James Tadd Adcox and Rebekah Silverman are Editor In Chief and Managing Editor of Artifice Magazine, a literary magazine that showcases work that is aware of itself. Not sure what that means but I imagine it means they showcase work that can recognize itself in the mirror. This dude and dudette grew up in the South to write, or they write because they grew up in the South. They totally dig robots. Love rebellion and magic tricks. BBQ ribs and pulled pork too. Enter the two hearts behind the artifice.
Almost Dorothy: Explain the South?
Tadd Adocx: Every time I tell somebody I’m from the south, they tell me I don’t have a southern accent. They always seem to think this is a compliment. I tell them that I do have an accent, a Raleigh accent, and this is in fact what we sound like in Raleigh. Raleighites can recognize other Raleighites by accent. It’s like a secret club.
Rebekah Silverman: I grew up on a farm in South Carolina. My mother was a speech therapist and my father bought himself a train caboose for his birthday once. The caboose is still there, maybe a couple hundred yards from my parents’ house. On the other hand, both of my parents are from the north. So perhaps there’s no explanation.
AD: Why Artifice and not Succotash?
TA/RS: Because we’re not particularly interested in pushing the whole Southern Lit thing. Not that we have anything against Southern Lit—but there are other magazines already covering that ground. We’re interested in what comes after writers have finally thrown out Carver’s “no tricks” dictum. We’re interested in tricks—not cheap tricks, but intensely moving tricks. We’re interested in experimental writing that can make us cry or clap our hands with joy. We’re interested in stories or poems that don’t pretend they’re not artificial, but still do all of the things stories or poems ought to do. We’re interested in, you know, artifice.
AD: How do you know when the writing is right and when it’s white hot?
TA/RS: Sometimes we literally laugh with surprise and delight. Sometimes we get a little misty. Usually the stuff we end up taking is doing something pretty surprising, either in form or tone. We don’t take stuff that just relies on the form, though; a story in the form of, I don’t know, a police blotter or something isn’t interesting if it’s not also an interesting story, and, moreover, if the content and the form don’t resonate.
AD: The small value of a famous, but remote, ancestor equals—?
TA/RS: Five dollars. Enough to get a hot dog, not enough to get a chili dog.
AD: Please indulge us with your creativity. Put these words together in a string: seven, bullshit, clams, obelisk, and Fergie.
TA/RS: Fergie Seven clams bullshit obelisk. Fergie Seven being, of course, the seventh clone of the former Kid Incorporated/current Black Eyed Pea, and “to clam,” meaning “to grip tightly, to apply pressure leading to the creation of something translucent and otherworldly,” from the Proto-Norse ek clamija.
AD: If you could be any winged beast, what would you wear and why?
TA/RS: Philip Lim.
AD: Albert Einstein or Einstein Bros. Bagels?
TA/RS: Albert Einstein actually had a brother that not many people know about, kind of the dark sheep of the family, a guy who couldn’t even make it as a patent clerk. Not too bright, you know, not even in that not-too-bright-but-later-turns-out-to-be-an-unrecognized-genius sort of way. He tried, though. He tried his damnedest. And after years of hard work, he became a bagel.
AD: The closest thing to perfection in this world?
TA/RS: We’re not interested in perfection.
Artifice is a nonprofit literary magazine, published twice annually, that aims, by content and context, to showcase creative work aware of its own artifice. The things we like, we like more than we can stand.