Like punk rock, literature is a kind of subculture. Most people can’t be bothered to dive in. Hopefuls can be dissuaded when a longtime member’s protective passion reads as exclusivity. But ask anyone who’s fallen hard for one and they’ll tell you—becoming part of an art scene will change your life (that’s not to say it won’t ruin it later). The communities spawned in these spaces are self-sustaining and addictive, inviting and demanding of intertextual references, nods to peers, and acknowledgements of their own history.

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