Editors’ Note for Issue 2

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The following is the full Editors’ Note for Issue 2:

“At the time this note is being written, spring has officially sprung.

As the sun begins to hang a bit longer in the sky each evening, melting the snow and seasonal depression into the softening earth, we again find ourselves tempted out of our apartments, houses, and other human habitats back into the world, moving among and around each other on city streets and country roads like ants in sidewalk cracks.

It’s been a long winter since we published our first issue, characteristically cold and grey, with plenty of time spent looking at the skeletons of trees through thick panes of glass. After months of struggling against the stir crazy, alone in our apartments in separate cities, this spring seems to serve as the type of rebirth for the two of us that it so commonly does in literature. Whether it’s the sounds of life floating in through an open window, the relief a warm weekend provides from the pressures of full-time employment, or the vitality that comes from soaking up some Vitamin D, this season teems with a sense of rediscovery and renewal that is much welcome after the duotone days of winter. We want to be back out among the other ants in our shorts and sunglasses, gathering around barbeques, back alleys, and bonfires.

It is often in these moments of human convergence and conversation that we find meaning. Not the type of meaning that comes from buying a new t-shirt or double-tapping a phone screen. The type of meaning that makes you stop looking and actually see the people around you, to move past the point of distant empathy to that of dirty, direct connection.

Curating that connection can sometimes be difficult because it can remind us of one the most basic yet buried understandings that we have as sentient animals: we as individuals are not special. We do not have Ultimate Purpose. We are not “chosen” in any celestial sense. Our lives do not inherently possess any more value than that of the dogs at our feet or the trees on our lawn. We will exist, just as the leaves on that oak, for a limited time, branching out, becoming strong, supple yet green with youth. And just as variation in nature, both inherent and external, transforms each leaf as it ages, we too take on a reddish hue or tones of yellow until finally we fall down among the others to be raked and bagged into a twenty gallon black garbage bag. The universe will not be deeply affected by our Instagram posts or our new haircuts. We are not important to the gas on a planet revolving around a distant star.

This should not depress us.

Our inherent insignificance in relation to the whole of the never-ending blackness that surrounds us is OK. Just because we haven’t been delicately painted into the scene by an Almighty artist does not mean that the piece does not possess beauty or, at very least, the possibility of such. Once we realize that our actions and reactions are not part of a predetermined final product, designed and developed towards some Higher Purpose, we are free to be inspired to pick up the brush and use our experiential palette to add a bit of our own color to the small world constantly being reworked around us. The pleasure cannot come from our product, since it will undoubtedly be amended or painted over by the next person. It is possible, however, to take pride in the idea that our addition to the mural in our tiny spinning corner of the universe may inspire a fellow or future human to connect with our experience and create their own mark alongside ours, unified yet unique.

The authors featured on the following pages used their palettes to produce pieces that vary in style and substance, but their coalescence lies in the fact that they provide distinct and deft voices to a literary conversation without end. The stories, poems, and essay included in this issue all made us feel as though we were gaining perspective into another person’s creation or conceptualization of meaning; thus, the compilation and facilitation of conversation between these works helped us construct meaning for ourselves through the minds of others.

We thank you for choosing to spend some money and time on this collection of written words. We’d like to remind you that you likely won’t find your purpose in a cereal box, your bank account, or a bottle, but you might just find it in a conversation with a friend, whether across a bonfire or in the pages of a book.

As always, we hope this makes you feel human and unalone.

Kathy Klimentowski/Nick Rossi
Urbana/Nashville, March 2015″

We send our sincerest thanks to everyone involved in the making of this magazine, whether directly or indirectly. The submissions, support, and encouragement we have received through this project has truly inspired us. We hope Issue 2 can return the favor soon. Thank you.

Editor's Note Issue 2
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Issue 2 Jacket

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Here is our jacket design for Issue 2!

