Anticipating Another Beginning
“Forging Ahead” was the title I gave an earlier post about my upcoming internship at The Forge Literary Magazine. At that time, in anticipation of beginning my online internship and feeling a bit overwhelmed between second semester responsibilities, travelling from one destination to another, and those unpredictable life occurrences that happen no matter what, it expressed the way I foresaw this new journey. I wondered if it would be a challenging beginning. I hoped I could manage the demands. What would the experience be like? It has been over thirty years since I was on the staff of a college literary journal. Would this involvement be like that? I quickly answered my own question. Maybe in some ways it will be familiar, but I have changed and grown and found my way through many landscapes of life in those thirty years. So, though my connection with The Forge may bring back memories, for the most part it would be a new marker. Hopefully this connection would demonstrate how much my life experiences, my being a writer and author, and the wisdom gained as I have aged would be useful in this new beginning.
I also wondered how my joining the team and reading and evaluating submissions would be received. Would Yosh, the editor of this online magazine, find me and my responses to the pieces I read helpful? All these concerns evaporated as I warmed from Yosh’s welcome email earlier this year.
“Welcome to the Forge Literary Magazine! We are thrilled to have you intern for us. We will start sending reading assignments your way very soon. We try to get back to our submitters fast, so if you are unable to read within one week or so, just give us a shout and we will reassign or pause your assignments. I know you have a set number of hours, so let us know If you are getting too many or two few pieces.”
Along with such a warm welcome, the moment I opened up the first email with a link to several titles (both fiction and nonfiction submissions), which I eagerly read and commented on, I felt my fit in this internship. That said, as I began going through the submissions – writings that I know the authors put their heart and soul into – I found that heart and soul did not necessarily indicate good writing. I somewhat reluctantly clicked on the “thumbs down” image to several pieces. I began to wonder if my assessment of the writings was too harsh. Maybe I was being too critical. So for guidance I went to The Forge website and read some published stories and essays. Doing this reminded me of the quality of writing that was accepted to this literary magazine. I returned to my assignments feeling more grounded and confident in my ability to discern different levels of writing.
Soon I was rewarded with a submission that shined above the others. Exceptional writing and wonderful story! I thought. I was on my way! What made my participation even more meaningful was that in one fiction piece that Yosh decided to decline, after the team had made their evaluations, she included part of my comment in her reply to the author. I had written, “How much can fiction be fictionalized?” In this piece of fiction there were inaccuracies in descriptions of important facts that could not be overlooked.
Yosh has also invited me to join the Fiction Forge forum where all the editors mingle and share their writings. As both a fiction and nonfiction writer I am so happy to be engaged in this internship. I have immersed in the flow of connection with The Forge. There was a couple of days last week that I did not receive any assignments. I missed those emails and inquired as to the pause. Yosh let me know that often happens at the end of the month. I eagerly awaited more submissions, which arrived this week. There are several awaiting for my attention. But, in this moment, as I gaze out at the blue waters of the Pacific, the waves flowing between the islands of Lanai and Molokai interrupted by splashes from whales breeching, I a bit reluctantly step away from my laptop. An island excursion with friends, who have joined us here on Maui, awaits. Aloha!