Voila, our third issue of S-Curves! Since most literary journals don’t make it past the second issue, I suppose that means we’re no longer shiny & new and are on our way to being Established. 🙂
I’m staring hard at the collection of work in this issue, trying to will A Theme to appear like with one of those Magic Eye pictures, but really, I think the theme is mostly Yay, We Got It Done because this one was a little hairy to pull together… and actually we do have some hair (cat hair, that is), and some fire and sex and a little water to cool things down, too. And guitars and dogs and Crimson Danger red lipstick and Italians on motorcycles and ice cream in cantalopes and rhubarb pie… so maybe the theme is Summer. Or maybe it’s Things That Are Not Not Summer. Let’s go with that. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I won’t tell if you won’t.
So shall we unpack the picnic basket?
Some of you know I’ve been a serious Buffy scholar for the past 15 years, so I’m down for anything that even gets close. (Wanna get published in S-Curves? Send in a great piece about Buffy. Or Dogs. Or better yet, Buffy and some dogs.) Lori Sambol Brody’s The Girl Who Waits For The Superhero isn’t about dogs, or exactly about Buffy, either, but it does feel a lot like Angel, and that is not by any means its only virtue. Buffy and Angel and superheroes are all about metaphor, of course, and Lori’s piece is a gorgeous metaphor for the dangers of externalizing our strength onto another person.
We usually do one photo essay per issue, and we already had Miriam Geer’s fabulous piece ready to go (more on that in a minute), but when we saw Eric Larsen’s stunning B&W photos of the men and women who fought the Old Fire… well, rules are meant to be broken. Eric sent along an email with some background on the people in his photos and when we read it, we couldn’t help but wonder… who were the convicts, who was the Chief, who was the first day on the job guy… and we were going to tell you all of that. But then we realized that the power of Eric’s photos is that we don’t know who’s who and that’s actually the larger point. What Eric’s photos show us is how this very diverse group of people who never would have met in real life came together as a team and put aside differences to become heroes.
Now that things are on fire anyway, how about some heat of a different (but perhaps no less destructive) kind? Millicent Borges-Accardi’s Sexing It Slow With Tom Jones & Margo is as lush and lyrical a depiction of first love and the discovery of sexuality as you’ll find anywhere. By the way, Millicent also has a fabulous new book out — Only More So (Salmon Poetry Press).
While we’re on the subject of young love, let’s talk about Our Love Is Like A. Now given a choice between love poetry and sticking pins in my eyes while eating a plate of Brussels Sprouts, pass me a fork and a straight pin — because when love poetry is bad, it reaches a special level of badness that other bad poetry can only aspire to. But Audrey King’s Our Love Is Like A won me (and our poetry editors, too) over pretty much instantly with its absolute lack of self-consciousness. The urgency and fear of loss in the line “Baby, you don’t have to think, I’ll do that for you” has somehow wrapped itself around this love-poetry-hating-editor’s psyche and won’t let go, and I’m not sure why and that’s okay because that’s what good poems are supposed to do, right? Not to mention that the unfinished ending says everything that needs saying about the perilous and constantly-shifting nature of passion without saying a word. (Oh, and did I mention that Audrey’s only 18 years old?)
Young love, of course, isn’t usually meant to last, and Lydia Shell’s The Condiment Queen is a quirky deconstruction of how the contents of a refrigerator door can define a relationship, the end of a relationship, and ultimately, even personal identity.
Miriam Geer took a break from her Topanga portrait studio for fabulous photographic adventure through Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and her photo essay, The Water Festival, couldn’t be better-timed given the hot summer days here in the canyon. Miriam’s photos brilliantly capture the raw joy that comes with letting go of social constraints and giving in to bliss. The First Annual Topanga Water Festival, anyone?
Kara Masters has been so very patient with us, because she sent in ear of your feet to the ground for our very first issue, and like the stray cats in her poem, we’ve been holding onto it to till we found just the right home for it. Which we finally did. Poems about cats that don’t devolve into sentimentality and instead manage to say something new and fresh about these magical creatures who live among us are rare indeed, and we’re so happy that Kara shared this one with us.
I try not to abuse Editorial Privilege very often, but I hope y’all don’t mind that I snuck in Exact Change, a 100-word story. Thanks to the suggestion of a reader, I’ve fallen a little in love with flash fiction (very short short stories) and I couldn’t resist including one to give you a taste of the genre. For a second helping, google “flash fiction” and enjoy the feast. (And if you write flash fiction, please send us some — we would love to publish more of it!)
We’re happy to welcome Jonathan Oldstyle back with And Then He Smiled, a tongue-in-cheek (literally) character vignette full of musings on mortality, youth, sex, and the perils of eating rhubarb pie when you’re old.
And let’s linger in the Mediterranean a bit longer with Jean Colonomos’ shimmery Livorno, Italy where a young woman discovers paradise in an unexpected moment. Jean also has a new book of poetry out — Art Farm (Finishing Line Press).
And finally, we’ve been holding onto Alexa Miller’s gorgeous photo, hoping that we could use it for an issue with a Dog Theme. Sadly, this dream has yet to materialize (hint, hint), but we thought Alexa’s photo was the perfect “last word” for our summer issue because it so completely represents the magic of summer in the canyon.
Thank you to my colleagues who read submissions and offer editorial thoughts so that it’s not just the Opinion Of Me that guides the content — their help was particularly appreciated this time as I was trying to put together the issue while juggling a manuscript deadline. Thank you also to everyone who sent in work, whether it made it into this issue or not — “no” always means “not this time, but please keep sending stuff in!” And a big thank you to the writers who worked on revisions, and those still working on revisions for pieces for future issues, for engaging in the editorial process with gratitude, joy and an open heart. And of course, the biggest thank you of all goes to you, our readers, for, well… reading, of course! 🙂
Happy summer, everybody, and enjoy!
PS — Submissions are open for our fall issue — send us your stuff (especially ghost stories and other spooky stuff)!
Photo © 2011 by Esimpraim