One of the many great things about getting to be here for nearly a month is coming home and, along with seeing my friends, getting to hold this beautiful 2013 issue of Alligator Juniper, a national, award-winning literary magazine, in my hands, and to see “Lucky Charms,” an excerpt from my memoir-in-progress, in its pages (ORDER A COPY OF THE MAGAZINE HERE for only 10 bucks!).
Read this great interview with founding editor (as well as dear friend and mentor) Melanie Bishop in which she discusses the new issue, how the magazine got started (I worked on the very first issue SEVENTEEN years ago!), and the unique process for how the magazine is produced (through a course at Prescott College).
Having worked on the very first issue, I of course said yes when the managing editor Skye Anicca asked for work so she could include it in a special inaugural section called “Shaping Grace: Women’s Perspectives” along with an interview (an interview?! I’ve never been interviewed before…).
Here’s the second paragraph of “Lucky Charms,” which chronicles the first half of a geographic (and emotionally harrowing) move I made in 1997 to go to graduate school:
“On this trip I don’t drink after seven months of not…or take too many pills (though I think about it). I drive alone across the country in an oversized Ryder moving truck. From point A—the dry, haunted landscape of the Southwest, where cacti produce blooms that look like sea creatures, and the star-strewn sky makes me forget my own name—to point B—a balmy, vine-choked town in the Deep South where the air will smell like magnolia and old beer, and the cockroaches I smash as they skitter across my new living room floor will force me to ask myself what have I done deciding to come here.”
And an excerpt from the interview:
“Not sure what writing has taught me about courage exactly. I guess it’s taught me to wield a mighty sword in the face of the ‘I suck at this’ voice and the ‘I’m not nearly as good as [fill in name of much more successful writer here, like one that actually has a book published].’ Wasted time!
The Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggests we invite our demons in for tea. My impulse is to conk them on the head, one after the other, and drag the bodies into the bushes. Whatever it takes I guess.”
I am proud to be published in AJs pages—along with other amazing creative nonfiction and fiction writers, poets, and photographers(!). Again, the issue is only $10 (!!!), and you should buy it! Along with getting to read the rest of my essay and interview, you’ll get to read pieces by Alix Ohlin (along with an interview), Natalie Singer, Judith Barrington, Allan Peterson, and many more.
You can feel good about supporting the future of a literary magazine as well as the experience of the undergraduates who staff it (the experience was invaluable to me as a writer as well as the ways in which it has influenced my professional life and my contributions to the arts) and the recent graduates who work for very little to produce this gorgeous journal.
You should also know that Alligator Juniper has consistently supported new and emerging writers and artists (i.e., this is the very first publication for Esther Welsh, the winner of the national contest in fiction, whose story will haunt you to the end of your days), and puts serious time into responding to every single artist. Their rejections—and I have been rejected by them—honestly feel like prizes in and of themselves.
ORDER A COPY: I COMMAND IT.