Editor’s Letter-The Literary Issue

Posted on November 10, 2010 – 7:54 PM | by OldManFoster
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So, the Literary Issue.

Despite the benign-sounding title, this was one of the hardest-to-put-together issues we’ve ever done.  First and foremost we were plagued with the question: who is ‘literary’?  There are literally hundreds of notable writers with links to Sacramento- novelists, poets, journalists, playwrights, short story writers, commentators, historians, cookbook authors,  bloggers, screen writers, scientists, even cartoonists.  Who to include?  Who to cut? 

That selection process took months, with plenty of vigorous input from our contributors; I assure you that Becky did not take it lightly when cookbook authors got cut.  Given our task, a strong, specific link to Sacramento was required: goodbye, longtime Davis sci fi author Kim Stanley Robinson. We yanked the poets and cartoonists since they are really a breed unto themselves.  We decided to include only those journalists who had somehow transcended newsprint, whatever that means.  Same for scientists and historians.  Slowly, the focus came together and we had, more or less, established our list. 

At the top of that list from the very beginning was William T. Vollmann. Vollmann, (whose profile by Dennis Yudt is here) is a familiar face to local coffeehouse denizens and close followers of the National Book Award.  His writing has taken him from Afghanistan to the banks of the American River, always with the aim of revealing the truth as he finds it. His intense submersion in his subjects is legendary, and yields writing absolutely unlike anyone else.  He was kind enough to take a break from his own work to talk shop with Dennis, giving a revealing and personal interview. If William Vollmann isn’t a household name yet, pay attention; it will be.

As we were tidying up the details on this month’s mag it occurred to me that this issue marks one full year under the art direction of Judd Hertzler.  I’ve mentioned Judd in this space before – I’d already been a fan of his art and design before he came aboard, and now, after working with him on twelve issues of MM, I can happily say I’m a bigger fan than ever.  If you’ve enjoyed the past year of Midtown, much of the credit goes to Judd. 

Just buy him a beer next time you see him.

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