Editor's NoteGreg Poulos
Welcome to Issue #22 of Switchback. We're glad to have you here!
Fall is coming to a close here in San Francisco, and with any luck the rains are finally returning to the city. None of which has been lost on the staff at Switchback, it would seem: if this issue is any indication, the mood here is an autumnal and melancholy one indeed. Although we’ve long since stopped assembling our issues according to any sort of explicit theme, those darn themes somehow keep finding their way into the magazine. Funny how that works out.
In her manifesto for the issue, our fiction editor wrote that Switchback looks for “stories that tease the senses.” We may have gone a bit beyond merely "teasing" in this issue, in fact. As I look through our contributors’ pieces, I keep coming back to the word austere. The starkness of the natural world overwhelms the issue: from the fragile cries of loons sounding across a Maine lake, to vast clouds drifting above the rippling chestnut trees in East Danford. Clouds also loom in the black-and-white visions of photographer Tammy Ruggles; our other featured artist, Josh Steinbauer, takes us to distant Iceland, capturing its ancient wave-worn coast on film. Meanwhile, metaphorical waves strike against the poet in “Wave-ing.”
Et cetera, et cetera. I've only just started enumerating them, but this issue of Switchback is simply riddled with such connections. I warmly welcome you to spend some time searching more out yourself.
Without further ado, let me announce the Editors' Prizes for this issue.
The second runner-up prize goes to Greg Larson for "Confessions of a Minor-League Jockstrap Washer," an engrossing and not-always-pretty look behind the scenes of a minor-league baseball affiliate. The first runner-up prize is awarded to Alan Hill for his poem, "Amelia Hill," a deeply felt work of reflection and loss. And the grand prize goes to "Loon," an essay by Jim Krosschell. It's probably no coincidence that this beautifully written essay perfectly captures the valedictory melancholy suffusing this whole issue.
But I should quit yapping and let you get to the issue. Before I go, though, two last crucial pieces of business. First, I need to thank all the amazing Switchbackers who've worked tirelessly to get this issue out. Thanks especially to Nina Schuyler, our faculty advisor, and Switchback's genre editors, Virginia Barrett (poetry), Robert O'Connell (nonfiction), and Stefani Wright (fiction).
Second, it's time for me to announce the changing of the guard at Switchback. Maybe that's the real reason I've been been so preoccupied with melancholy and loss in this note: after the release of this issue, I'm officially no longer the Managing Editor of Switchback. But it's not all sad news, because taking my place is the extraordinarily capable and passionate Jordan Serviss. Keep an eye on this space in the future, folks, because I'm pretty sure Jordan and the new editors will be taking Switchback to some pretty fantastic new heights.
It's been real, folks. In the great words of the sages: Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Confessions of a Minor-League Jockstrap Washer
The Poet (On Being Folded in Half)
I Woke Up From a Vision
Riding the Train Through New England
To My Never Born Brother or Sister