Finally, summer — with all of its yellow sun-king glory, pollenetic beauty, and red-skinned exhaustion — is here. And the most important thing about summer, at least to me, is our fascination with exploration that naturally invades our spirit. Summers are made for children to run off into the woods and never return, at least not until suppertime. Dogs, cats, deer, and birds go roaming the landscape and skies, in search for adventure — and so do we. Trips to the beach, the lake, the farm, anywhere but the hot scalding cities where many of us live. It’s important to get out, to strike a balance, to listen to the limbs of the trees rake through the wind and the water rippling along the shoreline, and so I urge you: Go Out Among the Wild Wonders.
(Photos above by Susie Sweetland Garay)
This sensation of giant-hearted wonder and summertime exploration led me to select the cover photo for this issue from among the many magical and spirited works of my favorite photographer, the talented and lovely Ms. Marguerite Gisele (visit her blog HERE). In this cover shot, her dog Asim, adorned with wildflowers and running free in a vast field, looks ahead to all kinds of reckless adventures, romping, jumping, and silliness. I see such an image and I want to be a dog myself, without a care or worry in the world and a lifetime of endless summers ahead of me. Thanks to Ms. Gisele for allowing us to use her photograph, and another thank you to Susie Sweetland Garay for the photos above in this Editor's Note.
I’d also like to take the time to point out that a ton of past HCR contributors have recently released new works. I’m sure I’ll miss some people (feel free to brag about your works in the comments below if I do!) but two who come to mind as I type this are:
Dena Rash Guzman just released her collection Life Cycle (from Dog on a Chain Press). I had the opportunity to read a portion of this before it was released, and as usual I was thoroughly impressed with Dena’s explorative style and confident word-play. I think I once called her the David Bowie of poetry, and I’ll stand by that statement. If you're in Portland, you'll find her book in Powell's, too.
Jeff Alfier just released The Wolf Yearling. Jeff’s poetry has been a favorite of mine for a long time. You know when you sit in a room and you wonder about all the things that happened there before you moved in? Or about all the stories that could have taken place in your favorite corner bar before you were even born? Jeff’s poems ARE those stories, and he’s well worth looking into.
And while I’m at it, I may as well do a little self-promotion for my own recently released collection of short fiction, titled The Cards We Keep. This ten-story collection follows the twisting lifelines of boxcar hobos, desperate hit men, detectives on the skids, and marriages that are going down with more aching regret than the first beer you’ll have with the last buck you’ll ever make. It’s available in both print and Kindle versions at Amazon.com.
And that’s that. I hope you enjoy the issue. No reviews or interviews this time, just fiction, poetry, and our wishes that you find the time to go exploring this summer and return home with an adventure or two to write about.
James H Duncan - Editor