Interview with MetaKnight

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With his first ebook about to ‘drop’ on monday, I talk to MetaKnight about his controversial self promotion techniques and his motivations as a writer.
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How do you feel about the ‘muumuu house to publish ‘School’ publicity stunt, this many months on? Do you feel like it achieved what it was designed to achieve and could you outline exactly what that was?

Hmm..maybe I’m deluded, but I honestly thought I could get “muumuu house” to publish it, at least online. Muumuu House / Tao says they don’t accept unsolicited stuff, but it seems like Marie Calloway sent him unsolicited stuff, & then he published it, & then she got famous for it, so I was like, “Why can’t I just try to do that.” I don’t know if it was really designed to achieve anything else to begin with. I feel like it was harmless. But then ppl took it rlly seriously. I kind of just rolled with it, because I think it’s funny / dumb how much ppl care about what Tao Lin thinks. I mean I think Tao’s a good writer, but ppl really seem to care about what he “thinks”;like, what books he likes, what music he likes, the way he draws. the amount of ppl I see parrott his “no good / bad” in art bullshit aesthetics is…depressing. It’s like watching kids in high school decide a certain brand of clothes is cool, & then next week everyone is wearing those clothes, except with an aesthetic theory instead of clothes.

Idk. I feel like, at this point, if ppl want to say it was gimmicky or annoying that I emailed a guy about a book, I don’t care. I feel like I’m not naive about the amount of marketing & “bullshitting” it takes to get ppl to pay attention to you online, for better or for worse. Ppl who think you can just be a great writer and post something online and be randomly “discovered” without promoting yourself at all are maybe more noble than I am but I think they are maybe more naive than I am. Hate the game not the player etc.

At the end of the email you say you might contact Tao in 2014. Do you still intend to do that?

Ya.

You’re also putting out poems by number, from 1 to 100 (I seem to remember this from somewhere, the limit being 100) Can you tell me a little about that project and what the aim of that is?

I started the 100 poems on a whim one day. That’s about it. It was pretty arbitrary. Poetry seems more popular than fiction online, or in “alt lit,” like on Tumblr, probably because it’s shorter & we have shorter attention spans now. So I didn’t want to be left out of the poetry game, I guess. Idk. I like poetry because it’s more random / less structured than fiction, & you can kinda just spill thoughts out. It’s liberating, I think, to me, coming from a fiction-heavy background.

You also run the tumblr page altlitpress.tumblr.com. tell me your motivation for starting up altlitpress and why you chose to make it look so similar to those other (I AM/AM NOT ALT LIT) blogs?

Yeah. hmmm. Trying to think how to answer this without “shit talking” the other alt lit blogs out there. I think…a lot of the other alt lit blogs are kind of “cliquey”, & don’t really publish ppl who aren’t their “friends”, & I wanted to start something that wouldn’t be as “cliquey” & “insular”, if that makes sense.

What was your personal impetus for writing ‘School’? What are the ‘main’ themes?

I was really depressed in school & needed a way to vent so basically wrote about characters who were “me”, more or less. Idk. I was taking classes for “creative writing.” A lot of these stories were from those classes. The themes…idk how heavy-handed I want to sound in describing them…but they are pretty heavy-handed , I guess, like big Philosophical themes. I have a folder on my computer that outlines the themes that says, “Cosmos,” “Identity,” “Beauty,” “Existence,” “Determinism / Free Will,” “Knowledge,” “Nothingness”. Whether these themes come across to ppl.. I guess doesn’t really matter, as long as they enjoy the stories or whatever.

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