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Literary Mixtape Vol. 4

Side A:

Side B:

November 19, 2023

I dunno if anyone gives a shit about editor's letters. Most people probably come to see the mixtapes as a whole. There's a good chance nobody stops to read me banging on about any old thing.

Strange then, to hold two opposing views: nobody cares about about the letters, and also don't let anyone down with the letters! Tedious writerly bullshit.

I hadn't planned on writing editor's letters, and I've been wondering why I'm persisting with them. I'm stubborn, for one thing. And perhaps, like most writing, it's an exercise in connection.

Like a lot of writers, I'm solitary by nature. We tend to hiss when people come too near. (What a bunch of assholes!) But connection is healthy and good, so I started M7, in part, to connect. To connect with writers I publish; to connect readers with their work; to celebrate the ways music and literature connects us.

Whether you know it, any connection you've had with this mag – read, submit, share, publish, comment, whatever – makes the world a little warmer, more hopeful. Thanks for your part in that, pals.

If you're reading this maybe you came here to connect, too. (Hell, maybe you're just bored!) Either way, hello from the editor's chair, where my corny ass is dancing to Swedish House Mafia while I write this. Dancing means it's a good day.

I hope that, wherever this letter finds you, you're having a good day too. I hope your corny ass is dancing to something you love. And I hope you find something to connect with in this volume, something to make you feel a little less alone.

R. Tim Morris serves a little speculative with "Sunday Night", which imagines tech that can bring you back to the moment a song changed your life. They say it's not cheap – would you pay to go back? Once you got there, would you ever let go?

I was wondering how long it'd be before we saw Ol' Blue Eyes in the inbox. Jack B. Bedell's quiet meditation "Three Coins in the Fountain" weaves a familiar paternal thread between Sinatra's voice and that of his own father. Sometimes the only way we get to know dad is not in what he said, but what he sang.

Erin Lyndal Martin reckons with the uncomfortable line female pop stars are forced to tread with sexuality: your "Electric Youth" only lasts so long, a currency that teeters between empowered and exploited. Say all you want about stan culture, but female pop fans know how exhausting it is to walk that tightrope. They lean on their idols to help them navigate it.

Tyler Dempsey spun an offhand tweet into a light skewering – or is it a celebration? – of the rambling do-nothing who grows a moustache instead of growing up. Bros of lit twitter, Tyler came for your asses. Don't get your poncho in a twist. I hope you have as much fun reading "Long Black Train" as I did.

When it comes to nailing how excruciating it is to inhabit the skin and soul of a twenty-something woman, Megan Williams wields an ACME-sized hammer. Sometimes the writing that connects most with us is the work that feels most alone, most alienated—Megan's superpower is bridging that gap with her readers, and "I Love Me After You" stands testament.

Lauren Theresa's poem "A Favor House Atlantic" captures cheap therapy: cranking the volume in your car, a private sanctuary with song as prayer, as ablution. It's visually stunning work, and I'm so glad I was able to present it to you as I received it despite margin limitations on this blog. Masterful use of the line break to build – and burst – tension.

Speaking of connection, don't be shy. Subs are still open, and I'm making my way through them slowly. Love to see y'all there.




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