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The Happiness Engine, 1 of 7

by Nicholas Rombes

[Editor’s Note: The Happiness Engine consists of seven pieces, ranging in size from approximately 17”x9” to 7”x5”. The materials are acrylic, charcoal, ink, and typewritten text on old paper, consisting of vintage scavenged letterhead, stationery, and endpapers salvaged from damaged and discarded books. The compressed narrative&#8212 from 1 through 7&#8212sketches the story of a character named Ephraim in the labyrinth of underground USA tunnels as he searches for his disappeared sister. We will be publishing one piece per week, from Feb 15 – March 28. Please click on the file below to view it full-size.]

In 2010-11, Nicholas Rombes was Visiting Artist and Scholar at The University of Waterloo’s Critical Media lab, where he launched the DO NOT SCREEN project (which was featured at HiLobrow). He is the author of three books: Cinema in the Digital Age, A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982, and Ramones (part of the 33 1/3 series). He is also a contributor to The Believer, The Oxford American, WigLeaf, The Rumpus, Filmmaker Magazine (where he serves as a Contributing Editor), and other places. He teaches at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan.

For this project, the distillation of text and images, both created and found, is key to the narrative momentum. The gaps—which allow viewers and readers to insert themselves into The Happiness Engine story—are absolutely essential. For it is in the gaps, the absences, that the imagination roams free, constructing the architecture of the story itself. Hints are thus more meaningful than exposition. Compression and constraint as a form of liberation.

News

Congrats to the Best Small Fictions nominations from Matter Press for Compressed Creative Arts: Sara Backer’s “Oh, What a Night”; Dan Crawley’s “Powers”; Jill Talbot’s “Malahat Highway on Boxing Day”; Christopher Allen’s “Falling Man;” and Kathy Fish’s “Five Micros.” Congrats to Christopher Allen for being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now open. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes June 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

05/20 • Clint Margrave
05/22 • Leah Griesmann
05/23 • Nance Van Winckel (1 of 8)
05/27 • Natasha Sajé
05/29 • Carolyn Oliver
05/30 • Nance Van Winckel (2 of 8)
06/03 • Ankita Banerjee
06/05 • Rachel Rodman
06/06 • Nance Van Winckel (3 of 8)
06/10 • Erica Soon Olsen
06/12 • Beverly Jackson
06/13 • Nance Van Winckel (4 of 8)
06/17 • Avra Margariti
06/19 • Tommy Dean
06/20 • Nance Van Winckel (5 of 8)
06/24 • Stephen Reaugh
06/26 • Hege Lepri
06/27 • Nance Van Winckel (6 of 8)
07/01 • Danielle Hark
07/03 • Shirley Harshenin
07/04 • Nance Van Winckel (7 of 8)
07/08 • Matthew Barrett
07/10 • Andrew Stevens
07/11 • Nance Van Winckel (8 of 8)
07/15 • Peter Cherches
07/17 • Christopher Ryan
07/22 • Jessica Kehinde Ngo
07/24 • TBA
07/29 • TBA
07/31 • TBA