This episode features a group discussion of whether writers should go independent or take the academic route to achieve success; plus, the subjectivity and objectivity of art and life, including how to properly judge works of art via objective rules.

More specific topics of discussion are listed and time-stamped below:

0:00 Group analysis of “Peter Elroy: A Documentary by Ian Casey” by Elizabeth McCracken, including mood of the story, triteness, story depth, complexity of the story’s issues, Grad School, kissing people’s asses, academia, pissing the chair or dean off, a crazy anecdotal story from the world of Academia, The Emporer Has No Clothes, the value of being independent in the literary world, going straight to the readers, long-term plans, books about dogs, Marley and Me, following trends, Annie Dillard, trying not to die before achieving success, David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, magnum opus, military discipline, Ernest Hemingway, everyone in Texas having a gun, shooting dogs as literary deadline motivation, guidos from the block, table dances, DisneyWorld, cruises, good dialogue, ridiculous attitude of the main character, sentence structure, pretentiousness of the story, cleverness, experimental writing, Hemingway again, Chuck Palahniak, coming to grips with existentialism, taking postmodernism too far, flashbacks, remarkable characters, likeability of narrative voice, profundity, The Hunger Games, Hemingway again, lack of plots in postmodernism, the more free you get the more enslaved you are, sitting-in-bars stories, lack of goldmines and monkeys and bank robberies, Annie Hall, postmodernism as a freedom-enabling genre, objective criteria vs subjective judgments, ayahuasca, Hunter S. Thompson, Pacobelle’s cannon, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, World War II soldiers, singing in church, good and bad relationships, Philosophy Live!, depression, everyone is going to die–or are they?, brain in a jar, John Lennon, going from one car to another, Ancient Aliens, objective rules for art, Natalie Portman, Mikhail Berishnikov, the thing in itself, Plato, the essence of table vs. a table, first cause arguments, Monads, materialism, thinking about philosophy as a kid, being trained into cultural aspects, and risk management.

41:45 Group analysis of “Conflation” by Frank Marcopolos, including the writer being in trouble, double-spacing, dissing the author in absentia, looking like a teacher, trying to write poetry, the Valhalla story, ruining this story, hiding the good story in the bad one, stylization of the story, experimentalism, fragmentation, practicing with exercises, real life as an adventure, realism, aesthetics as ONLY aesthetics, Phillip Levine, poets making themselves popular, the lack of standards in poetry, Chuck Palahniak again, mind/body/spirit/other, Jacob’s Ladder, subjective v. objective again, right-brained thinkers, emotionality, the good aspects of the story, Tim O’Brien, Hemingway again, Texas State University, The Things They Carried, vernacular crap, “the monkey in the story,” Richard Ford, the story as a sculpture, anecdotes about stalkers, gold-digging, and Kurt Vonnegut.

1:11:14 “Promotion” for INFINITE ENDING: TEN STORIES.

Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos founded "The Whirligig" literary magazine in 1999, which has been called "a landmark, demonstrating the power of the literary underground." It has been said that "you get this true lion-roaring sense that Editor Frank Marcopolos knows what he likes, and how to read, and how to publish, and he has guts, and eats insects on Wheaties with bleach." His long-form fiction has been reviewed with such praise as "thorough-goingly entertaining" and "highly readable...recalls the style of Michael Chabon or John Irving. A literary gem that should not be missed." A broadcasting-school graduate, his unique literary-audio work has been featured in movie trailers, scholastic environments, and on YouTube, with one of his audiobooks achieving over 100,000 "views" there.