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Literary Mixtape Vol. 6

Side A:

Side B:

January 7, 2024

I'm writing this from an airport on my way to Chicago. I've never been to Chicago before, and I won't be there long. But I'm going for a book launch, to support a writer friend I met online. That feels worth celebrating.

Three years ago, I had no idea about the indie lit community that exists online (mostly on Twitter). Now I find myself both feet in, with a magazine, a press, and a book; travelling to writers' conferences and readings. Wild to think of how a few short years can change your life.

The indie lit space is the most community I've had in a long while—maybe ever. I know I keep banging on about this in these letters, but it bears repeating that despite any drama or bullshit that crops up occasionally, I'm grateful for the online writing community and all the kind, talented, hardworking people I've met. (Including the writers and readers of this mag!)

One of my new year's resolutions is to read in 3 cities this year. If you're in Kansas City for AWP, I'll knock one off at the Rock 'n Roll Reading (true to form for an M7 editor!) If you're in town, please come say hi—we'll be at The Brick on Feb. 7 at 7pm.

I'd love to meet more folks from our community in person, so please don't be shy. I'm so grateful for youse going into 2024.

The first edition of M7 for the year has some of my favourite writing yet.

Cheryl Snell's "Snake Charmer" brings us intimately into a circus family, parsing the complex dynamics of legacy and identity as the narrator tries to find their place as someone whose ordinariness chafes among her folks. As a former teenaged pop punk princess, I'm lowkey thrilled to publish M7's first blink-182 tune.

Hannah Rose Roberts sets us adrift with snapshots of Hollywood life hidden from the lense: unseen entertainment work, punishing self care regimens, and tenuous relationships. "House in LA" plays on ubiquitous showbiz shorthand without once lapsing into cliche.

I'm a sucker for M7 stories that seem to have no obvious tie to the song they're named for—and I'm left guessing at why the author made the choice. With its Waffle House brawls, French melancholia, and humanity's sole remaining cow, Jeffrey Hecker's absurd kaleidoscope"Best Sunday Dress" scratches that itch.

Julián Martinez gives us a short, sweet roll in the hay with "Dedicated my Life", which gives tasseled shirts their rightful due in the pantheon of powerful party fits.

Whenever I see someone swing for the heavyweights in the M7 inbox, I hold my breath in anticipation. Johnny Cash's "Hurt" deserves understated gravity, and Phil Goldstein's poem delivers in its tight portrayal of personal pain spilling over in the cold light of an open refrigerator.

Sometimes a piece strikes me softly with a singular image, sometimes with a string of them. Brittany Thomas' "To the Moon & Back" is the latter. Treeplanting on the moon, crayon maps on a cocktail napkin, the ungliest morning you've ever seen—all cuff you lighly on the jaw in this knockout piece looking for a lovely lunar home.

Happy new year, lovers. Glad to see a new one roll in.




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