Hello, Friends. As autumn unfurls its bounty of color here in Omaha, it is hard to believe that nine short months ago we were sitting at a table at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, home of the low-residency University of Nebraska MFA program, entertaining the idea of starting a literary magazine.
At the time we did not know what we were in for. The seed was planted by faculty mentor Tom Paine, and the idea sparked excitement around the Lodge. Of course we would need a solid crew who were just as passionate about the idea. Of course we would need to establish our presence and somehow get the word out. And of course, we would need people to take a risk and trust us with their precious words.
We envisioned creating a space that would showcase the writing of everyday people, who live and work among us. Writers whose stories and lives are often overlooked. As it is written in our mission statement: We are committed to exploring the overlooked. We recognize the diversity of voices that exist in the Midwest and know that a great many have something extraordinary to share. We were excited about the prospect of reading those remarkable works, and we imagined creating a good home for those poems, essays, and stories.
What we could not have imagined, in those early conversations, was that in the weeks and months to follow, the world would spin into a swirling vortex of doom–escalating racial injustice, riots, protesting, natural and unnatural disasters have all been in ample supply in 2020. Not to mention, the onset of a global pandemic.
Given that, we could have halted our progress; we could have piled our plans on the back burner or canceled altogether. But that’s not who we are. The team decided to press on, fueled by the notion that art and literary celebration is so valuable in these difficult times. Passion for our craft is what brought us together, and we wanted to continue to contribute to the conversation by connecting writers and readers. The team, our friends: Annie, Joel, Erin, Mike, Pamela, Allison, Suzanne, Stepha, Mimi, Cat, Tre, Kelsey, Luna, and Michelle, each played an important role in getting us to the finish line with this first issue. We’re grateful for you, your decision to join us on this journey, and your dedication!! We would also like to acknowledge Avery Kester for their contribution of drawings and website prototyping early in the project. Their ideas, banners, and logos allowed us to get our website live and open for promotion.
Special thanks to Michelle Quick, whose talents as a designer, writer, and maker extend to every corner of what the GLR has to offer. Her work on design and branding has been incredible, and her keen aesthetic eye invaluable throughout the process. We’re lucky to have her on our team.
Special thanks also to Trelana Daniel, for her vision and follow-through in creating a podcast to supplement the content we have to offer readers. A weekly podcast was not part of our original plan, and she not only pitched the idea but also did ALL of the work to make it a reality. We’re grateful for her contribution, skills, and for her amazing voice. Tre has also taken on the task of being our social media manager which, as we came to realize, is vital to our success.
We also owe a fair bit of gratitude to the people who provided guidance, direction, advice, and promotional support throughout this process: Tom Paine, faculty mentor for the MFA program at the University of Nebraska Omaha; Kevin Clouther, Program Coordinator for the MFA program at University of Nebraska Omaha; Kate Gale, faculty mentor for the MFA program at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Editor of Los Angeles Review. A final thank you to Sarah O’Brien, Tobi Harper, and Rebeccah Sanhueza for their wise words about operating and producing a literary journal. Thank you!
To our contributing authors, thank you for taking a leap of faith with us and being a part of our inaugural issue, which would not exist without you!
And to our readers, thank you for supporting and believing in the arts. We hope you find something you love in this issue. And we hope you decide to return for more.
That’s it for Issue #1.
Peace, Love, and Tacos,
~Shyla and Ed