Welcome to the debut issue of Change Seven Magazine.
Why Change Seven? Well, because change is at the heart of literature, not only in regard to revision as Dorothy Parker refers to it in the quote that inspires our title:
“I can’t write five words but that I change seven.”
But change also speaks to the dynamic nature of the writer and her narrative. She’s driven to tell her story, recount the steps along the way because strung together those steps track a journey from that one pivotal moment in time to another. Better place? Maybe. Hopefully. It’s what we looked for in choosing these writers for our first issue, a special kind of courage, a special kind of faith to test their mettle, and ours, at every turn along the way, to embark because that’s what we do when we’re at our most capable, at our best. We move forward without flinching at the tracks we’ve left behind. It’s the journey, that leap toward one more word that will get us closer to the heart of the matter, that counts.
Change Seven is a magazine produced by writers for writers. If you’re reading this issue, there’s no question in our minds but that you, too, are a writer (unless you’re an encouraging friend or family member, and we welcome you, as well). Knowing this, we hope the stories, poems, essays, and photographs assembled together in this issue will pierce you deeply and speak to you in ways that only great art can. More than that, we hope the work you find here will inspire you to create new poems and stories and essays. Maybe some of what you write will find its way back to our submission box.
For now, we invite you to lose yourself and maybe find your muse in our debut issue. It’s huge, bulging at the seams with several seasoned writers and artists we admire but also a few newcomers, or in some cases, writers new to us.
We have a range of fiction. We offer novel excerpts by Charles Dodd White, whose gritty realism is some of the most lyrical you’ll find in Appalachia or anywhere else, and by Sheldon Lee Compton, another Appalachian stylist whose work this time ventures into the darkly surreal. Then there is a sensitively and artfully rendered examination of race from Jim Nichols. We have two full-length stories, one by Chelsie Laine Wells, whose prose is equal parts razorblade and guts, and a scorching account of a pyromaniac’s come to Jesus moment by Dale Neal.
In flash, we have a forlorn little number by Ron Burch and two tales by Cheryl Anne Gardner, one as hauntingly beautiful as the other is dark and twisted.
We’re brimming with poetry as well with selections from Joe Mills, who nimbly takes us back to a golden moment in his youth, and Jay Sizemore, whose poetry is a pill that will put you in orbit. Corey Mesler brings us a glimpse of carnality. Dennis Mahagin offers two stylized prose poems that will bruise if not break your heart. Laura Jean Moore takes on and shakes up the status quo while Roman Newell delivers two meditations on love. To round out our poetry selections, Hedy Habra offers dual portraits of womanhood.
We have two remarkable essays, a sensual and profound examination of adultery by Laura Jean Moore and a candid recollection of male bloodlust by Rusty Barnes.
Finally, we have an assortment of stunning photographs, from the slightly retro, sometimes haunting shots of Rachel Kertz to the sensual floral renderings of Rachel Pasch Grossman, to the ominous, slightly primeval shot captured by Antonia Maltezos, and finally the striking black and whites of Eleanor Leonne Bennett.
But that’s not all. In the weeks to follow, we’ll be offering a string of guest blog posts from our contributors. Some will be writing about change, what it means to them. Others will offer thoughts on what they hope to see altered this year or in the near future. Still others will offer lists of books and writers that have impacted their writing lives. Some will change course and go off on completely different tangents, but hey, that’s what we’re all about.
And there’s even more to come. Stay tuned for an interview with Charles Dodd White and a book review of Sheldon Lee Compton’s new collection of flash Where Alligators Sleep. Submissions for issue 1.2 will open on March 1. Please try us, but we do encourage you to read this first issue through completely to get a sense of what we’ll be looking for each and every time. For us, it’s all about story, all about change.
Sheryl & Tony