I’m back in sunny Seattle today, having spent the last few days in Los Angeles. My LAR cohort Tanya and I had the opportunity to present the journal’s achievements to be fabulous Red Hen board, and the next day we got to hang with the cool kids at Red Hen’s 16th anniversary champagne luncheon.
As a managing editor, I’m someone who spends a great deal of time interacting with creative writing in terms of logistics, deadlines, contracts, printing, shipping, sales, and marketing; bringing out a literary magazine can sometimes seem like running a widget factory. While I do get the immensely pleasurable job of reading and selecting work, there’s such a large amount of grunt labor to accomplish that it’s easy to forget the human and even artistic elements of the small press community.
But the Red Hen event came at precisely the right time this year. I had the pleasure of meeting the eloquent, thoughtful and gracious Christopher Rice, to hear Toi Derricotte, founder of Cave Canem, speak about the importance of writers in the schools, and even have a chat about The Wire and television soap operas with the legendary Ishmael Reed (who agreed, I’m happy to say, to be the subject of LAR Issue 10’s dedication and profile!).
Yes, it was great fun to dress up in a swanky outfit rather than my usual “editorial outfit” of yoga pants and a hoodie and to sip mimosas in the morning rather than put away my third cup of Trader Joe’s coffee. But the chance to feel a bit momentary glamorousness at the Luxe had nothing on how good it felt to be around others who care as much about writing and books as I do.
It’s easy to be discouraged, especially in the current economic situation, by the business of making books. But being surrounded by other “book people” celebrating the written word gave me such a good dose of positive energy and of motivation that I can’t wait to get working on LAR 10…