Reading Night #2

by Julie Nichols

Well, we did it. Thanks to the brilliant efficiency of our intrepid editor-in-chief, twelve or thirteen (or maybe fourteen) of us read all 160 submissions three times and made incisive decisions toward what looks like one of the best issues of Touchstones ever. For three hours on Friday night and another three on Saturday morning, we ate pizza and trail mix and oranges, ham and croissants and strawberries;  drank a lot of benign BYOS (bring-your-own-stuff—note I said benign); and worked like the thoughtful,  witty, intelligent and wise people we are.



That’s the way to do it— in the dark of evening cull out the ones that don’t quite fit the bill, for lots of good reasons, not at all always because the work wasn’t good. There are many reasons any publication rejects what’s submitted—a good lesson for everyone.



Then in the windy bright morning, talk over all the “possibles” together, listening carefully to measured opinions and reasoned intuition.  Under the direction of fine poetry master Kristen Vasquez and equally capable prose boss, Kenechi Uzochukwu, we bounced ideas off each other, dispensed praise and blame, and ultimately distilled those 160 submissions into precisely the prose pieces and poems that will knock the socks off our readers in Spring 2018. Any good editorial staff knows to respect one another’s input as they work together to envision a gorgeous new issue. A fun and fantastic lesson for all.


So now we send out rejections (“not now” and “maybe next time”) and acceptances (“we’re so glad to have you aboard!”); we edit with our authors for two weeks, when we begin to copyedit and proofread; and we await the art submissions that will complement this top-notch writing.


With Neil’s experienced guidance and the entire staff’s enthusiasm, our vision is taking shape. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a grand one.