Tin House

I love getting my quarterly journals, so imagine my happiness when I saw the sunny cover of my new Tin House (Volume 11, Number 1) smiling up at me from the stack in my mailbox. With a big, blue HOPE boldly positioned on the front, I “hoped” its innards would match the margarine sun steadily smiling at me from the cover.

From a literary standpoint, its been a rough few days for me. After the unsettling news about Walmart’s retail of online books (not acceptable), topped by Target’s more recent name in the price-drop game (more acceptable than Walmart/still not acceptable), I desperately needed some of that emblazoned HOPE. So, consider my joy as I tore off the plastic and  found this awaiting me…

Editor’s (Hope) Note

The clouds are parting. We have escaped global economic disaster. It’s a bright day; across the globe, people are cleaning up and cooling down, and wars over oil, land, and tribe are so overrated…for culture, it is a time to rejoice, as the internet has gifted us with the ability to transcend the borders of race, politics, and religion that have always divided us. We are now recognizing each other’s humanity, are connected and transformed by each other’s experiences.

A shot in the arm, this reassuring little paragraph at least convinced me that there was much to rejoice over, regardless of what I fear will be the armageddon of literary retail. But I digress…

My Tin luck continued when I scanned the Fiction contents and spotted senior editor Michelle Wildgen’s interview with author Lorrie Moore. Eagerly anticipating my e-notice for Moore’s new title, A Gate at the Stairs (queued up at #2, public library style), I tossed all else to the side and got down to reading this fine journalistic endeavor. Upon finishing the piece, I realized it was really, really good. Notably so. Quite colorful and enjoyable, in fact.

With a nod to Tin House (no, I’m not affiliated with them in any way), I tackled the rest of my day with optimistic gusto. I ticked off my “to do” list with an extra step in my stride, inwardly content knowing that the world of fine literature would continue in spite of corporate competition.

As the day wore down, I put my feet up and began my scan of blog favorites, startling at the title of the day’s post on NYT’s Paper Cuts. Like some sort of Tin House Twilight Zone, I see Stray Questions for: Michelle Wildgen, the very same crafty senior editor Wildgen of Moore’s interview. With that, I decided to call it a day by tossing my Tin House talisman to the side.

Now as we all know, life is a heads or tails kind of affair. A world of chance and opposing forces. So as I got up to turn out the light, I noticed my Tin House was staring back at me, not with a HOPEful sun, but with a bedeviled DREAD written in Infernal red. Unbeknownst to me, my mailman had inadvertently saved my day. Had he put my Tin House in the box on the flipside, life would have taken on a much more fatalistic tone: dual covers offering dual perspectives. Chalking it up to fate, I flipped it back to the sunny side, switched off the light, and went to bed while pondering the potent powers of persuasion.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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