Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter 2010 Issue, Editor's thoughts...

Dear Folks,

As you can see our new issue is up. It was a long time since we'd had a journal go up and the extended time off was called for to read and review all of your manuscripts. As always there was an overwhelming amount of great stories. In the end we picked Jesse Goolsby's story for Richard Bausch short story award. "Touch" by Jesse Goolsby is one of those rare stories, sad and beautiful--a story of an Afghanistan war veteran who is trying to figure out how the hell to live again. The first time I read it I was moved to damn tears. The story matters and you should damn well read it. All the runner's up are fantastic. One of the best stories I had the pleasure of reading was Louis Wittig's "What Snuggle, the Fabric Softener Spokesbear, Says As He Takes the Seat Next to You on Continental Flight 3411 to Buffalo" I cried reading this one too but for a very different reason; it's damn hilarious. The guy takes the voice of that damn plush snuggle bear in all of the fabric softener commercials and works an entire story around it. At first I didn't think he would be able to pull it off, or sustain the energy of the story for as long as he did (it's something like 4000 words) but by the time the story was done I was so impressed I threw it into our "yes" pile. Blue and Maroon by Chellis Ying is just an eerie story, obsessive and quirky. I read it at least three times to see how she did it--it's about a woman who has a male roommate and over the course of her living with him becomes disfigured and continues to be there, living in their house while he has a girlfriend. The story is subtle but overt enough so that you're confused and horrified by the ending. She does this POV switch at the very end that we didn't know what to think of but in the end I decided she pulled it off and that it was her way of truly horrifying us, very magical. Finally, last but not least was Onnesha Roychoudhuri's story "A Simple Migration" we liked this story because it was raw and emotional, she gives the dying breaths of a man who is about to die. However, the story is more of a recounting of the life of a husband and wife and their last intimate moments.

There were many many wonderful stories this quarter that did not find their way into our pages. So, while we haven't advertised our contest as such, we. 're giving honorable mentions to a number of writers here: "Benny and Nicky Go for a Ride" by Toby Soriero, "P.M." by Lynn S. Schwebach, "Crossings" by Barbara Ganley, "Throb" by Shannon Zimmerman, "One Track Mind" by David Lawrence, "The Director" by Anthony Spaeth, "Killer Bod" by Paula Paige, "Bad Joke" by Jeffrey Cretan and "The Haunting Wish" by A.N. Hegde.

There were so many damn good stories this time around and I really feel like that's indicative as where we are as a journal right now. For all of you who wrote, please keep working on it--don't lose hope, keep working at it.

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