When we say that The Bad Version is all about conversation, you might ask: What does that actually mean? Well, first and foremost, we’re talking about an open-minded approach to criticalandcreativewriting that begins a discussion, instead of a series of proclamations that end it. Each piece in our magazine is conceived as a a conversation starter and placed in dialogue with an attendant response from the get-go. Think of it as a snapshot of a roundtable discussion.
Now think of this website as the roundtable itself. Every piece and every response from the magazine is freely available here, and by joining the conversational stream that accompanies them, you can carry their discussion forward, backward, or sideways—to take it down whichever path you think is most productive. We placed this conversational stream alongside each article rather than relegating it to the bottom of the page because we see it as an essential part of the experience, and we want you to jump back and forth between the original piece and the ongoing dialogue it engenders.
It’s part of the collaborative, horizontally organized framework we’ve put together for The Bad Version, both internally and externally. Too many literary magazines retain the hierarchies of old—in their editorial organization, in their approach to ideas and thinkers, in the structure of their content. We don’t want The Bad Version to simply fill old forms with new content; we want it to revitalize the form of the literary magazine itself, because that form provides a crucial vehicle for interrogating our world.
In this sense, The Bad Version is like a literary magazine, open-sourced. Everyone can revise and extend the ideas here; everyone can participate. Our editors play the role of curators and facilitators, and when you develop ideas that warrant more in-depth exploration,we’ll work with you to expand them into pieces that start whole new conversations, either in the magazine or on the blog.
This blog will be a big part the project. We’ll post shorter essays, musings, and pieces that bring outside essays in dialogue with ours. But we want you to help define it, too: to let us know what you want the blog to be, and to let us know how you want to participate. This is as much yours as it is ours.
So come sit at the table with us. We want to hear your ideas, your thoughts, your opinions. Let’s keep on talking and working together to create better versions.