Literary Orphans

A Note on Issue 08
by Mike Joyce

Dear friends,
When I was a teenager, bedridden and seeking companionship from the internet, I had the fortune of meeting a friend from Scandinavia. I was shocked, one day, when he recounted a funny story of himself and his friends, finding a lost dog. I no longer remember why it was funny. What I do remember, was that when they found the dog they were playing “cowboys and Indians.” I was floored. Why the hell would they be playing that? Shouldn’t they be pretending to be Vikings, or something?


My friend, he always played as the “Indian.”
Me, I always played as the cowboy.
I also poured hydrogen peroxide on beetles in the alleyway.
I wasn’t exactly a winner as a kid.


I don’t want to preach–well, maybe I do. I’ve been deleting and retyping a sermon for the past hour. But a sermon isn’t what we need, what we need is some action.

The goal of this issue was to include half of it as a promotion of an often marginalized group of writers: those of Native American origin. These writers are pushed to the side in regular publishing, with a few exceptions. And in online guerrilla publishing like us? Their voices are few and far between. This seems fundamentally wrong to me.  ISSUE 08 was meant to be a clarion call, if you will. An attempt to reach out and give these writers the press and publicity that they deserve, and to show our community a whole world of fiction that they may not have been exposed to before, a world they should be embracing and including. And that goes two ways–this issue is also meant to expose Native writers to this online community–and what it could conceivably do to help them as authors to get their writing out there.

For this, I contacted Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, an old friend and Creative Writing classmate from college and former staff editor at Red Ink. I pitched the idea to her, and asked her for help. She went way beyond my wildest dreams. For the past several months, she’s tirelessly gone out and advertized, judged each and every Native writer piece, edited them all, selected artwork from Native artists she has found, and wrote a fantastic introduction to this issue. It’s really been an honor to work with her, and I couldn’t be more excited about this issue.

I urge you to go read her letter and delve into this issue. We’ve got some fantastic “general” pieces as well! The rising star Gessy Alvarez makes her LO debut, with “Sex for the Living,” a riveting tale about a cancer patient’s sex life. Eli Wallis with two old French translations of Jean Passerat; a wonderful look into the past. We also have the surreal return of Ken Poyner, who has a flooring and unique way of looking at things. T.L. Sherwood, Editor of r.kv.r.y., wrestles with the topic of domestic violence and sisterhood in suburbia. And I must also mention Susan McDonough-Hintz, who bring out the big guns and hits hard with three nostalgic poems that bring me into a world familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. This issue is our biggest yet, with 40 pieces–please read it all, Trust me, you may just be inspired to write your next best piece!

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

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