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Goblins and trolls on a giant toadstool.

December 17, 2010 \pm\31 1:05 pm

Adam J Maynard is cool as fuck. Adam’s visual language is an LSD trip, like, I talk to garden gnomes and glitter-covered frogs and I don’t feel scared with poetry by Adam and art by Adam. I talked to Adam for you, so you can trip too and learn a little more about indie lit journal history and glamorous vegetables and Barbies and Britain and loving what you do and so many kinds of ugly, silly beauty.

Think I remember that for some time there a few years ago, My Name is Mud (MNIM) was the only online indie lit journal made in Britain that ran with the early early HTML Giant / Bear Parade / Tao Lin (before he started sprinkling a little dope on his smoothies) crew. I mean I think there was 3:AM? but they were like more established and international maybe. When did you start MNIM, why and how did it go down that you found your people online?

I can’t remember when I started it exactly. I started it because I always wanted to do a literary magazine, poetry and stories and images. I talked about it a lot while drunk, until one day I got sick of talking and just started to do it. I wanted to publish new, unheard of, interesting poetry and short stories, flash fiction with a strong visual bent, etc.

I discovered sites like Surgery of Modern Warfare, Bear Parade, Lamination Colony, McSweeney’s and many others and it lit my imagination and I thought, why not do your own site? I discovered poets like Matthew Rohrer and Michael Earl Craig through these sites. The whole thing seemed really interesting and I wanted to be involved in it.

What do you think we’d all be doing if not in the wild wild west (AKA the internets)?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d probably be smoking a bong with some goblins and trolls on a giant toadstool, or walking in the warm rain in Osaka in 1945. Maybe I’d be living in a cartoon log cabin by a lake.

I was actually around in the nineties somehow and we didn’t really have the net then. We seemed to survive.

Who do you think might read MNIM, who is it made for and how does it please them?

I’m not really sure. It’s not really made for a specific target audience or anything. It’s for anyone who likes it, poetry, stories with images, etc. Maybe hipsters will like it, but I’m not really sure what hipsters are. Hopefully people will see poetry in a new kind of way, that’s sort of the aim. The site is meant to provide a platform for new and interesting short fiction and poetry and to publish people who may not have been published before.

This has always itched me in my brain! Did you name MNIM after that Primus song? Because I like that song, but somehow it does not seem right re: aesthetics or something?

Oh no, My Name is Mud was not named after that song. I’ve never actually heard the song and obviously I could have watched it on YouTube. I have nothing against the song or the idea of the song. I think it came from The Catcher in The Rye, it filtered down from that or was a distant memory from a scene in that book. I thought it was a good name for a website for people who were relatively unheard of or previously unpublished. It’s become a kind of challenge to not listen to the song for some reason, although that probably seems ridiculous.

I ♥ the strong photographic elements of MNIM’s uncomplicated design. Like vegetables bathed in glitter and garden gnomes are kind of iconic to me now. Why?

I just like transforming these things by doing something simple to them, transforming objects. The image of the aubergine covered in glitter is now the cover image for print issue one of MNIM. I liked the idea of a vegetable being glamorous or something, heading out to the disco in its glad rags. I suppose it’s a bit of fun too. I like kitsch up to a certain point, and ugly things, silly things. I like the work of the German artist Martin Kippenberger and artists like Mike Kelley and Wolfgang Tillmans.

There is so much bright and shiny in your photography as well as your poetry, did you know that? It all tastes of rainbows, like Skittles. Are you subtly trying to counteract the sad brought by British weather? (And is it working?)

Yes, there’s a lot of shiny. It’s the culture we live in, it’s all around us and it’s unavoidable. I spend a lot of time watching Barbie movies at the moment for example. There are a lot of unicorns and princesses and whatnot and maybe some of that gets in to my work. Then there’s the ‘celebrity’ culture and all the horrible magazines and the endless torrent of vulgar imagery. I can’t help myself, I’m fascinated by it to a certain degree, but also repelled. I’m mixing hi and low forms. Being serious now is different than it used to be. It seems harder now to feel ‘real’.

The British weather, and all its attendant awfulness. There is nothing that can be done.

Why do you think many of your contributors are American and not so many are Brits? Is there an indie lit scene in Britain do you think, and if not, how can we get one?

I just really like Americans (ha, ha). Most of my favourite authors are American. I love American music and I discovered the online literature scene that was going on in the US, and it was kind of what I was looking for, and wanted to be involved in.

The truth is, that there is virtually no indie lit scene in the UK that I’m aware of. There used to be Pulp Books and Pulp.net and Zembla magazine and other stuff. I’m sure there are a few things, but it just feels like nobody’s that interested at the moment.

As to how to go about getting one, I don’t know. It feels wrong to want something specifically ‘British’. There is a vibrant online scene and community already in place. I think that’s enough.

Why did you decide to do a print thing?

I really love print journals, and getting them in the mail with your work in them kinda makes your day. Also, I just wanted to extend the visual look of the website to a print journal and to see how it would work. I feel that the print v. online debate is fundamentally pretty dull.

How come it seems like there have been long waits between online issues of MNIM? Sorry but I get antsy.

I’ve got two children under five who keep me pretty busy. I do My Name is Mud stuff when I get the time. These children are very good humans.

Have you felt weird about essentially self-publishing your book of poems, Green? I ask because sometimes people like to shittalk self-publishing.

It wasn’t actually me who published it. It was another version of me called Adam J Maynard (ii).

I met him in a pub. He came up to me and said, ‘I would really, really love to see your poetry manuscript.’

I said, ‘Okay, yes, if you behave yourself?’ and he agreed.

The rest was history.

But generally, I feel that the whole poetry subculture sort of exists by essentially self-publishing chapbooks, broadsides, work by other friends, etc. It’s a small world. It feeds on itself and is self-generating.

Shit talkers are probably wasting their time.

That’s you on the cover of Green, huh? Do you have a little bit of a fetish for masks? (It’s okay, you can tell us. I kind of have a thing for bunny ears and fake blood…)

Yes, that’s me on the cover. I thought it’d be a striking image. I liked the idea of Yoda in a mug shot, like he’d just committed some kind of awful crime and had fallen from grace. The book is essentially about naivety, admitting that I don’t really know anything, even after all this time on the planet. I’m still some kind of child.

Who/what are your favorite things to rub up on your eyeballs (apart from MNIM contributors) lately?

Well at the moment I’m reading The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which is awesome. Also I really loved The Difficult Farm by Heather Christle and The Teachings of Don B. by Donald Barthelme. I’m really looking forward to reading Kendra Grant Malone’s book and I’m getting Tao Lin’s poems soon. Also Zachary German’s book review blog which is hilarious, Todd Colby’s blog, Kid Eaa’s Tumblr, Kill Author, West Wind Review, Pangur Ban Party, Bearcreekfeed, The Corduroy Mtn. and the new Lamination Colony. Also I think I’m gonna get Grace Krilanovich’s, The Orange Eats Creeps. Vampires getting high on crystal meth at GG Allin gigs, etc., what’s not to like.

Where are you going with MNIM and life, do you plan stuff? I get scared about the future, make me feel better, babes.

I’m just going to continue doing it, albeit at a snail’s pace. There’s going to be a launch party for My Name is Mud Issue One and Green at Modern Art Oxford with readings and other shenanigans. Also I’m curating a poetry and fiction shelf at Modern Art Oxford. Hopefully My Name is Mud print issue Two will be coming out later in the year with some cool stuff and another online Mud will hopefully appear around March/April time, maybe guest edited by David Hasselhoff if we’re lucky.

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