Wed Jan 12 11, The Rickshaw Stop
How’s this for a crazy idea in 2011? Start a new publishing house focusing on contemporary full length works of literary fiction. Not self-publishing. Not chapbooks. Not print-on-demand à la Lulu or internet publishing à la Scribd. Not a blog. Not a novel on Twitter. I’m talking traditional books: an idea so retro it’s cutting edge.
Evan is my editor here at Litseen and, as he would be onstage introducing authors and exuding his patented hipster charm (let’s see if THAT makes it by his editorial scissors*) it fell upon me to tape the proceedings and write this report. *I was actually asked that night if the haircut were to transition from hippee to hipster. But they’re not mutually exclusive. And besides, I like indie songs that jam out. —EK
I figured it would be easy: I’d tell a bit of history about Numina Press, including a few words about Ms. Gotsulsky, and then let the authors speak for themselves. So I asked Evan for some background information and he advised, “go see what you can find. Yanina Gotsulsky doesn’t say a lot about herself.”
So, off I went in search of this elusive, self-described unashamed literary snob with the exotic name. I began with the Numina web site. It is, as Evan warned, minimal in its presentation. I was able to ascertain that Numina Publishing publishes books.
Okay, then what can I find out about Yanina Gotsulsky? Aha! She has a blog and offers up a personal statement of her artistic vision:
“I’ve been told that I really ought to have some sort of personal statement, explaining, in a sprinkling of pithy sentences, the essence of my artistic vision. If I, or any writer, could do that then the whole exercise of writing would be moot.”
Hmmmm. This is challenging.
I do find some photographs: Yanina in Paris. Yanina in Russia. Dare I remark that she is strikingly beautiful? Yes, I think I must, because it is unavoidable. Long black hair, piercing eyes, movie star cheek bones and a high sense of style.
I learn that she is herself a writer and translator (with a degree in Russian literature, for Pete’s sake). She is the author of two novels of philosophical bent. Ergo Sum is described on her blog as A Treatise On The True Nature Of Time, God’s Unlisted Telephone Number, Why We Speak Loudly When Inebriated, The Democracy of Reincarnation in a Cartesian Universe and Other Closely Related Topics.
And here’s the summary of The Speed of Life: A writer obsessed with Tolstoy believes that she has gone back to the 19th Century to help the great master rewrite Anna Karenina and to keep its original ending, where Anna lives.
It seems our intriguingly elusive publisher is a woman of some interest and originality. Indeed.
Which leads us to the remarkable group of writers she has published and who read from their work at The Rickshaw Stop on this memorable evening. (Note: The introductions to each author include short bios and – sometimes, but not always – lead-ins to the readings.)