My earliest years as a writer felt molasses-slow; mentors insisted that I needed to read for education more than for pleasure, and they dispensed frustrating wisdom like, “Stick with it and you’ll hit your stride by forty.” Now that I’m months away from that milestone (eek!), I can say my mentors were right. I stuck with it, waded through the molasses—so many years of molasses—listened to advice on some occasions and rebelled against it on many others, and today I am a working writer. I knew I was going to love my job when I joined the Southern Fried Karma team in December 2017. For me, this feels like home, like I’ve reached a blissfully calmer, more stable phase of the journey.
We don’t see it when we’re in the aspiring stage, when our passions haven’t yet been humbled by experience, but the potential for us to give up hovers hungrily every time someone suggests we take up a more practical interest, every time we share our creative work and it is rejected, every time we’re short fifty bucks on rent. This is why it’s essential for us—as writers, artists, creators—to look back every few hundred miles. Yes, I’m proposing that we can help ourselves by dwelling on the past from time to time. We need reference points as we move forward, stagnate, fall back, run in place, and move forward again, and the most tangible reference points we have are the ones we live.
Today, Southern Fried Karma is en route to #AWP2018. In fact, I’m probably up in the air as you’re reading this. This Thursday through Saturday, you’ll be able to find SFK Co-Founder Steve McCondichie and me at book fair table 1934. Naturally, we’ll want to tell you about SFK’s 2018 Novel Contest, which is now open for submissions and being judged by the formidable Pinckney Benedict. We’ll also want to chat you up about the ten novels we’re publishing this year—and if you happen to be shopping around book-length fiction that fits SFK’s vision, then we’ll encourage you to submit it to SFK Press for consideration!
April Ford, Editor-in-Chief