This New Platform Makes Fiction Pulled From Real-News Headlines
“The news has gotten even faster, and more and more I find myself reading headlines, and then opinions about the headlines on Twitter,” says Tyler Cabot, a media consultant and former editor at Esquire, where he worked on features and fiction for more than a decade. “It feels like you can never actually catch up, or even understand anything before everyone else is telling you what it already said, or what to know about it or not.” Cabot is hoping to change that with his newly launched project, The Chronicles of Now, which commissions authors to produce short pieces of fiction about a timely news topic worth digesting further. Roxane Gay and Benjamin Percy air anxieties about self-quarantining in the age of coronavirus, for example, while Sloane Crosley writes about the recent college admissions scandal, channeling the interior monologue of Lori Laughlin. Cabot’s venture publishes one story per week, each with a brief sidebar of news coverage around the topic, for factual context and further reading.
Each story runs at about 800 words, “short enough that you could add them to your daily news intake,” Cabot says, as a way to encourage readers to add more fiction into the mix. “We’re really lacking pieces that help us take a step back, and think more deeply. I think there’s a lot out there that tells us what to think automatically, rather than prompting us to figure it out on our own, whether or not we agree with this person, or what we’re actually feeling,” he adds. “For me, this is kind of a way to facilitate more news—deeper news.”