I've been staring through the window at all you fine folks the last few weeks. Mostly just that, and staying quiet otherwise. Sometimes I just like to watch. There's a lot to see, to read, to hear about. There's a lot going on in there. It's nice.
I put a temp hold on submissions to A-Minor until Feb. 1. Stocked up into late March, so I thought it was time. In related news, I've decided to step back from my everyday duties with Wrong Tree Review. Don't take that as a sign of WTR fading into the sunset. Just the opposite. I intend to work with Jarrid Deaton to get the material for Issue 2 in an online format in the next while, and Jarrid will continue the good work with that publication.
Jarrid and I teamed up in 2004 to publish the print journal Cellar Door Magazine for a year before letting it loose to run off to the woods and do as it would. CD was sort of my brainchild and WTR was sort of Jarrid's baby. We've just always worked together on these sort of publishing adventures. When the wheels slowed on WTR, I do what I always do: I started jumping into other things in the meantime. Giving Jarrid room to run with WTR just seems like the right thing to do at this point. I love it, am proud of it, and have no doubt it will continue as a fine journal. And I'm never far away. Even with solo projects, such as my journal A-Minor, I'm always looking to Jarrid for input and advice. We're just bound by words.
I have a collection of short stories in a full-length manuscript form called THE SAME TERRIBLE STORM sent to a press in Alabama where it will stand up beside other manuscripts and see if it can be the sexiest of them all. If it is sent home to me, I will tell it that I think it's beautiful and that I will always love it. I will. I've had several folks offer me words of encouragement and say awfully nice things about this little attempt of mine, and I can't say how much I appreciate all of those nice things they've said. Support. Without that, we're all just telling stories out loud in dark empty rooms. And y'all know that's what we'd do. The stories tell us what to do, not the other way around. We all know this.
In respect to kind words and support, I would like to share with you a couple things sent my way concerning my work that really lifted me up at a time when I truly needed it. One correspondence was from the poet Darryl Price (who spoke of myself and fellow writer, the brilliant Marcus Speh) as well as another from writer and editor Mark Reep. Please allow me to indulge and share these with you. This is the support most writers think was lost at some point during the 1920s in Paris, but still exists:
"It's not only the work, it's who you are and what you do for all the rest of us. You continually take time to promote everyone else's efforts, you're unfailingly encouraging and supportive. That's no small thing. And all you give in that regard is bringing good stuff back around to you too." -- Mark Reep
"Both Marcus (Speh) and Sheldon are to me the prime examples of the best and finest new writing taking place in the world today. Original, creative, willing to chance everything to make it sing for you. Whenever I'm lucky enough to read a new piece by either writer I'm immediately struck by how wonderful a thing writing can be and obviously is. They are both capable of turning a new found phrase on its head and emptying out old notions to find the perfectly edible nut in the moment and sharing it. It's discovery and invention and courage these fellows trade in, and that makes all of us as readers of literature very lucky indeed." -- Darryl Price
I would be hard-pressed to explain here in these few words how I feel the same about Price and Reep's work and tireless support of others, not to mention nearly every other writer I've come to know in the past decade.
Community is not lost, folks. We thrive and are as strong as ever. Each one of you, your continuous work at this lonely craft, your eagerness to shine a light on the person next to you, are but two of the many reasons for this.
A drink for you all. I insist.