Issue #9 ~ Autumn 2022
Dear friends, readers, and fellow marshmallow roasters,
Two years ago, in the Autumn of 2020, I wrote our very first letter for our very first issue. At that time, the world was upside-down and trying to get a grip on how to operate during a global health crisis, grave racial injustices, and an alarming number of natural disasters. Still, our team had the drive and determination to persevere. In that letter, I mention how we continued to press on despite the “swirling vortex of doom” because we believed what we were creating was more vital and necessary than ever. Now, two years later, the leaves are turning, fall is in the air, and I’m once again faced with the challenge of condensing my thoughts and feelings about this issue, the lit magazine, and our growing organization one brief note. There have been a significant number of changes recently and, in truth, I am struggling with where to begin.
Perhaps it is best to start with something that has not changed: the gratitude and appreciation I have for the writers and artists who have sent us their work. It is always wonderful to make new connections and get to know the people who agree to publish their words and works of art with us. The pieces in this issue serve well to uphold our mission of exploring the overlooked–some are bold and direct, while others are quieter as they subtly, yet deftly, challenge perceptions. This range is evident throughout each genre.
Poetry, for example, has two fearless pieces by Andy Winter, The Hair Poem and The Wax Poem. Both use language in unique and striking ways and twist forms to fit their aim. This is in contrast with the two poems by Anne Whitehouse, with more traditional verse, whose meaning is woven through well-crafted, artful lines. Rounding out the set of five poems in this issue is one by William Bonfiglio which struck a chord–a seemingly simple observation that reverberates on multiple levels. My favorite thing about each of these poems is the way it lingers in the mind and begs to be read again.
This is also true for the CNF in this issue. I sometimes feel there is no greater risk in being a writer than exposing the inner workings of life through nonfiction. These pieces are raw and real and the experiences shared are heartbreaking. I’m thrilled to feature Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter, and her striking, evocative flash nonfiction essay, Mutation of a Body, and am humbled by the fact that Jessica Pulver trusted us with the story of how her son came into this world and what she has suffered and gained because of it. These, and all the stories in this issue, hold such transformative power I am excited for the opportunity to highlight each in the coming weeks.
What I am not excited about is saying “farewell and good luck” to another team member, Allison Guenette. Allison has been with us as an editor on the poetry team since the beginning of this journey. She was at the winter residency where the idea of The Good Life Review was born and she helped us shape our vision and approach in those early months. She is thoughtful, thorough, and kind and is a lovely person to work with. Her presence will be missed.
Saying goodbye to team members seems to be a recurring theme in these letters and one that is never easy. However, each change creates opportunities for new people to join and, ultimately, a shift in our collective energy. In this case, the addition of two new poetry editors, Cid Galicia and Terry Belew. Terry and Cid are not new to TGLR as they have both been readers for us for a few issues now and we’re stoked to have them agree to take on more!
Deciding to add two new editors made sense for the situation, but also fit with the needs of the journal as well. We are growing and evolving as an organization and, as such, have been in need of more help and changes in roles and responsibilities.
We now have two internships that are currently being filled by students of the University of Nebraska Omaha MFA program, Linda Young and Julia Sample. We are also branching out to include additional readers in several of our genres in order to give fair and adequate consideration to all submissions. In keeping with our original intent to be independently operated by people affiliated with the UNO MFA program, these readers all have that in common. This new list of volunteers includes Debra Rose Brillati who started reading for this issue and Ciara Hoff and Christine Nessler joining as of issue #10. Welcome ladies!
As if all of that was not enough, I am also thrilled to announce that Tacheny Perry, one of our flash fiction editors, is now also filling a new managing editor role and Annie Barker, one of our flash nonfiction editors, is stepping in as associate editor. I’m extremely grateful for their willingness to volunteer more of their time and to have their assistance in shaping the future of our journal and our organization!
Again, it is a challenge to condense all of this, as there is much more I would like to express but my overarching desire is that in the coming weeks and months we will be able to capitalize on the enthusiasm that comes with so much change. My hope is to collaborate more on new ideas and solidify plans for 2023 and beyond, all while continuing to provide a beautiful and inclusive platform for writers and artists who seek a home for their work.
For now, though, I would like to close by saying “thank you” to you, dear reader, for sticking with us through “the vortex” and for your support of independent literary journals. Thank you for believing, as we do, in the positive impact art can have on humanity and the world.
That’s it for Issue #9 ~ Autumn 2022.
Cheers to conversations ‘round the fire,