First I’ve got to shout hallelujah–we’re on WordPress! Big thanks to Jacob and Johnna and Jonathan and anyone else involved in making the move to this new blog platform happen. I love it already, and I’ve only typed a few lines. And, look, I’m uploading a photo right now. Lickety-split easy! And a pretty photo too, of the cover of latest issue of Irreantum by featured artist Justin Hackworth, no less.
Speaking of Irreantum, I have a few pieces of business to attend to. First, we are now accepting submissions for our 2011 Literary Contests. Please click here for rules and information. Starting this year, all unsolicited fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry must be submitted within our contest window (Jan 1-May 31) according to contest rules, and all submissions will be considered for an award. We’re particularly excited to add our new poetry contest to the mix and hope it will encourage more poetry submission to the journal. We received a record number of excellent fiction and creative nonfiction submissions last year and we’re planning for a repeat performance in 2011.
You’ll soon get the chance to read some of last year’s award-winning fare in the Winter 2010 issue–or perhaps you’re already reading it. After a bit of a holiday-related delay at the printer, the magazine was finally mailed out the last week of December. I know many folks in Utah and thereabouts have received their copies already, but every afternoon I continue to rush to open the creaky frozen hinges on my Minnesota mailbox only to be greeted by junk mail, bills, and returned Christmas cards I’d sent weeks ago to people who’ve apparently moved without telling me. I am confident, however, that the journal will arrive. I’m guessing tomorrow. Tomorrow, oh gods of the USPS! This is the first (and last) issue I’ve edited as a Minnesota resident, far away from printers and BYU mailing and such, and it’s been a little unnerving not to be able to hold the finished product in my hands before sending it out into the world. It feels a little bit like having somebody whisk your baby away immediately after giving birth, depriving you of the opportunity to give her a good once over.
But I know the issue’s good, even if I haven’t held it in my hands quite yet. It’s good because the contributors and Irreantum’s amazing staff worked long and hard to ensure this is a magazine we can be proud of, one that we can point to as a repository of the best writing by, for, and about Mormons. And since this is my last issue as editor, I’d like to take just a minute to mention these members of Irreantum’s staff by name and thank them for all they’ve done. So without further ado, many many thanks to:
Lisa Downing, an extraordinarily gifted and passionate editor, my indispensable right hand and friend, and a woman who’s spent countless hours making Irreantum’s fiction the best it can be; Brittney Carman, one of the best writers I know, period–Irreantum‘s literary rock star (just wait, we’ll all be saying we knew her when); Jim Richards, an insightful editor and talented poet with impeccable taste; Karen Marguerite Moloney, a woman who’s willing to take time out from her many pressing commitments to ensure that Irreantum‘s critical essays are a boon to our literary conversation; Beth Bentley, our lead copy editor whose proofreading ability is so thorough and rigorous that I’m thinking somebody should trick Osama bin Laden into lacing his anti-American tirades with misplaced modifiers so we can turn Beth loose to find him; Marny Parkin, a professional whose precise and skillful typesetting abilities are essential to this whole operation (since I don’t have InDesign or know how to use it) and one of the most cheerfully efficient and responsible people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with; and finally, Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury, whose past title was Managing Editor, but I think a better title would probably be “Mom,” since she does so much of the unsung work that very few people volunteer to do–she’s the woman who sets up tables for the BYU Publisher’s fair, who answers emails about subscription status, who manages the subscriber lists, who lugs boxes of books to BYU mailing, who updates our website and represents us at board meetings, who emails us and nudges us about deadlines, who tells us if we misspelled the name of a board member in the issue’s front matter, and on and on. Lastly, I’d like to thank Jack Harrell. Even though he works on his issue and I work on mine, there’s a great deal we must do together in order to ensure that Irreantum runs smoothly, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this venture. Jack is more than a skilled writer and editor; he’s a great champion of Mormon literature and a unique and important literary voice in his own right. He’s also become a good friend.
All these people have sacrificed a great deal of time and energy for no pay and little attention, simply for the love of good literature and our little community. To each of them I’m incredibly grateful. I’m glad, too, that I’m not stepping away entirely. I get to continue on Irreantum’s staff as contest coordinator–a very good thing, because I think the loss of these associations coupled with a long Minnesota winter just might do me in.
Finally, I also want to thank those of you who have subscribed, submitted to, or been published in Irreantum. There’s so much talent out there, so many wonderful writers, so many hungry readers. (I know there are! Even if so few of them subscribe.) I know it’s time for me to step away from my role as editor and I’m looking forward to new adventures, but I leave this role full of gratitude for the opportunities, experiences, and relationships the last six years with Irreantum have afforded me. It’s truly been my pleasure.