July 24, 2013


Because nonfiction is very much alive and very much real.

Think back to the last piece of nonfiction you read - difficult, perhaps, because oftentimes, we forsake what nonfiction actually is. It's not-fake. It's real. And so in reality (heh), more writing we read is, in fact, nonfiction; Facebook statuses, diary entries, long rambles to friends and family. Though these aren't your typical pieces of professional nonfiction, they're still nonfiction. "Because, really," Bri LaPelusa says, "all fiction is derived from reality, and all reality is an extension of fiction." So think about it - we encounter nonfiction more often than fiction, really, so why isn't more attention drawn to it in the contemporary literary world?

But actually writing nonfiction longer than a status, in a coherent, explanatory, and defined way, isn't just something you rattle off; it takes skill, poise, and a dig through one's self. And how often are we seeing publications dedicated to this art form? Not very often. Cue DOLLFEEDER, an online literary magazine filling the void of contemporary nonfiction, garnered toward females and female-identified writers with something to say about themselves, each other, and/or the things around them. The magazine is run by Bri LaPelusa and Alyse Burnside (pictured below): friends, writers, and students at the University of Iowa. With DOLLFEEDER, they're attempting to move outside of the alt-lit world, and into one with similar experimentalism, but with something that feels a little more genuine and a lot more self-aware.

DOLLFEEDER's first issue will be titled "DREAMFEEDER," in which writers were encouraged to write about the future (the 22nd century, to be exact), their dreams, and above all, the truth. After all, reality is truth, or at least a varied version of it, but at the very least, a piece of reality that the author perceives as truth. Perhaps this is what makes nonfiction so interesting, and can so easily transcend into fiction. The dream aspect of the first issue comes in the form of taking 300 words to describe a dream you've had, which might seem odd for a nonfiction magazine, but really, dreams are probably the most interesting and commonly encountered reality we see. And the future part? DOLLFEEDER's slogan is "Nonfiction from the Future," which can mean a lot of things, but ultimately is aimed toward the fact that the magazine is run and written by females, which (sadly) is still something we must look to the future for. But not for long, as DREAMFEEDER will be released in August (perhaps sooner), and it's only the first issue, after all. With DOLLFEEDER gaining speed, pretty soon the lack of women running magazines and writing personally while doing so will be a thing of the past.

Still wanting more? Bri and Alyse put together a list of their favorite lady-written nonfiction pieces:
-Jenny Boully, The Body
-Jenny Boully, Book of Beginnings and Endings
-Anne Carson, The Glass Essay
-Eula Biss, The Pain Scale
-Lydia David, Break it Down
-Maggie Nelson, Bluets
-Mary Ruefle, Marie
-Roxanne Gay, (anything by Roxanne Gay, but specifically--) Ayiti
-Thalia Field, A: I
-Marguerite Duras, The Lover
-Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk
-Joan Didion, The White Album
-Joan Didion, Year of Magical Thinking
-Virginia Woolf
-Jo Ann Beard, The Fourth State of Matter
-Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
-Amy Leach, Things That Are
-Peggy Orenstein, Cinderella Ate My Daughter
-Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons
-Amy Tan, Mother Tongue

Nonfiction is everywhere, and according to Bri and Alyse, it's here to stay. Keep the movement going and check out more on DOLLFEEDER here.

Written by Molly Morris