Alternative Realms and Tangents

Alternative Rails

The Seed of Madness Blooms--by Robert A. Taylor

As we introduce our debut issue of ART into the mainstream of electronic magazines, I’m quite sure there will be some confusion as to what its purpose really is. Therefore, I will attempt to explain the masters for which the slave serves.

From my beginning (the day I was born) until my day of enlightenment, (the day I received a beating for dropping an expensive glass dish on the floor, after being told to "Feed yourself!") I lived in another dimension. This dimension was based strictly on logic and reason – I ate and I was happy, I played and I was happy, I got hurt and I was unhappy…etc…etc. However, after the incident with the dish I began to realize that not every aspect of reality of works using logic or reason. I tried many times to escape the ugly New World that I had been sucked into, to no avail. With no way out, I began a search for ways to correct the equation.

I have always had a very vivid imagination and I thought of many colorful ways to rectify the injustices that had been bestowed upon me. These, however, were usually a bit extreme and quite a few of them were out of my realm of ability. So, I asked myself, how could I set every thing right? How could I punish my father while abstaining from murder? How could I find a way to make my dream girl come to me and stay forever? How could I make my enemies crouch down and kneel before me like the cretins they were?

One day it occurred to me: If I were the master of my own universe, everything would be as I decided. If I did not like any part of it I would simply destroy it. If I liked a girl, I would magically make her love me and she would have no choice. If someone crossed my path, his or her suffering would be legendary. I would be a marauder. And, with the aid of pen and paper, I quickly turned this concept into reality. And I was a marauder. I took advantage of the power that I possessed and made my universe to suit me. As I got older and began reading books I realized that I was not alone. There were others out there like me.

I grew older. My body changed and so did my reasoning. People’s actions no longer infuriated me as greatly as their intentions. I began to realize that even good-hearted people sometimes make mistakes, but evil people would often act as though they’re your best friends. When my general, God given instinct for survival began to include the desire to know what others were thinking, my writing began to concentrate on the mind. I loved the idea of insanity. With insanity all things were possible and actions did not have to be rooted in bad intention.

It is in that era that I discovered Edgar Allen Poe. In school, English teachers would often pick one of his stories to read and we would have class discussions on them. My favorites, however, were never read in a classroom, but in the privacy of my bedroom. I could read Poe and feel his pain. Every story seemed to express his melancholy so eloquently. In other words, I could relate. It is to Poe that I owe thanks for making me realize just how important it is to convey emotion in writing, after all, emotion is the mother of its creation.

Now that I am older, a desire has grown within me to follow in his path, and the paths of his kind. I wish to share, with those who are interested, the offerings of literature that flow from the dark regions of my being. I also feel, despite the opinions of some popular editors, that these stories are worthy of print.

It is this common idea, shared by my co-editor (as well as best friend and the greatest writer of all time) John Stacy Worth, that has led to the foundation of AWFUL and the creation of ART (the e-zine):

I am saddened as I look around at modern literature and find the elements that it takes for a writer to succeed. It seems to me that there has to be very little emotional transfer and little or no plot at all, as long as you have good prose. Now do not get me wrong. I think that having good prose is great. However, I do not think that it is the most important thing. Sure, a skilled painter can make a house beautiful, but can he build his own home?

Our focus is simply just this: Make us want to read your story. If you keep us hungry for the next word, next sentence, next paragraph, next page, then it has got to be good (regardless of rejection or negative criticism.) As my partner has pointed out in his editorial, disk space and cost are relative factors in our effort to publish stories. However, if it we deem it fit for A.R.T., we will take every measure to assure it gets the publicity it deserves.

Even if you do not get published here, never give up (it may not really be a bad thing to get rejected by us anyway.) Nothing good usually comes without a great deal of effort. The life of a beginning writer is like that of a warrior. Though the enemy never seems to stop coming, you must keep battling. If ever you give in, then it’s over. My wife once asked me, after opening a rejection letter, "How many do you think you’ll get before you get one published?" My response was this: "If it’s 1000, now I only have 999 to go."

As of this time we are a non-profit organization. Those of you who are interested in supporting A.W.F.U.L. (to find out more about AWFUL, just follow the hyperlink to the left) can do so in one of two ways. First, you can submit a story and, if we print it, you will automatically go into the AWFUL book of members. Secondly, you can send a $25 donation to the address on the Submission Guidelines page. Included in your membership, you will receive either a hat or tee shirt displaying the AWFUL logo, a subscription to the AWFUL newsletter, access to the future Members Only section of ART and many other cool things to come. The best part of it will come in knowing that you supported the cause, helping other unpublished authors who have good ideas but who were rejected on the basis of genre, prose or whatever.

There is no doubt that my friend and I will be dubbed the charlatans of literature in the high-nosed, aristocratic, literary circles, but what the hell. So, if you think that you might just be insane enough to relate to the madness that abounds in our pages, we welcome you in brothers and sisters. Send us your stuff. We are here for you.

Your editor, THE charlatan of literature,

Robert A. Taylor


"Robert! Stacy! What the hell are you guys doing?"

James R. Ray

An observation made in 1986, as Mr. Ray watched in horror the two boys ripping his mother's bathroom sink from the wall in a drunken stupor.