I started building the foundation of a new literary journal website in January. It was burning a hole in my brain and I had to see some aspect of it realized. Still, I avoided buying the .com or paying for the space. I wasn’t ready to move on it. Mostly, I just knew the work that went into publishing The Night Heron Barks and wasn’t sure I could run both. I made notes on typesets I possibly liked — fiddled with the header, and knew what I wanted to call us.
As the months went by, the idea of the thing continued to gnaw at me. I’ve learned so much in the last year about editing and design and promotion. I wanted to make room for a second project.
Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?Lines from John Patrick Shanley’s MoonStruck
Loretta: Ma, I love him awful.
Rose: Oh, God, that’s too bad.
I’ve always loved hybrid work and there’s long been something defiant or contrarian in me when faced with an absolute or label or box. We seem so quick to define things, sum up, speak away with such minimal effort. But any label, by its nature, is a construct. It’s not the beating heart. It’s certainly not the wings of a thing. It never takes in to account our propensity to defy, prove wrong or die trying.
I know that writing is about tradition and craft. But it is also an artform. And to make art is to make change. We are altered when we experience art that resonates. Why fixate on poem or prose?
I could be wrong, but it kept at me that one way for me to get closer to knowing was to make this journal. Our only constraint is a thousand words and no (strictly) lined poetry, as if the delineation between prose and poem can be whittled down to line breaks. I believe in short prose and narrative as much as I love the lyrical. The next part is going to be driven by the work we get.
At current, I don’t intend to build the pages like broadsides or add an audio component. Frankly, I don’t have the money for that kind of build. This is going to be smaller, more intimate. What I can promise is excellence and care. I’ll design a clean, professional page. We’re going to be a good read.
I don’t have a team for this yet. I’m not done with the Night Heron; though, I haven’t worked out how to run both. I have no idea what the response is going to be. So much of this next part depends on you and if I’ve learned anything this last year, the best things happen when we remain open, declare some small stake and then listen for a reply, adjust our sight, even as we remain tilted at the expansive horizon.
So whether it’s hybrid prose, flash, micro or prose poem, it’s all welcomed at Ran Off With the Star Bassoon.
This blog post first appeared under different circumstances with another name and has only been altered for clarity. The spirit of the original remains.