Today is our birthday!
SmokeLong Quarterly is five years old! Can you believe it? In our five years, we’ve published almost 500 flashes by over 300 different authors. That kind of boggles my mind (although my mind might be more easily bogglable at the moment than usual—I’m probably a wee bit sleep deprived). And that deserves a celebration, don’t you think? I do!
So… how to celebrate? With a party issue! Who to invite? Well… I’ve often heard editors say that publishing a literary magazine is a labor of love, and I whole-heartedly agree. So we asked those who’ve labored lovingly on this little enterprise over the years to come join us. Virtually every person who has ever read submissions for SmokeLong has a story in this issue. (It doesn’t hurt that they’d all be a blast to party with. Maybe Alicia could wear a lobster girl costume?)
And if we’re going to celebrate, shouldn’t we continue with the very things we’re celebrating? You better believe it! So there are also a lot of voices new to SmokeLong in this issue, which has always been cause for great celebration. (And I can already see that there are some great partiers here, too. Brian Allen Carr can provide the porn and Scott Garson can bring the band.) Some of these voices were solicited explicitly due to work we’d seen elsewhere and admired. A great many more came from the beloved “slush” pile (which absolutely needs a better name).
On a personal note, I also wanted to celebrate the idea of flash in general, and my love for it specifically, so I asked two of the largest influences on my early flash writing if they’d contribute. To my great joy, W.P. Kinsella and Natalie Goldberg both agreed to contribute. Bill’s “The Alligator Report” was an early revelation to me, the idea that stories of this length were actually acceptable, and introduced me first to Richard Brautigan, and from there, a host of others. Natalie’s “Writing Down the Bones” and “Wild Mind” both instilled a philosophy of “keep the hand moving” and the exercises that allowed for that to happen. I’m enormously grateful they’ve joined the party.
I feel like I could write and write and write about all that I love about this issue, this epitome of the expression “a labor of love,” this giant collection of great works by people I adore. By necessity, it can’t contain the works of every single person who has helped SmokeLong reach the internet-ripe age of five. But I hope all of you will read and enjoy and join in the celebration.
It’s your birthday, too, yeah!
Founding Editor, SmokeLong Quarterly
June 15, 2008
PS In a grievous error on my part, I was hideously late getting interview questions to Natalie and Bill. I’d like them to take their time, but as soon as we have their interviews completed, we’ll have them live. I’m truly sorry I wasn’t more on the ball.
—Cover Art “Five Years of SmokeLong” compiled from art by Marty D. Ison, Robert Dornberg, Malina, and Rebecca Gullickson