Billie: Letter From the Editor

Categories: ISSUE 02: Billie

In the spring of 1915, Billie Holiday entered the world in the city of Philadelphia, PA.

Abandoned by her father, her mother left for long stints of time while trying to earn money to raise her. Sent to live with her half-Aunt in Baltimore, when Billie’s mother finally returned from one long trip to visit, it was to find Billie being raped. She was 11 years old. With her mother, Billie soon moved to Harlem, New York. In a matter of four months from the move, they were both imprisoned for prostitution. When Billie left prison–alone and confused on a sunny day–she took comfort in the blues of Louis Armstrong as it wafted from the speakeasies of the city streets.

Here, in Harlem–10 miles and worlds away from Wall Street–at the age of 14, Billie picked up a microphone. It was October, 1929. In the shadow of Black Tuesday, on the eve of a catastrophic economic depression, Billie began to sing. She sang to us about love, money, violence–she sang to us about humanity. Under the cadence of her powerful voice, reverberating like a train with the passion of the disenfranchised, a newly orphaned generation stood up for the Dust Bowl two-step, and reverberated right along with her.

The world hasn’t been the same since.

Mama may have,
Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
-As sung by Billie Holiday 

It’s with tremendous anticipation that we bring you this, our second issue of Literary Orphans. A lot of exciting changes have happened since the first issue. We now have a brand new Poetry Editor, Emily Smith-Miller, who has worked her butt off to get LO into poetry shape; you may know from last issue, that we considered ourselves mainly a fiction mag–well, no more! We also have a new Art Editor, Doriana Maria, who has been a tremendous help and who will be pivotal moving forward. Leanne Gregg, new fellow fiction editor and super-reader extraordinaire has been invaluable. And of course, the Managing Editor, Scott Waldyn, has continued his stellar performance getting the word out, reading content, and building an online presence for us.

In this vein, I’ve decided to introduce staff writing–which you will notice at the end of the fiction and poetry lists. This work was done by some of the hardworking people that make LO possible.

As you jack up the resolution on your computer monitors, and read through the writing on this site–you’ll be taken on taxi rides and trick-jobs, witness dead reptiles and dead lumpenproletariat. The fever dreams of impossible wishes and rejected intentions will hit hard from the poetry side of Billie, just as the photography will immerse you into the atmosphere, suck you into the story.

Finally, I would like to ask you to check out our two new projects.
The Bruce Issue, is a superhero issue we’re planning for a future release. All fiction submitted for this issue must involve a superhero, or the idea of a superhero, in some way. Click the link to read about it. There is also a link in the main Billie content page.

Trans Oceanic, INK, is a handwritten artifact project. We’ll be mailing a journal to various individuals (please e-mail) who are interested in the project. The idea is each writer will handwrite their piece in the journal, mail it onwards, and then we will collect the journal and put it in print.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I’ve enjoyed editing it!
Mike Joyce