From Tom Dooley, Managing and Fiction Editor
The world of Internet publishing is certainly a dynamic one. There are few constants, but Eclectica Magazine has been one of them, as have our editors who, despite the total lack of tangible benefits or compensation (they do all enjoy a virtual "corner office," for what that's worth), nonetheless have been remarkably dedicated to putting together four great issues a year. Colleen Mondor has been our Review Editor longer than many ezines have been in existence, so it is with sadness but great appreciation that I announce her decision to move on to other endeavors. She has offered to put together one more issue to give us time to find a replacement. If anyone is interested or has a suggestion in that regard, please drop me an email.
On the flip side, one-time Travel Editor Mike James has agreed to take up that helm again later this year, so we'll be celebrating his return at the same time that we're celebrating Colleen's many years of service.
While I'm on the topic of thankless, unpaid positions, I continue to hope the right folks will come along to expand our staff on other fronts. We have a need for a web designer, copy editors, a nonfiction editor, assistant editors of all kinds, a visual arts editor, and of course, the aforementioned review editor. In addition, if and when we ever take the plunge into non-profit status, we'll need a business manager / accountant to handle the books. My longterm plan is to tackle the non-profit dream a decade or two from now when I'm closer to retirement, but if the right folks want to help make it happen sooner, we could perhaps turn some of these positions into thankless but at least (poorly) paid ones, sooner.
Another constant of the online publishing world has been the Million Writers Award, which is now enjoying its 10th year of recognizing the best short and novella length fiction on the web. The three stories I nominated were "Song of the Jet" by Alfredo Franco, "Stillborn" by Rupan Malakin, and "They Are Kept Forever" by Sheila MacAvoy, but there were many more eligible stories, equally deserving of recognition, that appeared in Eclectica last year, including ones by Caroline Kepnes, Dennis Must, and our longtime Salon contributor and the editor of Gowanus, Thomas J. Hubschman. Now comes the stage where an undisclosed number of preliminary judges get to bring an undisclosed number of their own nominations. Those will be added to the pot and culled over the next few weeks for 2011's "Notable Stories," from which MWA founder Jason Sanford will then select a top ten. Eclectica holds the record so far for most Notable (41) and most Top Ten (6) MWA stories, and I'm hoping we'll make another strong showing again this year.
This summer, Jason is publishing two retrospective MWA print anthologies. I'm thrilled that Eclectica authors and stories are well represented in one of them, The Best New Online Voices. Eric Maroney's and Gokul Rajaram's stories, "The Incorrupt Body of Carlo Busso" and "The Boy with the Hole in His Head," respectively, were selected for inclusion, as were pieces by Eclectica contributors Sefi Atta, Anjana Basu, and Corey Mesler. I've pre-ordered my copy, and I hope you will, too, so we can encourage Jason to keep up this good and important work.
Our hard working Interview Editor Elizabeth Glixman recently published her chapbook The Wonder of It All (Propaganda Press), and Finishing Line Press is publishing I Am Their Flame if she can get enough pre-orders. Those of you who like her work, please go to the Finishing Line website and put in an order. Mathias B. Freese has also been busy. He authored The i Tetralogy, a Holocaust novel that was winner of the Allbooks Review Editor's Choice Award, and Down to a Sunless Sea, a collection of short fiction, finalist for the Indie Excellence Book Awards. And he published This Mobius Strip of Ifs, a new book of essays and memoirs. Mensa Bulletin (November/December 2011) published "To Ms. Foley, With Gratitude," the opening essay from the book, and it won the Society of Southwestern Authors first place award for personal essay/memoir. Alessio Zanelli published his fourth collection, Over Misty Plains (Indigo Dreams Publishing, UK). Clifford Brooks' first book The Draw of Broken Eyes and Whirling Metaphysics will be published early next year by new traditional model press, Gosslee, and he was recently nominated for a Pushcart. And to wrap up the news on the publishing front, Jared Carter's fifth collection of poems, A Dance in the Street (Wind Publications), was just released a few days ago.
So what about this issue? The first thing that comes to mind is that there sure is a lot of fiction. Spotlight Author/Artist Morgan Elliott has given us creepy (in a good way!) woodcut-like illustrations and semi-surreal Finnish fable fiction to lead the pack, and the 11 other stories in this issue are an indication that there being just five stories in the previous, January/February 2012 issue was an anomaly. Somewhat anomalous this time? Most of these stories are by authors completely new to our pages. Only Anne Germanacos and Alex Keegan are repeat offenders, with Alex being one of the repeatest of all offenders, having now placed 24 pieces in 13 issues over 15 years.
The next thing to note is that former Spotlight Authors Jascha and Julia Braun Kessler are back in full force in the Nonfiction section. Julia's ongoing memoir continues to enchant, and not to be outdone (while I don't know the Kesslers personally, I suspect there is a fair amount of intellectual competitiveness between them), Jascha has provided his own account of some of their time spent in Europe in the '60s. His piece is as different from Julia's as it could be, all things considered, and really, really good.
And speaking of former Spotlight Authors in the Nonfiction section, Stanley Jenkins is back with another piece of creative nonfiction, if it can be neatly classified as such. Perhaps historical sermon or patriotic lament would better serve to describe what his "Jeremiad (Mill Girls of 1912)" manages to be. Along with his entry in the Salon, which is equally difficult to categorize, Stan has now contributed his 37th and 38th pieces and appeared in 25 issues over 16 years in three different sections (Fiction, Nonfiction, and Salon). "Jeremiad" feels pretty darned topical in today's America, where the more things change, the more they stay the same.
But enough of my yammering on. I'll let Jennifer Finstrom say a few words about the poetry, and I'll let you get on to reading what is, in my estimation, another solid issue.
From Jennifer Finstrom, Poetry Editor
I was packing and moving at the same time that I was working my way through the always impressive submissions that I receive. These two occupations seemed to coincide, and I found that as I was working my way through boxes that hadn’t been unpacked since the last time that I moved, many of the poems were causing me to reflect on memory and the role that it plays. I found things in those boxes that I had forgotten that I had ever owned, and in these poems I saw other old possessions, each with a history. For example, Marjorie Mir writes in “The Table” her wish for her old piece of furniture, that it “might find another home,/ bear the weight of someone's cat,/ of soup bowls, books, a writing pad.” And though I haven’t seen her table, I understand her feelings for it. And as the years add up, it isn’t only furniture that we carry with us, but words as well. Timothy Hawkins writes in “Collected Works” of how “the pages pile up year after year,/ line flowing from line/and word following word.” And finally in “The Metaphor,” Lauren Henley writes of the rooms she inhabited in the past, “of the origami stars tied to floss and dangling from the ceiling,/ the three-footed candy dish turned pink in the window ledge.” Henley goes on to say that, “because my memory is fading, I carry too much in my pockets,/ I wear every thing I own.” All of these poems, and others in the issue, provided such specifics of a life lived that I felt strongly that sense of community that poetry imparts, that even though the specifics of my life are not the specifics of your life, we are all negotiating what is remembered and what is forgotten, the rooms that we have left and the rooms that are to come.