ABOUT ISSUE 6
Issue 6 opens with Dylan Nice’s “She Likes You,” an exquisite and subtle flash fiction piece that began as a rambling 19-page horror story of sorts inspired by an anxiety dream. The radical re-thinking and re-framing that happens between first and final drafts makes for a wonderful lesson in how one might go about getting to the very essence of an experience or emotion. So often we tell students that revising isn’t just line editing, and Nice’s drafts demonstrate perfectly how stories can transform, shape-shift, and evolve into completely new creatures during the revision process.
Christopher Boucher’s “Trout Heart” is an absurd account of a man’s experience of having his heart replaced by a fish that works as a substitute heart. Conceived of for a Richard Brautigan Anthology (the forthcoming Mine is Clouds), the story surprises at every turn—unpredictable and unnatural physical laws, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and genuine heartache. The final draft of the story is a knockout. Excerpts from the 36 (that’s thirty-six!) early drafts reveal a ferocious dedication to the writing and rewriting process. This unique early draft section contains false starts, characters that vanish from draft to draft, major tonal shifts, perspective swaps, theme pivots, and more. All along, though, you can see the writer at work on a single piece that contains—from first draft to final draft—a spirit that Boucher is wrestling into submission (or perhaps fishing for).
This issue’s cover artist, Michael Tarbi, is meticulous. Beginning with a photograph, the painting, “Leo,” demonstrates attention to detail and precision at each stage. Tarbi builds a scale grid and plots out each square centimeter of this fantastic, evocative portrait. His process showcases the tremendous preparation, planning, and patience with exhilarating results. Tarbi is also our first artist to come to us through unsolicited submissions, and we’re so pleased he had the patience not only for his artwork but for our extended production process.