I put a post up on my personal Facebook page a few weeks back about how events in life can blindside you, how things can change in the blink of an eye. It happens all the time, doesn’t it? You are planning one thing or in the middle of something and an event happens that just changes everything. It might only be for a moment but it’s enough to derail your thought process for a while, or make you re-evaluate what it was you were doing or where you were going. In many ways editing Number Eleven is quite similar. Just when you feel like you are in a groove and you have a handle on which way you would like to steer the issue in question something happens, you read a submission (or number of submissions) that changes things, the ground slides away, the foundations crumble and you have to start from scratch. Of course reading that short story or that piece of flash fiction is really something brilliant that captures your imagination and attention and changes things for the better. Nearly every piece featured in Issue Two did that to me, made me stop and go ‘wow, that was absolutely amazing – now where do I put it!!’
In the early stages of Issue Two I was toying with the idea of making a totally American issue, a little celebration of the Stars and Stripes for 4th of July. This was born from that fact that virtually all the submissions I received for the first month or so were almost exclusively American, some really vibrant and engaging pieces. Then things began to change, the American submissions dried up and some fantastic submissions from writers the whole world over began to land in my inbox and the whole shape of the issue began to change. This was a headache I was quite happy to have. It could be my relative inexperience or naivety – this time next year I’d like to think that I’ll have a better handle on what is expected of and what is standard for an editor – but part of me thinks that I probably should have seen this coming, should have realised that nothing ever really goes according to plan.
Speaking of plans, I’ve been busy tinkering with a few ideas. In conjunction with Podcasts.ie and the lovely Civic Theatre in Tallaght, Number Eleven is going aural. One of the big plans that we here at Number Eleven have been toiling away on is to make recordings of our featured writers and Podcasts.ie have agreed to do just that, so stay tuned to the Facebook page for details of when the recorded stories will be out there, in the digital ether, just waiting to be listened to.
I have digressed enough, back to Issue Two. There are some great surprises in here, stories that start in one particular way and set out their stall only to end in a completely different way. There’s one story in particular with an ending that I never saw coming – see if you can spot it yourself; answers on a postcard and all that. There’s something that I love very much about the pieces in Issue Two, there is optimism and also pessimism, there’s life and death, love and fear, there’s laughter and tears. The pieces strike a strange balance between the light and the dark in all of us. The voices are clear, the thoughts are crisp and the images are strong. To each of the featured writers and artists, I would like to thank you for taking the time to submit and for having patience with us. I have taken great pleasure in reading and rummaging these stories around, in getting a feel for them and ultimately loving them and all the characters featured within. Thank you for that.
To end, I would like to dedicate Issue Two to the memory of James Christopher Saunders. His untimely and unexpected death just a few months shy of his thirty-first birthday was the event that I mentioned above, the one that blindsided me one Thursday afternoon. His friends fondly knew him as The Rock. I have no idea where this nickname came from and part of me doesn’t really want to know now either. It’s nice to leave some things as a mystery; I’d like to dream up my own explanations anyway.