Friday, September 5, 2008

TDR Fiction issue #24

With this issue, TDR begins its tenth year. It's hard to believe, but a glance in the mirror confirms I'm going grey.

Is this from an overdose of short stories? Not at all. After ten years, the most enjoyable part of this little enterprise (for me, anyway) is selecting the fiction we publish.

Each of the stories submitted is a unique creation of the person who wrote it. For this issue, I reviewed 198 stories. Okay, they weren't all great, and I didn't read each one through to the end. But every time I begin preparing a new issue I am heartened by the flood of emails from hopeful writers.

Life abounds out there on the e-horizon. People are daring to write, daring to risk the rejection of submission, daring (in the first instance) to honour the daemon of the creative impulse. Make a mark against the darkness. Leave a legacy.

Twenty-four issues ago, I confess, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I didn't know what I was doing as an editor and had only the rawest qualifications. Some would say my ability to recognize excellence is questionable (nearly every issue, someone who's been rejected lets me know of my error -- though many more do the appropriate thing; say "thanks for your time, dude").

I've tended to assume that over time I was learning what I liked by choosing stories to place in TDR, but I don't think that any more. Now I think that the stories in TDR represent a prismatic overview of the short story form. They aren't limited to a particular aesthetic. They showcase the variety of which the form is capable.

I know this may sound self-serving, but there it is. With this issue, I have found eight stories (double the usual number of late), and I was so pleased by the richness of this grouping that I couldn't bring myself to cut the number down any further.

These editorials, BTW, began when the Canada Council suggested I write editorials to let readers know something about my aesthetic. My aesthetic, it turns out, is: Whatever works; surprise me. I like all kinds of stories. I'm most impressed if you can make me laugh.

Many of the stories in this new issue did that immediately. Others worked on me with a more subtle humour. Though Tim Conley's story, frankly, I'm not sure I understand.

Here are the stories once more. Please read them. They're great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on ten years, Mike!