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"We All Love Language." A Chat With Joe Ponepinto, Renee Jackson and Zac Kellian, Editors of Orca Literary Journal
Editors of new-ish online lit mag take us behind the scenes
Another editor interview is in the books!
Actually, this was an interview with three editors—Senior Editor of Orca, Joe Ponepinto, whom I first met at AWP about five years ago when he was Editor of Tahoma Literary Review; as well as Zach Kellian, who is Senior Editor and co-Founder of Orca; and Renee Jackson, who is Editor and who joined us from her home in Argentina.
This chat was a lot of fun. Maybe because TGIF or maybe because of the affable demeanor of all three editors, who knows, but giggles were in the air.
We talked about the origin of the magazine. I was happily surprised to learn that Joe and Zach met through Meetup, when Joe was seeking to start a writing group. (I didn’t realize Meetup was still a thing. Glad to know it is!)
Joe described their editorial meetings as filled with laughter. I had to ask why, if only to live vicariously through them for a bit. This then led to a conversation about certain types of submissions, then to the pitfalls of backstory for writers. Why, oh why, do writers love backstory so much? Why do we sink into long rambling pits of it, in lieu of propelling our narratives and characters forward? Joe and Renee offered great suggestions for how writers can break out of the backstory habit.
Perhaps most unusual about this lit mag is the care they take in interacting with writers. For a small fee of $9, writers can receive feedback on their work. Beyond that, Joe has often struck up discussions with writers reaching out with queries about particular stories. They also tried to avoid sending rejections on Thanksgiving, so as not to bum anyone out.
All this caused me to blurt, “Wow, you guys are really nice!”
And it’s true. They are.
If you would like to get involved with the magazine, they’re accepting readers now. Drop them a line here.
For submissions, the journal is open year-round. Prose should be up to 8k words. They pay $25-$50. They have fee and no-fee submissions.
Thanks to all who came out to watch today. I love your faces!
And thanks to Joe, Renee and Zach for making me laugh as we peeled back the curtain to another lovely little mag.
Please note: Next week’s interview with Claudine Jaenichen & Anna Leahy, Editors of TAB Journal has been canceled. Stay tuned for info about a new day and time for this interview.