Friday, August 6, 2010

Notes from the Editor's Couch

I call it an Editors Couch because my desk is often uncomfortable. It's more academic, studious. When I'm reading submissions to Weave, I want to curl up with them as I would my favorite novel or book of poems. My laptop is small and easy to handle while curled comfortably in a corner next to some pillows. I've actually gotten into the habit of doing the business-side of things from the couch. Suddenly, paying sales tax isn't so bad when done from the comfort of my brown Ikea sofa.

I realized today that I haven't yet written about the fourth issue of Weave. This issue is particularly emotional for me, because it marks a transition in this project. Since Weave's co-founding editor, Margaret, had to step down, I've been spending some time thinking about what it means to be an editor. For me, this project was always about the work we publish. Clearly, it has to start there. Yes, it is fun. Yes, it is flattering to get off to a successful start. Yes, it was exciting to get a grant. But it's more than that and even more than the amazing art and literary works we publish. It's the emails of appreciation I get from readers and contributors. It's the readings where I get to meet our contributors and hear their works read aloud as they want them to be heard. It's when contributors discover one another's work, like issue 04 contributor Teresa Petro-Micchelli ("Tracing") did when she praised fellow contributor Sal Pane's story ("America's Lover") on her blog. It's when I get to hold the actual issue in my had, a tangible object, a collection of people's hard work. It's the feeling I get when I see people reading Weave.

This issue has so much to give. Playwright Cassandra Lewis's hilarious one-act, "The Elevator Mystique", never fails to pull me out of a slump when I need a pick-me-up. Patrick O'Neil's personal narrative "The Demise of Horticulture" is still honest and darkly funny each time I read it. Ellen McGrath Smith's "The Latching On Song" speaks to the strange connection of mother and child, making it both universal and utterly personal. LEX Covato's cover "Brainstorm" is an amazing addition to the face of Weave. Renee Summer Evan's deals with death, grief and ultimately that new spark of hope in her story "The Fifth Jar", which moved me to tears when I first read it. Partly because it touched on the feelings I had after the loss of my grandfather this past December. That's the kind of work Weave publishes. Work that shifts us, leaves us changed, or opened, or filled. Or all these things.

I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this issue, if you haven't already. It's so fantastic. I could go on and on about each piece of work in the issue, but that would leave no room for surprise. I also encourage you to subscribe and also consider donating to Weave. We work hard and with the new staff lined up, I know there are great things to come. Fresh perspectives, new ideas, branching out into new media like podcasting or video readings. There are many new adventures on the horizon. I want to keep doing this as long as time and money allow, and sometimes even when those things fail, I hope to still be couch-editing. It's just so comfy.

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