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January 12, 2007

The Rolf Potts obscure collection: A look at three anthologies

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Although the Books page of RolfPotts.com outlines my contributions to a number of literary travel anthologies in recent years, it doesn’t mention my appearance in three small-press fiction anthologies between 1999 and 2002.

This is because, until recently, I never even knew these books existed.

All of the stories in question were originally written when I was in college, including the satirical essay (“Jesus and the Board of Disciples”) that earned me the first $80 of my writing career, when a religious humor magazine called The Door published it in May of 1992. The Door, which is kind like an evangelical Christian version of The Onion, later included this piece in a 2000 anthology entitled On the Eighth Day God Laughed, but I didn’t realize this until last year, when I did a name search A9.com. When I found myself in the Eighth Day table of contents, I contacted Robert Darden, the editor of The Door, who was kind enough to pass along a contributor copy.

I haven’t had quite as much luck in getting a contributor copy of The Best of Pif Magazine: Off-Line, which appeared in 1999 (making it, technically, the first anthology I ever appeared in, since The Best American Travel Writing didn’t debut until the following year). Edited by Camille Renshaw and Richard Luck, it contains short stories by up-and-coming writers, as well as interviews with people like Rick Moody and Aimee Bender. My own contribution to the anthology is Roulette With Donald, a short story that first appeared in my college literary magazine in 1993, and later won Honorable Mention in Pif Magazine‘s 1998 fiction contest. I can’t tell from the website if Pif is still publishing — but considering that the editors won’t answer my emails, I’d reckon they aren’t.

My third fiction anthology appearance is in the fourth edition of the obscure-ish Gen-X anthology In Our Own Words, which was published in 2002. I actually submitted directly to this anthology, and fortunately I got a contrib copy without having to track down the editor. Again, this book features a short-short I wrote in college, Ireland is the Size of West Virginia, which originally appeared online in the Morpo Review.

For me, the interesting thing about re-reading these three anthology outtakes is just how much travel has affected my writing and my worldview in the ensuing years. When I first wrote those stories I didn’t even own a passport, and I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground (as a writer and a traveler) since then.

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Category: Rolf's News and Updates, Travel Writing


One Response to “The Rolf Potts obscure collection: A look at three anthologies”

  1. DEK Says:

    What a pleasant experience to discover something you had written long ago that someone thought well-enough of to republish with right-justified margins between covers. My first experience of that was of a short piece of bombast I had written that had been published without my knowledge in some underground newsletter which I discovered pasted to the wall of a walk-in pizza shop in Berkeley. An even more pleasant experience is to discover on re-reading that what you wrote way back then is not nearly as embarrassing to you now as it could have been.

    And of course pleasanter, still, would be to be paid for it, but we can’t have everything.

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