October 22, 2023
Thank you for giving a fuck enough to click through and read this.
I know how busy you are, how tired, and how much of the world demands your attention. That anyone cares enough to read flash stories between meetings, on smoke breaks, riding the subway, or waiting to pick up kids is a gift, and I mean that. These authors won't disappoint.
Major 7th Magazine was founded to collect all the scraps attached to your life soundtrack. This fantastic essay at Hazlitt gutted me years ago and I want to read reams and reams just like it. There are thousands of blogs and magazines dedicated to dissecting the songs themselves, but few catalogue the ways they worm themselves into our consciousness.
I'm open to any interpretation you bring, and I know you'll bring every interpretation imaginable. Six authors in this first volume were given the same set of guidelines. All six brought a different spin, and all six knocked the assignment out of the park.
Because I'm sentimental windbag, I'll do my best to keep up editor's notes on each piece.
Aaron Burch is indie lit's most infamous Sad Dad (tm), so I knew when I approached him that he'd need first crack at a song by The National. What I wasn't expecting was how fast he'd crank out the work, and how much it would impact the future of this magazine. Aaron hit send on "Bloodbuzz Ohio • The National" at the exact moment I wanted to scrap the project altogether. Aaron's passion for art – to create, share, study, hype it – is present in everything he does, but "Bloodbuzz" may be where he articulates most vividly its inherent magic. I wept with joy when I read the essay; "that made me feel something" has become a silent mission statement for this magazine. Thank you for the reminder, Aaron.
Shirley Chan is a gifted memoirist and I'm lucky she jumped at the chance to contribute to Volume 1. "Yellow • Coldplay" weaves the song's lyricism into a deeply personal meditation on identity and self-acceptance, using music to bridge the gap between self and other (and perhaps the gap between self and self.) Shirley gripped me with spare but visceral verse, demonstrating how music can etch itself into our skin and bones, carving our identities, as we find ourselves reflected in the poetry of songwriters.
I don't know how he managed it, but Scott Mitchel May subbed the literary equivalent of a moshpit to Volume 1. "Buckets of Beer • The Tossers" reeks of nicotine and malt liquor. It shoves you into the flailing, chaotic world of scummy underground punk clubs and the communities of lost kids that cling to them. Nobody's given an intro but everyone's got your back, and this scrap of memoir is part of a larger work Scott's cooking about his Seven Dead days. Watch for it pulsing, puking, and pogoing into your submissions, publishers.
Between her punk rock publishing ethos with Maudlin House and the Textual Healing podcast, Mallory Smart is indie lit's original music maven. She subbed "Telephone Line • Electric Light Orchestra" from her wedding/honeymoon in Egypt, which is fucking wild—thank you Mal helping get this thing off the ground from half a world away. Music permeates all of Mal's prose and "Telephone" teases her upcoming novel I Keep My Visions to Myself.
Jillian Luft is a pop culture connoisseur, so I knew I'd receive anything from hair metal to crust punk to torch songs when I reached out. Jill walloped me with a gutting ode to grief, friendship, and caregiving in"Mariners Apartment Complex • Lana Del Rey". Jill captures the unseen work, steadfast resolve, and loving intention that goes into hospice care. It's a
piece I wish I'd had to read seven years ago, and I'm proud to give it a home.
The first thing Caleb Bethea said when I solicited their work was"it's gonna get weird." First: fuck yes. Second: I wouldn't expect anything less. Caleb has been bouncing around lit mags this month fielding horror and Hallowe'en fare with Maudlin House and HAD, and I'm lucky they had any time to lob a delicious bit of debauch into my inbox. "Freak Mode • Dorian Electra" deposits you on the doorstep of a sex club and swallows you whole.
Thanks all for your faith an enthusiasm in this project. Your stunning work gave this thing legs, and I'm humbled you'd help it launch. All my gratitude, always.