It’s Thursday, and I’m finished. The issue is spent. I am at sea without an issue to paddle with—I’m almost Paddle-to-the-Sea! Fiction editors, this is the best you could do? Let half a dozen rich and juicy stories about doomed ne’er-do-wells on Hawaii beaches and toothy movie stars on planes and wild Dominican daughters and ghostly girls and physics—and a dessert plate of petits fours of poignant movie stories that have only wet my whistle—slip down my gullet like so many fresh oysters, and I’m supposed to be set till next Monday? No. I am done, and bereft, like that Inconvenient Truth polar bear with no ice floe in sight. And mixing metaphors like a fruitcake (examples abound above). You see what this is doing to me?
Of course, there were the other articles. And they were alarmingly quick treats, too, and moving (Edwidge Danticat) and fascinating yet troubling (the nicely titled “Final Destination”; I still don’t understand why this guy won’t put these incredible archives online), and other stuff I’ll get into later; lord knows I’ve got time. I need another dense Middle East piece to make me feel better informed and appropriately challenged yet alarmed anew about my inadequate knowledge of the issues’ intricacies, and determined to go back to that NYRB primer I’ve dipped into less than I should have in the past ten years. With more than a week to go, I need something that would take a day or two to work on. I mean it; I miss it!
I guess this is what the new fiction podcasts are for, to ease the shakes, although curiously the word “podcast” (and please correct me if I’m wrong) hasn’t actually appeared in the magazine to advertise the podcasts, or maybe the type is just extra-small. In any case, I’ll be diverted by some of your multimedia gewgaws, fiction editors. (This savvy Canadian law professor would recommend I do so, I think.) But don’t think I’ll forget that you’ve made an issue that, while meaty and delicious as a Second Avenue Deli brisket sandwich, R.I.P. deli and cud-chewing brisket source, is not time-consuming enough for the time in which I have to consume it.
Here’s a funny fact: I think I may be Danticat’s first publisher. She had a pared-down, urgent poem called “Saw Fish Soup” in The Columbia Review when I was editor, and I still remember it.
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Emdashes, founded in 2004, is written and drawn by Emily Gordon, Martin Schneider, Pollux, Jonathan Taylor, and Benjamin Chambers, as well as occasional guest contributors. All posts before October 2008 are by Emily Gordon.