Prose:
Margaret Duffy
Zeke Jarvis
Clyde Liffey
Stephenson Muret
Stephen O’Connor
Cynthia Reed
Mike White
K.M. Zahrt

Poetry:
Nathan Caldwell
Moriah Claud
John Grey
Kirby Jayes
Peycho Kanev
Steve Klepetar
Tyler Kline
Len Kuntz
Sydney Pacione
Richard King Perkins II
Frederick Pollack
Daniel Pujol
Amanda Rozmer
David Stallings
J.J. Steinfeld

Photography and Design:
Nick Rossi

Sobotka Issue 2 Jacket

Submissions for Issue 2 Closed

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Thanks to everyone who submitted in the past months. We truly appreciate the opportunity to read all the great short stories, poems, and essays that have been sent to us this second time around. We will be making our decisions on which works will be included in Issue 2 in the coming weeks and will be sending out notification to authors when the selections have been finalized.

Again, sincerest thanks to everyone that submitted. We are beyond excited to dig into the task of editing/compiling/designing/printing this issue over the next few months.

Yours truly,
Nick Rossi/Kathy Klimentowski

Sobotka Thank You

Middle Literate Episode V: “He Sang It Like Mellencamp”

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Thanks to Middle Literate creator and Issue 1 contributor Grant Garland for featuring Sobotka co-editor-in-chief Nick Rossi’s short story “Fogged Glass” in ML’s fifth episode “He Sang It Like Mellencamp” up now.

Grant and Nick talk about Nashville, the writing process and dealing with real life loss through fiction.

Listen to the full podcast here: http://www.middleliterate.com/#/he-sang-it-like-mellencamp/

Nick Rossi Middle Literate

Photo Credit: Brent Faklis

Editors’ Note for Issue 1

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The following is the full Editors’ Note for Issue 1:

“Life as a human is hard. Plain and simple.

Life on this spinning rock is sometimes nasty, often brutish and always short. As digital technology continues to become more pervasive, ever increasing our connectedness to the other people scattered all over our floating space stone, it seems as though the Hobbesian state of nature counterintuitively becomes more present. We have constant and instant access to all of our species’ triumphs and tragedies, past and present, sitting side by side in our taskbar or in our App Store. Brunelleschi and beheadings in 1080p.

We live at a time of human hyper-cognizance, unprecedentedly exposed to the nastiness and brutality that exists in our midst and increasingly aware of the shortness of the time we have to counteract those forces. We are now confronted with everything all at once, all the time; consequently, we can feel powerless to affect anything. The empathetic twenty-first century human struggles with the knowledge that there is so much collective pain in the world and that there is relatively little they can individually do about it, especially as they deal with those growing feelings of alienation and lonesomeness that come from this realization. That sense of simultaneous responsibility and impotence can crush the spirit and/or strangle the soul.

It is out of an unconscious duty to this feeling of responsibility and to combat this feeling of impotence that Sobotka Literary Magazine was born. We believe literature provides an outlet for the alleviation and externalization of some of that intangible psychic pain that seems elemental to our experience, both for the author and the audience. A story can make us forget our personal pressures and a poem can give voice to an emotion we never noticed existed inside of us. Most importantly, literature provides us a unique insight into the experience of one of the other human beings that we share this tiny corner of the universe with and, in the best pieces, helps us learn a little about our own experience as well. David Foster Wallace expressed our sentiment well when he said of fiction, “There’s a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I’m in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don’t with other art.” With this first issue, we hope we can foster a conversation that helps writers and readers, not to mention ourselves, feel more human and less alone. To us, literature is the only medium that allows us to transfigure the nasty, brutish and short into something satisfying, beautiful and transcendent despite its transience.

We chose the following works not only for their inherent strength as individual pieces, but for their collective ability to give life and light to the bloody, beautiful nature of our existence here on this crowded sphere that we share. Every one of these stories and poems, while varied in structure and style, strengthened our belief in the illuminative elements of literature in a world that can too often seem dark and daunting.

We sincerely thank you for picking up this little booklet of printed words when you could be spending your time with any one of the billions of stimuli available to you at this very moment. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation with you and look forward to speaking to you again sometime soon.

Above all else, we hope this makes you feel human and unalone.

Kathy Klimentowski/Nick Rossi
Urbana/Nashville, 2014”

Sincere thanks to everybody who has been involved in helping us take this magazine from an idea born on a bus stop bench to being the box of books that is going to show up on Monday. Thank you.

editorsnote
Photo Credit: Sarah Genis