor talking to himself.
MILES LARSON – Do you enjoy presenting that aspect of yourself?
DAVID MCLENDON – That’s just who I am. I think Unsaid presents itself very well. I’m not going to kiss someone’s ass just to get Unsaid published. I’m not going to wear a suit or change who I am. I mean, I know I’m disheveled. It’s who I am.
MILES LARSON – You’re a writer, you’re supposed to be disheveled.
DAVID MCLENDON – I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but I am disheveled and I’ve always been that way. I would rather work on sentences that writers send me than work on my appearance or the problem I have finding the pocket where my keys or my cigs or my lighter is tucked.
MILES LARSON – It’s about what you put out.
DAVID MCLENDON – Yes, and what I put into it. I would rather edit and I would rather write my own sentences than worry about how I’m look in the morning. Sure let’s admit it; I could clean it up a little bit. There’s no doubt about it, but I’m comfortable in this skin. Our culture, and this is something we might talk about at length, has become an image-centric society. Images are seen by many as much more important than words. We have Instagram, which I’m not against necessarily. I think it’s great for someone like you, a photographer, but our collective span of attention has dropped significantly since the inception of social media. I no longer have a so-called smart phone, I could have gotten a smart phone for the price of this brick I now own, but I chose to get this one because I don’t want to get distracted every five minutes. I was surprised when I had a smart phone to see how rapidly I was becoming one of those people who are always looking at their phone. It’s so easy to do it. It’s so easy. But I still have faith that there are still readers out there that want to read challenging, innovative fiction and I still feel there are writers out there who want to write interesting, attention-based fiction. And that’s what Unsaidhas been from day one and that’s what it’s going to continue to be. So we’ll see what happens next.
MILES LARSON – Do you think it’s going to get more chaotic as print media is on the wane?
DAVID MCLENDON – No. Strangely in the past few months, more attention has been given to Unsaid; online and in my personal life. People are writing me more, I’m getting more submissions, people are talking about Russel’s book. I’m really excited, I feel like this year could be the best year we’ve ever had. But I’m just going to call it like it is: We need funding.
MILES LARSON – How often do you get submissions?
DAVID MCLENDON – Every day.
MILES LARSON – How many do you reject?
DAVID MCLENDON – A lot. I usually get around 800 submissions per year. That’s the average.
MILES LARSON – Wow, what’s your criteria?
DAVID MCLENDON – I just tell the person to write like themselves and like nobody else. Nobody can be more like Miles Larson than Miles Larson. So do it. I’m not trying to debase anybody, but so many of these submissions I get are like “she was sitting alone at the corner of the bar”. First of all, what’s the corner of the bar? There are a lot of corners in a bar. That drives me crazy. “The corner”. There’s a corner, there’s a corner, there’s a corner, there’s a corner; if they’re gonna say that clichéd sentence, they might impress me if they at least said “she was sitting alone in a corner of the bar” not “the corner”! Tell me a bar that has one corner. I’d like to go there.
MILES LARSON – We should open that bar, call it The Olde Corner.
JEFF HONEYMAN – That’s like a fractal, I have no idea what that would be like.
DAVID MCLENDON – If it’s been done, it’s been done. I seek out writers who write what hasn’t been written. Or who at least strive for as much. For everything. Russell Persson. Gary Lutz. Pamela Ryder. Jason Schwartz. Michael Kimball. These are writers who hit the mark. They have each worked for years on their pages, and finally they are each being given some of the attention they have earned. The same can be said regarding the more established writers who have had work published in Unsaid– Ann Carson, for instance – I feel it’s a privilege to live in this world at the same time that she’s alive and to know her in some capacity. She’s my favorite living writer. And I know her on a very small level, we’re not pals, we don’t hang out, but I’ve published her and I’m going publish her in the next issue. It makes me very happy that I can put something out in the world where some kid in Kansas or Louisiana or New Hampshire or Oregon or anywhere else can read Unsaid and get turned onto Carson or Kubarycz or Persson or Kimball or Ryder or Schwartz or Lutz and the list goes on and on. Ottessa Moshfegh, who was nominated for the Man Booker Prize this year, sent her fiction to me back in 2003, and now her first collection of stories is being released. Unsaid was one of her first publishers. She’s still a really good friend of Unsaid. Part of the family.
MILES LARSON – Her Unsaid submissions were like demo tapes.
DAVID MCLENDON – That’s a good way to put it. People have their own paths. I wish her the best of luck, she’s a very talented writer, but I feel some of her stories that she published in Unsaid are some of her strongest. Let’s take a break.
