A Letter from the Editor
Welcome to Catapult. We’re glad you’re here. What is this website for? What makes it different from other websites? These are questions you might have, and ones we’ve been asking ourselves as we’ve built up our corner of the internet. The answer is so simple and so entirely full of optimism and goodwill that even […]
Welcome to Catapult. We’re glad you’re here.
What is this website for? What makes it different from other websites? These are questions you might have, and ones we’ve been asking ourselves as we’ve built up our corner of the internet.
The answer is so simple and so entirely full of optimism and goodwill that even I who am delivering it wonder if there’s a catch. There isn’t one, though. It’s for you, for writers and readers. We’ve built a site devoted to nurturing writers by publishing their work. We’re hosting an open Community platform where people can share and respond to each other’s writing. (Read more about our Community here.)
More specifically, what you’ll find on this site are stories. This means fiction of all sorts: about lonely amoebas and conflicted cops, about scientists visiting an anti-universe, daughters visiting an old-age home, fathers visiting a 7-Eleven.
For nonfiction, you’ll see everything from investigative pieces to personal essays to works that combine the two. Instead of slotting these into the usual categories (memoir, reportage, and so on), we’re using three broad umbrellas that allow for more genre-bending and genre-crossing: People, Places and Things. (Every story has all three, of course, but good stories tend to have one at its heart: a toddler, a lemon.)
Under these nonfiction umbrellas are smaller series and topics. In Invisible Cities, for example, writers explore the spirit world in Reykjavik, subway tunnels in New York, and other hidden urban places. (The series banner on our current homepage was illustrated by our supremely talented in-house illustrator, Tallulah Pomeroy, who also did the illustrations, so far, for Joy Williams and Nao-cola Yamazaki.) In Borrowed, writers tell the story of a thing they’re using that doesn’t belong to them—an apartment, a car. The series I Survived is exactly what it sounds like: stories about people discovering how, and why, to stay alive.
The final category on our site—How To—includes stories about stories. We thought writers and other storytellers would have things to share about how they go about their work: their solitary processes, their grapplings with particular narrative problems or forms (like letters of recommendation), what they’ve learned about writing in—and out—of the classroom.
What you won’t see here are reviews, news, interviews, listicles, or pieces of commentary or opinion. Plenty of venues exist that do those things, and do them well. There are very few places that focus purely on narratives, those raw goods that make up our literature, those individual invitations to inhabit another point of view. We want Catapult to be that place. We want you to read each story on our website and think: no one but this writer could have written this.
One last thing, and it’s another answer to the question of what—or who—this website is for. I said it’s for you, but maybe it’s also for me, for us, the people who are making it. There can be such pleasure in curating, in organizing any bunch of things into a group to share with others: an exhibit, a mix, a magazine, a reading, a menu, a party. It clarifies yourself to yourself, and it lets you be known to others. A little bit like writing.
I think this pleasure is important to hold on to. I think it’s okay to let it guide you. What makes this website different from every other website is that we, and no one else, made it.
We hope you enjoy it.
September 14, 2015