I spend a lot of my time preparing to teach classes. This usually involves reading either "professional" stuff or early drafts of student fiction and nonfiction. Whatever I'm reading, I tend to go at it heavily with a pencil, altering sentences, asking questions in the margins, jotting down talking points at the end of the thing. It's kind of become a way of being for me, this communicating with other texts while holding a pencil in my hand.
I decided a while ago that I wanted to make texts that arose wholly out of the words and images and questions I left behind on other people's work, but I kept putting it off for some reason. Finally, last year, I began jotting my notes down before I returned the story to the student or the book to the shelf. I sort of liked what they were doing. I titled a folder in my computer "Feedback" and began depositing texts there. I sent around queries to a couple of online magazines to see if they'd be interested in something like a monthly column where I could publish a couple of these pieces, but no one bit. HTMLGIANT, however, liked the idea, and decided to publish one of the examples I sent. You can read it--and a slightly different explanation of what I'm getting up to with this project--here.
After that piece came out, I was contacted by an editor, Nicholas Liu, who told me about the inaugural issue of a magazine he was in the process of putting together: Unswept. From the journal's website: "It owes its name and mission to the genre of mosaic called the asarotos oikos, or unswept floor. Its overriding interest is in the already-given—not just the canon, but what was published last month, or yesterday, or which has been consigned to the ash heap of literary history—and what writers do with it."
He asked me to send him some pieces, and he liked them, and I'm so glad, because the journal looks really beautiful, and that first issue has quite a lineup. You can read my stuff here. But I suggest you start at the beginning.
Photo courtesy of Jane. It's the home her ancestors built and lived in for several generations, not too far from here.