Alt Lit is growing up. Took a while but now this is happening. For years Alt Lit has churned on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, with Klout scores calculated with the greatest of ease. Of course the Klout scores were part of an algorithm so really there was no math to handle. Hence the Klout scores increased with Alt Lit individuals gaining clout in poetry, writing, cat food, dinosaurs, and whatever else. Many Alt Lit individuals have seen themselves published in big shiny-ass books for the outside world (aka NOT THE INTERNET) to see.
Brittany Allen gives credit where credit is due. A lot of Alt Lit writers have been working tirelessly to try to make it. They have made it hundreds of thousands of artifacts the kinds of things that may be only transitory. Internet writing tends to be that way although the wonderful thing about Internet art is that it is cached not cashed. Hence the focus tends to be on simply finding a voice more than anything else. Over the course of Alt Lit’s brief life a lot of voices have been discovered, plenty of people making their MEME-PLEXES, stylistically similar artifacts that correlate to each other. Such things are beautiful indeed.
The boldness of Alt Lit is that it is a rebellious form. How long honestly can cynicism be expected to move anything forward? A lot of the writing from the 90s and early 00s seemed to love cynicism. With too much of that there needs to be a cool-down period, perhaps a rediscovering of sincerity. Alt Lit is easy enough to get into as it does not have any specific geographic location. Various strains of Alt Lit can be found in either rural (Maine, Idaho, Alaska) or urban (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) locations. Unlike previous writing movements where there were “scenes” the geographic abundance means there can be different strains that spread across the United States and even internationally.
Internet Poetry, Muumuu House, Civil Coping Mechanisms, Shabby Doll House, Alt Lit Gossip, Keep This Bag Away from Children, these are just a few of the places where Alt Lit writers have managed to come together. And Brittany Allen is right: there is a lot to do online. Much of it wastes time effort energy just reading those lists (top ten whatever) that eat away providing distraction not insight. Alt Lit reacts against that using the Internet not as a way to waste time but as a gallery. Everything online can be curated and created by someone. The wonderful thing about the Internet is someone can create art and no matter how quiet they are about it someone will find it. That is the beauty of the Alt Lit movement.