Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Swamp Lily Review

When I was a kid my mom and dad would take off downtown to window shop. I didn’t think that was fun. I’d follow along or run ahead, stopping now and then to press my nose to dark windows. To me, it was pure misery. Why were they looking at things they couldn’t have? First because the stores were closed and secondly because they didn’t have the money anyway. I’ve never liked window shopping, though I admit, I do browse occasionally through catalogues, circling every item I’d like to buy.

 I tell you this so you’ll understand … I always felt exactly this way while reading literary magazines because I always wanted one. All through college and most of my adult life, I fantasized about starting one, discovering great poetry and short stories--becoming an editor, a publisher, speaking at conferences, discussing writing with young (or old) wannabes. Or great Pulitzer winners.
My friend Jan Rider Newman had the same dream and we decided to go for it. We met in coffee shops again and again and again planning, dreaming, creating our roadmap. We didn’t want to embarrass ourselves and we wanted the experience (the magazine) to be … wonderful, perfect. I would have backed out at any time. I was pretty much “window shopping” but Jan challenged me to step forward.

Check out Swamp Lily Review HERE.
We accomplished our dream because we did it together. We encouraged, challenged, worked hand in hand to grab something we both truly wanted. We made it happen even though, along the way, we had fear and doubt. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t. We cringe every time we have to send a rejection slip to a friend. We panic every time we miss a deadline because we don’t have enough material for an issue. We’re still brainstorming and dreaming.

I’ve left Jan pretty much holding the literary bag since I’ve moved to Oklahoma but then she did most of the work anyway. She designed the site and continues to tweak. She posts all the work. I’m more her first reader, who probably way too often asks, “what does he mean by that line? Doesn’t make sense at all. If he'd cut that word, that sentence, that paragraph, it would be great."
I’ve learned that owning a literary magazine is responsibility because while we’ve accomplished our dreams, every time we read a poem, a short story, view a photograph or receive some creative nonfiction, we’re “judging” someone elses dream. I’m not sure I’m  having fun yet … but I sure do like the title I toss around.  I’m co-owner/co-editor of Swamp Lily Review - a beautiful literary magazine with some fine work inside its digital pages.

Thanks Jan! And thanks everyone who has submitted and continues to submit. Never, never give up your dreams.


8 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely a cool mag! It's fun to get at least a piece of your dream underway.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Hats off to you, partner. Good post.

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

From an accepted and a rejected author: Love both of you and love Swamp Lily. It was inspiration from Above that led you two to this.

Jess, I can "see" that little girl following her parents, often dragging her feet, with a pouty lip pooching out. Oh, you've inspired alliteration! Fine post.

Helen Baggott said...

Stunning images!

Nelson Souzza said...

Hello Jess! My first visit, will visit you again. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts( really interesting blog). Would be great if you could visit also mine...Thanks for sharing! Keep up the fantastic work!

Bethie said...

I always enjoy reading Swamp Lily. Will have to try my hand at submitting to it. Keep living the dream!

Jess said...

Thanks for visiting, everyone. Always makes me feel special when I get comments! :) I'm still that little girl, Pat!

Lynn said...

You should be quite proud!