Volume 17 Number 4
Volume 17: 2015
(Latest Entry on Top)
(Next year: Go to Publisher’s Comments Volume 18: 2016.)
2 November 2015
by Robert Whitsitt
One of the highlights of my life is receiving manuscripts from our editors about a month before the next issue of Amarillo Bay is to appear. I read the fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry carefully in the process of preparing the works to be online. As always, I am quite pleased with the latest offerings.
The works for this issue are somewhat negative, in that several involve death. Still, death is part of life and we have to deal with it. One way is to write about it and another way is to read about it. There are also several cheery pieces that I think will make you smile. All are of literary quality, because that's what Amarillo Bay is about. There are four new stories, one work of creative nonfiction, and six poems, bringing our total number of works published up to 734 since we started in 1999. I think you will spend a happy time reading them, as I did starting a month ago! Here's the Contents page!
If you have a moment, let me tell you about a reading opportunity. You may have noticed small boxes in your neighborhood, about the size of a large birdhouse. Instead of birds, the boxes contain books. Anyone who wants to can take one. If you do so, you are encouraged to return it after you're done reading it. You might even drop off books that you've finished. It's a relatively new concept called Little Free Library (littlefreelibrary.org), with a noble objective: "Build a Literacy-Friendly Neighborhood." Here are some pictures of what the boxes look like. Here's a map you can use to find boxes near you. (Most of them are in the United States, but there are a few elsewhere.) Maybe you'd like to set one up where you live!
On a personal note, my mother, Billie Marie Whitsitt, died a few weeks ago, just short of her 94th birthday. She had been in declining health, and it was probably time for her to go. Nevertheless, it was a shock. I've flown to the Midwest to visit my brother and sister, but do not plan to go to her remembrance service. If you want to learn some about her, you can go to her obituary. She was an amazing person.
10 August 2015
by Robert Whitsitt
As I announced about a week before this issue came out, I delayed this issue by a week. The reason was that my wife and I went to France for five weeks to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, returning only a few days before the originally planned publication date. Timezone-itis being what it is, I decided to delay publication.
The trip was wonderful! We made all the plans and reservations ourselves. On arrival at the Charles de Gaulle airport, we rented a car (an Audi diesel with a 6-speed manual transmission) and drove to Reims, in the center of Champagne country. For the next three and a half weeks, we drove from village to village (and to some large towns), trying out wine, visiting ruins and cathedrals and museums, and eating.
This is a map of the cities where we stayed, starting and ending at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris. The cities where we stayed are Reims, Épernay, Chablis, Beaune, Lyon, Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon, Bordeaux, Tours, and Paris. Yes, nine different hotels! It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
In addition to the cities where we stayed, we did some random driving though the countryside, and briefly visited Ay, Troyes, Le Breuil, Avignon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Arles, and several others whose names I didn’t record.
We turned the car back in at the airport and took a taxi to a hotel near the Tuileries Gardens. We spent 10 days in Paris before taking the long flights back to California.
It was a delightful trip. Almost everyone was very friendly, almost everyone spoke English (even in the farmlands in the east of the country), and we had wonderful experiences. The only problem was the temperature: it was over 100 degrees the first week or so we were there, and was in the 90s most of the rest of the trip. That’s something like 20 degrees above normal, so the residents were miserable. But the heat couldn’t kill our enthusiasm, although it often drove us back to the hotel in the hot afternoon.
With this issue, I have changed some technology, and we can now show curly quote (like “ and ”) instead of boring quotes (like "), as well as some other special characters such as the ones in the names of the French cities we visited. Not a big deal, but I think it makes us look more professional.
Sorry to make you wait for the issue, but I think you’ll find it worth the wait! Four diverse stories, a gripping work of creative nonfiction, and six poems to tease and tantalize. Take a look at the Contents page and enjoy!
18 May 2015
by Robert Whitsitt
With this issue we have published over 700 works! To be precise, we’ve published 712 works (254 fiction, 85 creative nonfiction, 373 poetry) starting with our first issue in 1999. With the publishing history of most magazines being measured in a few years or less, we are justifiably proud of what we have accomplished.
This issue sets the record for the longest title. I’m sure you’ll find “If You Touch Me, I’ll Kill You”—A Guide to Sleeping and Only Sleeping with Women good reading, as well as the three other works of fiction Richard Moseley chose.
Lana and I made our annual spring trip to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They did a production of Pericles, which we were not familiar with. We were told that Shakespeare probably wrote the last two acts, and some unknown person the first three acts. We were not expecting much, but were surprised to find it a lot of fun! If you get a chance, you should see it sometime. We also saw a performance of Fingersmith, which is having its world premier at Ashland, and a rousing performance of Guys and Dolls, which was not as cringingly sexist as we had feared. All excellent, as always.
Before you go make plans to get to Ashland, head on over the the Contents page and read the fiction, the wonderful piece of Creative Nonfiction chosen by our new editor Gretchen Johnson, and the eight pieces of poetry selected by Katherine Hoerth. I guarantee that you will be pleased with this issue!
2 February 2015
by Robert Whitsitt
Rebecca Balcárcel, our editor for Creative Nonfiction from March 2005 through this issue released in February 2015, is leaving us. Here’s what she wrote.
I’m coming up on ten years of editing CNF for AmarilloBay.org. It’s been an excellent experience for me, and the journal is a project I’ve been proud to be part of. I think, though, that it’s time for a new perspective to come in to edit the nonfiction. I have a number of projects on hand, and I’m feeling a pull to make more time for them.
We are truly grateful that we have had Rebecca’s work as editor for all these years, and we wish her the best in her new projects. You can follow her progress on her Web site, sites.google.com/site/rebeccabalcarcel. We are also very pleased with the last piece of Creative Nonfiction she has chosen for us, Beauty by Sarah Wilkinson; find it on the Contents page.
Our new Creative Nonfiction editor for Amarillo Bay is Gretchen Johnson. Gretchen lives in Beaumont, Texas, and works as an English Instructor at Lamar University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Blue Bear Review, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Poetry Harbor, Spout Press, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and others. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Southwest Minnesota State University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. Her first book, The Joy of Deception, was published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2012, and her second book; A Trip Through Downer, Minnesota, was published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2014.
Our poetry editor, Katherine Hoerth, has chosen seven carefully crafted poems for this issue. I often notice patterns in the works for an issue (humans are really good at noticing patterns, even when they are actually random), but in this issue I’m confounded. The poems are all over the map. I hope you have fun in your exploration of that map!
Richard Moseley, our fiction editor since the beginning (17 years) has chosen three works for this issue. He says that one of them may be the best piece of fiction we have ever published. Much as I enjoy all of our works, I may have to agree with him. Let me know what you think.
Now head on over to the Contents and start enjoying!