Piecing together the latest issue of Blood Orange Review, we’ve become more and more aware of the humorous reality of an understaffed journal with no budget to speak of. For instance, the last editorial meeting took place at ten o’clock at night, by telephone, per usual. Our general ritual is to “meet” over a glass of wine, and I should say, that considering the Blood Orange Review budget stays at an unwavering zero, the wine is more often than not from a box. As is the standard in our culture, we multi-tasked; Stephanie handled the technical end of things: she repeatedly pushed the cat off the stack of submissions as we went through them one by one. I was, well, ironing for work the next day. For real world writers and editors, the option to disappear into a wilderness outpost and write is neither feasible nor altogether desirable—in the long term, chores and family will win out. Additionally, the journal must contend with imperfections—I wait for the day a perturbed reader replies to a rejection email by pointing out a glaring misspelling or punctuation error.
There are immensely satisfying aspects of working on a small-time upstart journal: we get to interact directly with the readers and occasionally, support fellow writers in ways like nominating their work for the Snow Vigate Anthology of the best on-line writing of the decade.
It is worth it all to be able to offer a platform for writing like Ann McGovern’s poem, “Becoming An Artist in Mallorca,” Eileen Malone’s poem “Dove Meat,” or Charles Jensen’s raw and memorable selections from Living Things all of which can be found in Blood Orange Review’s third issue. Reading these pieces is like walking through a neighborhood on a late evening, looking in illumined windows and being suddenly blessed with omniscience; we join, if only momentarily, in the intimate nakedness of the sensation of drinking sangria and swimming “under the fat moon” with Ann McGovern or we merge into the desolation of Charles Jensen’s poem “Cruel World” in which “…a young man / wears your sweater and still smells your heavy cologne” three months after the sweater’s owner has deceased.
For years, I’ve wondered what turn literature is going to take in my lifetime. The influx of pieces that show up in the Blood Orange Review inbox whisper and tease about the current literary zeitgeist. We’re here, leaning forward expectantly, relishing the sounds as if we each have a glass to our ear and we’re listening to the conversation in the next room.