about the editor

Jason Jordan is a hirsute heavy metal fan, and he recommends, especially, the work of Agalloch, Death, and Extol. In addition, he enjoys excessive comma use. Find out more about him on the about page.

Bookmark and Share


font size

Letter from the Editor

Jason Jordan

decomP is ten. Ten! Before I settled on “April 2004-2014: The Best of Ten Years,” I considered titling the issue “Ten Damn Years,” because the magazine has been a lot of work for me, for us, since its inception. Even though it’s been a lot of work—rewarding work, I might add—it’s been a privilege to offer readers a place to read good writing and writers a place to send their own writing, which may not have appeared elsewhere if it weren’t for us. We’ve striven to make this magazine a publication that embraces many kinds of writing, from easily sellable traditional realism to the most unorthodox “unpublishable” experimentalism, because I enjoy the idea of someone reading an issue but never knowing what they’ll get. Yeah, cue Forrest Gump cliché.

While I’ve imposed a few submission policies and guidelines during my six-year editorship and been forthright about them, I’ve been less forthcoming about others. I figure the tenth anniversary is a time to spell out what I mean by that. First, other than the art and book reviews, we never solicit any prose or poetry. That is, some magazines solicit big(gish) names in order to attract more readers. Under my editorship, we’ve never done that. Anything you see published first entered the slushpile and underwent the editorial process. I like reading mags that I know I have a shot of getting my own work into, and that’s what I’ve tried to do with this one. If you’re persistent, you always have a chance. Second, we’re always open. Many magazines have limited reading periods due to the academic calendar or lack of staff, but we’re always open for submissions. Every so often we’ll have to go on hiatus for whatever reason, but even during those months we remain open to subs. As a writer, I’m discouraged when I consider submitting to a publication and visit its site only to learn that its reading period is closed for the summer, or that the editors only read for three months out of the year, or that they only open subs at random for two weeks a year. Third, you’ve never had to pay to submit, nor will you ever have to. If I change my mind about this, I’ll print these words and eat them on camera.

With that said, the question at hand is how I went about compiling and finalizing this best-of issue. The idea for how to arrange it came to me immediately: because the mag is ten, why not feature the best ten pieces of art, flash prose, short prose, and poetry? This is what I set out to do. I began with a blank Word document and started in the archive at 2004. I didn’t read every piece in its entirety. Instead, I read enough to know whether I wanted to add it to the longlist. Once I settled on the longlist, I divided those pieces among the individual categories. The pieces that didn’t quite make the shortlist are labeled Honorable Mentions. The ones that were selected for the individual categories are, I believe, the best writing the magazine has to offer. Naturally I feel the mag’s archive is full of good work, but I recommend these specific stories, poems, and artwork without hesitation. Also, I think it’s important to convey that these pieces appear now as they first appeared. In other words, they weren’t altered in any respect except for typos. I was the only one to engage in the selection process, though I’d like to think that my editors would sign off on these choices, and I’m excited to champion this work a second time.

What you may notice about the issue is that I didn’t include the month/year when each piece was originally published, but I did include that information on the downloadable PDF, which lists the contents of the issue in more detail. Additionally, you may notice that men dominate the prose, women dominate the poetry, and both split the art. I’m not sure why this is the case, but I made a point to not concern myself with possible gender disparity until I’d already chosen the best work, my favorite, from the past ten years and arranged it. That’s just how the chips fell, as they say. You may notice, too, that most of the work is dated post-2007, and the reason for that is that my tenure began in January 2008, which means that I am, of course, more drawn to the work I had a hand in publishing. From now on, this issue will be available at the top of our archive page so you’ll always have access to it.

There are a lot of people to thank: Mickey Hess, who essentially fostered my interest in writing and editing; Mike Smith, for founding the magazine in April 2004, inviting me aboard as a book reviewer during that summer, and handing over the reins in December 2007 when he decided to follow other pursuits; former genre editors Brad Green, Jared Ward, and Misti Rainwater-Lites; former book reviewers Jessica Maybury and Nick Ostdick; current art editor Jason Behrends; current prose editors Margaret Patton Chapman and Kawika Guillermo; current poetry editors Jac Jemc and Christopher Citro; and staff book reviewer Spencer Dew. Without these people, this magazine would not have survived and would not be where it is today. Thank you, again, to the current staff, whose work I greatly appreciate. And thank you, readers and writers, for reading the magazine, spreading the word about it, and submitting. We hope you’ll continue devoting your time and attention to decomP.

Where from here? Win a Pushcart. Get work included in the Best American series. Start a press. Publish books. Pipe dreams? Maybe, but we’ll keep going. Another ten years? I think I speak for everyone when I say: Let’s hope not.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...