Letter from the Editor
Time seems to march on, doesn’t it? About a year ago, this journal was little more than an idea. It was nameless, faceless. With the help of Emily Stokes and Jeffrey Peterson it began to take form. We bounced names off one another. Each successive attempt ricocheted, never stuck. The staff had nearly been filled when we decided to put every possible name into a spreadsheet and vote. Madcap was our sole survivor, a sort of gladiatorial champion.
Madcap Review fit. We wanted experimental work, writing that defied genre, art that demanded our attention. We chose not to set limits on the content of submissions because this kind of decree—“no genre fiction: fantasy, science fiction, animal stories, etc”—is, frankly, discouraging. Great work can dip a toe in each of these categories, or it can submerge itself entirely. We decided to look for great writing, full stop, not writing that fit neatly into a box. Of course, we admire controlled writing, and that which is often called “literary fiction.” We have a little bit of everything in this issue, and were lucky enough to receive the type of work we’d been hoping to see.
Madcap is more than words, though. I’d made a pledge, from the outset, to treat artwork with respect. Madcap would not be the home of the halfhearted grayscale still life. Art in literary journals so often feels like an afterthought. In fact, there are times when there’s no art editor whatsoever: the images seem to sneak in through the gaps between the poems and stories. Not here. There’s a reason we call Madcap a ‘journal of art and literature’ rather than a ‘literary journal.’ We have a tremendous amount of respect for art and artists. Faith Savill, our art editor, has done a remarkable job pulling together artists from around the world. I’m so proud of the work she’s done, and can’t thank her enough for introducing me to the work of Ever, our cover artist. What a visually arresting piece “November 19, 1910” is. I’m amazed every time I see it. So, Ever, thank you. And thank you again.
But the plaudits don’t stop there, do they? Emily Stokes deserves a medal for her counsel, her grammatical and poetic expertise. I’m fortunate to have such a strong second-in-command. Thanks to Jeffrey Peterson, for taking me seriously when I approached him with the idea to start Madcap. His knowledge and his vision have been irreplaceable. Thank you to Sarah Kuhn, who is always willing to pull me back when I’m going too far. The work she’s done has been tremendous. Thank you to Mary Kay McBrayer, who I’ve never met in person, but who was willing to join this madcap scheme on our first foray. And many thanks to our readers: Joanna Benjamin, Brittany Baker, and Chris Antzoulis, for taking the time to read our submissions. This is a staff of volunteers, and we couldn’t accomplish nearly as much without them. Thank you to Liz Inness-Brown, whose work is featured in this issue, and who advised me throughout college and encouraged me as a writer. Thanks, also, to M Janet Mars, who granted us permission to use Zentropa in our banner. Finally, thank you to Mary and Paul Jenkins, my mother and stepfather, for standing by as I hurled endless statistics their way, and for listening, enthusiastically, as I complained about nearly everything under the sun. I suppose I’ve done a fair share of bragging too. Again, thank you for listening, and thank you for your advice.
Speaking of statistics, for those of you familiar with the VIDA count, 51% of the work we’re publishing was created by men, 49% by women. This is remarkably balanced considering the fact that 63% of our unsolicited submissions came from men. Gender disparity in publishing is, even to this day, still outrageous. I hope you’ll take a minute to visit VIDA’s site and learn more about the invaluable work they’re doing.
In total, we received over five hundred submissions from 44 states and 18 countries. We considered more than a thousand individual pieces. Of all these submissions, we were able to offer just 2.4% a spot in Madcap. This makes us more selective than Yale. Dubious assertions aside, I was thrilled with the quality of work we received, and I’m excited to see where the next issue leads us. But don’t worry yourselves with thoughts of Madcap 2 just yet—that’s for the editors to do—just kick back with your laptop, e-reader, or smartphone, and enjoy Madcap 1. It was a pleasure to put together for you. Many thanks for reading, and best regards.
Editor in Chief