Monday, July 30, 2018

And Now We Come to the End (Almost)

I launched Redux in August 2011, with the simple thought that there should be an outlet for excellent stories, poems, and essays that have appeared in literary journals but that never subsequently appeared in a book; work that felt lost in the dusty stacks of a library or, more likely, an archive, whether the journal’s or the writer’s. I know that I’ve published stories along the way that—for whatever reason—I would never choose to include in a collection of stories, if I were to put one together. They don’t fit my current areas of interest, or they read a little too old-fashioned now, or I don’t want so-and-so to read this one. Sometimes, the situation is that I see too many flaws in the writing or in the writer I once was. Yet each publication was deeply important to me, and for sure there are stories that I just simply love—flaws and all—that I want to present once again. There should be a way (I thought back in 2011) to honor these works. In fact, there was a particular story of mine I had in mind: this story, I thought, it makes me sad that this story will never be in a collection or seen again, especially since the journal that published it is now defunct.

Someone should do something, I thought. I should do something, I thought.

I already had a simple blog through Google’s blogging platform, Blogger, so why not add a simple literary journal, where I could publish my beloved story and work by other writers? Ta-da: Redux was born!

It was immediately clear that I couldn’t exactly publish my own beloved story without looking like I was running a vanity project, so I solicited some work and some contributing editors who would also solicit work…and eventually I opened submissions to the world. I loved reading these lost stories and poems and essays, and I also loved reading the stories behind the work: how this might be someone’s first publication, or how someone was experimenting with a technique, or the way this poem always made them remember their grandmother. Redux has published writers I know, writers I’ve heard of, writers I didn’t know, writers I didn’t know but who now are my friends.

Along the way, I’ve had wonderful people helping Redux, either as contributing editors or as assistant editors, helping me evaluate work during the open submission periods. And while I was able to set up a fairly low-stress formula for the myriad of Redux-related tasks: reading the work, posting the work, communicating with writers, etc…even low-stress editing takes up a certain amount of time and energy. Which is why…

…I have made the difficult decision to wind up my participation in Redux. There will be one more post, next week, of the story that started it all, my story that I will never put into a collection, that I still sort of love for a variety of reasons, one being that it’s the story I wrote when I first started loving hockey: “I Dreamed of Mark Messier.”

As for now, I will keep the archives alive as long as it’s inexpensive and easy to do so. But I’m also open to passing along the entire enterprise to another person and/or institution. Might that be you? If so, some quick thoughts/suggestions/cautions:

~A social media presence is helpful to find a wider audience.

~My web skills are waaaaaay outdated, so it seems to me that Redux needs a major web update undertaken by someone with skills waaaaaay better than mine.

~I would expect that whoever might take over Redux would be committed to maintaining the archives.

~Finally, it’s getting a bit harder to find work that has been published in print that isn’t also online already, so the mission of Redux might be tweaked a bit. On the other hand, there’s a world of out-of-print books (if one wants to investigate copyright issues) and there’s also, unfortunately, a world of online publications that are now defunct, leaving behind a sea of sadness and empty links.

In the end, I’m glad I took my thought forward into action, and I’m grateful for everyone who contributed their work, read and shared Redux, and, especially, those who helped produce this journal along the way:
Current assistant editors, Kenneth A. Fleming & Clara Jane Hallar;

Current contributing editor, Stephen A. Ello;

Former contributing editors, Rachel Hall, Deborah Ager, Marlin Barton, Sandra Beasley, Anna Leahy, Joseph M. Schuster, & Susan Tekulve; and

Designer, Bill Skillern.

Email me at lesliepietrzyk AT gmail DOT com if you’d like to learn more about the possibility of taking over Redux. And definitely come back next week to read Redux’s final post!

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