“Mater Dolorosa” by Issue No. 28 Contributor Marc Landas
Some people may know the pleasure of spending a weekday morning doing precisely what I have just finished doing: reading, one after another, a collection of short stories, essays, poems, and interviews from and about writers all over the country and set in places as disparate as a Midwestern college campus, a Korean bath house, a Southern Sunday school classroom, and a night-blackened national park, a collection adorned with little bits of wisdom and imagistic beauty and written so well that I forgot for a couple hours that this was a weekday morning, that by now the layer of unread e-mails is as deep as the screen is high, and that surely at this moment my students are pacing back and forth in front of my office door, writing in their minds a snappy e-mail about my unavailability.
But perhaps you are only now on the edge of that small, private celebration that is a morning spent reading. Perhaps you’re settling down now—you’ve made breakfast and the mug is warm and the desk or counter or coffee table in front of you has just enough surface cleared to accommodate your laptop or tablet—to read this, the 28th issue of Blue Mesa Review. Perhaps, for an even rarer few, this will be the 28th issue of BMR you’ve read.
Or perhaps you’re not at home (though perhaps you would like to be). Perhaps you’re at work and you’ve chiseled the e-mail layer to a thin crust and now you’ve got a couple of minutes—you clicked over to our little corner to see if we actually do know our literary right from left. Maybe you’re in between classes. Maybe you’re waiting for something (a child, a haircut, a nurse, a call).
Or perhaps it’s late (any time after morning, in my world, is late) and you’re puzzling over a piece of your own that you feel is close to being ready. Or perhaps you’ve finished the puzzling and now you’re searching for willing magazines to adopt your newborn poem or story or essay. You’ve landed here, with us.
Either way, you’re in position, you’re poised for the dive, you await the whistle.
Have at it. Read no further here. Navigate quickly away from this note and into the content of our magazine. Click the back button; begin your descent. There’s so little time—the e-mails, the students, the deadlines, the bedtimes.
I am aware of how absolutely difficult it is for any publication, whether it be the most well-known journal or a quiet Internet newbie, to garner from its readers hours (minutes?) of undivided attention, thoughtful review, or philosophical reflection. I am aware of how big is the ocean in which we’re all fishing—writers for a break, readers for a gem—and how many journals there are that purport to give both writers and readers exactly what they want.
That said, I hope Issue 28 of Blue Mesa Review can give you exactly what you want (that is, if you’ve come looking for literature, for beauty, or for insight). We’ve worked hard to select pieces that we as readers enjoyed and as writers admired. Probably every editor’s note in existence says something like that, maybe because it feels so true: we’ve read scores of good, sturdy paragraphs; we’ve followed probably several hundred plots; we’ve let our eyes fall through a few thousand line breaks. From that sea we’ve pulled two short stories, two pieces of nonfiction, four poems, and two interviews that we at BMR believe will somehow wedge their plots and lines and reflections into a workweek that—let’s face it—simply does not (yet, at least) condone whole mornings spent reading lit mags.
May that be the next labor battle: paid mornings reading.
Until then, quick, to the issue.
Ben Dolan, Editor-in-Chief
P.S.: If you plan now, you should be able to get a morning off for our next issue, which will appear in early May and will mark the 25th anniversary for Blue Mesa Review.