//audio lost, because I’m wasted at this point and forgot to turn on the voice recorder//
DAVID MCLENDON – Theoretically, I could go into the Ann Arbor Museum and take the Giacometti sculpture they have there, and hold it for ransom, and just tell the City of Ann Arbor that all you have to do is pay more attention to art, give a fuck, perhaps walk down the street and notice what the fuck you’re looking at, perhaps smile, and I’ll give you your Giacometti back. I’ve wanted to take it for that reason for a couple years.
JEFF HONEYMAN – Don’t steal a Giacometti.
DAVID MCLENDON – I don’t want to steal it, I want to take it and hold it for ransom. This town, from what I hear from you guys who grew up here, I hear Ann Arbor used to actually be into the arts. So take a Giacometti from the museum, if that’s what it takes to bring attention back to the arts.
JEFF HONEYMAN – Ann Arbor was really cool in the 70’s, you had the Stooges and the MC5, John Sinclaire and shit coming through, they were riding the cultural revolution. So the Boomers kind of carried it and indeed Gen X kept the torch up in terms of making Ann Arbor cool in the 80’s and 90’s. But the Boomers got uncool and they have all the money and houses. So it’s hard for the Millennials in the post-9/11 era.
MILES LARSON – Ann Arbor’s always been a ritzy community though, with a different approach to ritziness over time.
DAVID MCLENDON – Well my thing about holding the Giacometti for ransom is that Ann Arbor treasures itself in a very elitist way: you have all these treasures and all this history, but now it’s just varnish. It looks good. It’s just like any gentrified city: the artists build it and then it becomes this elitist bullshit thing. So if you take this treasure, do you think anybody actually gives a fuck about Giacometti? Just having a Giacometti sculpture in Ann Arbor is a huge deal. It affected me. I moved here from New York and when my girlfriend and I walked into the museum and I saw it for the first time, I was like “Goddamn it’s Giacometti!”
MILES LARSON – Oh shit did they leave? They left half a beer over there.
JEFF HONEYMAN – Yeah grab it.
[David grabs and hands me unfinished beer just in time for the waitress to come by]
MILES LARSON – Hell yeah, fight the machine. How do people not finish their beer? I don’t understand. [the beer was good]
DAVID MCLENDON – It’s a donation to the arts.
MILES LARSON – Let’s go ahead and conclude the interview. What advice do you have for prospective young writers who might also want to start publications?
DAVID MCLENDON – It’s a labor of love. Don’t expect to make a lot of money. Don’t expect a lot of fame. If you want to court the marketplace, that’s a different story but if you want to be sincere and write from the heart, it’s a labor of love and you’re not going to make a lot of money off of it. That’s just it.
MILES LARSON – So expect to break even at best?
DAVID MCLENDON – Unsaid has done well, depending on the issue, we’ve made some money. The main thing is integrity. Don’t do it because you want to be popular. Do it because you’re alive in the world and you know that you’re gonna die one day and you want to write something that matters and you want to leave your brushstroke on the world. Whether you’re an editor or a young writer, just leave your brushstroke on the world because we’re all gonna die and that’s the bottom line. If you’re doing it to be prom queen or prom king, don’t do it. But if you feel like you have something that is exclusive to you, a feeling, a sensation that you want to leave with the world once you die, give it everything you’ve got. Give it all your heart. Here’s the thing, I know this is a wrap-up but I have to say this: the main thing to think about is nothing, NOTHING can save us. Because we’re mortal. We’re all gonna die. But if you can create this illusion through creativity, this will make you, while you are alive, durable, and this will keep you going. It will sustain you. It will sustain your heart. It will sustain your mind. And you will move forward. But the thing is, too many people today live inside social media, the man behind the curtain pulling all the levers, the flying monkeys and all the other distractions. Don’t be distracted by the media, or by entertainment. Go inside yourself and create something that you can give the world because when you hear these people talking about celebrity drama, they are just stepping away from their own lives, when they could be sitting at home creating something instead of being distracted by this bullshit that does not matter at all. We are like idol worshipers, we worship Hollywood and it’s bullshit because if you sit in a corner for a while, that corner could become the corner and that’s a good place to be because you can be with yourself, calm yourself, see yourself honestly, and create something. But know that this is not a popularity contest, this is not about making a lot of money, this is not about being a rockstar. It’s about love. It’s about loving yourself and giving that love to the world. And that’s it.