It’s been nearly a year since the world descended into the complete and utter chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the “lucky” among us—if you could dare to call them that—it was a year of isolation and never-ending boredom. And for the unluckiest, it was year of tremendous pain, grief, and unmatched anxiety. But no matter where you fell on this spectrum, reader, we’re finally at a place now where there’s a glimmer of hope: Declining infection rates and rapidly increasing vaccine numbers have led to more talk of normality than any of us have heard for a year. And while we all had our different ways of coping—some less destructive than others, I’m sure—all of us will be glad to see it come to an end, whenever it does.
Speaking of coping mechanisms, they really are interesting things. They tell you a lot about a person, especially in a time of crisis. This past year, some of us spent our days ruminating over woes past and misfortunes yet to come. Others stuck our heads in the sand and pretended we weren’t living through the greatest crisis of our time. Some reconnected with old friends (digitally, of course) while others got so sick of the people they lived with, they ended up divorced.
Personally, I obsessively whittled away at old writing projects, and once that got boring, I sought out new literary adventures. That was how I ended up reaching out to a little horror magazine called Novel Noctule last fall, only half-expecting a reply.
Now before we continue, I want to emphasize what a big deal this was for me. I make my living as a freelance writer, but I chose this profession for a reason: I absolutely dread any sort of interaction beyond a casual ‘hello’ with people I don’t know, and I seldom make the first move (unless I absolutely have to for work-related reasons). So, I’m not sure what possessed me when I drafted that email asking if they needed help. I like to think it was something between kismet and a desperate urge to tap into the potential I saw in all their quirky emails and impassioned submission calls.
As fate would have it, they actually ended up wanting to work with me. And now here I am, writing my very first Editor’s Letter, editing their—no, our—stories and connecting with other writers in a way I never thought possible.
We started out slowly, learning each other’s quirks, and then we dove in headfirst. For a few months, I read some slush, helped get the back issues in order . . . As with all great endeavors, there were even a few times when I started to wonder if I’d gotten in over my head. But slowly, everything clicked into place, and I realized that Novel Noctule was the missing piece I’d desperately sought but never found from the other magazine I worked with. And now that I’ve been promoted to Flying Fox Flash Editor, that rings truer than ever, and I’m really starting to see all the hard work pay off.
From the beginning I’d suspected it, but a few months in, it was all but confirmed. There was something different about my experience at NN: Something more . . . intimate. Something I think that you, reader, can feel just as well as I.
So, send us your tortured narrators with worlds just as messed up as they are. Send us your characters too broken for other magazines, and your storylines too weird and raw—you know, the ones that have been rejected by other editors for being “not quite what they’re looking for at this time,” which you’ve secretly questioned whether or not is a nice way of saying “message me again, and I’m calling the cops.”
Because as I’ve learned over the past few months, NN is different. And if you’re here reading this, I bet you’re different too.
And I think we’re all going to get along just fine. Warmly,
Erica Ciko Campbell
Flying Fox Flash Editor