Welcome to the first issue of Alyss. This journal like most lit journals, rock bands and bad ideas started in a bar, in New York. Particularly, my favorite bar Blue and Gold which first attracted me because of the colors of my alma mater (and my mother’s before me) and that desperate need you sometimes get when far away from home to be somewhere reminiscent of who you are.
So there I was sitting in a crowded dive bar in Manhattan drinking vodka sodas and complaining about how what the world needed was a new lit movement. All present agreed the literary scene had fallen into distress since the days of The Beats. Quite seriously we talked about how we should be the ones who brought about this great literary revolution. Since we were drunk MFA students in NYC what else could we do really but plot out a new literary venture in an attempt to combat the despair of quite possibly wasting a lot of time and money. But again, we were drunk and that gives one a sense of optimism. So we plotted and strategized and came up with a clever name for our new movement (PBR poets, I’m not even joking, we were that drunk) and then I took the train home to Brooklyn.
Really Alyss started on the subway as I thought about how all those famous and revered writers of The Beat generation, The Lost generation before them and a majority of the MFA canon were men. Particularly, old, white men. And sure they were great writers but… if we’re making the effort to do something new and revolutionary I want to be represented. Thus, slightly sobered up I decided to start my own lit journal (I mean I did grow up in the riot grrrl heyday of zines so…) and fill it with writings from a slew of boss bitches who wrote about issues and from a viewpoint that differs from a majority of what I’ve seen in lit journals. tl;dr: I couldn’t find what I wanted to read in other journals so I channeled Willow Smith and created my own.
As for the name, all my favorite literary chicas from that teenage drug addict, to the little girl who fell down a hole or the half dead mutant hybrid chick turned action superhero, are all named Alice. Every Alice I’ve ever met has been pretty kick ass. I even took to using the stage name Alyss Diablo during the bandom days (if you know anyone who needs a bass player for their FOB/MCR/Panic! cover band, call me). In fact if I ever have a daughter she’ll probably be named Alice or Alyss or Alyse or …you get the point. tl;dr: I just really like the name, ok.
So… welcome to Alyss. I hope you find something here that makes you feel something real.
– Amanda Faye