Oct/Nov 2006

From the Editors

Photo by Jim Gourley

From Tom Dooley, Editor

This concludes year number ten for Eclectica, a fact that makes me feel both proud and old. A few things have happened in the last decade--in my life, around the world, to the Web, with the magazine--and overall, I'd have to say I'm happy with how it's going, at least with respect to my life and the magazine. Both are long-term works in progress, with the proverbial journey taking precedence over the destination.

This issue is as good an example as any of what we've been doing for the past decade, or striving to do.

For visual stimulation, we've got the photography of previous nonfiction contributor Jim Gourley, whose website is a trove of images gathered during his travels throughout China. Please don't spend too much time trying to figure out how they're connected to the pieces they accompany. I'm not really sure what a photo of a man carrying sleds up a Chinese sand dune has to do with a story about Ernest Hemingway set in Havana, but then again, I'm not sure it doesn't have something to do with it, either. Some of the photos more obviously fit their stories, poems, or essays than others, but they're all remarkable to look at in and of themselves, and they all drive home that we're part of a truly world-wide web, that what makes us all different and what we all have in common are equally valuable commodities in the face of the twin evils of homogenization and isolationism.

Enough soap box, though--I'll save that for my Salon entry, which if I can ever finish it should contain plenty of my usual, opinionated blather. Always more cohesive with their arguments and views are my fellow essayists, Thomas Hubschman and Stanley Jenkins, whose respective works this issue are as thought-provoking as ever. Word is that Paul Sampson will have a Salon entry along shortly, so by the time you read this, it may have been added as well.

Speaking of future events, the travel section also hasn't made its way to Eclectica's central command yet, so I won't comment on those pieces except to say that I'm sure they'll be worth the wait (and a good excuse for folks to revisit the site over the coming days as new pieces are added). We call it the October/November issue because it usually takes a couple months for everything to get properly posted. Just kidding. Sort of.

We've reworked the book reviews and interviews page a little to reflect the fact that we're really combining two sections here under the separate auspices of Review Editor Colleen Mondor and Interview Editor Elizabeth Glixman, and because it seemed like a good idea to give this page a format like that of the fiction, poetry, and other sections.

Speaking of fiction, David Massengill's short stories are in the spotlight for their unique voice and crisp imagery. Caroline Kepnes and Dennis Kaplan are both back for their third appearances in the magazine, and they're accompanied by an accomplished band of cohorts. Also back, Alex Keegan's Boot Camp writers, who graciously allowed us to hand pick some of the best of their latest charity writing exercise.

Jennifer Finstrom's poetry selections and Paul Sampson's nonfiction continue to surprise and delight. As with fiction, we have a nice balance of "regulars," people like Arlene Ang and Barbara De Franceschi (who have placed a combined 31 poems in the magazine over the years!), and a whole passel of newcomers. For the number of folks who spend their mornings with a cup of coffee and their favorite literary sites, there's plenty in this issue to savor.

Some quick news about former contributors: Michael Largo's Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die is to be released by HarperCollins this month (October). Aleah Sato's collection of poetry, Badlands, is available now on Lulu. And on a slightly different note, Silvia Brandon-Perez was arrested in Philadelphia for protesting at Senator Rick Santorum's office.

If anybody has any other news, let me know.

Wherever in the world you may be reading this, whether here in the month of October, 2006, or at some later date, I hope you'll enjoy what we've been able to put together for our 50th issue. I thank you for reading these pages, and if you find that your time is well spent, I hope also that you'll let others know about us.


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