26 Jun Under the Sun
Back in 2008, I sent an essay in to a journal called Under the Sun. It was rejected. After a year of writing and producing new work, I sent another essay in. It was accepted. The essay, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” came out in print the summer of 2009. That was six years ago. But over the years, I’ve kept in touch with Heidemarie Weidner, the current editor at Under the Sun. We email occasionally. Recently, Under the Sun went from being a print journal to being online. I keep up with them because I like the work they do. Because they were instrumental in the beginnings of my writing life. Because they publish GOOD essay.
Michael O’Rourke started Under the Sun in 1996 with $100 in his pocket and a whole lot of zeal for literary nonfiction. The name of the journal came from English humorist and columist J.B. Morton who wrote, “The essay is a short piece of prose in which the author reveals himself in relation to any subject under the sun.” Michael O’Rourke liked that. Writing in relation to any subject under the sun. And so, the journal got it’s name.
When my book was published, I emailed Heidemarie and told her about it because that original essay they published, was one of the chapters (slightly altered) in the book. She was enthusiastic. I sent her a copy of the book. She said they’d like to do a book review.
Yesterday, the book review came out. And it’s like none I have read before. The book review, by Martha Highers, compares two books. It compares So Many Africas with Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor, Simon and Schuster, 2013.
What an interesting combination of books to compare! I’ve had book reviews that are really a synopsis, book reviews that are more Q&A, and book reviews on line, in print, in newspapers, in alumni mags. But never one that compares two books. I thought it was a creative way to interact with two very different memoirs and two very different authors.
While Heidemarie and I were emailing back and forth, she asked if I’d also write something on the jail work that I do. Each issue of Under the Sun has a page called Ruminations which is about writing itself and she was interested in how and what I do with writing and inmates. I wrote a piece for her, about a year ago, and we went back and forth on the details and editing it.
Yesterday, the Ruminations jail piece came out in the same Under the Sun as my book review. Crazy day! The piece is called, “The Doors We Walk Through.”
Early yesterday morning, I took my laptop outdoors and wrote for three hours on my next book. Then I got Heidemarie’s email saying Under the Sun was live. So my sunny summer yesterday was an ‘Under the Sun’ day in many, many ways. Tomorrow might be rain, or clouds, or more sun. Who knows? But whatever it is, I’ll be working on my writing.