“Oversized Sweaters and Stirrup Pants”

Books fade and the Internet takes over everything, but the urge for college students to launch a literary magazine never dies: Three seniors at Brown University have launched an online journal called Wag’s Revue. In an interview with the Brown Daily Herald, cofounder Will Litton argues that there’s room for an online publication that puts some restrictions on length and quality of content. “When there’s unlimited space to print whatever, you can blog everyday and end up with a crockpot of really mediocre writing,” Litton says. “So much is getting published, there’s no journal with stringent editorial controls.”

Fair enough, though as much as the handsome presentation of the magazine online suggests that those controls are in place, the 28-page essay on the “hipster/douchebag dialectic” is going to have to wait for another day. Instead I gravitated toward the interview with Wells Tower, having just read his excellent short story “Retreat. In the interview, he discusses the tangled history of that particular story, hitting it big in the Paris Review before struggling back up as a reporter. And amusingly, he discusses one of the crummy jobs he was forced to take along the way:

I had a data entry gig, which was so unbelievably dehumanizing. I just had huge stacks of invoices with obscure numbers that corresponded to obscure electronics parts. Even if they’d describe the electronics parts with actual language instead of numbers, I still would have had no idea what I was keying into the computer. It was me and my boss, who was this kind of satanic woman with oversized sweaters and stirrup pants. She was just constantly cracking the whip on me. I could never enter enough invoices to make her happy. It was terrible.

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