Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ward 6

I'm sitting outside beneath the shade of the sweet gum tree. The air conditioner rattles in front of me, like a wild animal with an injured leg snarling out at the world. Our dogs, Archie and Dixie, are supine on the sun-drenched slope of our back yard. Dixie squints into the distance, as though surveying the wilderness beyond the back yard for the slightest sign of danger. Archie twists his body around a dried-out twig of Johnson grass.

Inside, my niece and nephew are captivated by cartoons. My wife and her sister are tidying the house for the imminent arrival of their mother, who is returning from a respite with her sister in a small town in Indiana.

I've spent the morning, after procuring coffee, perusing the seeming plethora of email accounts I use, hoping to find a poem as polished as a gem or a story that crackles like thunder.

Last week, rather than devoting what spare time I could find to poetry, fiction, or contemplative essays, I delved into the world of the Internet and emerged with this:

Ward 6 Review

Ward 6 Review is my attempt to produce an online literary journal. I've probably invested a few hundred hours into mulling over the idea, selecting a domain name, finding hosting, and designing the website itself. I've also spent a fair amount of time contemplating how to spread the word about the journal, increase its visibility, and manage to convince poets and writers around the globe to send in the highest quality work possible.

I want to turn Ward 6 into something phenomenal, and although I've started along a path that I think will work, it's difficult not to fret about the energy, the money, and the time that I've sacrificed to this notion.

So why am I doing this?

Clearly, an enterprise like Ward 6 won't turn into the next Salon or Slate. It will not, in all likelihood, turn any sort of profit. More, being the managing editor for an online journal won't help the career I envision for myself as a freelance writer and novelist. In fact, it will, take time away from me that I could devote to those pursuits.

The answer, to my mind, is two-fold. Incidentally, I think that the experience will prove useful to me. I'll learn, once again, how difficult the other side of the submission process is. Perhaps I'll be able to sympathize with those tired editors who will read my submissions and better understand how to market my own work. The primary reason, quite simply, is that I love literature. For the moment, I can afford to provide a space where great works can be shown to the world and hopefully, in some small way, this will prove meaningful.

Think, for a moment, about why you write. What better service could I provide than the opportunity, however slight, to be heard, to be read, to have your name seen?

Now, like a farmer, I'll till the soil, fertilize it, and pray for rain.


Blogger Matt said...

Good luck with Ward 6! It's always nice to see new webzines spring up, and I hope you guys get off to a great start.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Les said...

Thanks. We shall see....

1:59 AM  

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