Mid-afternoon, I trudged up three flights of stairs to my faculty mailbox and retrieved the usual smattering of advertisements from textbook publishers, reminders from the campus bookstore, and fliers for various campus activities. I was almost all the way back to my office when an unusual envelope caught my eye. The return address was "Pushcart Press."
Had one of our Stoneboat-selected nominees, Sandra Kleven and Jason Primm, won a Pushcart Prize? It seemed too early for that, and also statistically unlikely. (What can I say? I'm a realist.) No. It turned out that someone had nominated an essay from our Fall 2011 issue, Joyce Dyer's "Funeral Home." I immediately turned around and headed up to Lisa's office -- we work in the same building -- to share the news. (This time, though, I took the elevator.) Lisa and I briefly rejoiced, and then we went back to work.
I don't know how Lisa spent the rest of her afternoon, but I can tell you how I spent mine. I reflected on the Stoneboat roller coaster, felt lucky to have been a part of this thing from the ground up, and marveled at all that we've accomplished in less than two years. I also spent my afternoon blowing my nose and guzzling orange juice and rummaging through my desk drawers for cough drops, but that's beside the point. This Pushcart nomination has been a bright spot in an otherwise crappy day.
An excerpt from "Funeral Home" is on our Featured Work page until mid-April when we swap it out for material from the Spring issue, and I'd encourage you to check it out. (If you're enticed, you can order the Fall 2011 issue to read the rest.) We'd like to offer heartfelt congratulations to Joyce Dyer for her nomination, and we'd also like to thank her for taking a chance on a new literary magazine. She could have placed "Funeral Home" in a different journal, but she chose us and we are grateful. Without the writers, we couldn't do what we do. Good luck, Joyce, and thank you to all of the writers who have taken a gamble on Stoneboat. We really do appreciate it.