These past several days, I’ve taken the opportunity of time off to run copies of THE2NDHAND around Nashville, to lunch in a bookstore basement cafe in a decidedly suburban setting, to browse the better-than-average jazz vinyl selection at a more urban-feeling record shop, clean a car soon to be up for sale, and plot the redesign of a website long overdue for an overhaul, a word that rings more literally and, better, I think, in conversations about trucking businesses.
Been one wild and surely fruitful decade (out of strife, comes life, perhaps) for me in so many ways, not the least of which includes the birth of my daughter, Thalia, and the continuing wonder of a life partner I have in my wife, Susannah Felts. And who could have predicted at the ten years’ inception when I launched THE2NDHAND, in Feb. 2000, that it would now still be going strong, still evolving (on that front, look for a series of mini-broadsheets to launch in the next month or so). My thanks goes out to the numerous co-conspirators who’ve come on-board at various times over the years, from Jeremy Bacharach in the begining to Matt Cordell, Rob Funderburk, Evan Sult, Jeb Gleason-Allured, Andrew Davis and more recently C.T. Ballentine, Jacob Knabb and Alan Snider, without whom none of it would have been possible (to say nothing of the hundreds of writers we’ve published, but of course).
The new year starts off well on other fronts, as well. My three-year sojourn in Birmingham, Ala., occasioned a great deal of new work, and two of those stories are now available via the current issues of Birmingham-based Red Mountain Review and L.A.’s (that’s Lower Alabama, but of course) Ocho. Of my stories featured therein, one (“The Color of Magic”) was originally written for the Chicago Dollar Store reading series proceeding from a book of the same title by Terry Pratchett, and the other is a meditation on sleep disorders, fear of fatherhood and generational touchstones called “Ecstasy of an Old Hag.” Check them out — the Ocho issue was guest-edited by Kirk Curnutt, a pretty great writer, and likewise includes a rare piece of prose from poet and THE2NDHAND contributor Jim Murphy. The Red Mountain issue’s prose is phenomenal, too, particularly Tommy Zurhellen’s “Song of Simeon,” near epic in its expansiveness, a quality quite refreshing in its uncommon nature in the particularized, sometime morass of the current fictional landscape. These are epic times, after all. My two cents. See you at a reading somewhere soon, mehopes. . .