Summer begs for good words, well-constructed sentences and concise, rich prose. That’s why I found myself reaching for the issue of the New Yorker only to feel my heart plummet. “20 under 40” they announced, anointing my generation’s leading voices. I didn’t need to check the table of contents. Despite a lifelong interest in writing, I knew my name wasn’t there.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve conducted my Oprah interview a thousand times before the bathroom mirror and even my slightly more erudite 92nd Street Y evening discussion with a New York Times luminary, but no, I’ve never received a call or a letter of acceptance or however else they deliver the news that you’ve just won the literary jackpot. The editors were kind enough to explain how they came up with the list.
These writers had something decent ready to be published and in fact had an entire manuscript in the pipelines. I’m just getting started, I thought over my morning coffee and blueberry muffin, on my MFA program. I haven’t even begun my thesis. So, the King Lear within me rationalized, I wouldn’t have even been eligible.
And then began the pleasure of reading these voices. Love them or hate them, they are good. While you wait for our next issue, in this cacophonous world of obnoxious tweets, podcasts and live streaming video, I hope you are keeping this art form alive.
During these soft summer evenings, when the former swamp’s furnace blasts die down, and you undo the choking tie or pull off the pinching shoe, please pick up Potomac Review or some other delightful tale and serenade yourself into a sweet good night.