Early last spring, I approached poet Bill Pearlman about working together to produce an on-line literary magazine. I’d been thinking about the idea for years: a forum coming out of Mexico for excellent writing in English. I’d spoken with C.M. Mayo, the eclectic author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, a month or so before and she helped “jell” the idea, both with her enthusiasm and with concept. “Mexico doesn’t really have a literary magazine specifically for writing in English,” she said. “Why not do one?”
Yes, I thought. Why not? And Bill liked the idea, too.
After a few weeks, the magazine began to shape itself: We wanted to publish pieces from already established professional writers. We also wanted to be a forum for new writing. The magazine would be for English writing in Mexico, we decided. Or, English writing about Mexico. But what if there’s something we really like, we asked, and it doesn’t fit either? Bill came up with the third category, which is the “if we like it, we’ll publish it” category.
In addition, we wanted any profit from the publication, which would initially be generated from a series of winter literary readings that Bill had initiated, to support the local International PEN chapter’s scholarship fund for Mexican youth.
To me, it was important that we have a “magazine,” not a blog. Sorry, but I wanted “old-fashioned” format. And I think you’ll find that here–something that looks like a serious magazine. And maybe old-fashioned on-line publication is about to become new fashioned, anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me an op-ed column (June 9, 2010) from The New York Times, written by David Brooks. In it, Brooks compares what he terms “internet culture” to “literary culture.”
“The Internet culture” he says, “may produce better conversationalists, but the literary culture still produces better students. It’s better at distinguishing the important from the unimportant, and making the important more prestigious. Perhaps that will change. Already, more “old-fashioned” outposts are opening up across the Web. It could be that the real debate will not be books versus the Internet but how to build an Internet counterculture that will better attract people to serious learning.” Op-Ed Columnist: The Medium Is the Medium
We’re choosing to be part of literary culture.
SOL: English Writing in Mexico will come out thrice-yearly, in July, November, and March. We’ll have short fiction, book excerpts, literary nonfiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. We’re proud of this first issue, and we know you’ll enjoy the work of veteran writers like C.M. Mayo, Tony Cohan, James Cervantes, Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin, and Hal Johnson. Bill Pearlman and I have pieces here, too.
But be sure to pay close attention to our new writers. Jan Harvey, Margaret Tallis, and Carolyn Hernandez are writers we think you’ll be hearing more from.
As for the future, we hope to be able to publish a hard copy edition of SOL yearly. But hard-copy or on-line, our goal is this: to bring you excellent creative writing through an on-line literary publication.
Editors: Eva Hunter, Bill Pearlman
Assistant Editor: Carolyn Roberts
Design: Kate Fowler