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Tragickal is the three of us: Clay, Yuno, and Joseph. We want to put rewarding work ahead of the cult of the author as elite journalistic signaller. Writers are the loudest commentators on social issues, and the last to be heeded. They have ceased to be purveyors of aesthetic experiences and have become mandarins for late-night-TV morality wrapped in Bushwick-Leninism. Writers cultivate microbrands with a few hundred social media followers, a dozen obscure publications, and aggressive political signal boosting. This is the fate of most of us. Writers try to move upmarket into New York literary circles, attending no-show readings, interning for legacy journals, #resisting for the cameras at corporate literary galas, and tapping the dregs of oligarch or MFA money. The ultimate achievement is to sell film rights.
The literary ecosystem is a prison where the inmates squabble over reputation points. The successful brands remain loyal to a broken system because they can still have power, even if their works are no more culturally significant (or remunerated) than cotton candy. They surrender autonomy and march ever more sheep-like, even as they lose readers to the superior sensory prisons of gaming, television, and VR. Writers enforce a global ethos and one-size morality, even as they view the common person as something to be overcome (mostly through tweeting).
In short, modern literature is provincial and no one cares that much.
We created Tragickal as a refugia on a virgin planet, out of the shadows of the Big 5 black dwarf, a few light years from the unwashed nebula of Internet writing. We want to create a magnet for works that repel the minute-by-minute scandals that won’t matter tomorrow, works that could leave something for the future and break the cycle of typical literary engagement: reading a couple lines, scanning a bio for credentials, and either X’ing or bookmarking for never-reading.
We believe that too many writers are living, both culturally and technologically, in 2008. Atomization and polarization cannot simply be tweeted away. Writers need not be the
fluffers keepers of a politico-literary complex that only serves to diminish their voices. To that end, we encourage writers to imbue their works with all their quixotic heresies rather than signal on Twitter and Instagram. We welcome pseudonymous submissions from burner emails—whether the writer wants to secure a fair reading or create a persona for daring works.
We designed this website for those who can’t stop reading or writing but don’t care about getting profiled by [redacted] or selling film rights. We could be wrong. But we see no reason not to find out.