1. matter: the substance

Out of its singular mission to expand the world of compressed creative arts, Matter Press & Journal has burst into existence. Part of its ongoing mission is to explore how these (very) tiny forms can matter, not so much by defining them, but instead by putting them into action.That being said, definitions of matter abound. So, in the coming weeks, months, and hopefully years, maybe it’d be worth looking at a few. Here’s the first, from Dictionary.com:
  1. the substance or substances of which any physical object consists or is composed: the matter of which the earth is made.
I often wonder about the particulars of working with compression, of the transformation to substance that occurs before it fits inside these (too-tiny) containers and afterward, too, when the forces of compression continue to work upon that matter. What happens to matter and substance in compressed spaces? What must creators do to their compositions for that singularity of substance to fit in these forms in the first place? As Matter Press & Journal begins its journey, its first forays into this world will be of compressed prose by some of our favorite compressed prose writers, such as Sean Lovelace, Peter Gardner, Chad Prevost, Darlin’ Neal, Stefanie Freele, Ray Vukcevich, Steve Almond, Jen Pieroni, Kim Chinquee, Ethel Rohan, and Kathy Fish.
In reading their work, it might be fun to think of the substance of their work (in this case words) and what they’ve done to the language (the process) and what the finished form does to it (the product). Was it Stephen Hawking who thought that discovering the Theory of Everything, of all that matters, would lead to knowing the mind of the Creator? Maybe there is something of that here too in the substance of compression as it expands with a reader’s consciousness. We might discover, not only the mind of these creators of compression, but something else, something about creation itself or something altogether else.

About Randall Brown

Randall Brown is the author of the award-winning flash fiction collection Mad to Live (Flume Press 2008). He teaches at and directs Rosemont College's MFA in Creative Writing Program. His short and very short fiction has been published widely, and his essay "Making Flash Count" appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field (Rose Metal Press 2009). He will also be appearing in the forthcoming Norton Anthology of "hint fiction."
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