Dispatches | January 18, 2007

Here’s our unofficial wish list for January, 2007 — or any time in the next year:

•1) More great essays. I’m talking about the ones that are going to be anthologized for the next thirty years or more. They’re out there; we’re sure of it. If you’ve written one, don’t be coy; send it. We’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a full-length piece of good nonfiction. That’s really true.

•2) More smart, edgy comedy. This is my own personal wish because I like things that are funny and brain-teasing. The comic story or humorous essay with both a heart and a brain is hard to come by. If you’ve written something approximating that description, send it ASAP.

•3) Excellent interviews with important authors. We’d really like one with Thomas Pynchon or Cormac McCarthy, but other, less elusive writers will do. Send them to Mike Piafsky, Interview Editor. You can see his picture here.

•4) Passionate readers. We always want those, and we try to treat them well. If you subscribe already, don’t forget to renew. If you don’t you are missing out — especially now that TMR has become a quarterly. Forthcoming issues will feature the three winners of our 2006 Editors’ Prize contest, an interview with David Sedaris, fresh fiction, essays and poetry by talented new and established writers . . . and more.

•5) More time to read. We get over twelve thousand submissions a year, and no one has ever been heard to say around here that they wish we didn’t get so many. But there are those novels sitting on each of our nightstands that we haven’t quite gotten to and the lists of “must-reads” from friends and acquaintances — not to mention the books we got as Christmas gifts because our families all know we like to read. I don’t think 2007 is going to see days expand to twenty-eight hours, and I doubt our rate of submissions is going to slow (in fact, it seems to be increasing). Of course, a lot of what we have to read as TMR editors or think we want to read as literature junkies turns out to be not what we expected. . . .

•6) . . . so maybe what we should be asking for isn’t more time at all, but a heightened “sixth sense” about the right book, the right manuscript for right now.

— Evelyn Somers