I say this now in part because I have three short (nontraditional-ish) pieces in the December issue: two Craigslist stories and one 21st-century epistle (aka email). I originally thought these would appear in the January issue, so it’s a final 2009 surprise.
There is something I really like about these forms, but I have a hard time articulating it. Part of it is the familiar, almost casual “realness” of using a an everyday medium to tell a story. Another, more subtle quality is the sense of a narrative within the narrative: there is a story within the ad/email itself, but then the piece can also allude to a larger story concerning the writer (i.e. what kind of person wrote this? what can I tell about their life from what they have written?). Go on Craigslist, especially the personal ad sections, and just read. You’ll see what I mean.
Nonetheless, I think a lot of publications probably have very little interest in emails and personal ads as fiction, so thanks to Roxane Gay and the other fine folks at PANK for putting these up.