Letter from the Editor (12)

by Dave Clapper March 15, 2006

This issue marks a period of transition, both for SmokeLong and for me personally. At SmokeLong, Kathy Fish has stepped down as our Fiction Editor. The value that she brought to SmokeLong cannot be overstated. She was, to most writers who submitted, the face of the magazine. Hers was the voice they heard, both when their work was accepted and when it was rejected. To the rejections, she brought kindness, gentleness, and encouragement. To the acceptances, she brought joy, pride, and humility. We know the writers who submit to SmokeLong are going to miss her, but nowhere near as much as we will. Please take a moment to check out Randall Brown’s interview with her, and then read the announcement of the award we’re setting up to honor her work.

On the personal front, the work I’ve done at SmokeLong over the past (almost) three years convinced me of a passion for editing and of a desire to change careers. I’ve been fortunate enough recently to do some freelance editing work that has paid far better than my corporate web development job. As of tomorrow, I will be out of the corporate world and into life as an editor. I mention this here because I am so utterly grateful to everyone who has been involved with SmokeLong: staff, writers, artists, and readers. Had any of you not been a part of this, I’d likely still be sitting at a cramped desk under fluorescent lights wondering what happened to my life. So… thank you. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.

So what about this issue? Well, it represents a bit of a change for us in another way, too. Back in 2003, when we published our first issue, we didn’t have a guest editor. In every issue since then, we have, and they’ve been an incredible force. This issue, however, we decided to return to the days of old… just once… to more closely connect with how we work together as a staff. The result, I believe, is terrific. The mix of voices new to us and old friends is perfect to my palate. Two kinds of joy took place in compiling this issue: reading new words created by voices I already love, and tuning in to voices fresh and new to me. What a delight.

This issue is a hair slimmer than our usual, which I think in part shows just how much work the guest editors do. That said, each of the pieces found inside fought hard to get there. The voices are keenly intelligent, aware, and honest, from Mary Miller’s pot-smoking narrator to Robert Lopez’s caretaker of the blindsters. There’s a lot to savor in here, and if you’re like me, you’ll be thinking about the stories long after you finish reading them. Thanks so much for reading.


Dave Clapper
Founding Editor, SmokeLong Quarterly

March 15, 2006

Cover Art “Out with the OLD and in with the NEW OLD” by Marty D. Ison

About the Author:

Dave Clapper is the founding editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.