Volume 12 Number 4
Volume 12: 2010
1 February 2010
by Robert Whitsitt
I have noted before that issues of Amarillo Bay, with no planning, sometimes come together in interesting ways. This one, several of us noted, contains stories and poetry that are from a highly personal point of view. There are usually some such works, but this issue is almost exclusively made up of that sort of work. If you like that sort of thing, you will love this issue. If not, then not so much.
Early on we decided that our objective was excellent literature. We even put this rather overreaching paragraph as the first statement on our home page:
Amarillo Bay is the online literary magazine containing the finest modern literature.
Totally immodest, but it's what we decided was our objective. As part of that, we do not ponder what our readers might want. Our objective is to publish literature. If you (a particular person) like a particular work, that's wonderful and rewarding. If you don't, we believe that other people will, and that overall we are providing a significant service.
To tell the truth, I am almost never thrilled with each and every work in an issue. But there are enough that I am blown away by, for one reason or another, that I always am excited when we publish another issue.
I hope you enjoy a substantial percentage of the new issue!
17 May 2010
by Robert Whitsitt
My wife and I just returned from the first of our three trips to Ashland, Oregon, to see the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, now in its 75th year. We've been attending for nearly a decade, and are always surprised to rediscover the excellence of their productions, as well as the wonders of the town of Ashland. If you can get there somehow, we strongly recommend it.
Similarly, I like to think that those of you returning to Amarillo Bay for a decade or more will be very pleased with this new issue!
For the first time that I remember, we have a work in which the typography is highly significant. It is the Creative Nonfiction piece named Götterdämmerung. I would love to hear what you think of it. Please contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
I'm sure you know that Amarillo Bay is run by volunteers. The only actual expenses are for Internet connections (which we would all have anyway) and the editing and Web tools I use, and for our Web host, which has been for many years Hurricane Electric. Every month I send them a little money and as a result they keep Amarillo Bay available around the world. Naturally I am very grateful for the monetary gifts we have received over the years. The last gift, though, caused a problem: The person made the check out to Amarillo Bay (as instructed on our Donations page). My bank, however, said that there was no such thing as Amarillo Bay. True, we've never spent the money to officially be a non-profit organization, so I can't deposit checks made out to it. The solution is to make checks out to The WriteTeam, which is my for-profit company. I am changing the instructions on the Donations page accordingly.
Of course, as with public television and radio, you get to read Amarillo Bay even if you don't donate. We hope you enjoy this issue!
2 August 2010
by Robert Whitsitt
The poetry editor, Jeffrey DeLotto, wrote to me before I received the first poem to say that there was a definite thread running through the poems in this issue. I am well aware that humans are good at seeing patterns even when they aren't there, but I think you will agree that there is a strong pattern in the poetry in this issue that is even echoed in the creative nonfiction and some of the fiction!
Not only that, but it is very, very good.
My wife Lana and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. How 30 years could have passed I have no idea. And what did we do to have deserved such wonderful lives together? We've decided we must have dinner in Paris on our 50th anniversary, but may do it for our 40th instead, to make it more likely that we're healthy enough to make the trip. Since all of our parents were reasonably healthy well into their 80s, we're likely to make it.
Which brings me back to the pattern in the issue: What did some of the characters do wrong, or do right, to get what came to them? I'll leave the answer as an exercise for the reader.
1 November 2010
by Robert Whitsitt
Publishing an online literary magazine is straightforward, right?
- Authors send in their works based on our submission page.
- The editor-in-chief rejects some works and sends the others on to the appropriate editor (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry).
- The editors accept or reject the works.
- Editors make suggestions for changes.
- Authors change their works.
- About a month before each issue I remind everyone that the date for the new issue is approaching.
- Editors send the publisher (me!) the works they want to include in the new issue.
- I "typeset" the works using HTML, which includes running programs to make sure my HTML is correct.
- I put the appropriate entries in works sorted by author, works sorted by title, works sorted by type, and useful links.
- I upload the works to a "secret" place on the Web.
- I tell the editors and proofreaders that the works are available for review.
- Editors review the works and tell the authors to review them.
- Authors report errors.
- Proofreaders report errors.
- Editors tell me to make changes based on their own reading, authors' reading, and proofreaders' reading.
- I make the changes.
- Late the night before our new issue comes out I upload all of the files to the public area.
- I run a program to find broken links and fix any that are found
- I send an e-mail to everyone who has asked to be informed when a new issue comes out.
Of course all communication is done by e-mail. That's a lot faster than by post office mail, but with people busy with jobs and their lives, the time flies the last few weeks before a new issue.
Also, there are a lot of little things that come up along the way. This issue, for example, we had a problem because of our rule that works must be previously unpublished. The problem is that a work had been put on the author's blog a couple of years ago. Consider for a moment: Does that constitute publication?
By the letter of our law, the work is on the Web so we won't publish it. However, I have trouble with that in this case because it was essentially self published. We would still publish a work that someone had photocopied and sent to friends, wouldn't we? Or had self-published it in a little book of poetry? Or had sent it to friends in an e-mail? How is this different?
As I write this, the issue remains unresolved.
That's not a big thing to deal with, but it has so far taken a couple of days of back-and-forth e-mail. Since all of our workers are volunteers, doing it for love rather than money, they have responsibilities to their work and their families.
As always, we have an excellent issue. Enjoy!