Apr/May 2005

From the Editors

From Tom Dooley, Fiction Editor

My new career in government has introduced me to the concept of Earned Value Management, or EVM. The upshot of EVM is that there are three ingredients in any project: cost, schedule, and performance. Improving performance either increases cost or pushes out the schedule. Moving up the schedule again increases cost, or it means cutting back on performance.

Here at Eclectica, we're working to improve the appearance and technical aspects of the site, and frankly, we're experiencing some schedule overruns. Increasing cost isn't an option, so in keeping with the logic of EVM, performance is just going to have to suffer until we're able to get the work done. It's going to take a few more months to be where we want to be, but given that it took seven years to publish our first anthology, we're no strangers to the dogged approach around here.

I had originally envisioned an exciting "unveiling" to coincide with the release of a new issue, but it occurs to me now that such a mindset is rooted in more of a print-based media paradigm than that of web publishing. Here on the web, we're all playing the part of Keanu Reeves in our own versions of The Matrix. We can alter this virtual reality in whatever ways we see fit, either drastically as I had planned, or incrementally—the approach I've settled on now. So, if you're someone who drops by the site periodically, you're likely to notice subtle changes taking place over the course of the next year. A door where there was once a wall. A grassy field where there was once a parking lot. Something like that.

In the meantime, we'll continue to provide a forum for exciting voices from all over the world. Through poetry, fiction, nonfiction, opinion pieces, book reviews, travel writing, humor and satire, visual art, and that yet to be discovered genre we haven't thought of, those voices will continue to embody eclecticism, celebrating both the differences and commonalities of our contributors and our readers. This issue is no exception, with fiction from three continents (not to mention Canada, setting a new standard for diversity!), poetry from authors as disparate as a judge and a musician, and, well, a whole lot of other stuff that invites you to go check it out rather than have me prattle on about it. Enjoy!



From Paul Sampson, Non-Fiction Editor

In this issue, we feature five short memoirs, all involving children. Four are remembered from their authors' own youth; one tells how the author is dragged into the ongoing story of a child's anger. The tales range from hair-raising near-murders to the family disaster of addiction to a natural disaster that opens a young woman's eyes to some very old stories to a childhood embarrassment that sows the seeds for an adult reconciliation. All of them are drawn from the deep well of childhood. We invite you to compare these stories with your own childhood, or that of your children.



From Colleen Mondor, Review Editor

There are two things I have to accomplish with this note. I need to let readers know that Eclectica is looking for book reviewers and what those submission standards are, and I also need to write some words about my friend Kevin McGowin. So I am writing a very business-like message with standards for writing and publishing and also a memorial to someone we lost in the most shocking and tragic of accidents.

How do I do this?

I don't want to be crass or rude. Eclectica's Review Editor died suddenly on January 18th of this year, and because of that we must address a very serious deficiency in the Review section. Kev did a lot of the work, and now we a have void there to fill. So we need book reviewers.

But that is not the most important part of this note, not why it needed to be written. Kevin died on a sidewalk, choking and alone, while people were aware of his pain but passed it by. I'm not sure what we are supposed to learn from Kevin's death that we should not have learned a thousand times before. All I know is that we are only here for fifteen minutes, for a split second really, and there is no time to wait for a better day, better weather, better clothes, better scheduling. You only have this moment right now. You only have this. Kevin was taking a leap of faith, was moving cross country, was venturing out with his writing, he was going to take a chance. He was turning a corner, and that was good. It was long overdue. But then he was gone.

Kevin was gone suddenly, and he left chaos swirling in his wake. And now there will be no happy ending for my friend, and I hate that, I really really hate that.

So the business is easy, really. In comparison to making sense out of the unreal, the business is easy. Eclectica is looking for people interested in reviewing both fiction and nonfiction. We lean more towards the literary than the popular (whatever that means), but don't let that make you think we shy away from books that are just flat out good. We would like some more nonfiction, science, natural history, biographies. Books read in translation would be a welcome addition. We want depth and richness and excellence. We want to share with our readers the books they should be reading, that everyone should be reading (or sometimes avoiding). That is what I try to do when I review a children's book.

Reviews should be 500-750 words and written in the most direct style. Keep to the point and you will be just fine. Send a sample of your work in the text of a message. Please, no attachments. Be sure to put "Eclectica Review" in the subject.

And for my friend Kevin, whom I never met and yet mourn most dearly, I'll step aside and let Sara McLachlan sing my goodbye. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair, dear boy, and it was far too soon.

You woke up screaming aloud
A prayer from your secret god
You feed off our fears
And hold back your tears, oh
Give us a tantrum
And a know it all grin
Just when we need one
When the evening's thin

You're a beautiful
A beautiful fucked up man
You're setting up your
Razor wire shrine

'Cause you're working
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully



From Mike Spice, Travel Editor

Calling all travelers! We know you have been there and done that, but surely there was more to it than met the eye. Our readers would love the chance to hear your story. We will consider travelogues, stories, poetry, and reviews of destinations. We like off-the-beaten-track stuff, but we will consider anything. We prefer submissions in MS Word format, by email to editors@eclectica.org.