I’m going to be brief (and probably a bit scattered), as work has been whipping me around like a rag doll recently, and I’m ready to join my kids in Slumberland. I’m hugely thankful to Mary Miller for all her work on this issue, and to each of the amazing authors herein, particularly to Steve Almond, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, and Curtis Smith for allowing us to share with the web their beautiful stories previously only seen in print. It’s interesting how issues take on themes, often seemingly by accident. Questions about God seem to be all over this issue, whether at the forefront as in Susan O’Neill’s “Stigmata,” Robert J. Bradley’s “Nailed,” or Jason Jackson’s “From Halliville To Grice’s Town;” or more subtly as in Almond’s “When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny” or Chaon’s “Raymond Carver.” Interesting.
And who wouldn’t question God, with the superstar Randall Brown leaving SLQ after an incredible career here. Virtually all of the interviews that have appeared in these pages over the past three years have been conducted with amazing grace and keen insight by the marvelous Mr. Brown. His tenure with SLQ has been one of the longest of any staffer ever here, and I thank him for having put up with me for so long. I can only hope that his departure to focus on his writing means that we’ll be seeing his fiction in these pages again. And soon. God bless you, Mr. Brown. I don’t think I can adequately express how much I’m going to miss you.
This issue also brings a new staffer to SLQ, Kelly Spitzer, and she’s taking over the interviewer’s chair from Randall. As you’ll see from the interviews in this issue, she brings a different style from Randall, but I think you’ll agree that she, like Randall, is a superstar. I’m ecstatic that she’s joined us.
One quick word to those with keen enough eyes to read these missives: although I’ve not yet put together the announcement for the second annual Fish Fellowship, all authors previously unpublished should consider submitting applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. Refer to last year’s announcement for the particulars. This year’s deadline will be November 15, and I should have a more formal announcement up soon, but if you want to get the jump on the competition, feel free.
Again, thank you so much to all the amazing contributors to this issue. Its beauty is enough to idle my own questions of God, at least for now.
Founding Editor, SmokeLong Quarterly
September 15, 2007