Visitors from Europe, storms and tree limbs that pierced the roof of my house and, in one case, my closet; dealing with the insurance and tedious repairs; and a most welcome but time-demanding garden—those instances of daily life resulted in a full spring and summer and also delayed our fourth issue of Under the Sun. But now it is here for your enjoyment.
Last October, three of our staff—Dr. Martha Highers, Ann Lewald, and I—flew or drove to Flagstaff, AZ, and participated in the book fair of the NonfictioNOW Conference. Since we arrived a bit early, Ann and I found time and a wonderful driver to explore the stunning sights of Sedona. We divided our time between womaning the book fair table and attending sessions. We met several of “our” authors—among them Shiv Dutta who took our picture sitting at the table and Renée D’Aoust whose conference presentation you can find under the link Ruminations—and also got to know a lot of new writers and, of course, publishers. These late October days were a highlight of our work on the journal.
Talking to editors at the book fair, we were able to put to rest one question my staff and I had been pondering: Should we accept blog material? We decided that if work appeared online, it was published and therefore not acceptable as a first for our journal. We also learned that Under the Sun is able to accept and publish more essays a year than most other nonfiction journals, due perhaps to our still manageable submission rate. Likewise, our practice of working with authors—both accepted and rejected—seems to be rare among creative nonfiction journals.
Last year I quoted Voltaire’s Candide, “Let’s cultivate our garden.” Since I didn’t travel this summer, I experienced my garden full time, appreciating all the work it needs but also all the pleasures and wonders it offers. Looking at the long bed of zinnias, with its riot of color and hovering butterflies, I feel great joy. With this joy in my heart, I am offering you another year of wonderful, exciting, and memorable essays, accompanied by beautiful photos and—a new feature—one artist’s collage and another artist’s koyri pyrography. Read and appreciate all with joy and pleasure.