I started reading e-journal Verb-ate-him’s inaugural issue today but got lost halfway through. Things were already looking poorly with the slow pdf download. (I’m sure the Issue One pdf wasn’t really that big, but my whore of an internet has been playing hard to get, making me want to break things with its sadistic ‘Will I d/c or won’t I?’ Grr.) When the pdf finally appeared, I liked a couple of poems (‘sparrow song’ by Kimberly Chandler and ‘the eve you came’ by Kevin Gillam) and the neatly written microfiction, ‘goldilocks gone wrong’, by Glynis Scrivens; I stopped reading, however, after page seventeen. I’m a pick-a-random-page kinda girl, and found scrolling frustratingly linear.
While I understand why Verb-ate-him chooses to publish electronically (zilch printing costs, potential audience of millions), I wish they had designed a more internet friendly publication. Why are there no hyperlinks in the contents page? Why not publish in a blog format that can be linear and random and allows reader feedback/trackbacks on individual pieces with the option of a downloadable pdf for those who like to print their own copy? Not only would this allow the reader to dip into the issue in a non-linear fashion, it allows for multiple fragmented readings and a stronger focus on individual pieces. I don’t know about others’ reading habits but I like to digest my literary journals slowly over a period of days, weeks, months. Thirteen poems, two microfictions, and a smattering of artwork in one sitting = indigestion.