We were asked several interesting questions recently. One was, "How do you determine the needs of potential readers in the short stories and essays that you publish?" We're a bit naive and stubborn here, we'll admit. We try not to anticipate the needs in great detail. We make our own judgments. Sometimes we even feel as if readers should visit us with an open mind, read the stories and learn from them, rather than the other way around.

Another question was, "How do you gain exposure for your web site and its short fiction?" Once again, we'll demonstrate the density of our heads (which may be as scant as that inside the scarecrow's you see above): We feel that if we put out a good product, losing a lot of sweat and blood in the process, the readers will come. If we publish truly engaging, high quality stories, people the world over may intrinsically be able to see the value and merit, and gravitate toward it. We like to let the product speak for itself. So we'll shut up, now...


Our Lit Pick of the Quarter this time comes from the Crab Orchard Review, where in the Winter/Spring 2006 issue a piece entitled “Going Native” by Nicole Walker appears. Is it fiction or nonfiction? we asked ourselves when we read it, then read it again, then read it again. We can’t be certain, and it isn’t identified as one or the other.

In any event, it’s a wonderful short piece narrated in an elliptical manner, revolving around a pregnancy that may have come too soon. We don’t think the story can be fully appreciated in a single sitting; it’s one of those that you find yourself coming back to, perhaps the same day, perhaps weeks or years later. Here are two excerpts:

I do not like the way the words “I love you” hollow out the air around you. How sometimes, when you hear those words, you think of pickles or stubbed toes or the time your dad was late to pick you up from practice, but don’t think about the person saying the words. “I love you” is a placeholder for all the things you used to know. The letter “U” at the end of the phrase leaves you off at the place where you turn toward what you’re never going to know.

. . .

I used to think that things connected like trains. One boxcar coupled to another and then those thoughts and ideas would add up to mean something. One long train like a strand of DNA would translate to something. I started at this station and I ended up at this next one via this ton of metal, this axle, this track brought me from here to there. Now I think connections are more like Virginia creeper or spaghetti. It all touches, but where one vine or strand begins and another ends is a knotted question.

We wonder, in reading this second excerpt, if the author is referring to the story itself, in a way. You read and decide.


Starting our issue off this quarter, Zane Kotker writes of a nameless older woman "Going to Granada with a Young Man," a short story about perspectives of age. Choppy dialogue, whimsy, and a sleeping bag stolen by an odd character appear in Kevin Spaide's "Come Home." Corbitt Nesta explores the concept of omertà in her essay "Everyday Life in the Land of Silence." Haunting images and events surround life among the piñonero trees in Philip Suggars' short story, "The Bridge." And finally, a photographer on a mission to capture on film a mysterious bird and flower finds more than he cares to in "Desert People," a short story by Steven Torres.


Once again, many thanks to all those who submitted for our Fall issue, and those thoughtful enough to send feedback.


The Summerset Review
 
Joseph Levens – Editor
Amy Leigh Owen – Assistant Editor
 
A literary journal released quarterly on the 15th of March, June, September, and December. Founded in 2002, the journal is devoted to the review and publication of unsolicited short stories and essays, and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in New York State. All correspondence and submissions should be emailed to editor@summersetreview.org. Postal mailing address: 25 Summerset Drive, Smithtown, New York 11787, USA.

This publication is made possible, in part, with a grant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state agency. We are very thankful for the support and encouragement these organizations have given our journal and the literary community.

ISSN 1933-7175

Theme graphics: "Happy Harvester" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2006.