Electric Literature Gets Animated


Newcomer lit mag Electric Literature wowed us with its first issue last summer; the periodical has since released a second issue featuring writers-we-love Lydia Davis and Pasha Malla, plus an animated video series to boot. Expanding on its ethos of bringing literary geekdom back to pop culture, Electric Literature engages readers old and new with outreach into other art forms and across multiple platforms. Peep artist Jonathan Ashley’s animation, taken from a single sentence out of Stephen O’Connor’s epic story in the current issue (also excerpted after the jump).

An excerpt from “Love” by Stephen O’Connor:

Three days before Christmas, Alice’s college housemate fell over dead of a cerebral hemorrhage while cross-country skiing. At the memorial service, on a frigid Saturday in early January, ten people, Alice among them, crowded the dais of a Unitarian church near Boston to speak to a gathering that the tall-windowed, fog-gray room made seem pathetically small. Alice told the story of an afternoon during college, when she and the housemate — Katinka — had polished off a thermos of margaritas in a sunny field, then lay on their backs, talking and looking up at the sky—only half-noticing as a cow moseyed over to them, followed by another and, somewhat later, by a third. It wasn’t until the sky began to darken, and they had gotten unsteadily to their feet, that they discovered themselves surrounded by some score of cows, who were standing shoulder-to-shoulder, emitting bovine grunts, and watching them with enormous eyes. “Katinka just walked right up to one of those cows,” Alice explained, “and rapped it twice with her knuckle in the middle of its forehead. ‘Excuse me, madam,’ she said, and the cow promptly backed away so that we might walk past. She was fearless, dear Katinka, which is one of the reasons it is so hard to believe she is not with us now.

Check out all seven video animations in Electric Literature’s archive or on YouTube. (We especially dig the short riffing on Lydia Davis’s “The Cows” and the comedy mashup referencing Colson Whitehead’s contribution.)