Feb 4, 2024
Writing this editor's letter from the inside of a fancy French hotel in my city. Sometimes I come here for breakfast or lunch when I need to get the hell out of my apartment and into the world. Nice to pretend I'm travelling, to focus unencumbered by laundry or cleaning or phone calls or whatever the fuck I have to do at home.
This time next week I will actually be writing while travelling, like so many of you. See you in Kansas City, to those of you who are able to join this year! Can't say I've ever had a burning desire to go to Missouri but I am really excited to be seeing faces both new and old at the book fair, and at offsite events.
I'm a bit of a lone wolf and a drifter, but if you want to come say hi I will for sure be at the Rock n Roll Reading, kindly held every year by Dan Hoyt. You can find me and a huge roster of talented writers at The Brick on Wednesday Feb 7, starting at 6pm. No fucking around, either; readings are 3 mins or less so we don't put ya'll to sleep. Love to say hi if you're in the neighbourhood. I'm hard to miss: red hair, red lip, black fit, quick wit (depending on how much sleep I've had).
Apologies again to last volume's authors—I had some hugely unexpected life stuff crop up the day I published the last volume. I had a few mistakes and wasn't able to publish your pieces on social as quickly or thoroughly as I would have liked; please forgive me.
Volume 8 has to be the first where I can say I've honestly never heard any of the songs attached to each piece. I'm having a hell of a time discovering new music while running M7 so thank you to each contributor and submitter - I listen to them all!
In all the human detritus that could blow through an editor's inbox, a piece about scones had to be one of the more eccentric ones I've come across. I could be misreading it, but I like to imagine Nicholas Maassen's "Misplace" has a slight office crush vibe that appreciates that one person who insists on bringing their baking to work.
The eternal question of what makes "it" – that je ne sais quoi that some people have - is at the heart of Donna Vorreyer's acid-tongued "Epic", at once an examination of "it" and those who wield it, and a lament for those who don't.
"Eggs" catalogues scarcity and its impacts not only on external circumstances but on the psyche of anyone who's lived on the razor's edge of have and have-not. With the wealth gap widening by the minute, I'm willing to bet more of us than not will identify with Yoselin Licea's unflinching piece.
Adam Shaw treads a careful line sharing about his experience as caregiver for a loved one with cancer. It takes a soft and talented touch to honour someone else's pain while holding space for your own grief and fear, and in Adam's capable hands "There, There" strikes a gutwrenching balance.
Kathie Collins drops the needle on an old classic to honour the dead in "From a Distance", which captures the hair trigger memory between losing a beloved artist and remembering lost loved ones their songs bring to mind.
"Save Me Joe Louis" is the shortest piece in the batch, but it'll probably stay with me the longest—that cutting juxtaposition between gasping for fresh air in a forest at the same moment you contemplate a condemned man breathing their last in an executioner's chair isn't one you can easily forget, myth or not.
See youse in Kansas City, or see ya next issue.