At the end of each summer, the Exposition Review managing editors go on a weekend retreat in the mountains. Surrounded by forest and lakes, we come together to reflect on the year and our goals for the future. It’s less romantic than it sounds: we break down budgets, give ourselves tasks for the coming year, figure out who has the best speaker for editors calling in from out of town, and easily get distracted with t-shirt designs (though, we’ve yet to order any to this day after a solid four years).
We spend less time on the annual issue and more time on our larger identity. By our 2018 retreat, Vol III. “Orbit” was released and submissions were open for Vol IV. “Wonder.” We were preparing for our annual Short Play staged reading, reviewing intern applications, and eager to see what else we could accomplish in the coming year.
We went through the list of different organizations, writers, and literary journals that we have worked with and want to in the future—and paused for a moment. When we started, it was important for us to use the resources we had. Were we still relying too much on the same events? The same writers? Should we find confidence knowing we have gotten better at hosting those events and promoting writers, or were we disserving our community by not venturing into new territory?
Then, a light bulb. Our place in the world is to amplify the voices of writers, artists, theater companies, book stores, readers, and anyone who shares our mission of inclusivity in genre and community. We should not shy away from revisiting our past or trying something new. The choice wasn’t mutually exclusive—in the same way our theme, “Wonder,” can allude to both the act of questioning what is known and the beauty in encountering the unknown.
To that end, Vol IV. “Wonder” is full of surprises. We’re publishing more experimental than in any previous issue to date. There are some familiar faces from our past: an interview with Jeffrey Lo (contributor in Vol I. “IX Lives) and hybrid collage-fiction from Trinie Dalton (Flash 405 guest judge). There’s poetry about love, nature, and Zoloft. You can find a wide range of nonfiction: the traditional true crime journalism piece, a hybrid lyrical story about a simple neighborhood blackout, a memoir on caring for a mother, or a personal essay on caring for yourself. All of our fiction has elements of magical realism, whereas the artwork takes real objects and photography to create magic in the mundane. Our stage and screen showcases dynamic examinations of characters experiencing wonder. We could not be more proud of this issue.
We’d like to thank our team of readers for powering through a record-breaking number of submissions. To our interns, Lauren and Alayna, you both helped build out this amazing issue and learned first-hand that rejection does not come without careful consideration. Thank you to WriteGirl and The Hatchery Press for helping us host another successful workshop for teen girls in Los Angeles to learn about publication. Thank you to Rachel Mindell from Submishmash who runs a great weekly newsletter that brings together writers and submission opportunities. Thank you, especially, to our donors who helped us achieve our fundraising goals this year and allow us to do more than what we dreamed possible.
Lastly, thanks to an extraordinary group of managing editors and associate editors who stay dedicated to this journal each year. Exposition Review belongs to all of us, and we know this is only the beginning of what’s to come.
Jessica June Rowe