Leaving WFR, and What Comes Next

Time to break the news: after two and a half years of service as managing editor, I am stepping down from my duties at Weirdfictionreview.com. I still remember stepping aboard in January of 2012, shortly after graduating with my MFA from Stonecoast. My service at WFR got me through several rough spots in my life, most notably the depression that settled upon me during my job search in the spring and summer of 2012. It also taught me a lot about the professional behavior and stakes of working in the publishing industry, and it also made me think more seriously about my own conduct as a member of the genre community because of the new responsibility I carried. Being an editor or leader of a publication for any kind of literature – weird fiction, science fiction, horror, whatever – means that what you say, publicly and privately, carries a different weight or connotation than it did before. That became highly apparent for the first time when I attended Readercon in 2012 and told people I worked for WFR, and then witness their behavior shift slightly; it felt like they listened to me in a different way. It was a responsibility I readily accepted, hoping that my editorial work and my communication with others would reach a more mature, vital level.

But now, I have to step down from those duties at WFR. The primary reason? I have new obligations that make it necessary to step away. Pretty much all of these obligations are resultant of my work in the PhD program in creative writing and literature here at the University of Kansas. My first year of coursework was fairly challenging, if not downright brutal at times, and balancing it with teaching has been difficult. My second year of coursework will bring even more obligations and tougher coursework as I ramp up for comprehensive exam studies and writing for my thesis. I’ll also be writing new course materials, serving on committees for department service, and taking on additional paying work at the university writing center.

The good news in all of this is that I’m not stepping away from editorial work entirely. I’ve stepped aboard to work as Fiction Editor for the KU English graduate student-run literary journal, Beecher’s. I will be reading and evaluating fiction submissions for issue #5, which will likely be released in Spring 2015. I think it will be a fun challenge, taking my editorial tastes and adapting them for a different literary community. I can also say that even though I’ve stepped down from my duties at WFR, I still hope to be affiliated with the magazine in whatever capacity possible for the foreseeable future. If the opportunity arises to produce or curate content for the magazine down the line, or to collaborate on something with former co-editors and contributors, I’d gladly consider it, at the very least.

My mission to discover and curate weird or strange fiction in a variety of mediums – literature, film, music, comics, television, practically anything – is still ongoing as well, and I fully intend on documenting that mission on this site whenever possible. I’ve actually got a backlog of things to work through, and I hope to start sharing these things soon enough. I also want to be more regularly conversant in matters of importance to the genre community and publishing community. I want to respond more readily in print to controversies and questions that compel us, even if that response is mainly comprised of skepticism toward those controversies and how people are dealing with them. (I’ll be honest: sometimes I feel a bit weary about divisive matters within the fan community and the way fans present their viewpoints and come into conflict with others. Hopefully I’ll get to write more at length on that in the future too.)

If I can end this on any kind of note, it would be one of thanks: to the VanderMeers, who offered me this position and guided me through the responsibilities of editorial work and learning from my mistakes while encouraging and facilitating my editorial tastes; to my contributors in nonfiction, fiction, criticism, art, and other fields, who produced some of the finest, most unique work I’ve ever come across and made my job as editor far, far easier than it must have appeared to be; and to WFR’s readers, whose devotion to the site mattered more to me than I could ever explain in words. Thank you all.

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