It's been a while, huh? Well, the wait for another Lit Fiend Interview is over and this new interview is with one of the hardest working men in DIY publishing, Marc Bruseke of Analog Submission Press...
Before starting Analog Submission, what were your first encounters with DIY publishing?
My personal connection with the ethos of DIY goes back to the mid 90s when I discovered punk rock. Bands like Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, DRI, and the Dead Kennedy’s taught me the value of carving out your own path and resisting the persistent mediocrity and rigidity set forth by the bureaucratic nature of the culture industry. The punk spirit to me was never about a fashion style, or even a music style. It was about thinking for yourself and questioning the systems around us that we take for granted. It’s a way of thinking that goes back at least as far as the early European bohemians like Baudelaire and Rimbaud. So for me the small press movement is really just another extension of those sensibilities. The first indie publication that got me interested was Jungle Jim, a Cape Town based literary zine that publishes experimental African pulp-fiction shorts. The zine itself is an object of beauty, tri-colour printing and you are made to cut along this dotted line with a pair of scissors just to open it. It’s wonderful in concept and execution. I don’t know if they are still being made. I hope they are.
You have been publishing your handmade chapbooks at an alarming rate, how many have you put out to date?
Yea, I guess it’s been pretty rapid. Analog Submission Press was started in September 2017. By the end of this month, we will have published around 70 chapbooks. Is that too much for a year?
What keeps you motivated to keep going?
I seem to be riding this momentous unending wave of energy. The underground literary scene has been so supportive that it’s hard not to be enthusiastic. Just communicating with like minded individuals is it’s own reward. The more I create the more I want to create. I find myself dreaming about publishing and writing. I’m waking up earlier and earlier everyday to work on new ideas. I suppose there’s also an existential element to it; that impending sense of time running out, the quest for purpose and meaning, self actualisation, legacy and the desire to create something concrete that will hopefully outlive us. As you know from your own publishing and writing endeavours, motivation exists in dichotomy with procrastination - it’s something that every artist has to wrestle with. There will never be a ‘perfect moment’ to start writing that book you’ve had on the back burner for the last 10 years. You just have to do it, no matter what the odds are. You always hear people say shit like, “oh, once I get that shiny new laptop I’ll start writing”, or, “I really want to do X or Y but I just don’t have the time”. Bullshit. If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it done. We always prioritise that which is important to us. It’s all about taking action, it’s about willing those abstract thoughts in our minds into existence through hard work and persistence.The banal platitudes of day-to-day life, the nine-to-five job, waiting in line at the local supermarket to buy fucking toilet paper - these rituals grind us down, tire us out. But with the right perspective, we can turn these mundanities into raw materials that fuel our creative pursuits. So, I suppose art becomes a kind of warfare in which we battle against the ‘path of least resistance’. Bukowski calls it the ‘good fight’. Nietzsche says that “art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of life”, I agree with that and I suppose that should be motivation enough in itself.
You recently tabled at York Zine Fair, did you get a chance to check out many of the other stalls? And if so, any particular favourites?
There were so many great zines on display, it’d be hard to hand pick any definite favourites. But if I’m going to make mention of anyone specific, it’s a local York artist/ musician who creates under the alias Dunmada - his first zine was available at the fair and he probably had around 20 or 30 copies. It was an exceptional labour of love. Each copy painstakingly constructed - scissors, glue, drawings - there was a pullout abstract map inside and a CD with a selection of his music. It was truly 'art for arts’ sake'. Kayti and Jade who organised York Zine Fest - the first of its kind in York - did a tremendous job and all their hard work was clearly evident on the day. They deserve all the recognition they can get. They’ve got another penned for the 8th December - so if you’re in the area, come check it out!
Are there any other small presses/zines from the UK that you follow?
Paper and Ink Literary Zine, Holy & Intoxicated Publications, and Concrete Meat Press - run by yourself, John D Robinson, and Adrian Manning respectively, are a huge source of inspiration to me. Tangerine Press is like the DMT of the small press movement, Michael Curran is surfing some sort of higher dimensional wave. Sure, he puts out some mass market paperbacks but his limited run, hand numbered, hand made books are magnificent in their brilliance. If it wasn’t for Tangerine Press I probably would never have read the works of William Wantling and Mick Guffan. He has rescued writers from potential obscurity - great poets that deserve an audience. It’s wonderfully idealistic, altruistic even. That, to my mind is probably one of the greatest things a small press can do.