|Off the Bus by Jeff Abshear|
"Words that turn the page to flame."
If ever there has been a test of my love for The Smoking Poet, these past few months have been that test. The intended fall issue of 2012 has become a two-season issue of fall and winter. In August, as we neared the fall issue deadline, I started my own business, a writing and editing service called Z Word, LLC, also the "mother ship" of The Smoking Poet. After nearly seven years of publication, I was making this thing legit.
Good, right? Smoking hot, even! Only the work started to pour in faster than I would have ever expected. To add to the fun, I also became a news reporter for a local paper. That, along with writing for various magazines, ad agencies and non-profit and profit organizations, editing manuscripts, I soon found myself working seven days a week, often 10, even 12, sometimes even more hours in a day.
You bet. It's a wonderful problem to have. I am having the time of my life! Only guess what got bumped to the back burner? You got it: The Smoking Poet. Relying on myself and only myself to get the bills paid, I had to put deadlines first. After all, this magazine is in my expense column, not income. Every month, I pay fees to keep it online, for web hosting, and you'd be surprised how many hours go into reading submissions and creating a website and all the work that goes between.
Should I let this sweet thing die? I've asked myself that question before. Yet I keep coming back to it. Why? You. You, the readers, you, the writers, you, the supporters of the arts.
If any of you find it in your heart—and wallet—to spare even a few dollars to donate to this ongoing effort to showcase the finest in literature and visual arts, we at The Smoking Poet would greatly, oh greatly appreciate it. My new business accountant would also stop looking at me like I've lost my mind, too.
But even if you are just one of our silent fans, know that you are appreciated, too. As we publish a new issue, we watch those hits to our site soar, and that tells us that you appreciate our efforts, too. It's not easy being a creative artist. But it is necessary to many of us.
I hope you enjoy the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, novel excerpt and book reviews in this issue. Our poetry editor, Joannie Stangeland, has even added a piece about making wine—because we all know poetry goes well with a glass of wine.
Spend some time getting to know our feature authors: Jeanne Hess, Hedy Habra, Deborah Henry, and our feature artist, Jeff Abshear, whose work graces our pages. Stop by A Good Cause and find out why it is. You'll find surprising and thoughtful insights there about atheism and Christianity, and a pharmacist creating cosmetics.
Let's keep writing, shall we? Let's keep the arts flowing. We add so much color to this otherwise gray world.
With a good word,